Frequently asked questions
Where is the Strawberry Field site?
The site is situated off Beaconsfield Road, Woolton, Liverpool.
What is currently on the site?
Owned by The Salvation Army, the site comprises a collection of buildings which formed a children’s home. All the buildings on-site are now unused and will be demolished. The famous Strawberry Field gates at the site entrance are a replica. The original gates were removed several years ago for safe-keeping but the intention is to display the original gates once the new Centre is open.
What was the site used for?
Strawberry Field was gifted to The Salvation Army in 1934 and from 1937 it gave some of Liverpool’s most vulnerable children a refuge from turmoil and a safe, calm and loving home. At the end of the 20th C large residential homes were no longer considered the best method to bring up vulnerable children, and in 2005, the home was closed.
Who owns the site?
The site is wholly owned by The Salvation Army.
What are the plans for Strawberry Field?
The site is due to see its famous gates open to the public for the first time, weaving together educational, cultural, heritage and spiritual exploration in one bold, imaginative plan. Central to the vision is a training and work placement hub for young people with learning disabilities as well as an authentic exhibition for visitors to find out why the site mattered to John Lennon, why its future vision matters, and why it should matter to them.
How much will it cost to realise the Strawberry Field vision? Have all the funds for this been raised?
An estimated £8m is needed to turn the Strawberry Field vision into reality. With this project, its heritage and connections to John Lennon, there is an opportunity to raise funds differently, and reach out to some new audiences for the first time.
There is still a way to go to raise the funds needed. Over the coming months we can tell the story to inspire people, and ask them to be a part of history in the making so a pivotal place is created in the lives of young people and a must-see global destination for Lennon and Beatles fans.
Do the plans have planning permission and when will the Centre be open to the public?
We are awaiting news from our planning application and are very hopeful. Once permission is given and funding targets are realised, we anticipate the project will take 2 years from demolition through to opening. All parties will be kept informed of progress.
Our vision for Strawberry Field has been in the making for some time and now is the perfect time to share that vision as this year (17th February 2017) marks 50 years since the UK release of the song Strawberry Fields Forever. We want fans all over the world to become part of the re-imagining of this special site and join us on this journey.
Training and Employment
What training and employment opportunities will you offer?
To us every human being is precious, unique and deserves the opportunity to develop their talents, contribute to society and thrive in life. Yet opportunities are sadly limited for many people with learning disabilities.
Young people with learning disabilities, through our hub, will receive training in areas such as catering, retail, visitor experience, and horticulture and work placements to build skills and confidence that could lead to volunteering and employment.
How will the training be provided?
The Steps to Work programme will offer 2 days teaching in basic skills, life skills eg independent travel, teamwork and communication and a choice of vocational qualifications. This is combined with 2 days’ work placement in catering, retail, visitor experience, horticulture to so these young people develop their interests and live more independent lives.
The Salvation Army is collaborating with City of Liverpool College to help deliver the programme and will work to build contacts with Liverpool and Merseyside businesses which could sponsor trainees and potentially offer jobs.
Will you involve local businesses and, if so, how?
Strawberry Field is keen to work closely with Liverpool & Merseyside businesses to sponsor Trainees and to find employment and/or meaningful volunteering opportunities when Trainees graduate.
If you’re a local employer and would like to sponsor a Strawberry Field Trainee, get involved know more about the Strawberry Field Centre, please contact us.
The Exhibition/Visitor Centre
What will the exhibition/visitor centre consist of?
A new exhibition exploring the story of the Place, the Song and John Lennon’s early life.
The café will be a comfortable, stylish, sociable spot to relax over a meal welcoming people internationally and within the local community
The gardens are a key part of the experience where visitors can wander, reflect and create new memories.
The shop gives visitors the opportunity to purchase a reminder of their visit.
Young trainees will work across the centre with a staff team welcoming visitors.
And the hope is Visitors could remain linked with Strawberry Field through a Friends initiative.
What are the plans?
The vision is to create a place of spiritual exploration where people can reflect on their beliefs and explore faith in a church without walls.
The Beatles/John Lennon Connection
Is it true that this is the site that inspired The Beatles’ song Strawberry Fields Forever?
Yes, although the site is called Strawberry Field. (It is understood the site was originally called Strawberry Fields, but the “s” was dropped long before the time of Lennon).
Strawberry Field is in Woolton, Liverpool, close to where John Lennon grew up under the care of his Aunt Mimi. John Lennon would play in the grounds and visit the annual summer garden party. For John, The Salvation Army site at Strawberry Field was a place of peace and refuge but also a place to escape and enjoy playing with friends, climbing trees and dreaming dreams.