‘Don’t Walk Past’ have made an urgent plea for donations for the homeless in Salford and Greater Manchester for the upcoming winter period.

The charity is a self-funded organisation that give out hot food, drinks, and necessities.

They are looking to involve more people to help the rough sleeping crisis.

Food donations
Credit: Susannah Gill

Susannah Gill, a volunteer for Don’t Walk Past, has worked with the organisation since it began 18 months ago.

She said: “we started with one car and only three people and now we sometimes take three cars out in one evening. Each car filled with food, clothes, sleeping bags, dog food, shoes, sanitary items, hats and scarves.

“If they need something we provide and we want to provide more”.

With homelessness being a prevalent problem in Greater Manchester over the last few years, Gill, touched on the extent of the issue.

She said: “we can easily give out 100 meals and still not have enough to go round. We are one of many outreach groups in Salford and Manchester and we are all busy so that gives you an indication of how prevailing it is.

Hot food made for the Homeless of Salford and Greater Manchester
Credit: Susannah Gill

“For them, it’s cold, it’s drab, it’s miserable! Hot food and drinks are essential at this time of year, sometimes its the only hot meal they have all day.

“Their belongings can get wet and ruined in the rain, can you imagine losing all you have because you couldn’t find shelter?”.

With no home to stay in, Coronavirus was an added factor to homeless people’s lives.

In Greater Manchester, 263 individuals were re-housed and a further 470 people were placed in temporary accommodation.

“There was a positive effect at first because the empty hotels gave them rooms to sleep in, so this got a lot of people off the street. Alongside this, outreach teams were able to send some to rehab and even find permanent housing for others.

Don’t Walk Past
Credit: Susannah Gill

“However, the reality is this was just a sticking plaster because once lockdown was lifted, they were back on the street again”.

It is feared that we will see an increase in rough sleepers in Salford and Greater Manchester because of the rise of unemployment, mental health deterioration, and the other long term effects of Coronavirus.

Gill added: “being homeless is part of a bigger conversation. Many people end up on the streets for different reasons, the assumption that they are where they are due to poor lifestyle choices and its their fault, is not the reality.

Credit: Susannah Gill

“If we can lift someone’s spirit, even for 5 minutes, it can give them hope that they can get out of the situation. We can’t do what we do without the kindness and generosity of our group, so donations are important and awareness will only go towards helping us achieve our aim”.

Don’t Walk Past, ask for specific donations on their Facebook, such as coats or scarves during the winter months.

Credit: Susannah Gill

They have also set up an Amazon wish list and PayPal account for anyone who is unsure what to contribute.

If you want to do more than a contribution, Don’t Walk Past, are welcoming volunteers to help disperse of the donations around Salford and Manchester.

Gill said: “you never know what is around the corner! It’s foolish to think it could never be you, and if it did happen, wouldn’t you like to think there are groups like us willing to help you in your hour of need?”.

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