A MUSLIM charity has launched a campaign urging the people of Manchester to donate old and unwanted coats to help those who are vulnerable or experiencing homelessness.
Human Appeal, a humanitarian international aid organisation, has launched ‘Wrap Up Manchester’ where they collect coat donations between November 7-18 and distribute them to organisations across the city.
The charity is working in partnership following the success of ‘Hands on London’, which has been running for the past six years, to the people of Manchester.
Safestore Self Storages have donated nine of their locations to the campaign across Greater Manchester for people to drop in and donate their coats.
The coats will then be distributed to homeless shelters, women’s refuges, elderly organisations, and refugee centres, among other organisations in need this winter.
There is a real need for men’s coats as statistically there are more men that are homeless than women in the UK.
Human Appeal’s UK Programmes Coordinator, Samra Said, advised they had already received 500 orders and emphasised the campaign was not just for those experiencing homelessness, but for everyone in need of a coat.
She added: “Unless we come together as a society, and we show people that we do care, everyone has to play their role.
“The government and polices that are out there are the ones that need to be challenged and ensure people are safe.
It has restored my faith in humanity that irrespective of everything that’s going on in the news, when we do want to come together, we can come together.”
Manchester’s Homelessness Charter, the city’s approach to tackle the issue, was developed almost six months ago by many Manchester organisations to work alongside those who have experienced homelessness.
Led by homeless charity Mustard Tree, the charter works with people who have experienced being homeless, giving them a voice and deeper involvement in tackling the issue, and calls for action and pledges from organisations to demonstrate their support.
Jez Green, Facilitator of the Manchester Homelessness Charter, said of the issue: “We’ve got a problem that’s growing and evolving and is very complex due to so many different factors.
“Austerity, welfare reform and bedroom tax and all of these initiatives from central government have played a large part in this.
“The cracks in the safety net of society are widening. More and more people are becoming homeless or becoming much closer to being homeless.
If you live, if you study, if you work, if you have a business in Manchester, this is your issue. Unless everybody owns this, and everybody gets involved and everybody does something to play their small part, this isn’t going to go away.”
Mr Green stated Manchester City council have had to cut 40 per cent of their staffing and resources over the last few years despite Manchester drawing in people from further afield: “I visited Stoke recently and went to an emergency shelter there.
“I spoke to a guy who had been homeless and taking spice. He said when the police cracked down on the legal highs in Stoke some months ago before they were criminalised, around 40-50 regularly came to Manchester due to how easy it was to get to.
“When you are thinking about numbers like that coming from Stoke, you can see that the problem is, in many ways, coming to us because partly Manchester is perceived as a good place to be.”
You can donate to the Wrap up Manchester campaign or drop off any unwanted/old coats to any of the nine Safestore storage collection points in Stockport Central, Altrincham, Stockport Bryant, Oldham, Stockport Reddish, Manchester Worsley, Manchester Central, Old Trafford, or Bolton.
By Rachael Hesno