A hostel for homeless men in Greater Manchester has been saved from closure thanks to a company sales boss and his 70-year-old pal.
And it’s safe to say that Damian Ditchfield and Ken Jackson are now the toast of the Manchester charity Supporting People In Need (SPIN) after their hard work and the labour of love that went towards saving the organisation’s base.
SPIN is based at the converted Coverdale Baptist Church in Ardwick, which is known as ‘The Well’.
The charity provided dormitory accommodation for rough sleepers since opening its doors in 2014, and in addition to shelter and food, it also provides training and support to help its residents rebuild their lives, but when the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic hit, SPIN was told by Manchester City Council officials that each resident had to have their own living space due to the need for social distancing.
Tom Herstell – Operations Manager at SPIN, whose father and uncle founded the charity – said the organisation was told that council funding would cease unless it could comply.
That would thus have forced the closure of the hostel.
But that’s when Damian, 53 – a sales manager at Stockport-based bus and coach hire company Belle Vue Manchester – stepped in with Ken – a retired building site manager and qualified joiner who lives in Carrbrook, Stalybridge – to lend a much needed hand.
The kind-hearted duo voluntarily set about converting the open space in the church hall into 19 separate timber-framed bedrooms, enabling SPIN to survive.
Ken also called on building trade contacts who gave materials free of charge for the seven-week project, and Damian, who was on furlough leave from his job, made a 50-mile round trip to The Well every day from his home in Slaithwaite, West Yorkshire.
Speaking about how he got involved with the project, Damian said: “Ken is good friends with Diane Lawler, who was working at The Well as a manager, and he had done a couple of jobs for her in the past [and] it was following a conversation between them that the mission was launched.
“When Ken heard about the charity’s plight, he didn’t want to ignore it.
“His previous experience meant he had the expertise to do the work and I offered my support so he was assured of meeting the deadline set by the council. We did all the joinery and plastering and were grateful to Irmass Co timber merchants in Trafford Park and P&L Joinery in Stockport for supplying materials at no cost.
“Without their generosity, the project would have been unaffordable for SPIN.
“A qualified electrician took care of the electrics, and we did everything else.
“As well as the new bedrooms, we also built a new food storage area and offices with a mezzanine floor which is used as a training area.”
Damian – who is also a part-time DJ and during lockdown has raised hundreds of pounds for food poverty relief charity FareShare UK by streaming gigs on Facebook, which have been enjoyed by families and housemates across the UK, in Europe and as far away as Australia, in return for donations to the charity – said “it was an absolute pleasure to be involved” in the SPIN project.
He continued: “It was good for my soul. We spend our lives taking, and it was great to give back to society. The people at SPIN really appreciated it. Ken is one of my closest friends and he’s got such a big heart and generous approach to life.
“He’ll help out with anything and I was only too pleased to work with him for a good cause.”
Tom Herstell added: “We had 12 to a dormitory before COVID-19 struck and were told we would not receive any further funding from the council if we couldn’t offer single bedrooms. We weren’t expecting to be able to do the work [which is why] Damian and Ken have truly saved the charity and we really appreciate their efforts.
“It was a fantastic gesture by them and we are grateful to everyone who donated materials.”
Supporting People In Need (SPIN) is now accepting donations for Christmas of items including men’s clothes, tinned food and toiletries.
You can find more information via the SPIN website here.
One Day star Leo Woodall says ‘soft Mancunian’ is the most attractive accent
If you haven’t watched the recent adaptation of One Day on Netflix, first of all: congrats on not being emotionally tormented like the rest of us and, secondly, leading man Leo Woodall might have just given you an extra little incentive by declaring Mancunian as the most attractive accent.
‘Soft’ Manc, to be specific. We’re not exactly what that sounds like or where about in Greater Manchester he’s referring to it, but we’ll get into all that later.
The much-adored piece of contemporary romance was previously made into a film back in 2011 but a whole new generation of viewers are now stumbling across the love story thanks to the 14-part Netflix series which was released this February.
