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New Victoria development partners bring Christmas cheer to Manchester’s homeless

New Victoria development partners bring Christmas cheer to Manchester’s homeless

Charity Christmas Project running for 34 years almost cancelled due to no room at Manchester’s ‘inn’.

The team behind the major New Victoria residential development has come to the rescue of a Manchester homeless charity by offering facilities, food and a raft of support to make sure the charity’s ‘at risk’ annual Christmas Project can go ahead.

New Victoria partners, main contractor VINCI Construction UK, urban regenerator Muse Developments, and site owner Pension Insurance Corporation Plc, have all come together to offer Lifeshare – Manchester’s oldest charity that supports homeless and vulnerable people in the city – the location for its Christmas Project, funding for the food, rafts of volunteers and a series of other much needed resources.

Lifeshare’s Christmas Project has run for 34 years and offers homeless people and those in crisis a place to find hot meals, companionship, medical and personal care, shower facilities, veterinary care and other amenities with the aim to reduce isolation and bring people together over the Christmas period. During covid 2020, the service was drastically cut down for safety reasons, and this year Lifeshare was struggling to find a location suitable for the week, December 23 – 29.

Matt Legg, VINCI’s project manager for the New Victoria scheme, said: “We’d been chatting with Lifeshare since VINCI started on the New Victoria scheme – wondering how we could help a local based service. After hearing the possibility that the Christmas Project might not go ahead, it just dawned on us that our construction shuts down for Christmas and all the staff welfare buildings are free and available!

“We have kitchens, space, bathrooms and it seemed silly not to offer the site – especially with it being so central in the city. We’re now in full planning mode to make it safe and comfortable and are thrilled we can provide a centrally located space for those who need it over Christmas.”

Judith Vickers, operations manager at Lifeshare, said: “We cannot explain how amazing this donation is. I was really starting to panic that we had no location to hold this year’s Christmas Project – a scheme that helps so many people at what is one of the worst times of the year if you’re on the streets.

“We owe a lot to VINCI and the other parties involved – Muse Developments and Pension Insurance Corporation. I’m really hoping that after the horrendous few years people have had, this Christmas may bring some much needed festive cheer and real, tangible support for those in need.”

Simon Hourihan, project director at Muse Developments, said: “It’s great news that facilities at New Victoria are being put to such a worthwhile use over the Christmas period. As soon as we heard about this fantastic initiative, we wanted to get involved and help however we could. We’ve had a brilliant response from the whole team, who have come together to raise more than £4,000 to fund food and other supplies.”

Judith Vickers continued: “All this is an amazing display of what Christmas is really about. We are still asking for help though! We need a range of other items to make it a real success, so I would urge people, who are so kind at this time of year towards the homeless, to take a look at our website and social media channels – www.lifeshare.org.uk and @lifeshareuk –to see how they can help.”

The partners helping to make this Lifeshare Christmas Project happen at the New Victoria residential development include: VINCI Construction UK, Muse Developments, PIC, Chroma, Walker Sime, ARUP, HAALO and WSP.

Special thanks to all the other people involved in this scheme, Lifeshare, Invisible Cities, Cracking Good Food, Eatwell, Vermillion Manchester, Wagamama, Social Homes, The John Chadwick Pet Policy, Wingates, Hardhat, Xclusive Marquees and JF Catering – without all of these organisations we wouldn’t have been able to deliver this project.

The team is currently on site with the 150,000 sq ft residential phase of New Victoria, which will bring forward 520 homes over two 20 and 25-storey buildings at a central location next to Manchester Victoria station.

Date: 21 December 2021

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