WITH the number of rough sleepers almost doubling in Wigan, a homeless centre is appealing for extra funds to help find housing for its clients.
Volunteers at The Brick, in Hallgate, say twice the number of new clients are now seeking its services, with an average of 13 extra people coming through its doors a month.
To help alleviate the increase, the centre has been given a grant by Homeless Link to employ two workers to rehouse newly homeless people quickly.
But volunteers fear this is not enough, and they are now desperately seeking funds to provide emergency accommodation as the cold nights creep in.
Trish Green, founder of The Brick, said: “We are fund-raising to be able to provide an increase to our services. “In winter, we will again be providing emergency accommodation for those who find themselves homeless and who cannot be accommodated in the borough’s provision.
“We are seeing an increase in the number of homeless presentations at our door, and we want to be able to respond to that.
“There is a new Government initiative which aims to stop anyone who is new to the streets spending a second night out, and we are looking at ways of making this happen.
“We have been given a grant by Homeless Link to employ two new workers, who will work with newly homeless people to resettle them quickly. This should avoid the situation where people become accustomed to sleeping rough, making the situation much harder to resolve.
“To do this, we need emergency beds, and as there are only five currently for Wigan borough, we want to be able to provide more.”
One fund-raiser is a comedy musical production of A Week in Space, performed by members of Wigan Methodist Circuit, at the marquee at DW Stadium, on October 28 and 29, at 7.30pm.
The production, set in 1968, follows 10-year-old Billy, who is obsessed with space, which leads to an evening of comedy and drama.
Co-writer Rob Jones said: “We really wanted to help The Brick raise money to set up temporary accommodation during the worst weeks in winter, and as I had a business of writing musicals, I felt this was appropriate.
“This is a fun musical which deals with human nature, while being quite light-hearted. It was fun to get everyone involved.”
And for some, the project, which has seen the support of Wigan actress Georgia Taylor, has been a family affair.
Canada Cherry, 17, of Appley Bridge, plays the mother of the main character, Billy, who is portrayed by her 10-year-old brother Toby, an All Saints Primary School.
And brother Cameron, 15, a Deanery High School student, has been cast as her husband and Billy’s dad.
Canada, who attends Winstanley College, said: “We really wanted to make a difference and help the people who are homeless. It has been so much fun rehearsing. The show will be amazing.”
To book tickets, which are £7 for adults, or £6 for concessions, call 0788 739 2125 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.