Fresh Start have been helping a city centre homelessness charity to manage its waste generated from feeding dozens of rough sleepers every day.

Volunteers at Coffee4Craig serve more than 80 guests each evening – providing support, hot food, food parcels, showers and medical support alongside mental health crisis intervention to Manchester’s growing homeless community. 

By providing our waste collection and recycling services free of charge, Fresh Start have been able to save Coffee4Craig £1,000 per year – money which could help fund everything from hot meals and toiletries to clothes and weekly bus tickets for the charity’s guests.

Risha Lancaster, Co-Founder of Coffee4Craig, says: “At the moment, Fresh Start are collecting twice a week. We have a massive wheelie bin and that gets chock-a-block. We really want to make ourselves carbon neutral so this will help to go a long way towards doing that.”

Richard Elliott, Operations Manager at Manchester’s city centre management company CityCo, has helped facilitate our partnership-working with the charity.

“I knew that as an active member of CityCo, Fresh Start was looking to lend its expertise in waste management to a city centre charity,” explains Richard.

“Coffee4Craig was founded by Risha in memory of her brother Craig White, who died aged 37 after battling mental health, addiction and homelessness. Along with her husband Hendrix, Risha began handing out coffee to vulnerable people on the streets of Manchester. That act of generosity grew into a three-day-a-week outdoor ‘street kitchen’ in Piccadilly Gardens and then a seven-day-a-week indoor drop-in centre.

‘Over the years, the amount of waste being generated became unmanageable. The charity didn’t have the funds for a commercial waste company and staff had been taking recyclables home to try and do their bit for the environment. After the issue was flagged up with the Council, a deal was struck with Fresh Start. It’s been a perfect fit and, from the feedback I’ve heard, everything is going well.”

Mark Walker, Head of Operations at Fresh Start, has been overseeing the collections from the charity’s premises on Oldham Street. He says: “We don’t just take away the rubbish; we take away all the hassle that goes with it too. The volunteers can focus on what they do best, which is helping their guests. We would like to thank Risha, Hendrix and the team for the opportunity to support their invaluable work in the homelessness sector.”  

The Coffee4Craig drop-in service works in partnership with Centrepoint, which helps homeless young people, and is supported by a grant from Manchester City Council. 

Speaking to the Manchester Evening News, Councillor Sue Murphy – Deputy Leader of Manchester City Council – adds: “Coffee4Craig do vital work to support the homeless community and it is uplifting to see a company like Fresh Start helping in their own way. It may seem like a small gesture, but small gestures add up to big changes, so I am incredibly grateful for their generous actions.”

To find out more about ways to support Coffee4Craig, please visit www.coffee4craig.com

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