The Booth Centre provides a warm welcome, an opportunity to belong, to gain a purpose and rebuild lives.
We have spent the past couple of weeks planning with people at the Centre how we can safely deliver the holistic support we are known for in a safe and meaningful way. With lockdown easing and sections of society reopening we have taken the decision to close our Covid-19 emergency advice drop-in to focus on affecting long term change.
Our programmes will continue to include; activities such as volunteering, creative projects and sports; training and help to gain employment; support to improve health and wellbeing; assistance to access emergency accommodation; and guidance to secure and maintain a permanent home.
To enable us to adhere to social distancing and track and trace we are asking people to register. This can be done Monday-Friday 9-10am from the Booth Centre garden, alongside signposting and support to reach key workers. Or by phoning 0161 835 2499. More information regarding the activities programme will be available online next week.
We are supporting Crisis' Home For All campaign; asking the UK Government to commit to introducing emergency legislation which contains the actions needed to end homelessness for all.
The ‘Everyone In’ initiative in England brought thousands of people in off the streets and into safe accommodation in response to coronavirus in a matter of weeks. Many people in emergency accommodation have been able to access vital services and support to help end their homelessness for good. But this is coming to an end.
In Manchester the council have committed that nobody will be going from the hotels to the streets. But we have a much bigger problem in Manchester and that is the lack of affordable housing.
The Crisis campaign is asking for Housing First to be rolled out across England, internationally this model has been proven to be the most effective way of supporting people out of the worst forms of homelessness. And to make homes affordable now and in the long term.
There is not enough affordable private rented accommodation in Greater Manchester. Until this changes we will continue to have people staying in emergency accommodation for longer than is needed. This is a problem because these beds could be used by people who are still sleeping rough and it has a detrimental impact on a person’s mental and physical health.
In May 1995 the Booth Centre started in one room in Manchester Cathedral, with the same values that we have today to work with people to rebuild their lives. Over 25 years this holistic approach has involved;
We were planning a big party to bring people together, to celebrate all that has been achieved over the past 25 years. This Sunday we were planning to run through the city in the Great Manchester Run. Instead we're celebrating at home and we're asking you to join us. Fundraise from home around the theme of '25' and support people who are homeless in Manchester. We have 25 ideas to get everyone involved, don't forget to sign up and let us know you’re joining us.
It is a difficult time for a lot of us and so we appreciate your support if you are able. With potentially cancelled sponsored events likely affecting us for a long time we have never needed your support more.
The coronavirus pandemic was not the 25th celebration we had planned. Sometimes things don’t go the way you hope, it's how you respond that matters. Watch our anniversary video for a view into how we have been responding.
The Booth Centre remains operational and is continuing to provide individual support to hundreds of people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness every week. Here's an update on how our service is running.
Each weekday morning, from our garden, we provide an emergency advice and support drop in for people who are still on the streets. Between 9 am and 12 noon we offer take away food and welfare packs, help to get into single room accommodation and advice.
The rest of our work is now delivered remotely. We have a free texting service where people can receive updates and reply, we are also phoning over 100 people each week offering support for people to maintain tenancies and a wellbeing check in. We have given out hundreds of phones to help everyone stay connected.
Over 200 activity packs have now been distributed these include; exercises, creative activities and practical support to help people plan for the future, including how to get help to get into work. Each weekday at 11am we have our virtual activity session on Facebook, a chance to see and hear from some friendly faces and bring everyone together.
We are grateful for your ongoing support as we adapt and respond to coronavirus.
The Booth Centre, a day service that supports people that are homeless in Manchester remains open during the outbreak of COVID – 19 to ensure that people that are homeless can get into accommodation. As other services in the city are having to close, the Booth Centre has worked tirelessly to adapt and remain open, by moving everything to operate from their garden.
