On his last day working at the Booth Centre Dane, a Social Work student, reflects on his time here.
I first came to the Booth Centre in October 2020 on a 70-day placement as part of the second year of my Social Work degree. Before deciding to go back to university, my background was in sales; an industry that I kind of 'fell into' but never really felt right for me. When I left my last sales role, I got a job working with adults with complex mental health diagnoses to live independently. It was this that inspired me to go down the pathway of Social Work with adults, and a desire to support people who are marginalised by our society and the system(s) that we live under.
When my 70-day placement came to an end I was then very lucky to be taken on to work both part-time (while studying) and full time over the summer. My final year means that I need to do a 100-day placement at a different kind of service, which is sadly why my time at the Booth Centre is coming to an end. I do genuinely wish I could stay.
I’d been involved in campaigning before I came to the Booth Centre, so, felt like I had a relatively good understanding of the homeless situation, particularly in Manchester. However, when I started the placement, I soon realised that my understanding was only the very tip of the iceberg of the homeless/housing crisis in the UK.
On my first day, I saw people who had been street homeless for a number of years alongside people who were in employment but whose wages were not enough to cover stable accommodation; people who were from Manchester to people who had recently arrived and were struggling to navigate the immigration system. This is what first impressed me about the Centre, the diversity of people and situations that it was able to encourage and respond to. Working alongside the diverse range of people who visit the Centre has probably been what I have enjoyed most during my time here. It may sound cliched, but you genuinely don't know what each new day will bring; though what you do know, is that the Booth Centre will go some way towards bringing about positive change in people's lives.
Working at the Booth Centre has also challenged my view of certain things. Prior to coming here, I had never experienced (and so properly valued) the importance of an activities-based setting. Previously, I may have been a bit sceptical about how doing an activity, such as art or gardening, could benefit someone with numerous support needs. I realise now how misguided this was. Seeing the people who access the Centre not just receive the support for their needs on an individual basis, but also gain confidence, improved self-esteem, new skills (and much more!) in a relaxed social setting, is extremely impressive, and quickly made me understand the vital role that working together on activities can play.
It would be impossible for me to write about the Booth Centre and not mention the staff here, who are all amazing! - as soon as I arrived here, I felt a part of something, and have felt supported by all of my colleagues from day one. The broad range of expertise across the team is, for me, what makes it possible for the Centre to be able to work with such a diverse range of people and situations. It can sometimes seem a glib cliche to refer to a staff team or a workplace as a family, but from what I have experienced here at the Booth Centre that may not be far off. Something that highlights this for me was after a particularly challenging morning in the Centre, which put quite a lot of strain on the team, seeing how everyone rallied around to support each other will stay with me. I am certain I have made some friends that I will keep in touch with, and I can only thank each person on the team for the support that they have given me over the last ten months.
To any students who are coming to do their placement here, I would say that you'll go a long way to find a better placement. You will be confronted with a rich range of opportunities to learn, on an almost daily basis. There is much formal learning you'll get the chance to do; from advice around benefits to housing policies; to immigration and mental health. The best thing though is to just be able to work alongside such a diverse group of people and learning about their unique lives and experiences.
To say I will miss the Booth Centre is an understatement! I am excited about my next challenge, but I am also hopeful that someday I will be back to play a part in this incredible service.
Dane Yates, Project Worker
We’re extremely excited to announce that performers from The Booth Centre will return to The Edge Theatre & Arts Centre this September, in the drama group’s first public performances since the start of the pandemic.
The group is run in partnership with The Edge Theatre in Chorlton, with regular drama workshops for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Together we launched The Booth Centre Theatre Company – a unique company producing high-quality theatre, and offering people the chance to get involved in all aspects of running a theatre company.
These drama workshops and performances are an integral part of our service, and offer people a chance to build their confidence and most importantly have fun! Studies have shown that creativity in everyday life increases our overall sense of wellbeing, and we recognise the importance of offering high-quality and meaningful activities. The workshops empower people to try new things, make friends and showcase their talents.
"in the drama group it feels like I am with my family" - Mohammed
The upcoming performance Air is set in the year 2121 when Dougal, a cog tightener on the AIR machine, goes to visit his computer uploaded Gran to learn about the place they called Manchester.
Thursday 9th September 2021 at 7.30pm
Friday 10th September 2021 at 3pm
Saturday 11th September at 3pm
Find more information about the performances and book tickets here.
The Booth Centre has remained open throughout the pandemic, providing essential support and a safe place for people to share their experiences and learn from each other. We have once again redesigned our service to react to the changing landscape of COVID-19.
From the beginning of June, we were able to stop operating in two service ‘bubbles’ so that people coming into the centre can now access both upstairs and downstairs in our building. Everyone has been happy to be able to see each other again, as the ‘bubbles’ meant some people hadn’t crossed paths in months! More people are now able to have breakfast and lunch in our café and access the activities taking place in the Centre.
