Many of us are aware that 10 October is World Mental Health Day, but did you know it’s also World Homeless Day today too?
The festive season is not far off now, and that means the temperatures will soon start to drop.
But as we head into some of the coldest months of the year, an increasing number of people will sadly be without a roof over their heads or a secure place of shelter in Greater Manchester this winter – with recent statistics published by Shelter back in January sadly revealing that our region has some of the highest levels of homelessness in the UK.
Manchester itself ranks as third-highest in the country for homelessness per capita, with around 7,407 people – which is equivalent to one in 74 people – experiencing homelessness.
Those who find themselves without a permanent or fixed abode will often face a series of complications on a daily basis, but the winter is known to bring with it an additional set of challenges, which is why many of us will look to see how we can lend a hand at this time of year.
Shelter, CentrePoint, and Barnabus Manchester are among the national and Greater Manchester-based homelessness charities that not only continue to provide essential services to those who need them most, but also provide information and advice to those interested in helping out where possible.
Here’s six ways you can help homeless people across our region this autumn and winter.
1. Ask if there’s anything they need
Should you feel concerned about the welfare of someone during adverse temperatures or weather conditions, then taking a moment to stop and ask if there’s anything you can provide for them could be a life-saving action.
This could include offering food, drink, thermals, bedding, a travelcard, Vaseline, a reusable water bottle, and more.
Whilst it’s true that long-term help for homeless people makes the biggest difference, having a conversation over a cup of tea can also be really important.
2. Refer them to StreetLink
StreetLink allows members of the public to connect people sleeping rough with the local services and homeless charities that can support them, and it’s one of the easiest ways to find immediate support for people out on the streets in cold weather.
You can download the StreetLink app from Apple’s App Store or the Google Play Store, or you can also call the 24-hour helpline on 0300 500 0914, and visit the website here.
When you send an alert, you should include:
A specific location where the person is sleeping.
The time you saw the person at this location.
Any information about the person that will help outreach workers find them (for example – gender, age, what the person looks like, what they’re wearing)
If you can, it’s probably best to let the person know you’re referring them as they may not want their details shared with other agencies, but you can also ask them if they’re happy to pass on their mobile number so it’s easier for outreach workers to contact them.
3. Ask your local council about SWEP
SWEP (Severe Weather Emergency Protocol) provides emergency support for rough sleepers when the temperatures drop drastically.
During SWEP, councils will usually open extra beds in night shelters, as well as other services, but this is dependent on guidelines, so it’s worth checking with your council to see if SWEP is in operation during cold weather in your local area, and how those sleeping rough can access it.
You can find contact details for your local council here.
4. Refer them to day centres and night shelters
Day centres offer those sleeping rough practical help by providing services such as a hot meal and access to showers and laundry facilities, and you can find your nearest day centre by using Homeless Link’s directory, or calling the CentrePoint Helpline on 0808 800 0661.
Night shelters, on the other hand, offer a free and basic ‘shared space’ to stay for anyone who would otherwise be on the streets – with many providing an evening meal or breakfast at no cost / for a small charge, and often require rough sleepers to arrive by a set time in the evening and leave in the morning.
Manchester City Council says its representatives are “out on the streets seven days a week connecting people who are sleeping rough to the housing, food, and healthcare they can get”.
Think someone’s been missed though? You can contact the Council here.
The Customer Service Centre and Homelessness Reception at Manchester City Council are open on an appointment-only basis, but you can call 0161 234 4692 between 9am-4.30pm on Monday to Friday for help and support.
For help when the office is closed, you can phone 0161 234 5001.
You can call the Manchester Homeless Advice and Assessment Service on 0161 234 5001.
Only in the instance that someone sleeping rough appears to be unwell or in immediate danger should you call the emergency services on 999.
Featured Image – Flickr
Sir David Jason set for TV return in Only Fools and Horses documentary Christmas special
In a surprise bit of festive news, the only and only Sir David Jason is returning for an Only Fools and Horses Christmas special this December. Lovely jubbly!
The best-loved and most-watched British comedy of all time will be back on our screens in documentary form this festive season, with Del Boy himself David Jason revisiting the iconic comedy character after 20 years he last played him on screen.