The outdoor service is open 9am – 12noon offering hot drinks and a meal to take away and a free texting service to offer daily support remotely and a contact for people in emergencies. The Centre is working with Manchester City Council and other partners to accommodate all people that are currently sleeping rough and up to now, the Booth Centre has supported 78 people to access hotel accommodation in the city.
The Booth Centre team have access to the most up to date and accurate information on COVID – 19 and are sharing that with the community to ensure that everyone has the right guidance and are supported to act on it.
The Centre are also launching a new virtual arts project for people to participate in remotely. This is so people can remain occupied and retain a sense of purpose; something that is vital for mental health and wellbeing, social connection and self-esteem.
The spread of COVID-19 presents a unique set of challenges for people who come to the Booth Centre. Social distancing and self-isolation are difficult for people who live in shared accommodation, are rough sleeping or are reliant on services for food and wellbeing. But these people are also some of those most at risk from the virus, due to underlying health conditions and compromised immune systems.
Amanda Croome CEO of the Booth Centre says “Staff, volunteers and people we support have come together to create this new way of working at the Booth Centre. Whilst adopting social distancing protocol as outlined by government, we’re still able to provide our vital support – something that is so needed in our city right now. With around 40% of people who visit the Booth Centre having no income at all, and 68% that will have slept rough in the last year, it is so important we continue to offer our core services during this incredibly difficult time. We are also working closely with the Council and other partners to ensure that people who are homeless will be able to secure, single room accommodation that allows them to adhere to the government guidance stipulated.”
Because of the need for individuals and businesses to socially distance and isolate, the Booth Centre has already seen a significant decrease in donations and predicted income. With two large fundraising events in danger of being postponed and the donations of food and toiletries at an all-time low, the Booth Centre are urging people to donate money if they can via the Booth Centre website, or consider dropping off food donations at the Centre (Monday – Friday 1pm – 3.30pm only please). The list of much needed items can be found on the website.
The Booth Centre will remain an open door, non-referral service and will continue to welcome everyone who is, has been or is at risk of homelessness. But we can't do that alone, we need your support.
- Ends -
NOTES TO EDITORS:
About the Booth Centre: The Booth Centre in Manchester brings about positive change for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. We help them plan for and realise a better future. On average, we provide support for over 200 people a week, of which 21% have no income at all and 68% will have slept rough in the last year.
We offer activities which help people rebuild confidence and learn something new whilst having fun and building social connections. We run arts, employment and skills sessions, provide access to medical, accommodation and benefits advice and offer everyone a healthy, free breakfast and lunch.
We support people to maintain structure and stability in their lives by providing volunteering and employment placements. Once someone has secured a temporary or permanent tenancy or employment, we commit to support them until they have found their feet and can manage their finances independently.
Registered charity no. 106267 www.boothcentre.org.uk
For more press information or opportunities please contact:
Development Manager Miriam@boothcentre.org.uk
0161 835 2499
We understand that everyone’s lives must change to slow down the spread of COVID-19 and that includes us here at the Booth Centre. But, we want to ensure that people who are homeless and at risk of homelessness are supported during this difficult time.
We have been working with people who visit, volunteer and work at the Booth Centre to devise a new service model that enables us to facilitate social distancing but still provide our vital support in a sustainable way. With around 40% of people who visit the Booth Centre having no income it is important we do all we can to continue to offer our core services.
How you can help
If you have items to donate we ask that you deliver them to the centre, dropping them by the front door between 9am-12pm Monday-Friday. We are currently experiencing difficulties in sourcing tinned and non-perishable food, as these aisles are emptying in the supermarkets they are also empty in our store cupboard. Staff will be on hand to support but we are asking that no donors enter the centre at this time. We ask that financial donations are made via our donate page.
New service model from Thursday 19th March
We will be operating an advice and support drop-in from 9-12 noon Monday to Friday from our garden. This will include:
The spread of COVID-19 presents a unique set of challenges for people who come to the Booth Centre. Social distancing and self-isolation are difficult for people who live in shared accommodation, are rough sleeping or are reliant on services for food and wellbeing. But these people are also some of those most at risk from the virus, due to underlying health conditions.