As well as activities such as gardening, art and drama, we are continuing to support people with accommodation referrals, resettlement applications, qualifications and more. As always, all of this is achieved in partnership with people who attend the centre – who contribute their skills and experience to help us strive for best practice. See the poster below for full details of the current service.
Rigorous COVID-19 measures remain in place to keep our community safe – most people are continuing to wear masks and the Centre is very well ventilated with our double veranda doors opening from our café to our lovely, award-winning garden.
The GP van from the Urban Village Medical Practice visits each Thursday morning so people are able to see the nurse and get their COVID-19 vaccinations. We haven't returned to people queuing up for food, but have retained our table service as it's creating such a nice, relaxed café atmosphere that people are really enjoying, after so long in isolation, as well as helping to retain some social distancing.
We’d like to say a huge thank you to all of our wonderful supporters – you’re helping us to continue our important work during this difficult time.
As part of this year's Spirit of Manchester Festival hosted by Manchester Community Central, we invite you to come and join us for a day of art, creativity and fun on 26th September.
We will be showcasing the excellent work produced by people who use the Booth Centre. You will be able to see some fabulous art work, video productions and some live performances from our opera group.
Refreshments will be provided so please come along, have a look at our new premises and see what we have been up to.
RSVP to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Date: Friday 26th September
Venue: The Booth Centre, Edward Holt House, Pimblett Street, Manchester M3 1FU
On 31st March 2014 the Booth Centre will be moving to a new building - Edward Holt House, just a 5 minute walk from our current home at Manchester Cathedral. Our existing premises have served us well, but with the large number of people coming to us for support we've had a real need for more space. This new building will enable us to greatly extend our services for homeless people and help many more people get off the streets, gain skills and qualifications, get back into work and resettle in the community.
The new building is much larger than our current one, which is going to enable us to do so much more to help people that come to us for support every day. We have a large cafe space, dedicated advice rooms, an activities room, training room, and a commercial kitchen where we will be able to train people in catering skills, as well as providing good quality food. Outside there's a large garden with an allotment and a boules court.
We'd like to thank the Edward Holt Trust, The Booth Charities and all the other individuals, companies and trusts who have helped us raise the money for this ambitious project. With your generous support we'll be able to continue making a real difference to the lives of homeless people in Manchester and Salford.
To see directions to our new building and download a map, please visit our updated contact details page.
On Thursday 26 September the first Spirit of Manchester Awards ceremony was held at NOMA, the new Co-operative building.
It was a fantastic night highlighting the work of Manchester’s voluntary and community sector.
We were thrilled to win the vote and the award for best volunteer involving organisation. The Lord Mayor of Manchester presented us with a trophy, a certificate, pen and £20 of Manchester Christmas market shillings.
For more information about the awards please see the Spirit of Manchester Awards website and you can see photos from the night on the flickr page.
You can watch the film about what our volunteers mean to us here
The Booth Centre has been shortlisted for a Lloyds Community Fund Award of £3,000 and the winner will be decided by a public vote.
We would use the money to set up a welfare fund to purchase basic furniture for people moving off the streets to help them to establish new homes in the community.
You can help us make this happen by casting your vote - it's quick and simple!
You can vote online or by visiting your local Lloyds Bank branch and asking at the desk for a voting token and casting your vote in the bank.
If you'd prefer you can vote by SMS too. Just text VOTE LQHB to 61119. Texts will be charged at your mobile network provider's standard rate.
You have until 1st November to cast your vote. Please share with anyone who may be interested in voting for us! Thank you.
The Booth Centre has been shortlisted for a Spirit of Manchester Award for the Best Volunteer Involving Organisation in Manchester.
We are thrilled to announce that we have secured new premises that will provide us with much more space and will allow us to greatly expand the help we offer to homeless people.
The building has been purchased for us by the Edward Holt Trust and is just a 5 minute walk from our current base at Manchester Cathedral. We have secured planning permission and are currently working with people from the Centre and a firm of architects to re-model the Centre so that it meets our needs. It is a large building project which will involve installing a lift as well as a brand new heating system, so it won't be finished until the spring.
We will maintain a close link with Manchester Cathedral who have housed us for the last 18 years. The Edward Holt Trust is kindly funding the cost of the refurbishment, however we still need to raise funds to equip the new building, and so we have lauched our New Building Appeal.
A team from Altrincham Grammar School have won the Youth Philanthropy Initiative Award on behalf of the Booth Centre. The project aims to get young people engaged in social change and participate in growing compasionate communities. The £3,000 prize money will help to fund our Cafe Advice sessions, which provides free food, socks and toiletries to 170 people a week and to fund furniture packages for people moving into new homes. Congratulations to Robyn, Maria, Kate and Lamisa and thank you for your suppport.