Volunteers' Week 1st - 7th June 2017
This week we've been celebrating Volunteers' Week by recognising the amazing contribution of our volunteers, like Scott.
"I'm in recovery and it was suggested to do some volunteer work to help me get well and it's the most rewarding thing."
Each week we welcome volunteer chefs, artists, musicians, hairdressers and more to the Booth Centre and each week they astound us with their skill and dedication, they really are the lifeblood of the centre.
So let's hear it for the volunteers! You can catch up with their stories over on our Twitter page, @BoothCentre, and you can find out how to join them by visiting the Get Involved section of the website.
The Booth Centre runs creative workshops every day for people who visit the centre with experience of homelessness. This year the arts group have formed an Arts Committee who meet regularly to discuss ideas for new projects, research exhibition venues and plan events to showcase their work.
The Booth Centre Arts Committee are delighted to announce they are planning a special exhibition of portraits and biographies this summer at an iconic Manchester venue to be revealed very soon. The idea of the project was created by the artists after discussions about the invisibility and isolation felt while experiencing homelessness.
Details of the exhibition will be available soon, watch this space! Save the date of 3rd July in your diaries for an exciting launch event. You will have the chance to meet the artists, get involved in interactive arts workshops and hear more about the Booth Centre's arts programme.
This afternoon the Arts Committee have met to progress plans for the promotion and launch of this very special exhibition. We can't wait to tell you more about it in the coming weeks!
For more information, follow us on the following sites:
The Booth Centre is an advice and activities Centre for people who have experienced homelessness in Manchester. Our work involves the provision of support to some of the most disadvantaged and vulnerable people in the community with aim of transforming their lives. We are a registered charity (no. 1062674) and have been operating since 1995. In that time the Booth Centre has become recognised national leader in its field.
We currently have 7 Trustee Board members and are looking for additional trustees.
Being on the Board of the Booth Centre offers you the chance to use and develop your skills and experience. You will be actively involved in the strategy, governance and decision making of this influential charity. You can find out more about our work, download more information about the trustee role and find out how to apply by downloading the application pack below.
We strongly encourage and welcome applications from all walks of life, including people who have a personal experience of homelessness, and wish to ensure our Board increases the diversity of its membership across all protected characteristics-as defined by the Equalities Act.
This is an unpaid position. Expenses incurred while travelling to meetings will be paid. All trustees of the Booth Centre are subject to a DBS check.
For an informal discussion about the trustee role or to request information to be sent to you please contact Amanda Croome MBE, Chief Executive on 0161 835 2499 or email Amanda@boothcentre.org.uk
Closing date: January 15th 2017
By Cathy Chapman
Saturday 5th November 2016
It’s 8am and I have just got back home to the friends’ house where I am staying for the winter, after doing the Booth Centre's Manchester Sleepout.
Scrolling through the photos on my phone and enjoying the warmth of the dawn sunlight streaming through the windows, all I can think this morning is: how lucky I am. To be alive. To be warm. To have a bed to fall into when I eventually get tired enough. To have the love and support of friends and the kindness of strangers to cheer me on. To know there’s food in the fridge and hot water in the bathroom to wash in. Sure it’s the basics, but it’s the basics that I sometimes forget to be grateful for, and the basics that the people I was fundraising for last night don’t have access to. Basic necessities, basic human rights, the things all humans need to have some kind of dignity.
I thought we were in for a really tough night. The day stormed on, the Manchester skies turned a familiar grey and the early evening gave us a steady downpour. I arrived to register at the Cathedral early, and watched the sodden crowds appearing, shaking water from their coats, off umbrellas, out of their ears. My friend Helen ran over to hug me when we found each other. She was drenched. There was soup, tea, snacks. Warm water in the toilets. Little groups huddled around the building to listen to the welcome.
The Canon David Holgate gave a warm opening, saying how close the Booth Centre and its work is to the hearts of those in the Cathedral. I was touched that he and two other canons were also sleeping rough with us. He described the scene of the sleep outers in front of him as a ‘crazy Glastonbury vibe.’ I volunteer at Glastonbury every year and I thought – yes, there is a similar sense here tonight of camaraderie, outdoor adventures and sleeping close to strangers.
