Last week, Andy Burnham dedicated a day to visiting organisations and charities that had been supported by his Mayors Homelessness fund. In his bid to eradicate rough sleeping by 2020, he has dedicated 15% of his salary into this pot alongside other funding. In December, the fund announced a total of £135,000. By doing so, across the 10 boroughs and across multiple organisations working together in this field, he recognises together we can tackle this issue a lot better than we could alone.
Andy Burnham and his Homelessness fund initiative supports frontline projects that aid recovery, expand on mental health and wellbeing support and arts programs, all of which are included in Mustard Tree’s wraparound holistic support offer to enable people to help themselves through opportunity.
At Mustard Tree, we acknowledge that the rise in visible homelessness and people rough sleeping is just the tip of the iceberg. Being homeless is about so much more than not just having a roof overhead, its about being without a place to call home. That’s what Mustard Tree seeks to provide – a place to call home including the support, safety and connectivity for people who may not be able to find them elsewhere. Some people are born with opportunities, some people are not but everyone has the chance to create them at Mustard Tree.
He was invited to our temporary office base on Poland Street to meet our CEO Jo, Development Manager Aileen and Graham our Creative Programs Manager to discuss Mustard Tree’s vision and plans for the coming years. Jo explained, “homelessness is a symptom of a wider societal breakdown. And we want to be able to help more people”. These societal and personal ‘breakdown’ points are where we aim to intervene to combat poverty and ultimately prevent homelessness.
After a brew, he was shown round our amazing newly refurbished space on Oldham Road in Ancoats with our Building Manager Rosie, the same warehouse we’ve occupied for 20 years. After a £2 million project, it has now been rebuilt into a purpose fit community space for the whole of Greater Manchester. We can’t wait to expand our services and develop our support while providing a space that is not just ours, it is everyone’s as part of the city. We’re due to reopen our doors the first week in April and connect wait to welcome everyone.
Andy explained “There’s no place for ego no place for politics no place for any of that. There’s a place for everyone to play a part within this ecosystem around the issue, because demand is outstripping supply. But it has to be within a structure, knitting together all the players who want to contribute to the vision”.
He congratulated Mustard Tree on our work, with an exciting future “pushing the boundaries of what’s possible”.
Andy Burnham has placed such a spotlight on the issue of homelessness because it has helped us to open so many more doors with our partnerships across the city and in turn to offer even more opportunities to those who come to us every day for support. With support like his, we are continuing to push forward to tackle this issue as we have done for 25 years.