‘Do some good’: Manchester restaurants pull together to raise funds for homelessness campaign

By Alex Lanigan

Some of Manchester’s most acclaimed restaurants are pulling together to raise funds for the homeless in a new campaign today.

The StreetSmart campaign will have some of the city’s most acclaimed diners adding £1 to all customers’ bills throughout November and December.

This is a voluntary contribution and will remain at the same value no matter on the size of the visiting party.

With hundreds of restaurants participating nationally this small gesture adds up to provide a serious impact on the lives of the UK’s homeless population with the 2012 campaign raising £805,000 nationally and Manchester restaurants generating £25,000.

Steve Pilling, of Damson Restaurants, said: “We took the decision to support the StreetSmart campaign across all of our sites  Damson Heaton Moor, Damson MediaCityUK and Red Lion High Lane – as we feel its an excellent way to support the immediate community.

“Homelessness effects not just those people who are without a place to stay, but the wider community as well in terms of crime and all sorts of issues.”

One of the major differences with the StreetSmart campaign is that, thanks to its sponsor Deutsche Back, all of the funds raised by the participating restaurants go directly to local homeless projects and charities.  
FUNDRAISING: Staff at Mr Coopers

These organisations are designed to help individuals who have found themselves homeless to break the cycle, regain their dignity and rebuild their lives via positive action.

Therefore the aim of the StreetSmart campaign in Manchester is to ‘prevent’ homelessness rather than just ‘treat’ it.

This year’s group of restaurants representing StreetSmart include some of the best in the region and are hoping to beat last years fundraising total.

Mr Pilling added: “The money that we raise across the sites we know will have a direct impact and that every penny of it goes to those organisations that do such amazing work here in Greater Manchester.”

Other supporters of the campaign include broadcaster Richard Bacon who has pledged local support in Manchester (broadcasting home to his 5live Show) as well as being a national ambassador for StreetSmart.

“This has got to be the smartest, most effective and enjoyable way of doing a little something for homelessness that’s ever been conceived of Eat great food. Do some good,” he said.

“There’s no worse time of year for people to be sleeping rough and a tiny numerical adjustment to your bill, one so small you wouldn’t even notice, will help.”

Amanda Croome, from Booth Centre Manchester, is one of the city’s longest standing beneficiaries of the campaign and says StreetSmart is one of their most vital partnerships:

“StreetSmart funding enables the Booth Centre to transform the lives of homeless people,” she said.

“They fund our catering training programme which gives homeless people the opportunity to gain work experience in our kitchen and work for a nationally recognised qualification to help them get back into work.

“At the same time the trainees cook lunches for 170+ people who visit the Booth Centre every week. For many of them this will be the only hot food they eat. So everyone is benefitting.”

John’s story is a prime example of the fantastic work organisations such as the Booth Centre provide through the help of the funding received from the charity.

Unemployed and unable to pay his rent, John found himself sleeping rough for weeks on end on the streets of Manchester.

He found the Booth Centre by chance and the charity’s welcoming team were quick to help him get a place at a nearby hostel.

John joined the Booth Centre catering training programme and completed a work placement in the kitchen, having the responsibility of cooking dinners and serving drinks to the hundred plus people who visit the Centre on a weekly basis.

Through utilising and developing skills, his confidence and esteem grew, and the team supported his job efforts and helped him to write a CV.

John is now working as a cleaner and has recently moved into his own flat.

He said: “The Booth Centre were there when I needed help most – they not only got me off the streets, but they helped me get a job. My self-esteem has finally returned.”      

Glenn Pougnet, Director of StreetSmart, said: “We are indebted to Manchester restaurateurs and their staff for continuing to back the campaign, especially in these times of austerity.

“It’s such an exciting time for Manchester’s dining scene, so its excellent to see so many fabulous restaurants taking part. It also seems like a good time for Manchester to give something back to those who aren’t able to enjoy that industry.

“A huge thank you to Manchester for really getting behind the campaign this year, and we hope to beat last year’s fund raising total. We’ll be keeping you posted!”


Participating restaurants so far are:

Aumbry, Prestwich, Bury.

Choice Bar and Restaurant, Castlefield, City Centre. 

Damson, Heaton Moor, Stockport.

Damson, MediaCityUK, Salford.

Grenache, Walkden, Salford.

The Grill on the Edge, Alderley Edge.

The Grill on the Alley, City Centre.

Hearth of the Ram, Ramsbottom, Bury.

Kro Piccadilly, City Centre.

Michael Caines Restaurant, City Centre.

Michael Caines Bar & Grill @ABode Manchester, City Centre.

Mr Cooper’s House and Garden by Simon Rogan, Midland Hotel, City Centre. 

Northern Quarter Restaurant, City Centre. 

The Parlour, Chorlton.

The Red Lion, High Lane, Stockport. 

Rosy Lee Tea Rooms, City Centre. 

Second Floor Restaurant, Harvey Nichols, City Centre. 

Vermilion, East Manchester. 

Partner hotels to SleepSmart to date include: 

The Lowry Hotel, Salford.

The Works Aparthotel, City Centre.

StreetSmart runs from Friday November 1 to Monday December 31. A full list of participating restaurants can be found at

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