Amanda Croome, the Booth Centre CEO gave us a picture of the work done in figures; the 700 hot meals served every week, the 489 people placed in temporary accommodation over the last year, the 250 individuals the centre supports every week. Like last year, she told us that street homelessness has risen to the highest levels for twenty five years.
It makes me so angry that in our rich and beautiful and diverse and creative and amazing city, some people are so poor, and so trapped in that poverty. Charity is never an act of total altruism; it gave me the chance to do something practical, bat away some of the frustration and hopelessness I feel about the times we’re living through. It’s like we’ve gone right back to the 80s. I don’t mean batwing jumpers or moonwalking or New Romantics or bad haircuts. I mean the conscious cruelty of the drastic cuts over the last six years; the sharp rise in poverty and homelessness; the lack of hope for a future. Can we stop this now; it’s not what we ordered. I’d like a different world please.
It made me think about my reasons for doing the big sleep out. I’ve volunteered in the Mustard Tree soup kitchen once a month, for four years, and seen the situation for homeless people getting worse. I wanted to raise funds, to give the small amount that I can to the Booth Centre, so that they can keep on providing the hot breakfasts and dinners and training and job clubs and drama and art activities. To help get people off the streets and back on their feet and into a place where they can see a future again. To raise awareness of how stark the situation is for rough sleepers right now with the budget slashes to services for debt and housing advice, for mental health, for drug and alcohol addiction and the closure of hostels.
But mainly it’s because I want to show solidarity with the people who have nothing; no home, no hope and no protection against the weather. I wanted to sleep outside just for one night and experience what life’s like for them, every night.
Two people who've been supported by Booth Centre spoke. Chris now has accommodation and he volunteers with the Booth Centre because he wants to give something back. He told us that being on the streets is soul destroying. He gave us a couple of tips. Find somewhere dry. Stick with your friends. There’s safety in numbers. He wished us a peaceful and dry night, and I was glad of his blessing, for the wishes came true. Danny gave us similar advice, and shared his own story of a full mental breakdown, followed by a discharge from a hospital when he had nowhere to go. Four years later he’s back on his feet, and he talked about the hope, help and friendship offered at the Booth Centre. He thanked everyone sleeping out for their support, and the Booth Centre for giving him back his pride. I thought they were inspiring to get up and share such difficult stories. Danny’s gratitude made me cry.
After a lively performance from Streetwise Opera, it was time to head outside into the night. We found a spot up close to the cathedral and bedded down, with cups of tea and cardboard and the inevitable selfies for social media. The meeting of two very different worlds.
It was cold. Even though we were incredibly lucky and it stopped raining at around 10pm, I shivered for most of the night. I lay and watched clouds covering us and clearing, and looked up at the stars, feeling protected by the ancient Cathedral building behind me.
I felt the lack of privacy acutely. Folks falling out of pubs at closing time wandered past, stopped and stared. They inquired very loudly why there were so many humans bedded down on the grass. Last year one drunken man leered at me over the wall. ‘Alright darlin’ - any room for me in that sleeping bag?’ His mates thought him hilarious. The stewards were near, nothing would happen to me in the midst of three hundred other fundraisers, I reassured myself. But it made me think once again; how life on the streets must be petrifying for women, constantly at risk of sexual harassment and assault. They must never get a sound night’s kip.
It was anxiety-making. We had it easy, tucked away from passers-by inside the Cathedral walls, and no drugs or alcohol allowed. But still; I was frightened that someone would be careless or clumsy and trip over me. I’m on one crutch, recovering after breaking a bone in my left foot and snapping the tendons. Two guys in front of me woke me up and wriggled out of their sleeping bags. One of them caught hold of the other to stop him stumbling over. I guess he was tired and therefore unsteady. ‘He nearly joined you in that sleeping bag,’ said his mate, thinking I’d find it a funny joke. I didn’t.
It was noisy. Sirens screeched as the emergency services navigated the chaos that is Friday Night Out turned Early Hours of Saturday Morning. Clatters and bangs came from the construction workers putting Manchester’s outdoor ice rink together. Street sweepers appeared. Trains rumbled in the distance; there was a constant hum of traffic and car horns. Ear plugs, I thought. That’s what I didn’t pack.
