The Big Change MCR allows charities to apply for small grants for individuals to support them on their journey to having a good quality of life. Booth Centre's resettlement worker Jason works with individuals to find homes for people; supporting people off the streets and emergency accommodation. This is Bill's story (name has been changed).
When Bill first came to the Booth Centre, he was staying in emergency accommodation. He came for breakfast, a brew and a shower at first but once at the Centre he got chatting to Jason. He was directed to the Job Club and once he had his paperwork sorted he swiftly secured a job in a warehouse. Over a series of weeks he continued building his relationship with Jason and when his shifts allowed he would attend activity sessions at the Booth Centre which made him feel more in control of his life, it wasn't always an issue of survival any more he was free to think and create.
Like many people that come to the Booth Centre his main goal was to find a home and for someone in Bill's situation this means private rented accommodation. Unfortunately due to the availability and cost (compared to warehouse work salary) of the private sector in Manchester this is never easy, even though Bill was working. Jason and Bill worked together to find suitable properties when they found one they needed to act fast. Saving for an upfront payment of a month's rent and deposit can be difficult for us all, fearful the chance of a home would be lost Bill and Jason made an application to the Big Change MCR. The grant was approved and the Big Change MCR provided Bill with the necessary funds so he could move.
The move was successful and continues to be nine months later. With the independence, safety and freedom gained Bill has maintained his employment and continues to work with Jason, knowing he is just a phone call away if he needs him. Bill doesn't need to visit the Booth Centre for breakfast or a brew any more but our virtual Job Club will be there for him when he's ready to apply for a promotion.
Shops, 24 hour fast food restaurants, libraries can all provide shelter from extreme weather for people who rough sleep. It's not a dignified thing to be forced into but it can be life-saving. This isn't an option this winter which is why the response from Manchester City Council and partners when the temperature falls to 0 has never been more critical. Day centres and other support services for people affected by homelessness have also been closed or on restricted opening meaning getting people into accommodation is so important.
At the Booth Centre we operate the daytime cold weather hub for Manchester. We have all weather gazebos and outside heaters as well as being able to safely seat 12 people downstairs in our cafe space and 10 people upstairs in our Skills and Employment space
Christmas Eve was the first activation of a cold weather response this winter, this involves Manchester City Council and charity partners working together to get as many people sleeping rough inside as possible. A total of 88 people were accommodated from the Booth Centre hub over the Christmas period. We provided people with phones and sent them information via a free text messaging service. And our kitchen has been producing over 50 food bags a day for people in hotels which don't provide meals.
With severe weather continuing into January we have been able to get more people into emergency accommodation. Consequently, the number of people sleeping rough in Manchester have fallen dramatically and we're now all working together to help keep these people inside, and get them the support and long-term homes that they need.
The Booth Centre provides an essential service for people who are homeless. By remaining open we not only protect our community but help to reduce the chance of transmission in the city. With this in mind we have once again adapted our service to give us the best chance of being able to safely remain open to support people, whilst the threat from the new variant of Covid is so severe.
From Monday 11th January we divided our service into two bubbles. Staff, volunteers and people accessing the Centre are assigned to one bubble and will now stay in that bubble until we feel it is safe to relax these measures. We have split the building to accommodate the two bubbles. To access the service people should continue to phone 0161 835 2499 or to come to reception.
Bubble 1: Upstairs
Bubble 2: Downstairs
This will include:
We are continuing to support people who do not attend the Centre by:
How you can help:
We write on behalf of Manchester Homelessness Partnership organisations to ask you to reconsider your decision not to fund essential accommodation for people who are experiencing homelessness or sleeping on the streets during this third national lockdown. We appreciate the funding given to date has been critical to addressing the risks to this population of the pandemic but it is simply not enough now that a third lockdown is in place for at least the next 8 weeks.
Yesterday the House of Commons voted to pass this lockdown into law, making it unlawful for people to leave their homes without good reason. The law is worded so that it excludes people who are experiencing homelessness, in effect making it lawful for them to remain outside during one of the most acute stages of this pandemic.
