Updated: Tuesday, 17th September 2019 @ 4:52pm

Charities make urgent appeal to help the homeless after cold snap grips Manchester

Charities make urgent appeal to help the homeless after cold snap grips Manchester

By Charlotte Dobson

Homeless charities in Manchester are appealing for donations and volunteers following subzero temperatures last weekend.

Sleeping bags, hats, gloves and thermal socks are just some of the items urgently needed to help support those sleeping rough.

According to the Manchester based charity Barnabus, homeless people are at more risk than ever during the cold snap.

Carol Price, development manager at Barnabus, said: “In these sub-zero temperatures you cannot imagine what it's like to be out there and these conditions can be life threatening.

“In 1997, 37 people perished on the street during the winter, obviously this is a tragedy we don’t want to see repeated. "Homelessness has doubled this year so there are more and more people on the streets. We really need to extra help to keep the guys warm.”

The Narrowgate Night Shelter in Salford is the only emergency shelter in Manchester to provide basic accommodation and food on a night-by-night basis for the homeless.

Kevin Birch, of Narrowgate, says that the shelter’s resources have been stretched for over two weeks. He explained: “We are hugely stretched for over night volunteers which means we can’t provide more beds.

“However, we saw a peak in demand for beds before the snow as we’re full to capacity quite often.

“When you’re homeless, this weather could kill you - it has a direct impact on your health, whether it be a physical or mental reaction. They just don’t have the clothes to deal with the conditions.”

The shelter’s 23 beds are allocated by referral from other charities like Barnabus.

Mr Birch added: “People can’t just turn up on the night here, we have to risk assess everyone because there are a lot of problems we can’t handle.”

Manchester City Council have a weather provision team who allocate shelter for the homeless during cold snaps, but only when temperatures go below for three consecutive nights (under national guidelines).

Liz Bruce, Manchester City Council's Strategic Director for Adults said: "We get a grant from the Government each year to operate our cold weather service.  

“Partner agencies who provide supported accommodation are asked to prioritise emergency beds for anyone sleeping rough and additional support workers are employed to move people on to more suitable accommodation.

Ms Bruce added: “We make every effort to ensure that there is no reason for anyone to sleep rough in Manchester. In order to achieve this we sometimes have to use additional bed and breakfast accommodation on a short term basis."

Both Barnabus and Narrowgate Night Shelter rely solely on donations from the public. For more information about donations go to:

http://www.barnabus-manchester.org.uk/how_you_can_help

http://www.manchestercitymission.org.uk/projects/narrowgate/