Eventually I dozed off, some while before we were moved on. I woke up to the rustling of orange survival bags all around me – this year’s must-have for would-be rough sleepers. ‘Morning,’ said my neighbour. The sky was turning from pitch black to blue, but dawn was still some way off. ‘It’s packing up time.’ I dozed a bit longer, before Amanda came over to tell us there was breakfast in the Cathedral. ‘What is it?’ I asked. ‘Bacon or egg sandwiches.’ That was enough motivation to get me out of my warm sleeping bag and stand upright in the cold early morning air. Helen was still sleepy. ‘C’mon. There’s bacon butties inside.’ She bestirred herself.
We got our certificates, and took more photos together inside the Cathedral. I was proud of myself for doing the event, and staying outside all night. But it’s only one night. Easy if you can come straight home to a bath and a washing machine afterwards. I can’t imagine how tired and befuddled I would become if I had to do this every night. The exhaustion must have such an impact on mental health and wellbeing. I’ve a whole year to recover before the next sleepout.
I waved Helen onto the tram, then struggled home with all my bedding and jumpers. The living room was full of winter sunshine. I flopped onto the sofa and opened my laptop to write, enjoying the peace and the solitude.
When I unpacked, a postcard fell out of my bag. A reminder of a cinema trip with a friend earlier in the week. It was from one of the most heart-wrenching but authentic state-of-the-nation films I’ve seen in recent years.
We Are All Daniel Blake.
We Are All Rough Sleepers.
The Manchester Sleepout is back for its 6th year running in 2016! On Friday 4th November hundreds of people will sleep out to highlight some of the hardships that homeless people face every single night.
This year some famous Manchester faces will move out of their comfort zones and take on the challenge of sleeping out for the night to help raise funds for the work of the Booth Centre, a day centre in the city offering support to the growing number of homeless people on our streets. ‘Team Vital’ will include well known stars from the world of sport and TV including boxer Jamie Moore, Coronation Street star Katie McGlynn, and past and present Hollyoaks actors Jamie Lomas, Anthony Quinlan and Hollie Jay Bowes. Manchester based house DJ, EMA, will also be joining the group sleeping out, all hoping to raise over £1,000 to help those who have experienced homelessness.
The annual event, taking place at Manchester Cathedral in November, does not claim to mimic what it must be like to be sleeping rough, but attempts instead to raise awareness of some of the difficulties facing people on the streets.
The Manchester Sleepout will raise funds to help the Booth Centre to continue to bring about positive change in the lives of people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, and help them plan for and realise a better future.
You can donate to the team’s fundraising page at: www.justgiving.com/TeamVitalSleepout
Hollyoaks star Jamie Lomas, after a recent visit to the Booth Centre, said:
“I am honoured to be taking part in The Manchester Sleepout as part of ‘Team Vital’, to raise awareness and funding for the work of the Booth Centre. Nobody should have to be homeless and living on the streets in this day and age. Everybody has their own story as to where they are in life and we should all do what we can to help one another and especially those who may have fallen on hard times.”
Boxer Jamie Moore, having seen the work of the Booth Centre first hand, said:
"The Booth Centre is doing great things for the homeless community and I'd love to try and help them as much as I possibly can. They need all the help they can in order to be in the position where they can provide support and practical advice to people who are homeless or at risk. I'm looking forward to doing The Manchester Sleepout in Nov (on my birthday!) to help raise awareness of the struggles homeless people go through on a daily basis.”
Amy Hinks, Development Manager at the Booth Centre, said:
“We’re delighted to welcome Team Vital to The Manchester Sleepout this year! It’s great to know that they want to do something practical to help people facing crisis close to home. The Sleepout gives us a small glimpse of what people face night after night, hopefully meaning we can be more compassionate to those in our community who need our help. Thank you to everyone taking part this year, we really appreciate your support!”
Those interested in joining the Sleepout for the Booth Centre can register online here or by contacting the centre on 0161 835 2499.
Following a fruitful honey harvest, The Printworks together with the Hard Rock Cafe Manchester’s ‘Live From The Hive’ has raised an incredible £2,000 from sales of over 200 jars of honey. The money has this week been donated to two local Manchester charities, Forever Manchester and Booth Centre who have each received a charitable donation of £1,000. ‘Live From The Hive’ honey is made by the city’s hardest-working bees on top of the Printworks.