We are also working closely with the Council and other partners to ensure that people who are homeless will be able to secure suitable accommodation, where they can sleep safely, wash and self isolate if needed. We have ceased all referrals into shared accommodation, as we know these living conditions will accelerate the spread of the virus, like they do other infectious diseases. Services across Manchester are working to deliver alternative solutions so everyone can access single room accommodation.
All visits, tours and team volunteering days have been postponed until further notice. We have contacted individuals and businesses affected by this decision but we know it will impact our financial situation at a time when we are already seeing mounting costs. We rely on these opportunities for fundraising and we are increasingly facing a difficult year as another significant source of our income, the Great Manchester Run, is also likely to be postponed.
We want to take this opportunity to thank all of our incredible supporters, we've had so many messages wishing us well and it has been really encouraging for our staff and volunteers that have remained committed to keeping the Centre open for the people we support. In this time of uncertainty we hope you stay well, stay safe and look out for each other.
Thank you to Social Chain for their support producing the 2019 Impact Report.
Here's a snapshot of our work in 2018/19:
It is not always an easy decision to move off the streets into emergency accommodation but for many this is the only option available. People with complex needs may not find the additional support they need making any stay difficult for them and others, sleeping in communal areas can make people feel vulnerable at a time when they need strength or people may find themselves stuck in emergency accommodation for months which can have a detrimental effect on one’s mental and physical health.
On Friday 30th August organisations from across Manchester came together to launch Manchester’s Emergency Accommodation Minimum Standards. The launch marks the outcome of months of significant collaborative efforts of the groups and individuals who collectively form The Manchester Homelessness Partnership. The MHP Emergency Accommodation action group is led by Amanda, Booth Centre CEO, alongside people who visit the centre and have first-hand experience of the types of issue that can be encountered.
The minimum standards and vision for 2022 are to ensure that Manchester has the highest possible standards for emergency accommodation to help people who are rough sleeping to make the choice to move inside. These standards have been drawn up with people who have experience of staying in emergency accommodation and people who provide and commission accommodation and support services. “I’m pleased that so many organisations have pledged their support,” said Gary, Booth Centre volunteer.
This is a significant step towards raising awareness of the challenges people face when trying to find suitable accommodation, and ensuring Manchester leads the way in providing people with the safe, secure and dignified surroundings that everyone deserves.
Read more about the standards and watch a short film here
By Paul - Booth Centre Project Worker
The Edge runs regular drama and singing workshops at the Booth Centre and together we have produced a unique company making high quality theatre. The summer production, That’s the Trouble with the Poor, was set in Manchester 1819.
The idea to create a play based on the theme of Peterloo came from a planning meeting; the group wanted the play to have a message that championed solidarity, our heritage and our uniqueness as a city.
The actors and director Janine Waters organised visits to places such as People’s History Museum and Manchester Central Library to learn more about the Peterloo Massacre and the ideals that people were fighting for. As the group discovered more about their characters we felt immense admiration for these people who had so little but contributed so much. That in the face of such adversity, still believed that the world could be a fairer place. During the research stage a narrative started to form based on the people involved and their lives in the weeks before the massacre. This included people like Elijah Ridings and his dream of St Peter’s library, and the excitement of a group of activists hearing the news that Henry Hunt was coming to address the crowds in the hope of bringing about change.
Using improvisation workshops, creative character building sessions and the history of a few of the people involved, our message became clearer each session as the truth that a handful of people really can change the world became our inspiration. The company is often referred to as a family by the people involved and this is a feeling we all share. Each member of the company takes on their role as an actor but also as an encourager for their fellow actors, to provide support and be each other’s inspiration. I am inspired to push myself and my acting skills each week after seeing the huge amount of talent involved in every production. It’s not too far to say I am in awe of all the actors and it’s my absolute pleasure to be part of this unbelievable company.
