Staff at the Eric Wright Group have donated 55 rucksacks filled with life-saving winter essentials to two Manchester homeless charities.
During a six-week donation drive, staff across the property group which has an office on Princess Street were encouraged to contribute an array of supplies including sleeping bags, gloves, hats, sweets, flasks and pens, which would help the city’s most vulnerable people living on the streets.
At the end of the campaign, 25 rucksacks and five bags of coats and clothing were handed over to volunteers at Barnabus, whilst another 30 rucksacks were given to Cornerstone Day Centre.
The initiative was led internally by Kate Corden, contracts manager at Eric Wright Facilities Management, who for the last 19 years has supported vulnerable people over Christmas after spending a night sleeping rough with the homeless on the streets of Manchester.
Kate said: “Experiencing homelessness was the most frightening ordeal I’ve ever encountered and my time spent volunteering has made me realise that all it takes is one cruel twist of fate, a few steps on the wrong path or a number of bad decisions before ending up on the streets.
“The official Homeless Rucksack Appeal ended earlier this year yet I wanted to continue supporting Manchester’s homeless using the same principles. Winter is the hardest time of the year for those with no home and as a Group, we’re always eager to support the communities in which we operate in and our donations will go a long way to helping those most vulnerable over the Christmas period.”
Julie Smith, support worker at Cornerstone Day Centre, added: “Cornerstone has an open door policy and everyone is welcome. Approximately 200 people use our facilities each day including those with mental health issues, alcohol and drug addictions. They are provided with hot food, hot showers, free eye tests and haircuts, clean clothes, assistance with accommodation and benefits and searching for jobs, CV writing. We also use the resources of other agencies to ensure clients are provided with all the assistance they require to get back on their feet. We also have 8 pods, which cater for 18 rough sleepers, including a number of refugees we are helping to build new lives here in Manchester after gruelling journeys from Sudan and Syria.
“We rely on the goodwill of donations be it money or much needed items such as washing powder, washing up liquid, coffee, biscuits and tinned soup and have just celebrated our 25-year anniversary.”