Impact Report 2018

2018 Impact Report - Pledge

2018 has been a tremendous year for Pledge and the people we help. We’ve been involved in some fantastic projects, as well as directly benefiting the people we are committed to supporting.

109 People Helped in 2018

Throughout 2018, we have directly supported 109 people who are either homeless or unemployed. Some examples of actual help include:

  • Donated three simple basic phones to people who were homeless or unemployed, including a person that has now gone into rehab.
  • Donated razor blades and socks to help keep homeless people clean and dry.
  • Donated a television to a person who has just moved into their accommodation after moving on from a halfway house.
  • Gave a homeless woman hats and gloves and referred them to Manchester City Council and Lifeshare for further housing support.

A massive thank you to Reachout, Lifeshare and Jack Broadley.

#CoffeeSwap

In 2018 we launched our innovative social media campaign, where you can donate the price of your coffee to help someone in poverty. We’ve seen some fantastic support of this campaign, and we’ve decided to keep it running throughout 2019. Swap your coffee here.

Homeless in Manchester Exhibition

In November, we put together an exhibition at WeWork to mark the International Homelessness and Arts Summit and Festival. Our exhibition alone had over 50 individuals attend, and the feedback we had was overwhelmingly positive.

This week-long celebration organised by With One Voice was an insight into the fantastic work happening in the world of homelessness across Greater Manchester and the world. Delegates attended from all corners of the globe and shared ideas and experiences to help us all achieve the same goal, of ending homelessness.

A massive thank you to our artists: Women of MASHGiuseppina ArdolinoKal Gill-FaciTony MallonIlisa Stack, Sam Parrish-Lyne

And: HOBS, WeWork, Andrew Brooks, British Council

 

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In the latter part of 2018, we reached out to the corporate sector including large contractors, consultants, suppliers and design practices in the property and construction industry who are very conscious of the local community and want to help those who are homeless in Greater Manchester.

The response has been overwhelmingly positive, and we have already met with several organisations who are keen to work with us closely moving forward.

Throughout 2019 we are looking to expand our partnership reach and bring on board a more diverse range of companies who care about Greater Manchester and are willing to collaborate to make an even more significant impact on helping those who live in poverty.

In parallel with this work, we will be forming close relationships with support workers in homeless charities to provide the support where it is needed most and immediately.

– Kal Gill-Faci, Head of Corporate Engagement, Pledge  [/aux_quote]

 

Thank you

2018 has been a truly inspirational year, with support from business, charities and individuals. All of these have helped us to help those who are living in poverty, whether you have helped us through online donations, charity runs or regular monthly donations, you’ve all made a massive difference.

If you have ideas on how to help, and want to support is, please get in touch.

Homeless in Manchester Exhibition

Pledge Homeless In Manchester - Andrew Brooks - British Council 12

Back in November, we put together an exhibition at WeWork to mark the International Homelessness and Arts Summit and Festival. This week-long celebration organised by With One Voice was an insight into the fantastic work happening in the world of homelessness across Greater Manchester and the world. Delegates attended from all corners of the globe and shared ideas and experiences to help us all achieve the same goal, of ending homelessness.

After being invited to take part in the International Arts & Homelessness Festival, we began to think about what we could show to the public that was related in a strong way to the homeless in Manchester. Arts is vital in helping people who are homeless to rebuild their lives, through building confidence and self-worth. This then enables them to take more significant, more important life steps that they were too scared to before.

Homeless in Manchester exhibition

Our photography exhibition showcased the stories of hope and aspiration of those living and working on the streets of Greater Manchester. The collections of photography range from those who are or have been homeless, the general public and those who work in the homelessness sector across Manchester. All of the works will show that we’re all the same when everything else is stripped away and that you should not judge a person based on their current circumstances, but look at them for where they’ve come from, and where they are going.

Thank You

A massive thank you to our artists: Women of MASHGiuseppina ArdolinoKal Gill-FaciTony MallonIlisa Stack, Sam Parrish-Lyne

And: HOBS, WeWork, Andrew Brooks, British Council

Gallery

 

You’re free to use the above photography, but please credit ‘Andrew Brooks – British Council’.

Finally

Our exhibition, was part of the wider International Arts & Homeless Festival. For more information on the festival and it’s legacy, please visit With One Voice.

Homeless in Manchester Exhibition

Homeless in Manchester - Pledge - Social
After being invited to take part in the International Arts & Homelessness Festival, we began to think about what we could show to the public that was related in a strong way to the homeless in Manchester. Arts is vital in helping people who are homeless to rebuild their lives, through building confidence and self-worth. This then enables them to take more significant, more important life steps that they were too scared to before.

What is the Homeless in Manchester exhibition?

