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OUR Big Sleep Out for the Cor­ner­stone Cen­tre keeps on get­ting big­ger as our lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties re­spond to the grow­ing prob­lem of home­less­ness in Manch­ester.

We have writ­ten be­fore about the prob­lem with home­less­ness within our city.

Manch­ester now has the largest home­less­ness pop­u­la­tion in the north west, and it is a num­ber that con­tin­ues to rise.

The Cor­ner­stone Cen­tre in Manch­ester is one of the ways in which we as a church are help­ing to tackle home­less­ness.

Two years ago Cor­ner­stone was open six days a week dur­ing the day­time only.

Now the cen­tre is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with the ad­di­tion of the night shel­ter, as well as a grow­ing ed­u­ca­tion pro­gramme with English and maths classes each night of the week.

Last year saw Bishop John, and over 160 other peo­ple, take part in the Cor­ner­stone Big Sleep Out to stand in sol­i­dar­ity with all those ex­pe­ri­enc­ing home­less­ness in Manch­ester.

That sleep out saw a record break­ing £76k raised for the char­ity.

The Big Sleep Out is sched­uled to take place again this week­end, and we are am­bi­tious in hop­ing that a sim­i­lar amount can be raised.

All the funds raised en­able the char­ity to pro­vide night pro­vi­sion and ac­com­mo­da­tion to those in need.

A to­tal of 178 peo­ple have been ac­com­mo­dated since May 2017, with 70 hav­ing now moved into more per­ma­nent ac­com­mo­da­tion.

This year the Big Sleep Out will be run at the same time as the Youth Sleep Out, a spe­cial event al­low­ing the young peo­ple of the Dio­cese of Sal­ford to come to­gether and take some ac­tion for a cause they care about.

The money raised by the Youth Sleep Out will be used to fund all of the home­less­ness projects run by Car­i­tas.

Projects like The Red Door, which pro­vides sup­port through a drop-in ser­vice, along­side well­be­ing ac­tiv­i­ties for those ex­pe­ri­enc­ing home­less­ness in Bury.

At last year’s event, Bishop John said: “What is so ap­palling is that with all the pros­per­ity in this coun­try we have peo­ple liv­ing on the streets. We have lost a sense of pro­por­tion and jus­tice even among our own fam­ily here.

“We have got to make a very strong state­ment about those who we deny dig­nity, those who sleep rough.

“This gath­er­ing here this evening is mak­ing a very strong ges­ture of wit­ness on be­half of the home­less and des­ti­tute.”


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