Tag Archives: Charity

City with a Crisis

M20 Collective are back with another live music event fundraiser in conjunction with some local organisations who are fighting to support the living and housing issues in Manchester. Phil Marzouk, our good will envoy, explains what’s going wrong in our city!

Manchester is a city with a crisis. Last Tuesday, I walked  the 0.4 miles between Manchester Piccadilly and Piccadilly Gardens, and passed 7 of the city centre’s 43 estimated rough sleepers. This number is only increasing. Since 2013, the number of people sleeping on Manchester’s streets has risen by 79%. However, these figures are calculated by council officials over one night, simply counting the number of rough sleepers. This is in fact a huge underestimation and doesn’t account for the city’s ‘hidden homeless’: those not found due to taking refuge in air raid shelters and caves or overlooked during the counts. Manchester’s Booth Centre, a day centre where homeless people can get free advice and support, state they currently see around 170 people a week.

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However, even in the face of these rising numbers, Manchester City Council refuses to adequately engage with the city’s most vulnerable. Since April 2015, Homeless Rights of Justice Manchester have been setting up camp throughout the city centre in order to raise awareness of this issue and finally get the Council to act justly. The Council’s response was to seek injunctions against the camp rather than establish a dialogue. Due to the intervention of St. Anne’s Church, the camp currently resides safely on Church owned land in St. Anne’s Square, yet the Council pursues an injunction even here.

Blame does not lie solely with the local Council and is indicative of the issues that government cuts are causing for our nation’s most vulnerable citizens, with benefits cuts contributing greatly to these rising numbers. In the wake of severe austerity measures in Westminster, Manchester City Council have had to cut their homelessness budget by £2 million right when the crisis is at its worst. Somehow, money is found to install anti homeless spikes within the town centre. Homeless Rights of Justice Manchester were denied legal aid in order to fight the Council’s continuing evictions, which reflects the national cuts of £350 million from the legal aid budget. You need only walk the streets of  Manchester to see how the cuts are destroying the lives of those who need help the most.

anti hom;less spikes

So it’s time to start taking action. In conjunction with Coffee4Craig,one of Manchester’s leading homeless support charities, we’ll be hosting a fundraiser on the 13th of August at the Castle hotel with live music, a raffle and talks from local charity representatives and housing campaign group Generation Rent. Come down and find out how you can get involved. It’s time to stop letting our nation’s most vulnerable be dehumanised and abandoned.

Phil Marzouk

Fashion for the Frugal

Natalie Proctor takes a walk through Withington and tells us why we should trade ‘high street’ shops for the actual local high street when it’s time for some retail therapy…

You don’t need all the money in the world to get the style you’re after. Fact. Perhaps the easiest way to get great style for a fraction of the price, is hunting through charity shops for all your fashion needs. The problem that I often find with charity shop searching however, has always been their lack of accessibility; with shops dotted all about the place it’s hard to find the energy to source out these hidden gems. However, in Manchester, we have a hidden Oasis of these cheap and cheerful places in Withington and East Didsbury.

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Students in particular, are often unaware that there is life beyond the end of Fallowfield, but if you walk just a few minutes further into Withington you will find plenty for the frugal fashionista. In Withington alone, there are more than six charity shops in a 100m stretch of road, which is perfect for those of us who like convenience. Cancer Research houses an awesome vintage section towards the back of the store, where you can buy both clothes and accessories, and turn off Wilmslow Road and onto Copson Street, and you’ll find multibuy deals galore – like three items of clothing for £3 in Age Concern, or three DVDs for £1 in St. Vincent’s. Additionally, there are some independently run shops that are full to the brim with donations from the local area, but also offer great prices because of this.

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Just ten minutes on the bus will take you to East Didsbury, which is another hot bed for charity shops. A ‘Sue Ryder’ shop towards the end of the high street offering loads of great things for the home as well is great news for students trying to make their house a home on a very tight budget!

Charity shops are a fantastic way of revamping your style for pennies, but they also offer some great quality clothes if you’re prepared to do the rummaging. Who knows, you may stumble upon someone’s designer shoes that were forgotten in time! It also gives the extra benefit of owning clothes that are not being made anymore, so you are sure to be unique.

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Disclaimer: Louboutins not guaranteed!

Let’s not forget though, perhaps the greatest aspect of taking yourself down to the charity shops for a new dress, over going to the big brands – you’re actually doing good. No matter who you are, or how much money you have, it’s hard to avoid the slight pang of guilt when you buy clothes that you really rarely need. But now you can shop guilt free, and maybe even feel pretty good about yourself! So now you can grab a bargain as well as doing your bit.

Note: Charity shops in Withington and East Didsbury are looking for volunteers! If you fancy doing something charitable in your spare time just go along and ask.