A photography exhibition that showcases the stories of hope and aspiration of those living and working on the streets of Greater Manchester. The collections of photography range from those who are or have been homeless, the general public and those who work in the homelessness sector across Manchester. All of the works will show that we’re all the same when everything else is stripped away and that you should not judge a person based on their current circumstances, but look at them for where they’ve come from, and where they are going. One of the people involved in the exhibition and who will have work being exhibited is Kal Gill-Faci. Kal is a local architect and passionate supporter of the local homeless community and the charities involved in ending homelessness. In the run up to our exhibition on November 15th, we talked to Kal at her allotment.

Finally

Our exhibition, which is part of the wider International Arts & Homeless Festival will be taking place at WeWork Spinningfields on November 15th. To book your free ticket, please visit Eventbrite. For more information on the festival, please visit With One Voice.

Sam’s Story

Sam, who is homeless in Manchester has been rough sleeping since he was 16, he spent most of his childhood in different children’s homes and had never met his birth parents.

Growing up without his parents around and without the mother or father figure most of us have was difficult he told Pledge.

We asked him about friends and relationships, and sadly he says there are no friends to make or keep.

“When living on the streets, there are no friends to be made, and it’s hard to make any relationships. It’s a lonely place to be.”

Asked about the worst thing about being homeless, he says being tarnished with the same brush as other homeless, some that may have committed crimes.

“There’s a tendency for the public to think we’re all the same, and we’re not”, Sam says.

Thinking toward the near future, Sam tells us he’s not looking forward to Christmas, where he wanders the streets on Christmas day, unlike the rest of the Manchester wrapped up at home, he will be spending it the city centre, alone.

Sam, who says he welcomes support from charities and local services, doesn’t see his situation getting better on the street. His story isn’t unique, either, we come across more people like Sam every day in our walk around Manchester city centre.


Sam agreed to share his experiences to highlight the real stories of those living on the streets of Manchester. Pledge works with Sam regularly, and we actively direct him to local services to get the help he needs, and we also provide warm clothing to ensure he stays warm and dry.

Fin’s Story

Fin Pledge Ambassador

Who are you?

Hi, Finlay Hayes, I’m a Pledge ambassador.

Which matter to you most when supporting a charity like Pledge?

For me, it’s supporting a local charity, that helps local people.

Why is it essential to support a local charity versus a national charity?

You can make a difference in your local community, and when a charity is just around the corner, there is a greater sense of accountability.

Why should we care about those who are homeless and those who are rough sleeping on the streets of Manchester?

Manchester’s community is made up of those with and without a roof over their head. With homelessness growing in our city, we need to combat the issue and address the questions and problems within society that cause people to find themselves on the street. Mancunians are known for their warmth and hospitality, and we need to ensure those most in need have the community helping them to get back on their feet.

What about the facts around homelessness?

Education on homeless is still weak, and many people either do not know the reasons that lead up to people finding themselves homeless or are blindsided by preconceived perceptions of those on the street which prevent them from wanting to help.

Become a Pledge Ambassador

Being an individual or corporate ambassador for Pledge is about being part of a movement, a local ethical cause that means something to the community. We welcome ambassadors from all walks of life if you care about those living in poverty and want to make a difference, welcome to the team.

Three ways to help people who are homeless

Pledge-Sleep-Out-Manchester-Homeless

Everyone wants to help people who are homeless but sometimes finding out how to help most effectively can be a daunting task. Before we give you our three ways to help, let’s take a look at the numbers and some definitions.

Homelessness: Shelter.org.uk defines homelessness as; ” Sleeping rough, not having rights to stay where you live or are living in unsuitable housing, such as a B&B, with friends or a hostel.”

Rough Sleeping: Shelter.org.uk defines rough sleeping as: “people sleeping or bedded down in the street, doorways, parks or bus shelters.”

Now for the stats, The North West of England saw the most significant percentage increase in rough sleeping since 2016. There was a 74% increase in rough sleepers. Combine that with those who are homeless, living in hostels etc., the number of people without a home is huge.

How can you help people who are homeless?

1) Contact your local council

Local councils are aware of their responsibility to help those who are homeless. You can alert your local authority of someone who is rough sleeping or homeless by calling the number on their website. This will mean their outreach teams can visit the person and signpost them to the right support available.

During the day, referrals into this accommodation can be made via:
The Council Rough Sleeper team – 0161 234 5339 or roughsleepersteam@manchester.gov.uk

For over 25s: Booth Centre: http://boothcentre.org.uk
For under 25s: Centrepoint North: https://centrepoint.org.uk

When daytime services are closed you can refer through:
The Council Rough Sleeper – 0161 234 5001

2) Support a local charity

A quick and easy way to make a huge impact and help people who are homeless is by supporting a local charity. By donating time, money or fundraising, you can support the work of a charity which works directly with those who are homeless. Charities perform a vital job of engaging and helping those on the streets to get the support they need.

