Homelessness is on the rise again, affecting people in city centres as well as suburbs. What can be done to ensure that everyone has a safe place to call home? For some insight, we caught up with Amy Hicks, the Development Manager at the Booth Centre in Manchester.
This day centre opened its doors over 20 years ago to offer a lifeline for people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. They provide food, essential clothing, advice and support to help people move off of the streets.
In this interview, Amy tells us how the Manchester Sleepout has raised money and awareness for homelessness.
What is Sleepout?
The Manchester Sleepout is an annual fundraising event held by the Booth Centre. We invite members of the public to sleep out for one night only to raise vital funds and awareness of what homeless people face night after night. In 2016 the Manchester Sleepout took place at Manchester Cathedral for its sixth year running, and 200 people took part!
How did the 2016 event go?
The 2016 Manchester Sleepout was a huge success! We were supported by individuals and companies who made so much effort to fundraise, offer services and take part, making it our best Sleepout yet! Everything ran smoothly and feedback from participants was overwhelmingly positive. Having experienced a night out in the cold, people went away with more understanding of the issues faced by homeless people and with a desire to do more to help.
How much money was raised?
The 2016 Manchester Sleepout raised £60,000 which will go towards the Booth Centre’s work offering vital support services for people who are homeless.
The Booth Centre is here to bring about positive change in the lives of people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, and help them plan for and realise a better future. We do this by providing activities to help people rebuild their confidence and learn something new while having fun. We run arts, employment and skills sessions daily and offer everyone a healthy breakfast and lunch. Advice is available to help people find accommodation and overcome the practical difficulties they are facing.
What part did ID&C fabric wristbands play in the event?
As the event has grown over the years, we needed to implement more health and safety measures to keep people safe. The charity wristbands were a great help this year as they helped staff and volunteers identify who was taking part in the event. Participants really enjoyed getting their wristbands too, as a souvenir to keep.
When will it be running in 2017 and how do we sign up?
The 2017 Manchester Sleepout will be on 10th November at Manchester Cathedral. Registration will open in June. People can sign up for our newsletter here to be notified when registration opens: www.boothcentre.org.uk/newsletter