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.
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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.