Lost boys who get a second chance in Manchester

Anne Panks, Anthony Baker, Darryl Breslin, Terry Panks and Nathanial The Panks and their "family" have dinner together every night

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Terry and Anne Panks first opened their Manchester home to struggling young people 30 years ago. Since then they have helped more than 800.

"When we first opened our home up we wanted it to be a bit like a railway station," said Mrs Panks.

"It was a stop-off point for them while they decided on their next step. Many of them have moved on, but many keep on coming back."

In 30 years of running Copperdale Trust, 74-year-old Anne and her husband Terry, 76, have seen more than 800 desperate, homeless, and troubled young people pass through their home.

Their large residence in Wythenshawe is a former police station. Mrs Panks points to a small pane of glass that used to be one of the cell's windows.

'Like family'

Instead of bars, bright sunlight shines through on to the hundreds of ornaments, trinkets and keepsakes she has received from "her lads and lasses" - the young men and women who have sought a safe haven over the years.

"It's not a hostel," said 19-year-old Darryl Breslin. "It's our home. It is so different from everywhere else. We are made to feel like we have a family."

Terry and Anne Panks The Panks have helped more than 800 young people

He came into the home in December with no ambitions and not a lot of confidence.

"I would only ever speak in monosyllables," he said, "I didn't know what I wanted to do with my life."

Last week he spent several days jockey training in Newmarket, Suffolk, after becoming involved in Urban Ride, a charity the Panks are also connected with.

He was immediately spotted for his talent with horses and his eyes light up when he talks about them.

"I wasn't even that nervous because I knew I was good with horses. Now they want to train me up."

He needs £6,000 to begin with, to pay for living costs. Mrs Panks has pledged to help raise the money for him to fulfil his dream.

At the moment 10 men are living at the trust. Their keep is funded by a grant from Manchester City Council and they pay £20 a week from their own money.

They have to abide by a number of rules set by the couple.

Red, a 30-year-old who has been at staying at the trust on and off for the past 12 years, recited the rules: "No recklessly drunken behaviour; music at a sensible level; no eating, drinking or smoking in our rooms; be in for 11, bed by 12."

Another of the boys, Anthony Baker, 18, has just starred in a music video and says for the first time, he can see an exciting future ahead.

"I want to act, I loved performing arts and I want to succeed," he said.

He moved into Copperdale six weeks ago after having a bad argument with his father.

"It's lovely here, it does just feel like home and Anne and Terry make us feel special," he said.

Mr Panks said: "You can't pinpoint the successes because we have had so many.

"We just want to make sure they get something out of their life, then we have achieved our aim."

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