As a part of our commitment to creating a #WorldClassEnvironment, we are focused on reaching out into our community and getting involved with local charities and causes. One cause that a lot of us in the office feel strongly about and want to get involved with is the rise of homelessness and rough sleepers in the area.
Homelessness is becoming more and more common across our the country with around 320,000 people being recorded as homeless at the end of 2018. This is a 4% increase since 2017 and would suggest that 36 people became homeless every day.
There are several charities and projects all around the UK set up to help support homeless people one of which, that is based in our local area, is The Bury Homeless Project whose aim is to help homeless people and rough sleepers in our town get back on their feet. The project was set up in April 2018 is run buy Bury resident Suzanne Angle and her husband, Gary. Before setting up the Charity, they ran street kitchens in Manchester City Centre.
The husband and wife team currently work with around 15 rough sleepers in the Bury area and several more people who beg throughout the town centre, providing clean clothes and street kitchens that run four times a week at different locations around Bury.
The street kitchen is used by up to 30 or more people a night these visitors are everyone from rough sleepers, people on low incomes or have benefit sanctions or sometimes just lonely people who could do with the company and a bit of a sense of belonging to their community.
The whole operation relies entirely on donations to run, so Employment Solutions wanted to hold a donation drive to help get together some much-needed supplies for this excellent cause. We collected over two weeks and invited people via social media to drop off donations at our offices, and one kind lady even dropped off 30 pairs of designer boxer shorts.
Our staff raised a total of £180 from our collection, as well as a few prizes to go toward a charity raffle they were holding soon. The company kindly doubled our collection total giving us £360 to spend on supplies. We raided the shops and got pretty much everything that was listed on the projects donations flyer from tea and coffee to tents and sleeping bags and more.
We loaded everything up and took it to Suzanne and Gary's house, which they also use as one of their many drop off points, to give them the donations. To say they were pleased would be an understatement, the food alone would help keep the street kitchen running for weeks and help them with the food parcel service that they also offer.
We asked them what else they do in the community to help the homeless people in the area and as well as the street kitchens they also have four complimentary tickets for every Bury FC home game. Gary told us that "the service users that they take along really enjoy this, it gives them a bit of an escape from worrying about where they will sleep that night".
As well as taking the service users to the football they are looking at other things that they can do to help the homeless and less fortunate of Bury. They have even bought a bus for £1 that will be permanently located on a site in Bury and will give them a toilet, shower, kitchen and changing facilities for their service users.
It has been an honour meeting with and raising money for this fantastic charity, and I'm sure that we will do more to help them in future. If you want to find out more about this great cause you can visit their website here or connect with them on social media here.