MMU Students brave the streets of Manchester to raise Christmas funds for homeless

  • Five Manchester Metropolitan University students have so far raised £400 to help the homeless of Manchester

Five students, who are members of Manchester Met Men’s Football team, in a bid to help the homeless this Christmas came up with an idea to sleep rough for a night to raise money to buy winter essentials for those sleeping rough over the festive period.

Emmanuel Yoak, Russell Townsend, Luke Sands, Daniel Carr, and Tom Abbey spent Monday night with those who sleep rough on a regular basis in Manchester.

At around half 10 on Monday evening the five left the comfort of their homes in Fallowfield and travelled to Market Street in Manchester City Centre.

This is where they met James and Dean, two lads who have been sleeping rough, and asked if they could join them for the night.

After getting to talking with James, 22, and Dean, 35, they realised just how tough it can be living on the streets. Luke Sands, 2nd year Sports Management student, said: “When we met James and Dean it felt very real and was a massive eye opener.

“They did make us feel very welcome and it just showed that they are normal people who are just less fortunate. We shared jokes and created a real bond.

“We felt very tired but so pleased we’ve done what we did as we know how much it meant to them.”

Dean, who was just two days out of prison at the time, and James said to the five lads: “It’s depressing but people like you make these nights bearable.

“This is the most I’ve seen anyone do for the homeless, and us, ever.

“I did think you were just cutting us off and knicking my money but this cause makes me not want to be like I am and change. Is there a wand that would take me into your position?

“I’ve enjoyed tonight, just having beers with you boys, more than any since I lost my mother and became homeless.

“Just the company is enough. We are family now, us boys.”

Emmanuel Yoak, a MSc Management Practice student, pitched the plan to his fellow teammates who gladly got behind the idea and started promoting it around MMU’s Activities Union.

Emmanuel wants to use this experience to raise awareness for those who regularly sleep rough on the streets of Manchester.

“We decided to help because we found ourselves in a different position to them. The boys and I are lucky to be eating a couple of meals a day and to sleep under a roof whereas Dean and James are constantly on the move to find a better place to sleep,” he said.

“The main thing was to make them feel wanted this Christmas, a lot of charities get involved with homeless people but not really the street homeless.

“The street homeless are the ones we wanted to reach out to and the money raised will be used to buy some Christmas cards, blankets, and anything else that will benefit the homeless during the festive period.

“Any of the donations left will be given to the Wood Street Mission charity.”

Russell Townsend, 2nd year MBusiness student, talked to us about their experience on Monday night.

“I personally feel that last night, as much as it was about the money and donations, was about making a difference and trying to make someone else’s life just a little bit better,” he said.

“I feel that as a team and through everyone who donated has helped us achieve this.

“We hope to take some of the money and buy presents such as blankets, hats, and gloves and hand them out so we can see directly the impact we are making.

“Spending the night the two homeless lads, James and Dean, and the words they said to us through the night made everything worthwhile and have made us all keen to try and help again.”

The support for what Emmanuel and the lads did from other teams at MMU has been remarkable.

Members from Netball, Rugby League, Women’s Basketball and Rounders have all pledged their support for the cause.

Sophie Binder, MMU Activities Officer, said: “I think what the football boys did in response to homelessness has been amazing.

“What I think is more amazing is that they did it all off their own backs.

“It’s also another fantastic showcase of how supportive the AU at MMU truly is in helping out their fellow AU family.

“A massive well done to the boys from me and I hope it inspires much more of the same in the future.”

Emmanuel added: “The support from the AU group has been brilliant and we simply can’t thank them enough.”

The JustGiving page, set up by Russell, is available here for anybody willing to donate to this exceptional cause.