Forever Manchester supports community-based activity across Greater Manchester, enriching the lives of people in the city through community activities and projects. The Booth Centre works tirelessly to help the homeless rebuild their lives and plan for a brighter future. Both charities were presented with their cheques from the 2015 honey harvest on the Printworks rooftop earlier this week.
The Printworks’ rooftop garden launched in partnership with Hard Rock Cafe Manchester in 2012. Now, the roof is home to over 320,000 bees across four hives, an allotment, herb garden and orchard. Two staff, Emma Livingstone from Hard Rock Cafe and Fred Booth from The Printworks are fully qualified Apiarists who nurture and tend to the bees on a weekly basis.
Thanks to all the teams who took part in this year's Great Manchester Run in support of the Booth Centre. We saw a record number of runners take part in the 2016 challenge raising funds towards the work of the centre, including over 200 staff members from media group Dentsu Aegis Network. A fantastic total of over £26,000 was raised by runners from across the Network’s brands of Carat, iProspect, Vizeum, Fetch, Amplifi and Amnet.
For Dentsu Aegis Network Manchester, the run provided a fantastic opportunity to leverage the business’ competitive spirit to even greater effect by supporting the Booth Centre in their ambition to drive positive change in the lives of Manchester’s homeless. The money raised will help fund the employment support programme at the Booth Centre.
Elliot Muscant, Managing Partner of Dentsu Aegis Network, North said:
“It was overwhelming to see so many colleagues, clients, media partners, and their friends and family, challenge themselves to help raise money for the Booth Centre. I am delighted that we have managed to make a substantial contribution to a charity that makes such a big difference to those that need support to break out of the cycle of homelessness. It’s a bonus that so many people were encouraged to run for the first time – some may even make it a habit.”
Amy Hinks, Development Manager at Booth Centre said:
“We are so grateful to the amazing staff from Dentsu Aegis Network for coming together to raise vital funds for the Booth Centre as part of this year's Great Manchester Run! We have never had so many people run to support us like this. Everyone was so enthusiastic about wanting to do something practical to help homeless people in Manchester. The funds raised will make a huge difference to our employability programme which helps people with experience of homelessness get back into employment, training or voluntary work within the community. Their support will be life changing for so many, we can't thank them enough!”
The Booth Centre had a team of volunteers running from the centre, some having experienced homelessness very recently. Our team were new to running before joining the Dentsu Aegis staff in May, but we're pleased to report they're still going strong and hope to start a Booth Centre running club! Watch this space for next year!
Homeless people in Greater Manchester and Stockport have handmade the first history of British homelessness, which will debut at the Houses of Parliament next week.
Ann Coffey, MP for Stockport, and chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Runaway and Missing Children and Adults, will open the exhibition in the Upper Waiting Hall of the House of Commons at 3pm on May 24, 2016. The exhibition will be on display in Parliament for the rest of the week and then go on to public exhibition at the Southbank Festival of Love, 9 July-18 September and will tour venues in NW England.
The Homeless Library has been made by local homeless people and opens up previously untold stories of the lives of homeless people through interviews, artworks, poems and handmade books. This unique and unprecedented history of British homelessness has been devised by arts organisation arthur+martha.
Ms Coffey said:
"This project is both a piece of history and an art piece. I don't think I've ever come across anything like it before. It's beautiful. These are fascinating stories that need to be heard. Being heard is something that everybody needs, it makes us a society. Maybe these books are something we can all learn from - and maybe we can help the storytellers."
Many homeless people live and die as ‘invisibles’. When they die their very existence sometimes leaves no mark. This project opens up an untold chronicle, that exists off the pages of official history books.
Instead, it is a history based on conversations: people's descriptions of their own lives, as told by contemporary homeless people and also older people who witnessed homelessness from the 1930s onwards. Along with interviews, there are artworks and poems. Many people involved found that these discussions and making the artworks and poems were a transformative experience.
Each book in the Library is handmade - often recycling secondhand books, which were customised and handwritten. Recycled secondhand books make the point that homeless history has been crowded out by other voices.
The Homeless Library is supported by The Heritage Lottery Fund and partnered with the Booth Centre, The Wellspring, and Bury Art Museum. Alongside photos of the handwritten books, you can read the interviews at The Homeless Library page on Facebook and blogspot, see addresses below.
co-directors: Lois Blackburn & Philip Davenport
Facebook page: www.facebook.com/homelesslibrary
Mowgli Street Food joined Manchester’s busy restaurant scene last summer as part of the new look Corn Exchange in the city centre. As well as bringing great value, fresh and edgy Indian small plate recipes to the city, owner Nisha Katona was keen to really make a positive difference in the local community through her business.
