Manchester’s business community came together this month for the first Homelessness Business Summit at the Old Granada Studios, on the future St. John’s neighbourhood site.  The event, which was a partnership between Allied London, Business in the Community and the Homelessness Partnership, highlighted different ways for the corporate sector to help the homeless back into employment, with 33 pledges made by the businesses attending.

As part of its commitment to the Homelessness Charter, Allied London pledged to work with its partners, suppliers and stakeholders at Spinningfields and beyond to drive awareness of the Charter and the ways businesses can get involved. Working in conjunction with CityCo and Echo PR the event provided practical advice for both businesses and individuals to help – via financial, skills or support-based means.  Over 60 people attended, with speeches from Gabriel Erinle, Estates Director at Spinningfields, Jez Green, Facilitator of the Homelessness Charter, Chris Gopal and Gavin Clarke from Business in the Community and a round table discussion with a panel of experts.

The event culminated in businesses pledging their support in a variety of ways:

Pledging to provide volunteers to support people at job clubs with job searches and applications.

Offer work placement opportunities with the prospect of employment.

Attend job clubs with a view to recruiting from the talented pool of people who have recently completed work experience.

Encouraging their supply chain to get involved by offering work experience or pledging jobs.

Gabriel Erinle said; “Allied London was the first business to sign up to the Homelessness Charter in May.  We are in a fantastic position to engage with a number of businesses across the city and we will encourage them to do what they can to help. Homelessness is an issue that isn’t going away unless we all come together and the Homelessness Business Summit demonstrated that businesses do want to help – but most just need some direction. We’re looking forward to coming together in the next six months to see how those pledges have impacted on the homeless community.”

Chris Gopal said; “It was encouraging to see such energy and enthusiasm from the Manchester business community towards tackling the problem of homelessness. Having a stable job is one of the most critical factors in supporting people out of homelessness, so it’s vital that businesses create employment opportunities for the most vulnerable people in our community. Together with Allied London, we will be working with local employers to convert their pledges into action and look forward to celebrating positive employment outcomes as a direct result of this event.

Alex King said, Partnership Director at CityCo, said; ““Working with people who have experience of homelessness has given many Manchester businesses a new perspective on how they can help. This is a practical way of making a real difference, which is also really rewarding for all involved. CityCo is committed to working to reduce homelessness in the city.”

Councillor Paul Andrews, Executive Member for Adult Health and Wellbeing at Manchester City Council, said: “The issues that lead to people sleeping rough on the streets are many and complicated.  To help us tackle the issue, we need the support of all the communities within the city.  Allied London has shown real leadership in bringing the business community together to make positive changes to the way in which we, as a city, try to help some of the most vulnerable people in our society.”

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