Shelter’s SleepWalk sees 650 people take to the streets of Manchester

  •  Charity Shelter organised 10km SleepWalk 
  • Actor Sue Devaney attended to raise awareness
  • Charity event supported by Man City 

More than 650 people braved the drizzly Manchester weather to raise money for charity Shelter’s Christmas Appeal on Wednesday night. 

Prompted by the success of last year’s London SleepWalk, which raised more than £500,000, this year Shelter organised SleepWalks across the country including Manchester, London, Edinburgh and Sheffield to raise money to fight the growing number of people sleeping rough across the UK, as well as raising awareness for the 2,725 children classified as homeless in Manchester.

Participants paid £15 to enter and pledged to raise £80 each to contribute to organising further fundraising events to support those facing homelessness in Manchester. 

People of all ages and abilities turned up at Manchester Central wrapped in wolly hats and Shelter scarves provided in their ‘Walker Packs’. 

Katie Kendall, 26, from Burnley, and her partner, Edward, managed to raise more than £200 for the cause. 

She said: “I’ve always been passionate about fighting homelessness. I work for a homeless charity in Burnley as well. Me and my partner, we try and do charity walks every year.

“We do them for cancer, we’ve done them for a hospice as well. So we just have a look what’s going on, see what we can do to help!” 

Actor Sue Devaney became a charity ambassador after her Instagram project about homelessness made it into the press. She was “shocked” at how many homeless people she met in all the different towns and cities whilst touring the UK with Calendar Girls.

Sue praised the amazing work the charity does: “What shelter do, is incredible you know, you see all the Shelter charity shops but I mean if someone is homeless, they help them. They get them back into accommodation, they get them back on their feet, provide them with housing, with warmth, with food, with clothing.

“If they’ve got any mental illness they help them with that as well. I just think it’s fantastic.

“The people that I talk to that are homeless, they are funny, they’re comedic, they’re selfless. They are passionate about their life! A lot of them became an addict living out on the streets. They had careers before they were homeless; they have families. They’re just struggling.”

Alex Williams MBE, former footballer and City in the Community ambassador, was also present to support the event. City player Vincent Kompany recently donated the money from his testimonial game to the homeless of Manchester. 

Alex said: “It’s a big ethos of the club to ensure we interact with our local community and support them as much as we can. 

“We’re working closely with Andy Burnham to support local events such as this.” 

The 10km route loops around the city. People lining the route were encouraged to sign a petition demanding the government commit to building more social housing.