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Charities respond to the Covid-19 crisis: Shared Health Foundation

This is the second update in our series of posts recognising and supporting the hard work that is going on across the sector: you can read the first, from City of Trees, here.

In recent weeks we’ve heard from many of the charitable organisations we’re connected to about how they’re responding to the Covid-19 crisis. Although this is a really tough time for so many, it is encouraging to witness the adaptability, resilience and drive of the people powering our sector.

We hope that these brief posts may provide inspiration and ideas for others, or just demonstrate something of the profound value and quality in this work. All charities will need our collective support in the weeks and months ahead – follow the links to each organisations’ individual sites and appeals to find out more.

Food being served at Growing Together Levenshulme
Shared Health Foundation wraps around Manchester’s homeless families

Shared Health Foundation is a community interest company whose primary aim is to reduce the impact that poverty has on health, across all the Boroughs in Greater Manchester (GM).

SHF has been supporting homeless families across GM for the last two years, working on the ground with charities, councils, local authority providers, the Mayor, B&B owners, healthcare providers and families themselves to deliver food, education resources and community connections for families in hotel accommodation.

The number of homeless families in the region currently exceeds 1500, with evidence showing hidden homeless and hidden households equate to 10 times higher than official statistics. Around 1 in 59 children in Manchester are homeless or in temporary accommodation. These figures provide only a glimpse into the current extent of this growing issue.

This issue has come to the attention of Morrison’s CEO, who has recently made a generous donation to support the SHF team in ensuring that Manchester’s most vulnerable children don’t go hungry. With this additional support, SHF have reorganised their skeleton staff team and, working with local allies, are now providing and distributing:

  • One hot meal per day for all families staying in emergency hotel accommodation – supported by Feed my City, Hip Hop Chip Shop and Food Sorcery – this in addition to the breakfast packs previously provided;
  • Hygiene packs for all families staying in emergency hotel accommodation;
  • Cleaning products for hotel managers to allow weekly deep cleaning where products are in short supply;
  • Up-to-date guidance regarding ‘at-home’ management of both Covid-19 and non Covid-19 related incidents;
  • Mental health support sessions for individuals and families, alongside food and essential supplies, delivered by SHF’s qualified mental health practitioner;
  • Access to information is key at this time and so the team are now working on providing Wi-Fi so that concerns about data usage can be alleviated. This is opening up possibilities to access education (such as BBC bitesize and school provided lessons) and wellbeing activities that the whole family can engage with (such as Joe Wicks PE lessons). It also means information can be transmitted during lockdown more easily, including how to look after an unwell child and where to where to seek local help during this disrupted period.

Although the recent, hugely welcome, financial boost has enabled SHF to respond very practically to the health crisis, delivering this service in our most deprived communities has inevitably revealed further need. This week, the team was greeted at one of the B&Bs by children asking “have you brought any toys?” These children have very little space to play, and very little to occupy or to stimulate them. The SHF team are now keen to access educational toys and games for children aged 5-12 years old as well as laptops, which would be kept in secure, accessible community spaces.

If you can help – either with educational toys, games or laptops, please contact Charlotte Cockman, Manager on To find out more about the Shared Health Foundation’s broader campaigning work with homeless families in Manchester, follow this link.