The Booth Centre: Manchester’s Light in the Dark

For the past two years, we’ve worked with the wonderful Booth Centre. We started out with the idea of doing a ‘Charity of the Year’ type of initiative, but the incredible, selfless, and life changing work that is done at the centre meant that just one year wouldn’t do. Not even just two years would do. We’re delighted that they’re now our official Charity Partner.

What do they do?

The Booth Centre is a community centre in Manchester run for and by people affected by homelessness. They help people secure accommodation, improve employability by providing training, preparing CVs, help them gain qualifications, and so much more. They also provide support for people who have recently secured work, mindful of the fact it’s not as easy as just starting a job. Before the first payment, they provide bus tickets, pay 4 weekly payments of £25 in cash, help with PPE costs, and help where they can with a phone to contact employers. 

Apart from being a place to gain new skills and improve employability prospects, the Booth Centre is simply a place where anyone, no matter their background, can feel welcome. They put on drama classes, art classes, gardening classes, music classes, and more.

ESP’s recent visit to the Booth Centre

James, Director at ESP, and Georgia, ESP’s Operations Manager, recently went on a visit to the Booth Centre. It was James’ first time visiting and the centre had the same effect on him that it does on everyone who visits the Booth Centre; a warm, uplifting, fuzzy feeling knowing that you’re somewhere filled with people who are doing amazing things.

They’re completely self-sufficient. Many of the people working in the kitchens, volunteering, working on the garden, have either previously been or are currently affected by homelessness. It’s an amazing way of naturally cultivating a real sense of community as well as improving many people’s work prospects by offering experience. 

On a deeper level, the majority of the people that go to the Booth Centre are experiencing homelessness and probably looked down on, not trusted, and frankly, not humanised. The Booth Centre is different in that they trust, they teach skills, they improve employability prospects, and most of all, they treat everyone as equals. Something as simple as trusting someone can do amazing things for their confidence.

What’s next?

We look forward to continuing our partnership with the Booth Centre, helping out with challenges and raising money wherever we can. However, we know that the biggest need for the Booth Centre is donations. A huge 50% of their total yearly revenue goes on just being able to stay open and it all comes from donations. Donations help provide information, training, and creative activities for everyone who visits the Booth Centre. Everything is absolutely free of charge for the people who use the centre’s services, and donations make it possible.

The homelessness situation in Manchester is dire. According to Shelter, there are 6,780 people currently without a home. It’s astonishing, senseless, and simply sad. But organisations like the Booth Centre are a light in the dark. If you can, any donations made to them would be enormously appreciated. We know it goes to a good place. 

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