Our Development Officer has been talking to The Guardian’s Frances Ryan about the amazing work of the Greater Manchester Winter Night Shelter and why the project is so important.
It’s the increasing numbers that shocks people,” says Lily Axworthy, 25. “I walk to work and see eight or nine people sleeping in doorways. There’s people sleeping in the car park where I leave my car. And that’s only what you can see. People are under bridges, in parks, in tents.”
The story of GMWNS – set up by Lily, a charity worker, in 2015 – could be a snapshot of poverty in modern Britain. The scale is spiralling, austerity has fostered it, and – miles away from ministers in Westminster – it’s a team of volunteers left to pick up the pieces.
In January, the shelter ran as a small pilot project to help a few dozen street sleepers. “The need was obvious,” Lily says simply – and six weeks ago, the shelter began a six-month stretch to get hundreds of people through the cold weather.
GMWNS gets no statutory funding. All money comes from charity, grants and the public (even the camp beds are donated), and it is staffed by volunteers – almost 200 of them: nurses, solicitors, teachers, students and ex-street sleepers.
You can read the full article here.