THE Greater Manchester Mayor’s Charity has issued an urgent plea to businesses and individuals in the city region to support local homelessness charities during the coronavirus crisis.
Putting its money where its mouth is, the charity has also granted emergency funding worth £100,000 to the charities working with the homeless across Greater Manchester.
Nevertheless, despite this vital funding, the Greater Manchester Combined Authority said that donations from big business and members of the public remain “essential” in supporting the work of voluntary, public, private and faith sectors, “as they work flat-out to safeguard the health and wellbeing of people living without a home” across the city region.
Last week, GM Mayor Andy Burnham announced a £5 million emergency scheme to accommodate 1,000 people sleeping rough and in temporary shared accommodation in hotel rooms across the city-region, to protect them during the COVID-19 pandemic. Donations will form the basis of packages of goods to be delivered to support them.
“While our community, and communities around the world, are facing this pandemic, it has never been more important to show that in Greater Manchester we pull together in times of adversity to lift each other up,” said Tim Heatley, chair of the Greater Manchester Mayor’s Charity.
“The Mayor’s Charity fundraises all year round and is focused on reducing the number of people experiencing homelessness, and in particular rough sleeping.
“We’ve already made an emergency contribution of £100,000 – this is a recognition of the pressure on budgets and the immediate need for support. The funding will be vital in enabling the hard work of those on the frontline assisting and safeguarding the homeless community throughout Greater Manchester during this pandemic. But we can do so much more.
“We’re looking at a moment in time where everyone sleeping rough across the city-region is off the streets – this gives us an opportunity to change things in the long term. With the generosity of those living in Greater Manchester, and the support of its business community, we may be able to end rough sleeping across our city-region all together.
“Let’s show the rest of the world what Greater Manchester can do when we all come together.”
In addition to providing financial support, Greater Manchester’s business community is being asked to make bulk donations of essential items including food, such as cereals and microwaveable meals, toothbrushes and toothpaste, soaps and wet wipes, and even white goods and IT equipment. These goods will be channelled by the organisation Street Support to those working on the frontline, able to get items to the people who need them most.
“I welcome this appeal from the Mayor’s Charity, an enterprise I support by regularly giving 15% of my salary each month. The Charity recognises the severity of the situation the homeless community are facing at this time, and the need for urgent financial support for those groups and people dedicated to helping,” said Burnham.
“Homelessness organisations across our city-region are doing fantastic things and I am pleased the emergency donation of £100,000 from the Charity will support them in their vital work. Those people already assisted into hotels will, with your help, now benefit from the delivery of frequent packages of essential goods.
“The appeal will complement the work we’re already doing to house a thousand homeless people in hotels across the city-region. The range of effort going into helping our most vulnerable at a time of a national public health crisis shows that Greater Manchester is a compassionate society – we don’t just walk on by. We have a moral and ethical duty to help those sleeping rough and experiencing homelessness and I am proud of the steps we have put in place. Though a very difficult time in our city-region’s history, it is to be hoped that this could be a turning point in our ongoing fight against homelessness.”
The public can visit gmmayorscharity.co.uk to donate. The charity is also asking businesses for bulk supplies of:
- Food packages – such as dry food like cereals, microwaveable meals, tea/coffee, sugar, fruits
- Welfare packages – toothbrush, toothpaste, flannels, shampoo, shower gel, sanitary products, deodorant
- Hygiene packages – hand sanitiser, hand wash, soaps, wet wipes, tissues
- Food preparation equipment – microwaves, hot plates
- Cutlery and crockery – knives, forks, bowls, plates, cups and mugs
- Transportation – for delivery of food and welfare packages
- Essential IT equipment – such as smartphones, laptops
- Solo activities – such as games, consoles, notebooks, pens