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Lou Macari hailed as ‘a legend’ after BBC interview on helping homeless with emergency shelters

Lou Macari has been hailed as ‘a legend’ after appearing in a BBC Breakfast interview on helping the homeless with emergency shelters.

The 73 year old, a former footballer and manager, now dedicates his life to running a homeless shelter from a warehouse in Stoke-on-Trent, placing individual ‘pods’ for people to stay in, and provides them with a base from which to turn their lives around.

Speaking to BBC Breakfast on Friday (17th February 2023), Lou said he had been very fortunate in life and wanted to “give something back”.

Mike Bushell went to visit the Macari Centre, set up seven years ago and has helped hundreds of people, and spoke with Lou who is “there every day and his phone’s never off.”

Lou gets those less fortunate get back on their feet.

19 year old Chloe has been given a pod to stay in with her partner Leyton. She said the support she received at the centre was her “last chance” to stop her young son from being given up for adoption.

She said: “It’s been amazing. We’ve got our own stuff, it’s lovely and warm, we’ve got our own privacy, there’s a TV. We get along with the people in here. It’s a good place.”

“My little boy – I can’t wait to have him back. He’s going to be the life and joy of my world. That little boy is going to change our lives. He’s going to run us ragged but you know what I wouldn’t change him in any way.”

Lou told Mike: “I just suddenly decided that I’d been very fortunate in football, because you’ve got to be a little bit lucky as well. I’d been at Celtic, I’d been at Manchester United – two of the biggest clubs in the world – and I thought now’s the time to give something back to people who haven’t experienced that life like I have.”

He adds that he had been given 48 televisions by the League Managers Association which he decided to place into the pods for people to watch.

A second site is being set up so that people can be “promoted to” on their path to improving their lives, to get their “respect and self esteem” back.

But he says he has been disappointed that not everyone has been able to move forward with their lives, especially as some people struggle with addiction problems that can hold them back.

A previous guest at the pods, named Raf, also praised Lou’s support for how his life was transformed. He has now moved onto rented accommodation and is able to see his three children again.

He said: “This place took me in its arms and gave me that comfort and that love and that care. Because I was desperate in life at that point. It made me independent. Lou Macari himself – he’s God’s gift to us.”

Lou also spoke to ITV about the shelters in 2021, saying each pod is kitted out with new beds, heaters, TVs and are numbered on the front door to give the residents proof of address – to help with employment. See more on that by clicking play below.

The centre costs approximately £150,000 to refurbish and run and will be funded through a contingency fund, with the leader of the city council, Dave Conway, saying that homelessness is a growing problem in the area and that “doing nothing” was not an option.

Cllr Dave Conway said at the time: “The official figure for the number of rough sleepers in Stoke-on-Trent is 14, but we have had reports from members of the public and volunteer organisations that this number is significantly higher.”

This is what viewers said with Lou Macari hailed as ‘a legend’ after a BBC interview on helping homeless with emergency shelters…

@seanedmund: Lou Macari is just the best. The story of Neil Baldwin, the Stoke City kit-man, during his managerial career is one thing, this is something so much more impressive.

@TalktoBeverley: How fabulous is this? I think they said this has been happening for six years now, and yet I’d never heard of it. When things feel hopeless, it’s good to know there are people like Lou Macari in this world. ❤️❤️❤️

@coleraineyid: One of the good guys

@gobaith: Always has been a gent and a hero. Bravo @LouMacari10

@MJGreen1951: I visited Lou’s hostel 4/5 years ago, it’s an amazing place. A great footballer and a great human @LouMacari10

@SteveKelly86: Fantastic this from @LouMacari10 👏👏

@jagjw66: Macari was one of my earliest football heroes. Now he’s an even bigger hero.

@DavidEllard16: What a fantastic thing Lou has done.

@bankaudits1: Ask anyone about Lou and they will say the same thing… absolutely selfless, humble and kind …👇🔥😍👇

@OurMightyHoops: It’s such a great idea to put these pods in warehouses to help the homeless, especially during the winter months when it can be perilously cold on the streets. @LouMacari10 has done fantastic work to provide a solution to people’s needs which could be extended to other locations.

@colinphoenix: Lou really is the best of us…♥️

@waspsgirl10: What a lovely guy….can you imagine a world where people who can afford to give back actually do it

@CastleJoh1: What a man. These people will now be able to stop worrying about where they’re going to sleep every night and start concentrating on a job/career etc.

@JosephWalsh9: What a top man Lou Macari is.

@Carolinerebisz: What a gent. I remember having his poster on my wall as a teenager – he was my football idol!

@BarffPrest: Truly inspiring 🥰 this world would be a nicer place if more people took a leaf from Lou’s book. He deserves some recognition for his work 🏅

@Poochface: Macari was a great footballer (and I say that as a Liverpool fan) but he’s an amazing human being.

@staffscanary1: Stoke on Trent is very lucky too have him ! 👏👏👏

@mac479: Too man doing great work

@RichSwancott: Love this bloke. What a man.

@DanFleuty: You are an absolute Gent and legend @LouMacari10.

@RoyAndrew6: Lou Macari really is a top top bloke….Shame he has to do something like this in 2023 but to anybody who voted Tory then you’re the reason he has to *Still haven’t forgiven him for the 77 FA Cup Final mind*

@pipdayx: WHAT A GUY! Amazing 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻 it would be lovely to see this across the country.

@West1809: What a wonderful man, be more Lou Marcari.

@paulyem: Terrific initiative

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