Charity aims to provide ‘full package’ for homeless

Marjorie and Vic in the cafe at The Brick Works
Marjorie and Vic in the cafe at The Brick Works

Homeless people in Wigan could soon have access to sheltered accommodation due to the work of a poverty charity.

The Brick, which works across the borough to provide opportunities for some of the most vulnerable people in the community, has revealed plans to open a 20-bed unit to help get the homeless back on their feet.

Janet Mitchell , fundraising and business engagement manager at The Brick Project

Janet Mitchell , fundraising and business engagement manager at The Brick Project

Kathleen Pitt, chief executive officer of The Brick, told the Wigan Post about the organisation’s vision to combine housing, employment experience and training opportunities to create a hub for homeless people to go from the streets back into a place of their own.

“At the moment our main thrust is to get people off the streets,” she said.

“Our goal is to take people into accommodation with us.

“They would commit to learning the skills to get them into work, doing the same as you and I, getting up in the morning and coming to the workshop as if they were going to work.

“We would also help them find work placements.

“We want to be providing the whole package.”

In March, the charity launched its first fund-raising drive called Rebuilding Lives, to raise £75,000 over the course of the next 12 months.

It is hoped that this will go some way towards getting the accommodation up and running, which is management’s first port of call.

Ms Pitt (pictured), who has led the organisation since January last year, said that the charity has already viewed a number of properties suitable for housing, but nothing has yet been signed.

The charity currently works across a number of sites, with a workshop for skills development, a drop-in centre and food bank, The Brick also has a number of charity shops across the borough.

The aim with the new development would be to merge these all in one place.

She added: “We conducted a consultation to draw up a new strategic plan. We want to build up more business networks and ask local businesses to support us with our goals.

“We are raising awareness and fund-raising: trying to get the message out there and telling the public about our wider goals.”

The Brick is appealing for help in any form, whether that be financial donations or volunteering, to try to get the accommodation up and running.

Once accommodation has been rented, the next phase will be put into action.

Volunteers are being sought to help in every department, ranging from marketing to cooking.

Administration roles are available for those who have experience in this department, and people with skills in any areas can provide a “valuable contribution” to The Brick.

The charity, which houses a workshop to help people learn trade skills, is also calling on people to donate unwanted items for up-cycling which are they sold at The Brick Works off Caroline Street (see picture of Simon in the bike store, above left).

Meanwhile, schools and youth groups are being urged to take part in a Tin Sculpture Challenge which itself can be of great help to The Brick.

The competition is the brainchild of the charity, Wigan Warriors and Houses for Homes, and aims to get people to be creative while also collecting cans of food to help feed hundreds of families throughout the school holidays.

To enter the competition organisations need to come up with a design idea, collect tins, construct their sculpture and then send a photo of it into The Brick.

The deadline is June 23, then there will be a public vote on The Brick’s Facebook page between June 30 and July 7.

Winners will be notified the week of July 10, and the tins used for the sculptures will be donated to families in the borough.

To enter contact giving@thebrick.org.uk.

For more information about The Brick and how to get involved, visit: thebrick.org.uk