3) Spread the message

Get behind a local cause or organisation that is helping and shout about them. If your local council is doing a good job, shout about it on Twitter and Facebook. The more we talk about helping the homeless, the more we break down barriers. You can make a huge impact just by posting a tweet, publicly backing a charity.

Finally

When you decide on what help you want to give, ensure you choose a charity that works in conjunction with the local authority and other charities. Good charities understand the importance of working together to combat rough sleeping and homelessness, because only when we work together can we truly help each other.

What is poverty and how can you help right now

Pledge Charity Homeless Manchester

What is poverty in the UK?

Defining poverty 

Poverty in the UK is difficult to define. What we do know is that despite Great Britain being one of the wealthiest countries in the world, 13.5 million people in the UK live under the poverty line. Poverty is not just the homeless people you see living on the street. There is a lot of people living in poverty that we can’t see. Lots of these people are families that are struggling to earn enough to support themselves and buy the essentials needed to live a basic life. 

Poverty is not just the image the media displays to us of homelessness and the unemployed destitute on the streets. Living in any sort of poverty can have a detrimental effect on someone’s wellbeing and health – both physically and mentally and limits their opportunities to live a full and happy life.

Levels and measurements of poverty

Poverty can generally be broken down into two main categories. Relative poverty and absolute poverty. Relative poverty is when households have less than 60% of contemporary median income. Relative poverty means that a person can’t afford an ‘ordinary living pattern’. They do not have the capabilities to enjoy the activities and opportunities that the average person enjoys.

Absolute poverty means that a person cannot even afford the basics to survive. Such as food, clothing and shelter. Living without access to these basic means can have a detrimental effect on a person’s health, both mentally and physically. Absolute poverty is slightly trickier to achieve an accurate result on, as it is hard to keep track of people who are homeless.

How do people end up in poverty?

There are numerous causes and pathways that unfortunately allow someone to fall into poverty. 

  • Problems at home and in a person’s personal life contribute to a small number of people falling into poverty. If someone is having issues in their home life, for example, domestic or substance abuse, it can lead them to a downward spiral into poverty. This is especially true if they are lacking support from other friends or family members and end up having no one to turn to. The breakdown of a marriage or relationship can also cause someone to fall into poverty. 
  • A lack of education and technical skills is also a cause of poverty in the UK, as it limits the person’s ability to get into employment. Sadly, there are 5 million people living in the UK who don’t have basic numeracy and literacy skills. Combine that with the 12.6 million that don’t have digital skills, employers will most often overlook these people. In 2018, most jobs involve at least a small amount of computer use. 
  • The cost of living in the UK has risen dramatically in recent years. Living costs are increasing quicker than the average wage, making it harder for people on minimum wage or benefits to keep up with the increasing costs. Electricity, council tax, broadband and phone bills are expenses that add up. As well as the huge increase in cost for childcare. For people already struggling, the inability to keep up with payments like these can lead them into poverty. 
  • Faults in the benefits system. The benefits system is a scheme designed to combat poverty. However, when combined with high costs, sometimes the amount of money people receive is not always enough. Other times complications arise due to the confusing nature of applying for benefits, such as payment delays and incorrect calculations due to mistakes on application forms. 

The effects of poverty on an individual

Poverty is both a physical state and a mental one. Regardless of the causes, poverty has devastating consequences for the people who live in it. The effect living in poverty has on an individual can cause multiple problems for the person. 

People living in poverty often suffer from poor health, malnutrition, and mental health problems. It is also easier for people in poverty to fall into delinquency and criminality. All these problems lead to a never-ending poverty cycle. People in poverty constantly live in fear, wondering where their next meal will come from, and struggling to break the cycle of poverty. 

4 million children still live in poverty in the UK

What is poverty and how can you help right now

It is a sad fact that children living in poverty are more likely to live in poverty as an adult. When children grow up poor, they miss out on a lot of things that children from wealthier families get to experience. School trips, warm clothes, healthy meals and days out with their family and friends. 

When it comes to exams, there is a 28 per cent gap between the children receiving free school meals and their wealthier classmates in terms of the number achieving at least 5 A*-C GCSE grades. This shows that children who are exposed to poverty at a young age still suffer the consequences when they progress into adulthood. Statistics show they are far more likely to be excluded from school or become involved with criminal activity. Women who grow up with poorer backgrounds are far more likely to enter parenthood early and suffer mental health problems. How can these children break the cycle of poverty and expect to live a more fulfilling life? 

So, why does poverty still exist in the UK in 2018? 

The increased cost of living in the UK in recent years has unfortunately caused people to fall into poverty. The cost of essentials such as food and housing increased 3 times faster than the average wage between 2008-2014. Childcare costs are rapidly increasing making it difficult for parents to stay in work and justify paying so much.

