Playwright Deborah McAndrew is the Gingerbread Centre’s first Ambassador

Actress and playwright Deborah McAndrew is to become the Gingerbread Centre’s first Ambassador, helping to support the Stoke-on-Trent charity and raise awareness of its work to support homeless families.
Deborah, who began her career on the cobbles of Coronation Street, is a passionate campaigner for her adopted city of Stoke-on-Trent and an advocate of community art, using theatre to empower community groups.
She founded the Claybody Theatre Company in 2013 which works with the local community to craft high quality live drama in non-theatre spaces for the people of the Potteries.
Deborah said: “The Gingerbread Centre works hard to transform the lives of some of the most vulnerable families in our community and I’m really looking forward to working with the charity. The charity has been supporting families in North Staffordshire for 40 years and has recently begun to step up its fundraising efforts to ensure that the families in its care receive access to education and advice that will help them to rebuild their lives.
“I am honoured to be asked to become an Ambassador and an advocate for such a vital service.”
Chair of Trustees Nigel Howle welcomed Deborah to the charity, adding: “It is fantastic to have Deborah on board with the Gingerbread Centre at a crucial time in our history. It is no secret that public sector austerity has impacted the charity sector at a time when many families are vulnerable to debt and the potential loss of a roof over their heads.
“The Gingerbread Centre has been providing accommodation for local families since 1978 but we also offer families much more in the way of support. Families typically stay with us for more than a year and our mission is to ensure they leave us better equipped to face the future. Grants are harder than ever to come by due to austerity measures and we have stepped up our public fundraising appeals to counter this.
“I’m confident that Deborah will be a strong champion for the Gingerbread Centre and help us to heighten awareness and raise funds. All of our fundraising efforts go to support education and community projects for our residents.”
The Gingerbread Centre provides accommodation for homeless families and young parents. Catherine Court, Eastfield Drive, Hanley, is Gingerbread’s Young Parents supported accommodation unit, with seven self-contained flats and four two-bedroom properties, providing 24-hour supported accommodation for pregnant teenagers and parents aged 16 to 18.
Rothesay Court, Furnace Road, Normacot, provides supported accommodation for up to 22 homeless families and single pregnant women. Each flat has a kitchen, bathroom and lounge and is fully furnished.
To find out more about, or support, the Gingerbread Centre, please go online to
For media enquiries contact Nigel Howle on 0776 2043436, email

Photo credit Kimberly Anne Watson