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Project information

Christmas Project

For six days every Christmas, we have an ‘open house’, where homeless people can come for company, food, fun and support. From 8am – 8pm, we are staffed by around 60 volunteers who like nothing more than a chat over a cup of tea, a game of scrabble, or a sound thrashing at table tennis.

December 2016 - December 2016

Charity information: Lifeshare Ltd.

Lifeshare Ltd. logo
  • Need


    Christmas is an exceptionally awful time to be homeless - a lack of friends and family with whom to spend the festive period only exacerbates the feeling of isolation.
    There are many vulnerable people in need in Manchester, from rough sleepers, offenders, those with physical and mental health needs and substance issues, as well as poverty - we are addressing social disadvantage and indignity.

    The weather is usually freezing.


    Providing people with food, showers, clothes and wellbeing services including hairdressers can increase hygiene and wellbeing, helping people address their health needs.

    Offering companionship and entertainment, the Christmas project gives fellowship and fun helping people feel valued and cared for.
    The project also reduces offending as people have said they do not resort to stealing to source food.
    A warm place to go during the day can save lives.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    People can access free food and non alcoholic drinks throughout Christmas


    » We provide 3 meals and snacks throughout the day for hundreds. Food is donated from the public and the generous support of local food suppliers.

    What success will look like

    We will monitor the amount of food and drink donated and served.

    Aim 2

    People can access free entertainment throughout Christmas


    » Local groups provide music, and we have TV, books and games on offer.

    What success will look like

    We will find entertainment and ask for feedback from any choirs or bands donors etc. We ask clients for feedback and assume if clients return more than once they enjoy the project.

    Aim 3

    People can access free health and wellbeing throughout Christmas


    » Hairdressers, podiatrists and health workers volunteer their time and resources to serve hundreds of people

    What success will look like

    We will ask volunteers and clients for feedback and have a log for appointments.

    Aim 4

    People can access free clothes and showers throughout Christmas


    » We have clothes donated and volunteers facilitate hundreds of people to receive suitable clothes.
    » We have towels and toiletries donated and volunteers facilitate hundreds of people to receive a shower.

    What success will look like

    We will log donors and ask volunteers and clients for feedback and have a log for appointments.

    Aim 5

    Service users and volunteers can feel safe in a warm welcoming environment


    » Decorations are donated and volunteers create an informal space where people can relax. We train and support volunteers providing them with a party.

    What success will look like

    We will ask volunteers and clients for feedback and assume if they return they enjoy and value the project.

  • Impact


    The project meets basic needs reducing the need for risky behaviour and crime. It creates lasting memories for volunteers (including donors) and service users, it is a special time of connection and engagement. The health and wellbeing it provides ensures people have clean dry clothes and bedding, are fed, have medical attention and someone to talk to. It ensures the safety of service users, it can save lives because we ensure clients know of the Severe Weather Emergency Provision.


    We have delivered this project for over 25 years so we understand the health and safety risks which have been assessed and managed in policies and procedures. We check and train the volunteers in basic safeguarding and have volunteer co-ordinators with knowlege of how to action any violent incidences, issues around drugs and alcohol etc and we have the support of Greater Manchester Police.


    We post regularly on social media and newsletters go on the website including with photos and we answer enquiries.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £3,000

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £1,000 Sessional worker Full time payment for leadership
      £1,000 Expenses Travel for 250 bus journies for volunteers
      £1,000 Rent & Rates Gas, electric and admin
  • Background


    Charter Street Ragged School
    142 Dantzic Street
    Manchester, M4 4DN

    It has toilets, kitchen, dining room with stage, living space, clothes/toiletries/bedding and food stores and meeting/office space.
    It is close to the city centre and accessible by public transport.

    This was the site of the first industrial school in Manchester which opened in 1847. This building was begun in 1866 and enlarged in 1891 and 1900. In 1892 it was renamed as ‘Charter Street Ragged School and Working Girls Home


    Vulnerable excluded disadvantaged and marginalised adults in Manchester including rough sleepers (needs will range from disabilities, offending, substance misuse and dependency, victims of crime and exploitation, care leavers, people with mental illness and those in poverty).
    Volunteers will also benefit by experiencing an alternative Christmas and serving in a rewarding project where they develop their understanding and skills.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    The Christmas project is long running and draws in tremendously talented, generous, energetic, committed volunteers. Many service users return.

    "Just wanted to say how impressed I was at the delivery of the project...I very much enjoyed my time with Lifeshare over the Xmas period and look forward to continued support and promotion of the project in the future"

    ‘It has been fantastic to volunteer with Lifeshare this Christmas. What a wonderful organisation, providing support

    Read more about the Charity running this project.



    Our Chef knows the building volunteers and clients and will open and close the building ensuring health and safety and providing guidance and support.

    Company Secretary

    The Company Secretary has managed and co-ordinated the project, organising volunteers, donors, co-ordinators, planning meetings and finances

    Admin Officer

    Our Administrator will support volunteer recruitment and promote the project on social media and communication channels.


£8 will pay our chef for an hour

Proud to be associated with work of @lifeshareuk Manchester, supporting homeless people with food, clothing and health care

Eustace de Sousa