With over 1,000 deaths yesterday and the number of cases increasing daily, we ask for this emergency funding so that we can continue to keep people safe during this unpredictable time.
Because these are people we are supporting; they deserve the same chance as everyone else to survive this virus. The chances are stacked against them with no safe place of their own and the difficulty of engaging with health services with no phone or internet.
We’re asking for additional funding to keep people in accommodation throughout this lockdown so that we as a partnership can work with them as we did during ‘Everyone In’, where we accommodated over 450 people and helped 270 to move off the streets to a new home.
Please don’t let the people we support become the daily statistics we see in the media. Please reverse your decision on the basis of humanitarian aid.
Amanda Croome – The Booth Centre
Yvonne Hope – Barnabus
Jo Walby – The Mustard Tree
Ros Holland – The Boaz Trust
Helen Brown – On The Out
Stephanie Moore & Rebecca Elliot – Reach Out to the Community
Joe Lomas – Centrepoint
Hendrix & Risha Lancaster – Coffee4Craig
Liz Norris - Shelter
Judith Vickers – Lifeshare
Annie Emery – MASH
Fergal McCullough – The Men’s Room
During 2019 and 2020, the Booth Centre Media Group (made up of people affected by homelessness) discussed the negative coverage of homelessness that had been achieving high viewer ratings. The coverage also directly impacted individuals who saw themselves or people they knew portrayed in a way that never aimed to educate the viewer on the whole picture, instead simply reinforcing inaccurate and negative stereotypes and the othering of people affected by homelessness.
The Media Group shared personal experiences of homelessness and interacting with the media and the decision was made to formalise our approach to the media. We've now asked other organisations to take the pledge and commit to ending these inaccurate and damaging representations to allow positive change to happen and to preserve the dignity of all. We are proud to say 17 organisations have now given their support to the pledge! Together we can achieve more!
Download the pledge below and if you'd like to get involved please email email@example.com.
Every November the Booth Centre invites people to Sleepout and raise vital funds. It's a special event for us so the perfect time to launch our Aims 2020-2023.
The Booth Centre strategic plan for the next three years was agreed last year but with the uncertainty of 2020 we spent time considering the ambitious targets we set ourselves... We decided that now more than ever we need to aspire to more, people need homes and jobs, it being more difficult at the moment is no excuse to aim for less. We've never published our plans like this before, in a year of change now is the time to be bold.
Thank you to Cheetham Bell for providing gift in kind design.
Following an accident and stroke Sue was left with severe disabilities. Being unable to return to her professional career she spent a year as she says 'doing nothing', unable to leave the house and suffering with mental health problems. It was the kindness of a friend that helped Sue to rebuild her confidence and start being active again. Sue volunteers to share her talents and pay forward the kindness she was shown and to provide routine and stability. Photography has been a passion of hers since she was 14 and she will be documenting Booth Centre activities over the following months. Welcome to the team Sue!
Our theme for canvas painting this week was winter. There were pictures already on the Inspiration Table to help us with ideas. The group chatted at the table (two metre distanced and masked of course). Then inspiration taken, a calm hum of concentration fell over the room.
The occasional question or person looking at others work made it feel very friendly and welcoming. The photos have tried to capture how certain paintings came to life from start to completion. The beautiful totally different pink party gown was a fabulous surprise but still with the season being one of parties absolutely spot on. The art is hung around the Booth Centre for all to see.
We are open and operating an activities based service, with a Support Worker available in each activity to offer support and advice to those attending. A free, healthy breakfast and lunch is also provided. Our sessions currently include; gardening, Job Club, skills session, sewing, creative writing and drama and can be booked by phoning 0161 835 2499.
The Centre is Covid-secure with a one-way system in place, wall mounted hand sanitisers, PPE provision, and fully socially distanced throughout. We also have a Covid-secure welcome in place which ensures we capture the relevant information for track and trace, we talk to people about symptoms, test temperatures and provide everyone with a mask.
Due to Covid 19 restrictions we are unable to offer a drop-in service and we are limiting the number of people in sessions which is why we ask people book the activities they want to attend. We will continue to adapt the service in-keeping with the official government guidelines.
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.