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Helping to tackle homelessness in Manchester

7 Dec 2018

A special round of Bags of Help voting is underway in Greater Manchester to support local groups tackling rough sleeping and homelessness.

Local groups are being given the chance to share in £100,000 from the money raised from carrier bag sales, with customers voting for projects in store. For homeless charity Coffee4Craig, this funding will go a long way. Co-founder Risha Lancaster shares their story.

Coffee4Craig

“The organisation was set up by me and my husband, Hendrix Lancaster, in 2013 after the tragic death of my younger brother, Craig. Craig had faced many struggles in his life which led him to end up sleeping rough on the streets after a diagnosis of Paranoid Schizophrenia.

“Craig stayed in contact with me and, along with my husband, we did what we could to support Craig as often as possible; making sure to visit him when in Cardiff, buying his boots, underwear, and taking him for food. On Tuesday 3 September 2013, Craig died from an overdose.

Coffee4Craig was born in his memory and started as a simple idea that if you pass someone rough sleeping, buy them a coffee and say: 'this is from Craig'. From that began a wave of kindness honouring his memory and allowing his name to live on, never forgotten. From these beginnings, Coffee4Craig has grown and supports homeless sleepers across Greater Manchester.

“We now have an army of volunteers and are active seven nights a week, supporting around 60 to 70 homeless people every evening. We provide basics like hot meals, access to showers, emergency clothing, medical support and much more.”

Bags of Help making a difference

Tesco decided to hold a special round of voting in Manchester to support charities working with the homeless after listening to feedback from their colleagues and the community on the issues that really matter to them.

For Risha and Hendrix, they hope the Bags of Help funding will help extend their drop-in service for rough sleepers in Manchester.

“With this funding we can offer a structured support system to move rough sleepers into accommodation. We’d like to thank all those customers at Tesco who have voted for us already and would encourage anyone visiting their local store to vote.”

The current Bags of Help vote ends on 1 January 2019. 45 rough sleeping projects are being voted on by customers across the Greater Manchester region.

Working in partnership with environmental charity, Groundwork, Tesco’s Bags of Help scheme uses the money raised from sales of carrier bags to support local projects and communities, voted for by customers. Since its launch in 2015, over £60 million has been awarded to more than 18,000 local groups. Find out more here.

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