I have purposely not mentioned anything on social media over the last couple of weeks about the horrendous attack on innocent people who attended a concert in Manchester. The reason I chose not too write anything is because there were so many others doing so. There was anger, guilt, rage, bile and hope, all being offered column inches in Newspapers, Facebook, Twitter and IF TRUTH BE KNOWN I didn’t know what to think.
I was born just down the road from the arena in Salford and so this has felt personal, just like the IRA bomb in Manchester which blew a huge part of the city wide open. Back then, just as now, there have been people shouting that Manchester is UNITED, that Manchester is a strong community who will not buckle under such cowardly attacks. How we are a city that is friendly and inclusive. Too a certain extent this is true but one of the things I have taken from these attacks are the stories about the 2 homeless people who went and helped the injured with no thought for their own safety. They are now placed upon a pedestal where everyone bows down too them paying homage to such incredible selflessness. They have now had fundraising campaigns raising money that will secure their futures – this is fantastic and I am fully behind them getting their lives back on track.
As someone who has been homeless I have a certain empathy with anyone who has landed themselves on the street and I have supported charities and homeless people over the years as I truly understand the struggles that they face. To date over £50000 HAS BEEN RAISED FOR ONE OF THE HOMELESS MEN and he has been offered 6 months’ rent free. £millions have also been raised for the victim’s families. Now it is fair to say NO amount of money will ever be enough to bring a loved one back, but it clearly will help because there will be lost wages due to grieving and not going back to work for a lengthy period. So whilst financial help would be massively welcomed but I can’t help feel somewhat frustrated that before the attacks when I walked round Manchester City Centre and the surrounding areas it was a different story.
- Bailiffs were storming tent cities where homeless men and women set up camp for safety in numbers and warmth – they were forced out of these makeshift campsites onto the open street where they will be met with violence and intimidation
- There are spikes being installed in most doorways to stop the homeless from finding any kind of shelter.
- Food shelters are being closed and refuges are stretched
These homeless people are the same people who were being attacked and ignored and treated as sub human before the attacks.
It would be nice if a concerted effort was made where the intense fundraising that has been so magical and wonderful to see, included not just the 2 homeless people but was distributed too homeless charities such as Streetwise who are actually working with the homeless too provide skills, jobs and a future for these guys. A massive injection of cash would not just help 2 homeless guys – it would help 100’s if not 1000’s of homeless people on the street.
Now wouldn’t that be a fantastic legacy and a perfect way to show that Manchester Truly Stands United!