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With winter fast approaching, Network Rail will be making tackling homelessness across Greater Manchester a priority to raise awareness and money, and to collect clothes and equipment for those forced to live on the streets.

After the success of 2017’s Wrap Up Manchester campaign, in conjunction with charity Human Appeal, Piccadilly station will once again be the city’s biggest donation point for coats to be given to rough sleepers.

Last year 1,591 items were donated at the station, and 2018’s collection – taking place until Wednesday (14 November) on the station concourse – will aim to collect even more.

It coincides with a week-long art and photography exhibition by homelessness charity the Booth Centre which hopes to challenge misconceptions of homelessness.

The ‘Inspirational People’ exhibition, by photographer Matt Priestley, shows portraits of Booth Centre artists along with their work, all who have directly experienced homelessness themselves.

Network Rail’s shift station manager at Manchester Piccadilly, Matt Jump, said: “After the success of events last year, particularly the generosity of passengers at Manchester Piccadilly station who donated more than 1,500 coats to Wrap Up Manchester, it seemed the obvious thing to do to extend our support to more organisations across the city to help those less fortunate as winter sets in.

We hope helping to spread the message of the great work being done by the mayor, councils, faith groups and charities across Greater Manchester will not only raise awareness and money for those in need, but will also direct people to help if they too find themselves at risk of living on the streets this winter.”

On Friday 17 November an awareness event will be held at Manchester Piccadilly as part of Network Rail’s support of ‘A Bed Every Night’ campaign, with staff from organisation Street Support hosting a stall offering information and appealing for donations.

In a UK first, all ten borough councils and the Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham are aiming to provide a warm and safe place to stay overnight for everyone who find themselves forced to sleep rough this winter.

Digital posters on station displays & special hourly station announcements recorded by Street Support and the mayor will play from November until March, to raise the plight of the estimated 500 people who habitually sleep rough each night across Greater Manchester.

Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said: “We need public support – please consider donating to the campaign rather than giving on the street. By donating you can be sure your money will go to the right people.

We will seek to provide a place for every person sleeping rough. Huge work is happening across our 10 boroughs, together with our voluntary providers and faith organisations, to deliver A Bed Every Night and make sure there is a range of accommodation available, including safe women-only provision and places that will look after dogs.

A Bed Every Night is an important next step in our systematic approach to ending rough sleeping in Greater Manchester and giving people a supported journey away from the streets.”

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