Barnabus’ Beacon Support Centre has been the heart of the charity that has been helping Manchester’s homeless for years.
The Beacon Support Centre, operated by Barnabus Charity, has been a sanctuary where the downtrodden find solace, warmth, and a chance at rebuilding their lives.
As the years passed, the centre’s walls absorbed stories of struggle and resilience, but now it’s time for a new chapter – a chapter that promises a revitalised space for those who need it most.
And now, they need your help.
Barnabus Charity, Manchester
The Centre is running a crowdfunded to help update the facilities at the much-loved site.
For 23 years, the Beacon Support Centre has opened its doors to the vulnerable, offering sustenance, cleanliness, and a fresh start.
Within these walls, 70,000 individuals have sought refuge over 100,000 times, their weary footsteps leading them to a warm meal, a soothing shower, and a new set of clothes.
We are truly lucky to have them and their team of dedicated volunteers in the city.
Regenerating the Beacon Support Centre
We sat down with the CEO of Barnabus to discuss the plans for the upgrading of the site.
Yvonne said: “The centre has been in use for a long time now, and we desperately need your help to give our facilities a lick of paint and help improve things for our service users.
“The first floor has been slated for a makeover – with the showers hopefully transformed into wet/dry rooms, where belongings could be safeguarded and fresh starts could begin.
“The corridor is set to be widened, offering more space for comfort.
“Bespoke shelving and storage solutions promise a more organised clothing store.
“I know it seems trivial, but we are also trying to install AC units. Just like freezing weather in the winter, hot days in the summer can be equally detrimental to people’s health.
“We hope that we can offer a bit of respite to our users when it gets hot.”
“The ever-changing needs of people have always been at the forefront of our approach,” Yvonne explained, reflecting on the charity’s commitment to tailoring its services to the individuals it serves.
“The turbulence of recent times, including austerity measures and economic shifts, has necessitated our ability to respond to a range of challenges, from housing affordability to the rise of precarious work arrangements.”
She underscored the alarming societal divide, emphasising, “As the chasm widens between those experiencing prosperity and those sinking into poverty, we witness an unsettling trend of individuals slipping into homelessness.”
Homelessness in Manchester
Yvonne’s words poignantly depicted the harsh reality faced by many vulnerable individuals within society.
The narrative of Barnabus Charity began with a humble bus travelling around Manchester city centre, providing basic necessities such as food and clothing to those in need.
Yvonne recounted, “Our founder’s vision took form through a converted bus that roved the streets of Manchester.
“This mobile support unit, equipped with medical professionals, provided essential supplies to those in distress.”
However, the organisation quickly recognised the need for a permanent space that could offer more comprehensive support to the homeless population.
“Our founder’s tenacity led to the acquisition of a neglected building on Bloom Street,” Yvonne shared.
“The building was in disrepair, to the extent that our founder remarked about finding a swimming pool in the basement due to the absent roof.”
Despite the challenges, the building’s transformation into the Beacon Support Centre marked the birth of a refuge offering not only sustenance but also showers, dignity, and a sense of belonging.
As time progressed, Barnabus Charity’s focus evolved beyond immediate assistance.
Yvonne said: “We realised that the individuals we serve need more than just basic support.
“This insight led to the introduction of various enrichment programs and classes.”
Enrichment programs in Manchester
From music therapy to ceramics, these programs provided a nurturing environment for individuals to express themselves, engage with peers, and envision a brighter future.
Yvonne also highlighted the charity’s strategic collaborations with various agencies, encompassing healthcare providers and mental health professionals, to address the multifaceted needs of Manchester’s homeless population.
Elaborating on the current fundraising efforts, Yvonne revealed, “Our current challenge is the condition of our showers. With limited options for showering facilities in the city centre, one of our vital resources is on the brink of functionality.”
She said the organisation’s aspiration to refurbish the entire first floor of the support centre, creating modern wet and dry rooms that not only ensure privacy but also restore a sense of dignity to those seeking refuge.
Yvonne’s dedication to the cause remains steadfast despite the obstacles and the escalating demand for their services.
She recounted inspiring case studies of individuals who found hope and the opportunity for transformation through Barnabus Charity.
Homelessness Case Studies
These stories, such as those of Darren and Sharon, resonate deeply and reflect the organisation’s enduring commitment to creating tangible, lasting change in the lives of Manchester’s homeless community.
Their journeys stand as testaments to the power of compassion, community, and transformation.
Darren’s story is one of resilience and redemption.
A former prolific drug user who had spent years on the streets, he reached a breaking point during the pandemic.
Yvonne recounted their initial encounter, revealing, “Darren came to us at a moment of desperation, seeking a way out of the cycle that had ensnared him for years.”
The Beacon Support Centre became his refuge, a safe space where he found acceptance, warmth, and a glimmer of hope.
Through a series of gradual steps, Darren’s life began to change.
Yvonne shared, “We introduced him to volunteering opportunities and provided a supportive environment that allowed him to regain his sense of purpose.”
The sense of belonging he found within the centre’s walls catalyzed his journey toward healing.
Over time, Darren made remarkable progress, engaging in training courses and gaining newfound confidence.
Today, he stands as a beacon of hope for others, offering a helping hand to newcomers who, like him, are seeking a way out of the darkness.
Sharon’s journey mirrors that of many individuals who have faced adversity.
Homeless and caught in a cycle of uncertainty, she found her way to the Beacon Support Centre six years ago.
“Sharon’s story speaks to the complex challenges faced by those who have experienced homelessness,” Yvonne noted.
“Despite her resolve to escape a life dominated by drugs, she found herself in a new set of challenges.”
At the centre, Sharon discovered more than just a shelter.
She found a community that understood her struggles and a team dedicated to helping her rebuild her life.
Yvonne recounted, “We worked with Sharon to develop a harm reduction plan, engage with mental health support, and reconnect with her family.”
The support provided by Barnabus Charity extended beyond immediate needs, empowering Sharon to envision a brighter future.
One of Sharon’s most significant milestones was her transition into a healthy relationship and, later, motherhood.
“Becoming a mother marked a turning point in Sharon’s journey,” Yvonne reflected.
“With our continued support, she embraced the challenges of motherhood and learned to navigate the responsibilities of parenting.”
Sharon’s progress embodies the core values of Barnabus Charity: resilience, empowerment, and the unwavering belief in each individual’s potential.