Eat Well MCR – a community project launched to feed the hungry – has broken the £100,000 barrier with the help of a donation from Liam Gallagher.
The Oasis frontman’s 1996 MTV Award – won for Best Song for ‘Wonderwall’ – was purchased at a live auction for an incredible £45,000; helping Eat Well MCR break the six-figure fundraising barrier in just three months.
£73,000 was generated by United We Feed – a Manchester merch sale held at Cloudwater Brewery in collaboration with United We Stream GM.
Dozens of volunteers and collaborators got involved for the occasion – which included live performances, prizes and musicians making cookalong pizzas.
Further donations also flooded in from the likes of Albert’s Schloss and The Lead Station – crowdfunding a whopping £100,000 in total.
Eat Well MCR was launched by Manchester chef Mary-Ellen McTague of The Creameries in Chorlton with the aim of salvaging food waste left behind by closed restaurants during lockdown.
The organisation has blossomed since, and is now working to ensure a sustainable future so they can continue their mission to “show care and support for people when they need it most, through food.”
Mary-Ellen said: “The Eat Well MCR collective is made up of people who believe in showing care and spreading joy through food. Even when faced with an uncertain future for their own livelihoods and businesses, they got to work to support our wonderful city, and people facing unimaginably harsh realities.
“At the start of our journey our meals would cost less than £1 to make as the majority of our ingredients were donated by the amazing restaurants in our collective, and everyone volunteered their time. “
She continued: “We cannot expect to keep the cost of our meals so low, as people return to work and restaurants open, but we are committed to continue feeding those who need it.
“The money raised is therefore even more essential for Eat Well MCR to carry on in its mission to support people. Lockdown may be easing but the challenges faced by people we support won’t go away, and we don’t intend to either.
“As a collective, we have started something amazing and we are determined to see this through.
“We are now developing plans for income generation so that we can become a self sustaining organisation that works to support both those in need, and our local food economy, with our mission to support people facing food inequality absolutely at our core.”
Some of the restaurants involved in the collective include A Taste of Honey, Baratxuri, Beehive Food, Cloudwater Brew Co., Common Bar, Nells Pizzas, The Creameries, Diamond Dogs, Eagle and Child, Elite Bistros, Elnecot, Erst, Gorilla, Hawksmoor, Higher Ground, Hispi, Honest Crust, The Hungry Gecko, Isca, Koffee Pot, Konoba, Little Window, The Manchester Tart Company, Stretford Canteen, Tampopo, The Victoria Walshaw and Where The Light Gets In.
Hosting just the second ‘Raise the Roof’ fundraising concert in over three years – the pandemic having put a pause on the initiative – the money generated will go towards providing a safe place to sleep to thousands in around the Manchester area.
The Middleton-born musician confirmed the date on Tuesday.
While Fray is currently the only name confirmed to be playing this year’s gig, his popularity in the city alone is sure to drive thousands to iconic Manchester venue for this great cause.
Most importantly, not only will all ticket sales go towards the A Bed Every Night drive, but so too will the proceeds from the re-release of the band’s debut album, St Jude, dropping on the same day as the gig.
The Mayor’s Charity has held a number of hugely successful campaigns already this year, including their annual 24 Run Against Homelessness as well as Mayor Andy Burnham‘s second night DJing at the one and only Warehouse Project.
Speaking in an official press release, Burnham spoke about the spoke about “the power of music to get people together and raise vital funds” for causes like combatting homelessness.
He went on to say that despite all the money already raised this year, “there’s more still to do and we know the cost of living crisis has started to impact on people’s housing”, adding: “We’re a musical city, so what better way to help those who need it but with a night with the incredible Liam Fray.”
Responding to Burnham’s thanks on Twitter, Fray had a simple message:
Over 4,000 unique individuals have been supported by A Bed Every Night since 2019, with more than 600 people now supplied with accommodation across the region who would otherwise be at risk of sleeping rough.
The Mayor’s campaign works with 21 different organisations across Greater Manchester helping provide a safe place to sleep to the homeless and those in needs on a regular basis. Wonderful stuff.
How to help in Manchester if you see someone homeless in the freezing cold
Whilst much has been done over the past few years to improve options for people who find themselves homeless in Greater Manchester, it’s still a huge problem – felt especially hard when the temperature drops.
The Met Office has forecast lows of -3 that will last across the weekend into early next week, whilst health officials have told people to put their heating on, despite rising costs. But some don’t even have the option to do that.
In the UK last year, 1,286 people died while homeless according to the Museum of Homelessness (MoH) Dying Homeless Project.
As a general rule, there are no legal protections for people sleeping rough in England. Most councils offer extra beds when temperatures are forecast to drop below 0ºC for three consecutive nights.
Fortunately here in Manchester, there is more support at hand.
What support does Manchester offer homeless people in freezing weather?
Manchester is the first major metropolitan area in the country to promise help as soon as the temperature drops below 0ºC.
Shelters are opened up in and around the city centre as soon as one night of freezing temperatures is forecast, and stay open until temperatures rise back up above zero, giving everyone a warm place to rest.
Accommodation varies from hostel ‘sit up’ spaces to an emergency shelter run by local charity Coffee4Craig for the council, where people are provided with sleeping bags, mats, armchairs and even a TV. And when space runs out in the hostels, people are given a hotel room for the night.
There is also the Mayor’s flagship A Bed Every Night scheme, which looks to offer a bed, hot meal and support for anyone sleeping rough in Greater Manchester at any time of year – regardless of the weather.
What can I do to help someone?
If you’re concerned about someone, you can contact your local authority via one of the numbers below.
Alternatively, you can use this tool to view the services on offer in your area.