Charity ‘sleep walk’ across Manchester by UK’s leading homelessness charity brings huge turnout
- Shelter says homelessness crisis is getting worse
- ‘We are defending a right to a safe home. We will continue to do that.’
Following the success of a charity walk in London earlier this month which raised £500,000, the homelessness charity Shelter hoped to repeat its success in Manchester.
Shelter Hub manager John Ryan admitted he was not sure at first how many people they could expect. At least 600 people had signed up before the event on Wednesday, which far exceeded their expectations, but more were signing up in the evening and they were expecting to go out with up to 800 participants.
“We aim to raise up to £140,000 to help us do the work that we do, giving advice and support, helping to get people off the streets, helping to create lasting change for communities and individuals affected by the housing emergency,” said Mr Ryan .
He called on the government to commit to building social housing, saying he believed the failure of previous governments to do so was at the root cause of what he called "a human tragedy".
Former Casualty actress Sue Devaney, a long-time advocate for fighting homelessness, took part to raise money for what she called "a brilliant cause" after becoming alarmed at the number of homeless people she saw in major cities all over the country.
She said: “It’s something that I am passionate about, because I don’t think that in this day and age, in this country, a first world country, nobody should be homeless.”
On the walk NQ spoke to songwriter Ray Coates, whose single The Voice Within, has been released to raise money for Shelter, and which he hopes it will make it to Christmas number one.
Ray wrote the song after a battle with throat cancer left him without his voice for a year.
He said: “It was kind of like reaching out to anybody in society who’s ever felt isolated, disconnected in whatever way it was.”
Ray released the lyrics to his song on social media and invited people to submit their own version providing they stuck to the lyrics. After receiving numerous versions the one he chose to go with was from Zoe Evans.
Zoe herself has been helped by Shelter, which inspired them to release the song in aid of raising money for Shelter.