A single Christmas market stall, which has had Northern Quarter residents and visitors confused since appearing overnight last week has been unveiled as a donation hub to raise money for the Mayor’s homelessness fund and Big Change Manchester.
The stall is stationed in Stevenson Square until just before Christmas, giving the public the opportunity to make a donation and help provide accommodation and support for people who are homeless in Manchester and Greater Manchester.
The idea behind the oddly placed market stall is to get Christmas shoppers to think about those in need this Christmas, as well as their family and friends. The hut encourages the public to “buy something else they don’t need” but instead the donation goes to charity.
Situated in Manchester’s Northern Quarter district, the hut ‘sells’ several items representing important factors at Christmas time that sadly not everyone has, including; family, warmth, food, joy and dignity. Each item encourages a small donation between £3-£20, or people can simply text ’Stall’ to 70607 to donate £5.
Donations go to The Greater Manchester Mayor’s fund, set up by Andy Burnham, and Big Change Manchester. The Mayor’s fund supports many projects, including the building of accommodation for young people, the expansion of rehabilitation programmes across Greater Manchester and other front line essential services which help those living on the streets integrate back into the community.
The Big Change campaign is a central fund for more than 25 charities, supported by Manchester City Council and CityCo, which has helped hundreds of people move their lives forward and begin to build an independent life away from the streets. The Big Change fund supports individuals in Manchester who are homeless by paying for items they need, from a deposit for a home to clothes for a job interview, furnishing for a new flat, or travel costs.
Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham outlined plans to tackle homelessness when he was elected in May. Speaking of the project, he said;
“I know that the people of Greater Manchester care about helping others and I am incredibly pleased that so many people have already dug deep this winter, but as the weather draws in it is clear to see that we all need to do that bit more to help those on our streets.
“Even a small donation can make a massive difference and help people escape the situation they’re in and rebuild their lives. Thank you to the good people at 24-26 Lever Street for joining us in our quest to end rough sleeping in Greater Manchester by 2020.”
Riverside’s Eleanor Watts, Chair of the Big Change Fund, said: “Christmas can be a particularly challenging time for people who have lost their home and the support we provide during the season and beyond has a hugely positive impact on people’s lives. With the support of a whole range of charities and Manchester City Council, we can help people take the steps which will help them out of homelessness and towards a better future. We welcome this imaginative campaign.”
24-26 Lever Street in the Northern Quarter, where the hut stands (at the back of the building), runs a charitable fundraiser every year following a £10,000 donation from the landlord. A spokesperson from the building and cofounder of Reason Digital, Matt Haworth, said;
“You only have to look around the city centre to see how many people find themselves in difficult situations, no longer having a place to call home. We all enjoy festive celebrations at this time of year and for the cost of a glass of gluhwein at the Christmas markets, we’re asking the public think about those living on the streets at Christmas by making a small donation that can make a real difference.
Generosity is not just part of the spirit of Christmas, it’s part of the spirit of Manchester as well. I’m proud to be supporting the Mayor’s fund and Big Change Manchester. I know together we’ll make a real difference.”
Follow @MCR_StallForAll for updates and share the initiative by posting your photos using #stallforall