Homeless charity
to lose base

Lifeshare has served breakfast to homeless people for 25 years

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A homeless charity is to lose its base as a result of city centre gentrification.

Lifeshare – which serves breakfast to up to 125 people every Saturday and Sunday and runs a Christmas support project – is appealing for help from the public as it searches for alternative premises close to Manchester city centre.

In June its longtime base – the Charter Street Mission building on Dantzic Street – will become the office of an international property developer.

The firm has purchased two nearby car parks and is believed to be planning luxury apartments for the Angel Meadow site.

Lifeshare was given notice in January and a promise of help finding a new building never materialised. Now the charity is going public in the hope that a solution can be found and staff are in talks with the council.

A place to count on

Team leader Judith Vickers said: “Quite honestly we think it stinks. Our understanding is that the new flats will be unaffordable for most people – they will be sold to investors and rented out.

“I can’t put into words how much [our breakfast] project means to the homeless community. It is a safe place they can count on to be judgement-free. Of course we probably won’t be welcome back after the apartments are finished in two years’ time. The area is becoming gentrified and they won’t want homeless people around.”

Lifeshare’s breakfast project began more than 25 years ago with volunteers taking bacon sandwiches to rough sleepers, and today serves up to 7,000 free cooked breakfasts a year. Organisers hope to grow further to meet the rising need and demand for homeless services in the city.

Lifeshare has spent money improving its part of the Dantzic Street building – a former ragged school which originally offered lessons to children working in nearby factories during the industrial revolution as well as charity to the destitute.

Appeal for premises

Of all the city’s slums during that period, Angel Meadow was said to be the worst – a crime and disease-infested nightmare that even Friedrich Engels called “hell on earth”.

As well as a kitchen and seating area, any new premises would need to offer space for Lifeshare’s stores. The breakfast project is run by volunteers and supported by donations from the public and local food suppliers.

Another Lifeshare project supports marginalised young people aged 16 to 25, particularly those who are homeless or at risk of becoming so, and those at risk of being sexually exploited.

Chair Christine Sivori said: “We are calling on the community of Manchester, as well as local businesses, to help us find a new home for the charity. With rising demand for our services, and many people on the streets in need of support, it is vital to the vulnerable people we serve that we find a warm space where we can continue to offer food, shelter, clean clothes and a medical drop-in. We are actively looking for new affordable premises to ensure we can continue working to prevent the cycle of homelessness.”

Big Issue North received no response from the building owner, the Charter Street Mission Trust.

A Manchester City Council spokesman said: “The council greatly values the important work that Lifeshare do and is willing to work with them to help them find alternative accommodation.”

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Interact: Responses to Homeless charity to lose base

  • Judith Vickers
    04 Apr 2017 09:28
    Hello , Thank you so much for your kind offer of a donation , you can donate through our website or Facebook page .Thank you Judy Vickers www.lifeshare.org.uk
  • Natalie
    28 Mar 2017 22:17
    How can people donate? I'd like to make a donation.

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