Don’t worry, we won’t go into too much detail on the plot as there’s no way we’re spoiling this for you but, as it turns out, actor Leo Woodall — who plays the heart-throb everyone loves to hate, Dexter Mayhew, in the show — told journalist Olivia Marks in a recent interview with that he loves Manc accents.
As you can see in the short clip, taken from Marks’ chat with Woodall and co-star Ambika Mod, who plays female lead Emma Morley, after receiving some praise for voice in the show, the pair are then asked what accents they find most attractive in real life after Timmy Chalamet went viral for his answer.
While Mod, who delivers a virtually flawless Leeds accent, admits she’s a sucker for an Irish accent (aren’t we all?), ‘Dex’ himself says that “a soft Mancunian [accent] is great” — yet another reason to jump on the bandwagon and watch One Day, this guy clearly knows his stuff.
Jumping at the chance to let the 27-year-old actor that she’ll “take that” as she is also a Mancunian, though she did admit she may have “lost it a bit because [she’s] been in London for so long”.
Again, similar to Leo’s very specific answer, we’re not exactly sure whereabouts in the region Olivia is from, but come back up North whenever you’re ready, mate — we’ll get the kettle on.
So yeah, do ignore our blushing but you heard it here first, a very undeniably good-looking bloke off the telly said that we have the most attractive accent and he should know a thing or two about that, just look at the state of the bugger.
Of course, he’s not the first person to state what we deem as a simple fact of human nature at this point; in fact, a survey of over 2,500 Brits carried out in 2023 officially voted us in the ‘sexiest accent in the UK’ and we’re taking that straight to the handsome bank with all the other pretty people.
Seriously though, you should all go and watch One Day on Netflix and not just because Dexter—sorry, Leo, said we sound nice. Just make sure to buy a big box of tissues and be ready to message all of your loved ones saying you need a hug.
As for the interview itself, you can watch ‘r Liv’s full chat with the cast of One Day down below:
Featured Images — Olivia Lily Marks (via TikTok)/Hits Radio (via YouTube)/Netflix
A company is looking to pay someone £400 a month to relax in the bath
There’s nothing more perfect at the end of a long day than running a nice warm bath and getting some good relaxation in, right?
Well, get this – there’s actually a company out there who’s willing to pay you to do just that.
If you’ve ever wondered whether the dream job actually does exist, then here’s your question answered, as bathroom wholesaler, Bathroom Deal, is currently on the look-out for a ‘Bathroom Quality Assurance Tester’ to help it take customer satisfaction and quality assurance one step further.
The company says the customer experience is one of its “top priorities”, and that its mission is to make sure every customer is “more than happy” with the quality and functionality of the products it sells, as well as being satisfied with its our affordable prices.
But to do this, it’ll need a helping hand from one big bath-taking fan first, which is why the company is currently hiring for the coveted new role.
From luxury freestanding and fun whirlpool baths, to classic P-shaped tubs and corner baths, Bathroom Deal’s new ‘Bathroom Quality Assurance Tester’ will be expected to test out the quality of all the company’s different kinds of baths, so that it can be confident in the products it’s putting online for its customers.
The successful applicant will be asked to assess their time spent in the tub based on how comfortable they found it, how relaxed they felt, how easy it was to run the bath, and a whole load of other questions about the standard and practicality of the tubs.
“This new role is paramount to ensuring the high quality levels of our products,” the company said in the job specification.
Whilst in the bath, the lucky bather is welcome to watch Netflix, enjoy a bath bomb, listen to the radio, and ultimately, do all they can to simply try and relax, as this way, the company reckons they’ll be able to “authentically assess” both the comfortability and functionality of the products.
Applications for the coveted ‘Bathroom Quality Assurance Tester’ role are now open / Credit: Karolina Grabowska (via Pexels)
Oh, and did we mention you’ll get paid £400 a month for the ‘work’? Well, you will.
Does this sound like the ideal job for you? Of course it does, so if you fancy sticking an application in, all you need to do is be able to commit to between one and four hours a week to the position, and have strong written communication skills for completing feedback assessments.
You’ll also need to have a bathroom in your home that’s large enough to have Bathroom Deal’s fitters install baths of various sizes, up to one type per month.