Nicola O'Hanlon
Nicola O'Hanlon
Associate: Private Practice

Articles From the Team

Helping the homeless – BCL Legal Sleepout

On Friday 10th November, my colleagues at BCL will be sleeping rough on the streets of Manchester in support of the fantastic and locally based Booth Centre Charity for homeless people.

I walk through Manchester city centre every day and although there have always been homeless people on the streets of Manchester, I have been shocked at the increase in the number of people I see sleeping rough recently, especially younger people. My Sister moved to the South a few years back and having recently returned home for the weekend, she also commented on much worse this was.

As of 2017, the number of people sleeping on the streets has risen dramatically to 41% in the last year and still there are more spending and welfare cuts to come. This problem isn’t going to solve itself nor will it go away if we just ignore it.

The Booth Centre helps to break the cycle of homelessness by providing advice to find accommodation, education, training and help to secure employment, free healthy meals, support in tackling issues with health and addiction, and creative activities to boost confidence and self esteem.

With 20 years experience the Centre now has a fantastic new building providing healthy and nutritious meals, an enlarged staff and volunteer team and more partnerships with other organisations, in the statutory, voluntary, faith based and business sectors.

Greater Manchester Mayor, Andy Burnham is demanding all organisations, including councils, GP leaders, the police and housing providers, take ‘immediate’ action to tackle the issue. Andy, on his first day as mayor, promising to “put words into action”, donated 15% of his £110,000 salary to a newly created homelessness fund.

An MEN news article in October reported on fire stations turning spare space into shelters, GPs treating people without a permanent address and Manchester City Council buying up homes across various parts of the city, initially at a cost of around £1m with a view to rolling this out further.

Many of us are very fortunate and have a stable job, a regular income and a roof over our heads, which we take for granted. Sleeping outside the cathedral, on a cardboard box with no shelter on a very cold Friday night is an alien concept and fortunately for us, this is a one off situation we have a choice about. Everyone can do their bit to help and it really does make a difference.

The team at BCL is looking to raise as much as we possibly can to give homeless people across the region a chance. If you can sponsor us, any amount, the money raised will go to the Booth Centre to help them to do some pretty special things for the people of our city.

Here is the link to our just giving page - https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/bcl-legal

Thanks for taking the time to read this.

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