This particular play was Mohammed’s first play with the Booth Centre. Mohammed says
‘I had never acted before. I was encouraged to take part in the drama workshops and when I eventually came to my first session I was immediately relaxed because of the connections I had with the group and the encouragement I got from everyone there. I am originally from Morocco but when I was involved in the play I felt British. You don’t need a passport to be part of a country, what you need is connections or feeling part of a family and I am in the drama group it feels like I am with my family. I didn’t know about Peterloo beforehand but I feel I know a lot now about the history of Manchester. At the end of the play when we each read out a name of one of the people that had died at the massacre, I read out the name William Dawson. Having acted in the play and the information I discovered I had the feeling like I had a connection with the people involved. I was proud to be associated with this important topic. Pride is my main feeling toward what we achieved together with this show. It was huge.’
Our next artistic adventure is our exhibition of banners and prints to be displayed at the People's History Museum. The exhibition is called LISTEN UP and is a project of expression, celebration and pride. Each piece is a celebration of individuality and diversity. Protesting stereotypes, prejudice and unsupported ideas. Our work will be on display in the Protest Lab from Friday 30th August to Friday 27th September.
'It’s a truly special place and deserves as much support as possible.'
By Juliet Lawson - Senior Associate at BCL Legal
Celebrating Volunteers Week with the Booth Centre.
"At BCL Legal, we take our CSR seriously. We’re fortunate to work in an industry that while it’s hard work, it’s also profitable, and we want to give something back to the fantastic community in which we live.
Either as an organisation or at team level, we choose a registered charity each year to work alongside and support in a variety of ways, whether that’s by way of regular donations of much-needed items such as food, clothing or equipment; getting involved in organised fundraising events such as The Manchester Sleepout; organising our own fundraising activities or volunteering with the charity.
Over the course of the following year, we’re getting involved in the full range of activities with our chosen charity; not only as a helping hand but to get to know them, gaining an understanding of their mission and vision and what their biggest challenges are.
This year, we’ve chosen to support the Booth Centre in Manchester. There are a number of charities in the Manchester area that support adults with issues around homelessness, but we were drawn to the Booth Centre because of its specific approach, which sets it apart from some of the other support services in the city.
Their mission deviates from the ‘sticking plaster’ approach and aims to bring about positive change in the lives of people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness in the city: empowering them to help themselves with the appropriate support.
Whilst on the face of it, they’re a service offering free breakfasts and lunches and a variety of interesting activities, behind the scenes it’s a hub of activity: working with their service users on an individual basis to make the personal changes needed in order to positively move forward.
They’re a truly dedicated team, and this week (Volunteers Week) the third group of BCL-ers including our CEO, were privileged to spend the morning at the centre: helping out with breakfast and lunch, getting involved with the activities and chatting with, and getting to know, the individuals who visit the centre and the dedicated staff and volunteers who run it.
It was an inspiring and humbling few hours for us. There’s so much important hard work going on, but on the surface, they’ve managed to create a relaxed, welcoming, non-threatening environment, where there are chat and laughter and genuine friendships are made and developed.
It’s a truly special place and deserves as much support as possible. It’s an incredibly important resource for adults in Manchester who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, yet as with so many charities, they constantly struggle to find the funding to keep delivering these vital services and support. If only they could spend the time chasing funding on delivering their services instead – they could make even more of a difference!
We’re looking forward to working with them over the coming year and doing what we can, but if you’re Manchester-based and want to support this incredible organisation, you can find out more details here.
Me, I’m off to stock up on tea bags, coffee, biscuits and baked beans to send across in our next donation box because believe me, they get through A LOT of these every day and every donation helps."
If your company is interested in working in partnership with the Booth Centre, please get in touch with Amy, our Development Manager, and have a chat about the opportunities available to best suit your business and your teams.
Contact: email@example.com / 0161 835 2499