While the legendary sitcom was broadcast on BBC back in the day, the highly-anticipated Only Fools doc will be airing on Channel 5 right before Christmas as a special one-off programme.
Looking back on the show’s incredible run on UK screens over seven series and the several ‘Christmas Cracker’ specials, specifically, the latest Only Fools and Horses documentary will see Jason and a number of other guests appearing to chat about the legendary show.
While it’s still unclear how many of the original cast will be appearing, Jason’s on-screen wife Tessa Peake-Jones (Raquel) is confirmed to be appearing along with other special guests including newscaster Krishnan Guru-Murthy and Bendiorm‘s Sherrie Hewson.
Sadly, a full theatrical reunion just isn’t on the cards following the deaths of Roger Lloyd Pack (Trigger), Kenneth MacDonald (Mike the Landlord) and Buster Merryfield (Uncle Albert) in the 30 years since the show ended its run.
Only Fools writer John Sullivan also sadly passed away aged 64 in 2011 and fellow co-star Nicholas Lyndhurst, a.k.a. Rodney Trotter, told Metro: “We can’t. John is no longer with us. John was the driving force of the show and we have also lost quite a few cast members now.
“I don’t think I could do it without them and I certainly couldn’t do it without John. At the risk of depressing everyone, I think the last two times I’ve seen David has been at funerals.”
Simply entitled, ‘The Story Of Only Fools And Horses At Christmas’, the 90-minute special is yet to have its broadcast date fully confirmed but you best keep your eyes peeled on the TV guide — we’ll let you know as soon we do.
Jason, 81, has only just recovered from hip surgery earlier this year, so it’ll be nice to see his familiar grin back on our screens.
Right, we’re off to binge a whole series on UK Gold.
Scott McTominay jokes he’s ‘fuming’ he didn’t score a hat-trick against Chelsea as he reflects on Man United’s mentality
Scott McTominay has joked he’s “fuming” with himself after failing to score a hat-trick in Manchester United’s 2-1 win over Chelsea on Wednesday nightand shed some light on the mentality around Old Trafford.
McTominay starred in the Red Devils’ win over Mauricio Pochettino’s side on a cold night at home, managing to bag a brace with a goal in the first and second half to get his squad over the line, but he himself said he could have had more.
Speaking to MUTV after the game, the 26-year-old said he and the squad knew they needed to drum up a reaction after the Newcastle disappointment, adding that contributing more goals is something he wants to keep working on and insisting that plenty of people back him to do so.
Confessing that his mum, dad and grandad have all been encouraging him to “get in the box” and that he just needs to “believe in [him]self and go for it”, the Scotsman did go on to quip he was “fuming” to not grab a third as he shook his head went on to shake and reveal a wry smile.
Commentator and presenter Stewart Gardner went on to list McTominay’s impressive stats this season, having now scored 14 goals in his last 33 appearances for club and country. A seriously good rate from a midfielder typically entrusted to help link play and break things up in the middle of the park.
Now boasting half a dozen goals and an assist across all competitions so far this campaign, he sits as the club’s leading goalscorer in the Premier League with five finishes to his name — with only Bruno Fernandes having contributed more (five goals and five assists) — he’s genuinely become one of Man United’s main goal threats.
While he recently rubbished talk that he played as a striker regularly coming up through the youth academy, simply having been deployed for the odd game in reality, he has always had a shot on him and it isn’t the first time he’s bagged a winner or a big goal for the Reds. This wasn’t a bad one either:
Chatting with the pundits on Amazon Prime Sport, he reiterated that he could have had “one or two more” on another night and agreed that the performance against Newcastle in the previous fixture was “pretty abysmal”, holding his hands up to admit that it was “no way near good enough”.
Reflecting on the later chance he had to seal the hat-trick towards the end of the game, he said he simply needed to “calm down on the last one”.
As for the mentality to get the result during a difficult period where the club remained under a lot of scrutiny from pundits and fans alike, McTominay went on to say that the manager is responsible for the way they played and some “lighter training sessions to keep energy levels up” definitely helped.
Regardless, he was sure to not get ahead of himself and assured ten Hag‘s team were still taking things a game at a time. You can watch the full highlights from Manchester United vs Chelsea down below: