Barnabus charity keeps Kier team Barnabusy
If you work or visit Manchester City Centre you cannot help but be affected by the number of people sleeping rough every day. Wanting to make a difference, the teams on NWCH projects: Heron House and 6 Great Marlborough Street for Framework Partner, Kier, spent a day volunteering at the Barnabus Charity. Barnabus provide a lifeline to people caught in the devastating trap of poverty and homelessness and last month alone supported 570 individual people on their journey towards independence.
Dave Mills (Project Manager), Jon Rowe (Senior Site Manager), Clare Canty (Design Manager) and Kane Darling (Quantity Surveyor), volunteered at the Bloom Street Drop-in Centre, where homeless men and women can get a cooked breakfast or lunch, a shower, jobs advice and support. Jake Hughes (Trainee Site Manager), Greg O’Toole (Site Administrator) and Sarah Topping (Communications Officer) sorted through all the clothing donations. The work may seem a world away from the day jobs of those involved, however, their time at the centre meant that the charity Manager’s Adam and Neil were freed up to visit other charity initiatives; to take a homeless person to register for benefits, another to the post office and get someone else to a doctor’s appointment – all of which may have been postponed otherwise.
Neil expressed his gratitude: “Your support can transform lives, bring joy, hope and opportunities to those in need, with just a kind word and a cup of tea, I have no doubt that your time spent at the drop-in has impacted on those you met on the day. For that you should be as proud, as I am grateful.”
The day was not without its challenges and some of the volunteers experienced and were exposed to unique people and hardship stories beyond their normal, everyday terms of reference. This offered an insight into the lives of rough sleepers and a new empathy for how tough homelessness really is.
Of the experience, Jon Rowe said: “The volunteer day changed my ill-informed perception of homeless people. I now realise a significant number of homeless people are from normal backgrounds, educated people who lived ordinary lives with jobs and families who, for a variety of reasons, have found themselves homeless. They were polite and well-mannered. I have a new-found admiration for the work of charities like Barnabus. Lisa, our boss in the kitchen certainly got her pound of flesh out of me and Claire!”
Inspired by what they had experienced, Jon and the Heron House team donated cutlery, crockery, stackable cups and an industrial toaster to make the work of Lisa and her team that little bit easier.
In the upcoming months other Manchester project teams will be offering their support to Barnabus.