In the heart of Manchester, as the winter frost blankets the city streets, the city’s homeless population struggles.
The Centre of Excellence, known for its diverse array of online courses, is also deeply passionate about making a tangible difference in the community. When the temperatures drop, we’re reminded of those less fortunate, particularly those experiencing homelessness.
Manchester’s Hidden Crisis
Manchester, like many cities across the UK, has seen a rise in homelessness in recent years. In fact, Manchester is reported to have some of the highest homeless levels in the UK, with around 7,407 people living on the streets as of January 2023.
With the cost of living crisis impacting many, the harsh reality is that more individuals are finding themselves unable to keep up with home payments. Living on the streets is challenging enough, but in the winter, conditions can be brutal.
Our Yearly Tradition: A Backpack of Hope
Every year, the Centre of Excellence team embarks on a heartwarming tradition: distributing backpacks filled with essentials to people experiencing homelessness in Manchester. Last year, our team came together to hand-deliver 50 backpacks, each containing some winter warmers that we hope will make things just that little bit easier:
- Warm blankets to fend off the chill
- Thick gloves & socks to protect hands and feet
- Hand warmers that stay warm for up to six hours
- Wet wipes
- A touch of festivity with Christmas chocolate
The moments we shared with those sleeping rough on the streets of Manchester were deeply moving. As we handed out the backpacks, we received many tears of appreciation.
In a world where those without a home often feel invisible and overlooked, small acts of kindness can go a long way. For many, our gesture was not just about the items in the backpack, but the message that accompanied them: "You are seen, you are valued, and you are not alone."
A Word From Our Founder
At Centre of Excellence, our commitment to helping others runs deeper than the courses we offer. We believe in a holistic approach to change, encompassing personal growth and societal transformation. Our founder, Sara Lou-Ann Jones, captures this sentiment perfectly in her words:
"Our mission at Centre of Excellence isn't just about offering world-class courses. It’s about positively impacting the lives of billions of people worldwide. We’re dedicated to not only enhancing minds through education but also touching hearts by supporting those less fortunate. Whether through charities or hands-on activities like our backpack initiative, we’re determined to reach out to those in need. I encourage everyone to remember that anyone can make a difference." - Sara Lou-Ann Jones
Supporting the Homeless: 10 Ways You Can Help
Supporting people without housing is more than just a charitable act; it's a commitment to understanding, empathy, and humanity. The ever-growing issue of homelessness can feel overwhelming, but every small gesture can contribute to a larger solution. Here are ways you can lend a hand and make a significant difference:
- Educate Yourself and Others: Before jumping into action, take a moment to understand the causes and challenges of homelessness. It's not just about lack of shelter; many factors, including mental health issues, unemployment, and systemic failures, contribute to the problem. By being informed, you can advocate for more effective policies and solutions.
- Volunteer Your Time: Many homeless shelters and outreach programs are in constant need of volunteers. Whether serving food at a local soup kitchen, assisting with administrative tasks, or mentoring individuals looking to get back on their feet, your time can be one of the most valuable donations.
- Donate Essential Items: While monetary donations are always welcomed, shelters often have a list of essential items they are short of. These can range from clothing and blankets to hygiene products and non-perishable foods. Before donating, check with your local shelters to see what they need most.
- Support Job Training Programs: Unemployment is a significant contributor to homelessness. By supporting job training and rehabilitation programs, you’re not just providing immediate assistance but also helping individuals gain skills to secure stable employment and, eventually, housing.
- Engage in Fundraising: Organize or participate in fundraising events for reputable organisations working to combat homelessness. This can be anything from sponsored runs and bake sales to online campaigns. Money raised can support shelters, food banks, and other essential services.
- Advocate for Affordable Housing: Many cities face affordable housing crises. Support and advocate for policies and initiatives that increase the availability of affordable housing. By addressing this fundamental need, many would be prevented from becoming homeless in the first place.
- Be Compassionate: One of the most straightforward gestures is acknowledging and treating people experiencing homelessness with kindness and respect. A simple conversation can uplift spirits, and providing a meal or a hot drink can be a much-appreciated gesture.
- Hire or Recommend Homeless Individuals: If you're in a position to do so, consider hiring someone who is homeless but possesses the skills for a job opening. If not, recommending them to others or referring them to job opportunities can be equally impactful.
- Support Mental Health Initiatives: A significant percentage of homeless individuals struggle with mental health issues. By supporting mental health initiatives, you're addressing one of the root causes of homelessness.
- Stay Informed and Vote: Keeping yourself updated on local policies, attending community meetings, and voting for initiatives and leaders who prioritise solving homelessness can have long-term benefits for the entire community.
By incorporating these methods into our daily lives, each of us can play a part in alleviating the challenges faced by homeless individuals and, in time, work towards a society where everyone has a place to call home.
Taking the Next Step with the Centre of Excellence
As you consider helping homeless people, remember that every effort, no matter how small, can make a significant difference. By choosing the Centre of Excellence for your online learning needs, you’re not only investing in yourself but also supporting our ongoing commitment to supporting people experiencing homelessness.
We encourage everyone to join us in our mission. Whether you're in Manchester or miles away, let's collectively create a world where everyone has warmth, comfort, and hope during the winter months.
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If you’re inspired to make a difference and want to empower yourself with knowledge, discover our wide range of courses at the Centre of Excellence today. Together, let’s create a ripple effect of positive change.