This month we’re catching up with one of the other Manchester homeless charities that WellBox have helped to support since our inception, Lifeshare. They’ve told us how the donations that our customers have made are being used and their plans for the future.
Lifeshare utilises donations from WellBox and other community partners to help support their efforts as Manchester’s oldest homelessness charity. Whether it be to provide a food parcel to a family in need, provide dry socks and warm clothes in cold weather, facilitate mental health counselling and care, or connect someone with a device they can use to access important resources like healthcare, Lifeshare is there to help.
Lifeshare’s primary service is providing crisis support for 16-25s with their CARDS program. CARDS targets vulnerable and marginalised young people in Greater Manchester, particularly those who are homeless (or at risk of becoming so) and those at risk of being sexually exploited. In addition to working to secure safe and stable housing, Lifeshare also works to help these young people achieve financial stability and develop positive mental wellbeing.
Lifeshare also works to fight food poverty with their weekend Breakfast Project in collaboration with Manchester City Council, Audacious, Barnabus, and Mind. Every weekend between 7.00-9.00am, volunteers operate out of a city centre location to provide tea, coffee, hot sandwiches, and porridge free of charge. They also hand out fruit, water, and snack bars to help people throughout the day. In addition, they offer dry socks and underwear in inclement weather to help them stay warm and dry.
During the pandemic, Lifeshare have also supported temporary accommodations throughout the city to help them to provide food to their residents including providing a few holiday treats. Through the generosity of their partners, they were able to not only provide Christmas parcels with dinner and gifts to people across Greater Manchester, but they provided Easter chocolates as well.
In 2020, Lifeshare launched the Manchester Digital Collective, an initiative to fight digital exclusion and provide access to the life-changing benefits of technology. With a three-pronged approach that starts with sourcing and providing devices, moves on to establishing internet access, and finishes with a skill-building portal, the MDC hopes to bridge the gap in technical skills in the UK. This is needed because over 22% of the population are currently lacking the digital skills they need for everyday life.
Lifeshare is just finishing a #SpringUpNorth campaign in partnership with local artists to produce t-shirts, tote bags, and posters to raise funds to support these important projects. Going forward in 2021 Lifeshare will continue to adapt and change to the needs of the city of Manchester. They hope to reopen in-person drop-in services, facilitate art and mental health therapy sessions, and continue their frontline efforts to ensure at-risk individuals are safely housed and can access the services they need.
You can follow Lifeshare’s efforts on their social media pages on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to get current updates on their ongoing work. You can also look at their website lifeshare.org.uk to read more about their services and check out volunteering opportunities.