MANCHESTER is known for its charisma and student population, but has growing levels of homelessness. Amy Williams speaks to fundraiser, Jordan Varley, about raising money for homeless charity The Booth Centre…
The city of Manchester has the most homeless people outside of London. With the nightlife booming and non-stop events causing blissful chaos for all who live within it, this fact can become almost invisible. However, it’s students that are spearheading a campaign against what is evolving to be a crisis on the streets.
On St Patrick’s Day – Thursday, March 17 – there will be a night consisting of the best in new and classic Grime, Garage, Dub and Bassline held at Joshua Brooks on Princess Street to help the homeless in our city. All donations will go to The Booth Centre which is a homeless charity based on Pimblett Street in Manchester’s city centre.
Crowded with a population of approximately 350,000 students, Manchester is full of young people who have fled to the city for their studies. A non-stop partying lifestyle from youths in the city is one that they are notorious for, when people on the streets lie without affording a lifestyle at all. There is a contrast to this prejudice, which is demonstrated by five students at Manchester Metropolitan University.
Jordan Varley, 20-year-old Events Management student, is one of these five students who has a drive for a better city with a passion for raising money in aid of the homeless on the Manchester streets.
“Me and four of my course friends formed an organisation called Reign, then we had to find a charity to work with in September for a university assignment, with it being one that would want to work with us as well,” he said.
Reign Events have embraced what they do best as stereotypical students, and merged partying with the good of the homeless.
Jordan continued: “We wanted to do charity work for the homeless as we all feel passionately about that particular issue seeing as you come across it a lot in Manchester. We wanted to make a difference! We found The Booth Centre and when we went to see the manager; she was really cool and really nice so it sort of went from there really.”
The event at Joshua Brooks is called Switch, and in order to organise, the five students have set up a Just Giving page which has now reached their target of £1,000 to sustain the costs of running the occasion. All profits from Switch or remaining money from their Just Giving page will go towards The Booth Centre.
Amy Hinks, development manager of The Booth Centre, said: “The Booth Centre works alongside the City Council to ensure the voices of homeless people who use the centre are heard and that their opinions and experiences can help to shape future strategy and the direction of homelessness support in the future.”
According to housing groups, there were at least 80 people sleeping rough on the streets of Manchester last year. The Booth Centre is just one of many homeless charities situated in Manchester, fighting this battle that has been reported on in previous months.
Jordan said: “Manchester is one of the worst places for homelessness; you go into town and see the severity of it. That’s why we decided to raise money for them as well, because everyone is bound to have experience with a homeless person at some point here in the city, so everyone can kind of relate to it.”
Fellow Manchester Metropolitan University students are supportive of their peer’s efforts after witnessing the horrors that surround them; the prominence of rough sleeping is situated around the campuses in the city centre.
Amber Colton, 20-year-old Wildlife Biology student at Manchester Metropolitan University said: “I think that MMU students working in conjunction with The Booth Centre to support homelessness is great. These vulnerable people need all the help they can get so they can rebuild their lives, resettle in the community and above all, feel safe again.”
“We decided to support the homeless because we live in Manchester and we see so many homeless people all over the city, so we really want to help them out.” Said Jordan.
The Booth Centre is an independent and registered charity that has worked for the benefit of rough sleepers over the years. They are there to offer advice to the homeless as well as give physical necessities like food and drink.
Amy expanded on Manchester’s homeless situation.
“Unfortunately homelessness in Manchester has risen in recent years due to various factors. It is impossible to walk through the city and not notice the many people who are currently sleeping rough.
“More people have become homeless due to further cuts to social services, local charity funding and support agency funding, meaning people are finding it more difficult to get the support they need to stop them becoming homeless, or to help them move off the streets and stay in their accommodation.”
With deadlines looming and the event at Joshua Brooks upcoming, the students have many struggles on their mind. Nevertheless, the students are anticipating the party.
Jordan said: “It’s more than just a uni assignment – that will go fine – it’s more because we want to help and want to put a sick night on for everyone!”
Manchester is student central, and these students are fighting for it to stay that way and not become a homeless central.
To help them with their campaign, save the date: Thursday, March 17. Come along to Switch at Joshua Brooks (106 Princess St, Manchester M1 6NG) to get involved with the students good intentions to help to house the homeless on our Manchester streets.
You can donate to The Booth Centre by getting in touch on 0161 835 2499.
By Amy Williams