 Lots of children are still born into unstable and low-income families, lowering their chances of escaping poverty as an adult. Combined with the rise in zero – hours contracts and the sheer amount of people with low-level skills this has created a concoction for people still experiencing poverty in 2018. 

Austerity has meant fewer resources are available to tackle poverty, leaving people on low incomes at risk. The EU referendum vote to leave was a clear indication that poverty in the UK is now an economic and political problem. The majority of ‘leave’ voters came from the more deprived areas of the country. 

How can we solve poverty in the UK and make a change? 

We are still a long way off from eliminating poverty in the UK. As the number of households in the economy grows, it’s likely that the number of households living in poverty will grow. Thankfully statistics show that absolute poverty has fallen slightly over the last ten years. However relative poverty has remained very much the same. Here are a few examples of what can be done to help: 

  • Creating more jobs that offer at least the living wage and reducing the number of jobs that offer zero hours contract. 
  • Support a local charity working to combat charity, such as Pledge
  • Delivering an effective benefit system to help those already less well off.  
  • Improving education standards and making sure children from low-income families stay in school. This would ensure no child misses out regardless of their background
  • Support good parenting and helping parents on low incomes to access cheaper childcare so they can stay in work. 

Ultimately, a fundamental change needs to be made by a lot of higher powers. Changes also need to be made by people such as employers and landlords, communities and even the demographics of people living in poverty themselves. The UK can be poverty free if we all pull together to make a genuine effort to help those in need.

Tech used for social good to solve Manchester’s most significant poverty challenges

Code-Nation-Website-Screenshot

A partnership between the coding school, Code Nation and charity Pledge will highlight common social issues in Greater Manchester that can be solved using technology.

Regular cohorts of Code Nation students will work with poverty reduction charity, Pledge to look at local social issues that could be rife for tech innovation. 

Pledge, which is run by former tech CEO, Mylo Kaye has a mission to reduce poverty in Greater Manchester for those people who are experiencing homelessness, exploitation and unemployment. This partnership will see both Pledge and Code Nation work together to tackle important issues that many individuals and employers want to help with but don’t know how.

The first project, due to start in September will see the twelve-strong team of students work on a real-life brief with the charity, looking at how their skills of mobile and web development can create genuinely impactful tech solutions.

Due to be decided and unveiled by Code Nation students on October 30th, the project will be the first of its kind in Greater Manchester, merging the skills of a corporate and charity to create sustainable long-term social impact projects.

More information on the project will be shared via the Pledge blog over the coming months.

Who is Code Nation?

Code Nation is on a mission to prove that anyone (with the right attitude) can learn to code.

Total immersion over a 12-week period, providing in excess of 480 hours of training in both technical and life skills, takes candidates from zero to ‘work ready’, significantly faster than traditional learning environments.

You have to commit to the course and throw yourself in from day one. Our program has been designed to “up the pace” steadily throughout the curriculum as well as to keep you smiling and learning about life as a coder.

We look for curious minds and our interview process is designed to help you determine for yourself if a career in coding is for you.

Three Things To Consider For Digital Donations

Digital Donations Apply Pay

Pledge recently had it’s very first fundraising event where supporters take part in an activity of their choice and at the same time raise vital money, the event was Tough Mudder in Heaton Park, Manchester.

The event, which worldwide happens every month in different cities lets participants run, or walk a ‘5k’, with added obstacles for the brave and fit. Four members of Dreamr took part, and at the same time raised donations for Pledge, as it was Pledge’s first event, there were many things to learn from for next time.

Embracing Digital Donations

How we used technology to facilitate a smooth donation process was something we wanted to share, to help other charities in the future.

Online Donations
To process donations on the Pledge website, we used Stripe. Stripe is a payment processor, that works behinds the scenes on your website and app, it works with all credit/debit cards,

The donor’s experience was our No.1 priority, which helps ensure as little friction as possible when accepting online card payments. Gift Aid declaration is built in and it’s also easy to download declarations. Something to consider on your website.

Individual Supporter Pages
We also set up individual pages for all four supporters, these were branded and designed on the existing Pledge website. This meant we were able to control the donor’s experience, and also not pay Just Giving fees. They also look great too.

Three Things To Consider For Digital Donations
Individual Donation Page

Apple Pay / G Pay
We allowed donors to donate to Pledge, using Apple Pay, which meant there were no long card numbers to enter or to check an address matches the cardholder’s details.

This ‘one step’ donation process which uses the card details stored in your digital wallet meant that donors could make a donation on their phone or desktop and authenticate by using their Apple or Android phone.

Connecting with Donors

The digital donation experience is becoming more and more important, charities have a long way to go to be ahead of the curve and use these modern tools, which ultimately connect with a new type of donor.

These donors, who use their mobiles more than desktops, and pay using digital wallets are uber-savvy, and charities need to be able to talk their language to keep up with the changing face of donating, digitally.