Following a visit to Manchester’s Booth Centre, a day centre supporting homeless people and with concern for the growing number of people sleeping rough in the city, Nisha vowed to do something to help. Nisha and Mowgli Street Food are now proud to be the first restaurant partner in the Booth Centre’s Food for Change initiative. An optional donation of £1 added to each bill is helping to raise vital funds to go towards the centre’s work in supporting people to move off the streets and realise a more positive future. In just 3 months, the scheme has contributed over £7,000 towards the Booth Centre’s services. In addition, restaurant staff will give their time to volunteer at the centre and collect essential items of food and toiletries.
The Booth Centre provides advice to find accommodation, education, training and help to secure employment, free healthy meals, support in tackling issues with health and addiction, and creative activities to boost confidence and self-esteem. Amanda Croome, CEO of the Booth Centre said:
“We are now seeing up to 100 people a day coming to us for support, a huge increase in the last 12 months. The money raised by Mowgli is helping us to continue to offer life-saving support for people in our city who find themselves forced to sleep rough, whether it be emergency help like food and showers, or the more long term support and advice to move off the streets. We’re delighted to be working in partnership with such a passionate local business whose staff are keen to really get involved with the work of centre. We can’t thank them enough for what they’re doing and would encourage other restaurants interested in supporting our Food for Change initiative to get in touch.”
Entrepreneur, Food for Change Ambassador and author, Nisha said:
“When choosing a charity to support, it is critical that my staff feel enthusiasm and motivated. We often visit the Booth Centre and are constantly blown away by the incredible work they do to change lives. As a barrister, my clients were often homeless and I know first-hand how homelessness is often seen as self-inflicted and unworthy. The Booth Centre is not a hand out organisation: they fundamentally turn lives around by retraining and equipping people to find their feet. The idea of the optional addition to the bill came to me when I ate out in London recently; their generous service charges are automatically added on even if service has been diabolical. It means customers have to engage a bit of brain before paying the bill. There is no reason why we should not do the same if that small addition actually takes a life in our local community and makes it whole again.“
On Wednesday 4th May 7pm Nisha Katona will discuss the story behind Mowgli at Waterstones Deansgate, whilst cooking some of the restaurant's favourite recipes, with an audience Q&A and book signing for Nisha's wonderful first book Pimp My Rice. Tickets £4, available on www.waterstones.com/events or 0161 837 3000
A leading Manchester business is relying on the sporting enthusiasm of its employees to help tackle the city's growing homeless problem.
Around 200 runners will represent global media and digital marketing communications company Dentsu Aegis Network Manchester in the Great Manchester Run on Sunday, May 22, aiming to raise more than £20,000 in sponsorship.
The donations will help fund the employment support programme at the Booth Centre.
Dentsu Aegis has its Manchester offices in Portland Street by the start line for the 10k run which each year continues to attract a large number of businesses for the Great Manchester Run Business Challenge. Dentsu Aegis has 400 staff in Manchester working across brands such as Carat, iProspect, Vizeum, Fetch, Amplifi and Amnet, making it the largest media and communications agency outside London.
Running for the Dentsu team will be staff, friends, family, clients and suppliers, the company realising that one of Manchester's biggest sporting occasions is an opportunity to bring everyone together. A team of staff and volunteers from the Booth Centre will run alongside their corporate partners, aiming to boost the funds raised.
> Show your support and sponsor Team BC for their 10k run
Amanda Croome, CEO of the Booth Centre, said: "We're delighted to be supported by over 200 staff from Dentsu Aegis Network in this year's Great Manchester Run. This is the most people we've ever had running in support of our work! We're here to bring about positive change in the lives of homeless people, and to help them plan for and realise a better future. The problem of homelessness in Manchester is worse than ever, so this support is so vital.
"The funds raised by Dentsu Aegis Network will go towards helping hundreds of people with experience of homelessness to access training, education and support to find employment which will help them to build a life away from the streets and stay off the streets in the long term. We can't thank the staff enough for their commitment to helping change lives in our community."
> Sign up to take part in the Great Manchester Run