WHEN you think of Christmas do you think of the giving and receiving of gifts whilst surrounded by your loved ones?
If so, do you also spare a thought to the homeless people who wont be receiving the same love on that one day a year, as well as the other three-hundred and sixty four days?
Manchester has the same homeless situation as the rest of the UK, with homelessness charities believing there to be over 80 people sleeping rough currently in Manchester; most of them in the city centre.
The Mayor of Salford recently carried out its once yearly count of the homeless but it’s thought the figures are actually double and that the count needs to be carried out more regularly to get a more accurate figure.
The Christmas markets that are scattered across the city centre are bustling full of people spending money on little trinkets for gifts whilst indulging in the many food and drink vendors.
Abigail Hudson, who works on one of the stalls at Albert Square, came up with the initiative of asking around vendors for any leftover food to hand out to Manchester’s homeless.
Salford's mayor didn't believe the homeless figures so did his own count – what he found was shocking https://t.co/QKLyGAyrux
— Mike Amesbury MP (@MikeAmesbury) November 14, 2016
“The Manchester Christmas markets are a great way for people to come along and really get in to the festive spirit but I felt really downhearted when i’d leave and see so many homeless people,” Abigail explains.
“There still seems to be a stigma around just giving money to those on the streets, and with little money to offer myself, I asked around the other vendors to see if handing out leftover food was a doable idea,”
“The few [vendors] that I have approached were more than willing to help out, after all the food is of no use to ourselves as it would just be thrown away. So far we’ve been able to give out slices of pizza and pancakes amongst other items,”
“I’m hoping that as news spreads we’ll be able to receive more donations, but I do think its important to remember that this isn’t something that can end once the hype of Christmas is over and done with. I feel working at the Christmas market has really opened my eyes up to the current situations people are facing.”
Abigail’s experience with homelessness gave her the drive to pursue this idea further and is in the process of contacting the homeless charities based in Manchester to see if there is anything further that can be done.
By Kathryn Evans