Manchester charity helps disadvantaged people get Back on Track

  • Organisation celebrates its 40th anniversary this year
  • Volunteer-run café has even served a group from the House of Commons

Members of Manchester charity Back on Track have dedicated their lives to helping adults from disadvantaged backgrounds for the past 40 years.

The organisation initially opened in 1977 under a national charity called Nacro, which helped adults coming out of prison. When Nacro decided to close the centre down resilient staff set up their own charity: Back on Track (BoT).

Based in Ancoats, BoT provides free courses to people who are homeless, experiencing drug and alcohol problems, or have mental health problems. The courses enable adults to overcome major problems in their life by learning a new skill or gaining work experience that will lead to paid work.

The array of courses range from creative writing and music, to catering, health and social care. Eighteen months ago, the charity opened an on-site café, Swan Kitchens staffed by volunteers, 20 of whom have since moved to paid work.  

The organisation has also helped many flourish creatively, the result of which can be seen on display through poems at Metrolink stops across Greater Manchester.

Two of the music group, Shane and Danny, have also formed their own band, The Budoka Sound, and yesterday released a rework of Beach Boys’ classic Fun Fun Fun in tribute to BoT.

Sam Turner, business developer officer, said:  “Our current goal is to develop our catering project so we can create loads more opportunities including paid jobs and apprenticeships.

“To do this we want to get funding to buy a refrigerated van so we can deliver buffets all over Manchester.”

As BoT is a small local charity, it relies on donations to keep the projects running. There are also volunteering roles that can make a real difference to someone’s life. If you would like to donate or find more information on volunteer work, click here or pop in.