An organisation supporting homeless people in Manchester has received a £1,000 donation towards a new project currently in development from Barratt Homes as part of its Legacy scheme.
Committed to leaving a legacy in the areas in which it builds, Barratt Homes Manchester has donated the funds to the Manchester division of Invisible Cities, where the developer is currently building homes at a number of sites.
Invisible Cities is a social enterprise that trains local people affected by homelessness to become walking tour guides of their own cities, offering these alternative tours to tourists and locals. Partnering with official tour guides, Invisible Cities builds bespoke tours with training that focuses on building confidence, public speaking, and customer service skills.
Alice Sparks, Head of Invisible (Manchester), said: “Our purpose is twofold; we want to provide people who have experienced homelessness with transferable skills, such as public speaking and time management, to expand their horizons, and breakdown negative stereotypes of the homeless community by demonstrating that everyone has value and a story to share.
“We are currently developing a new project, “hyper-local tours,” with tour guides living all over Manchester. Each area has a diverse story that can often be overlooked by its own residents, as well as the wider Manchester population. The aim is to empower our guides to tell the story of their local area.”
Invisible (Manchester) plans to put the donation towards the research and development of their new project, with a goal of having them up and running by June this year and available for the public to book. The organisation hopes that their new project will decentralise the public’s focus from Manchester city centre, and encourage others to appreciate their local area and others across the county.
Alice continued: “It has been a difficult year for us as a business due to the pandemic, but also personally for many of our guides and trainees. Barratt Homes’ donation will lift the spirits of our guides by offering a new and exciting project for all of us to work on.
“The donation has enabled us to allocate staff time to support our guides and trainees in creating these tours, which will be used to develop new materials, resources, and training curriculum for this specific project. Overall, we hope that this project will celebrate communities and local history, even in the most unexpected areas of the city.”
According to Greater Manchester Together, a homelessness organisation run by the Diocese of Manchester and Church Urban Fund, there are approximately 5,564 homeless people across Greater Manchester, and in 2018 Andy Burnham pledged his commitment to finding homes for 200 of Greater Manchester’s most entrenched rough sleepers.
Since then, the GM Homes Partnership has gone on to be one of the UK’s most successful homelessness projects, and organisations such as Invisible (Manchester) are working hard to provide employment, transferable skills, and training opportunities for those that want it.
Neil Goodwin, Managing Director of Barratt Homes Manchester, said: “As one of the UK’s leading developers, it is really important that we support the community in the areas in which we build.
“Invisible (Manchester) are working hard to support the homeless population in Greater Manchester, and we are happy to support them in the development of their “hyper-local tours.” We wish them the best of luck with their project, and in difficult times like these we’re encouraging more people to support their local community.”
Alice added: “Homelessness is a complex and multi-faced problem and we are very grateful that the Barratt Legacy scheme has chosen to support us and the wider issue of homelessness.
“We believe that all property developers have a responsibility to address the issue of homelessness as it is directly interlinked with their work. The Barratt Legacy scheme is a leading example of what other companies could also do, we would highly recommend that they take inspiration from this scheme.
“On behalf of everyone at Invisible (Manchester), we would like to say a big thank you to Barratt Homes for supporting our work.”
To find out more about Invisible (Manchester) visit www.invisible-cities.org/cities/manchester