Piccadilly Gardens, a large and busy public space which has experienced some issues with anti-social behaviour, is not a suitable location for activities which can attract large numbers of vulnerable people including people who are sleeping rough say Manchester City Council
Instead, groups setting up such street kitchens – whether on a regular or ad hoc basis – are being offered the use of Manchester Central Fire Station car park, a more appropriate and self-contained venue.
Regular street kitchens are being notified about the new arrangements. The Council, via the Manchester Homelessness Partnership, is keen to work with any street kitchens in the city to help them better link their work in with other support services for homeless people and others in need.
Councillor Sue Murphy, deputy leader of Manchester City Council, said: “We know that people running street kitchens care and want to help. But we are clear that Piccadilly Gardens is not the right place to do this.
“This is an issue about where people are setting street kitchens up – not what they are doing.
“But what we do want to do, wherever possible, is help ensure that people using street kitchens are connected with other services which can give them a package of wider support – ideally in a safe and warm indoor setting. We want to work with any groups operating street kitchens to identify how and where they can best do this and build better relationships with them.
“We know there are some people who have been sleeping rough long term and will only accept this kind of informal help. We don’t want to stop them accessing this provision but we do want to link them in with other services which can gain build a relationship with them and provide fuller support.
“At the end of the day we all want the same thing – as few people as possible to end up on the streets or needing street kitchens in the first place and as many people as possible to be supported to get off them and build sustainable new lives.”