The GMWNS pilot project ran from 11 January to 21 March 2016, and provided a safe, warm and welcoming place for 33 rough sleepers.
The GMWNS ran again in winter 2016/17 and with the hard work of over 250 volunteers we were able to support 64 rough sleepers.
The aim of the GMWNS is to provide guests with temporary accommodation alongside the support from the staff and services at the Booth Centre with the aim of helping them towards creating a home.
The project has at its core an ethos of hospitality and mutuality, and aims to create a welcoming, homely atmosphere. Guests and volunteers sit down to eat together and join in conversation and activities. There is a selection of materials available to pass the time such as television, reading material and games, and tea, coffee and/or cold water is available for guests’ use throughout their stay.
“Everyone was very friendly and the relaxed atmosphere created a very welcoming environment.” – Councillor Garry Bridges, visitor to the GMWNS pilot project.
A network of churches based within a 2 mile radius of Manchester City Centre provided 12 beds on one night each week for men who would otherwise have been sleeping rough.
All guests were referred to the GMWNS via the Booth Centre, after being assessed by their staff in accordance with our criteria, and after agreeing that they would return to the Booth Centre on the following morning. The Booth Centre provided them with services during the day, including hot breakfasts and lunches, showers, and help with finding accommodation and employment.
This process allowed the Booth Centre to ensure that each guest was supported in creating and enacting a move on/support plan to help move them towards a more permanent housing solution.
“The best thing was the total degree of support and hospitality” – Guest
GMWNS is fully supported by Housing Justice, who have experience of coordinating similar programmes in Churches across England. They currently have approximately 90 rolling shelter programmes, with this being their first in Greater Manchester.
GMWNS is based on Housing Justice’s Churches’ Rolling Night Shelter model. Watch this video to find out more:
We worked closely with Housing Justice to discover and address a need that was not being met by statutory agencies. When Manchester City Council’s severe weather provision protocol was triggered in the winter of 2014/2015, 85% of those who accessed it were men. Plus, according to the experts we have spoken to, women are more likely to meet the criteria for statutory, legal duty of care. Therefore, we made the decision to act upon this advice and create an intervention for men only, whilst we look into alternative schemes to support the rehousing of homeless women.