The Booth Centre is an award-winning community centre run with people affected by homelessness. Founded in 1995 by Amanda Croome, MBE, the Centre had the vision for everyone to have a secure home and the opportunity to have a good quality of life. The Booth Centre’s vision remains the same today, and the organisation is as determined as ever to work hard to achieve this in an unpredictable post-pandemic world.
The Booth Centre has released its latest Annual Report celebrating the positive changes the community was able to make during the last year. The report covers April 2020 to March 2021; a year in which the Centre stayed open throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, redesigned its service with people at the Centre three times and celebrated its 25th Anniversary in lockdown.
After over 26 years of service, the Booth Centre’s dedicated CEO and Founder, Amanda Croome will be moving on at the end of November. Amanda will take up a new position with Caritas Diocese of Salford to oversee their homeless services across the region – including Cornerstone Day Centre, The Red Door in Bury and their accommodation projects. Patrick O’Dowd, Director of Caritas Diocese of Salford, said:
“Caritas Diocese of Salford is delighted that Amanda is joining our team from the Booth Centre after her years of dedicated service. Her deep commitment to people experiencing the trauma of homelessness, her leadership and expertise will be vital to our new plans as we seek to enhance and develop our existing work across Greater Manchester and Lancashire. With Amanda, we’re looking forward to continuing our great partnership with the Trustees and whole team at the Booth Centre and other agencies across Manchester in the future.”
Amanda leaves a successful, award-winning organisation, which has a transformative impact on the lives of more than a thousand people who are homeless each year. The Booth Centre has a national reputation for leading good practice in the field, with a clear strategic plan, a sound financial position, an engaged Board of Trustees and a strong leadership team. With a skilled and dedicated staff team and effective partnerships with a range of organisations and a community that works together to deliver transformative services; the Centre is in a strong position to face the inevitable challenges it faces in the coming months and years to continue its vital work.
Kate McSweeney, Deputy CEO, will take up the position of Acting CEO in the interim whilst recruitment is underway to find a new permanent CEO to lead the charity into its next phase. Kate will be supported by Amy Town (nee Hinks) - Head of Fundraising and Development and Alix Moreleigh - Head of Services.
Elena Fowler, Chair of the Board of Trustees at the Booth Centre, said:
“On behalf of the Board of Trustees, the staff team, our volunteers and supporters, I would like to thank Amanda for her unwavering dedication, commitment and hard work in founding and serving the Booth Centre over the last 26 years. Amanda’s sheer determination to put people affected by homelessness at the heart of decision-making, and the delivery of services, has had a huge impact for thousands of people through the work of the Booth Centre. Thankfully, the sector is not losing her expertise and experience, and we wish her every success in her new role with Caritas Diocese of Salford and look forward to continuing to work with her to help transform the lives of people affected by homelessness.
We are seeking to appoint a new CEO, who will provide strategic direction for the Booth Centre and its staff, and directly contribute to improving conditions and eradicating homelessness in Manchester and the city region. This is an exciting time to lead the Booth Centre into its next phase, and the role presents the opportunity for someone to make a real difference in helping to end homelessness in Manchester and to work with people to transform their lives.”
Find out more about the role and enquire here.
Here's a snapshot of our work during the year:
Everyone is entitled to a secure home and a good quality of life.
One group of people that have experienced particular problems over the last year are people from EU countries who have been hit hard by both Brexit and COVID - especially those in hospitality jobs.
In response, we have expanded our Greater Manchester Homeless Prevention Service for EU citizens and developed a wider partnership to ensure that no one is left destitute on the streets.
Through the partnership, we have created a pathway from destitution and rough sleeping to settled homes and employment, with the legal right to stay in the UK.
People who are homeless from European Union countries (many of whom lost jobs during COVID) are directed to the Booth Centre where they are helped to get into emergency accommodation provided by Supporting People In Need (as well as other partners, including Riverside and Stepping Stone) and they are then seen by the Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit, who run surgeries at the Booth Centre and Spin and assist with applications for Settled Status.
We run classes to help people improve their English and have a partnership with Business in the Community to help people get back into work.
The project is supported by Manchester City Council, the GM Combined Authority, and Greater Manchester Mayor’s Charity, who have all shown great flexibility in their approach.
The pathway was designed through co-production with the people themselves, who have experienced the problems of homelessness helping to make sure we designed a system that really works and many have also volunteered at the Booth Centre to help welcome and support new people coming in.
The outcomes have been really significant. In the last 12 months alone, we have helped 279 people who are originally from European countries, some we have been able to prevent from becoming homeless and some we have supported to return to their countries of origin. Of those that were homeless - 82 have got into supported accommodation, 44 have secured employment, and 54 have gained their Settled or Pre-settled status (many more applications are in progress) to enable them to legally stay in the UK. They now have the right to stay in Manchester, to work, and to be a part of our Manchester community, which they have chosen as home.