Updated: Friday, 19th October 2018 @ 6:02am

'Experience homelessness first-hand': Hundreds to sleep at Manchester Cathedral

'Experience homelessness first-hand': Hundreds to sleep at Manchester Cathedral

| By Jonny Yates

Hundreds of people will experience the challenges every homeless person has to face each night during The Manchester Sleepout this November.

The participants will sleep outside Manchester Cathedral for the night to raise awareness of the increasing number of homeless people in Manchester.

The 'Sleepout' will raise funds for the Booth Centre, a day centre in Manchester that helps over 220 homeless people each week.

Dave Kelly, Booth Centre service user and volunteer said: “I lost my job, my relationship broke down and I ended up homeless. I slept rough for seven months, it was a very dark and scary time in my life.

“The Booth Centre helped me get into stable accommodation, and with the support of the centre, I’ve been able to stay in my own flat for four years now.”

DAVE KELLY: The Booth Centre helped him find refuge

Housing issues are not the only problems visitors to the centre are facing, but also severe mental and physical health ailments and drug and alcohol addictions.

The Booth Centre found that 85% of people who use the centre have mental health problems, 51% have alcohol problems and 32% have drug problems.

Amy Hinks, development manager, Booth Centre said: “Mental health problems can often be a cause meaning people are less likely to be able to retain a stable job or tenancy.

“But they can also be a result of rough sleeping due to the difficult conditions people are facing and the increase in alcohol and drug use.

"People who have experienced homelessness often face a range of complex problems relating to their mental and physical health. “

The centre provides support and advice for these issues faced by the homeless people of Manchester and has being doing so for over 20 years.

Dave said: “They are always there for me, even though I’m not homeless anymore, they’re still helping me every single day.

“I volunteer in the kitchen at the centre. It gives me a purpose to my day, a reason to get up, and it’s my way of helping other people like the Booth Centre helped me.”

Sleepout 2014: Homeless participants sleep outside Manchester Cathedral

The Sleepout will take place on Friday November 6 and will help people like Dave move off the streets and better their lives.

Last year's 'Sleepout' raised over £40,000 and since 1995 the Booth Centre has helped over 400 people get back into work.

Amy said: “The support we offer applies both in emergency situations, as soon as someone finds themselves homeless, and in the long term. We continue to support people for as long as they need us.”

Dave said: “You can experience first-hand a small part of what people have to go through every night, and by supporting the Booth Centre you’ll be doing something really good for homeless people in our city. Nobody should have to live on the streets.”

Anyone who wants to take part in the Sleepout can register by visiting here or by contacting the centre on 0161 835 2499. Donate here.

Image courtesy of Andreas Andrews, with thanks.