[Image credit: Hoskins Architect]
Major Drew McCombe, Divisional Leader for The Salvation Army, North West, said:
“We are absolutely delighted to have received full planning permission at our Strawberry Field site for our vision.
This includes a training and work placement hub for young people with learning disabilities, a visitor experience where people can find out more about John Lennon and his connection to the site as well as a place to explore spirituality.
"We are incredibly excited to have received planning permission as we now look to make our vision a reality. The support from the local community, along with Beatles fans has been wonderful and we are very grateful.
"After a thorough period of research and development we discovered high levels of unemployment for young people with learning disabilities. Of one million people with learning difficulties in the UK, 93% are unemployed and 31% have no contact with family or friends.
“We see this as a social injustice and designed Strawberry Field to help address this. We believe the project has the potential to make a tangible difference to the lives of young people with learning disabilities and their families by equipping them with the skills to find meaningful employment.
"The next phase of this project is to raise the money we need to move it from a vision to a reality, and we recently launched our fundraising campaign which included young people from the City of Liverpool College and our Steps to Work Programme. To view a video of the group singing Strawberry Fields Forever at the world famous Abbey Road Studios in London and to find out how you can donate, purchase merchandise and support the project, visit www.strawberryfieldliverpool.com."
Jules Sherwood, Development Manager for The Salvation Army, said:
“We believe Strawberry Field is the final piece of the Beatles jigsaw in Liverpool and once open will offer a magical experience to visitors who will be able to follow in the footsteps of the young John Lennon.
“The very latest technologies will be adopted to create an exhibition where visitors will enter a space where “nothing is real” as they experience the wondrous, intertwined histories of the house, John Lennon and the writing and recording of the iconic song. The gardens will be filled with messages of peace and love which we hope will inspire visitors as Lennon himself was inspired. If every Beatles fan donated just £1 to our campaign this will help make it forever Strawberry Field.”
Strawberry Field is an iconic part of Liverpool's history, as well as an important part of the local community in Woolton. The Salvation Army has owned the site since the 1930s and ran a children's home there until 2005. It is the final piece of the Beatles jigsaw puzzle in Liverpool as until now it has been closed to the public. John Lennon was inspired to write Strawberry Fields Forever after climbing over the wall and playing in the grounds. For him, it was a special place which had a lasting impact on his life.