National law firm Shoosmiths and commercial property advisor GVA have given pro-bono advice to a leading Manchester homeless charity after a surge of homelessness forced it to move premises.
After 19 years based in Manchester Cathedral, the new-look Booth Centre at Edward Holt House on Pimblett Street launched on Thursday 15 May. Edward Holt House has been funded by the Edward Holt Trust which instructed GVA to assist in finding a suitable new premises and for Shoosmiths' Manchester real estate team provide legal advice.
The new space contains an advice and skills centre which provides qualifications and training for people to get back in to work. It also includes a café which can provide hot meals to over 100 people a day; shower facilities; access to medical care; an IT suite; a fully equipped training kitchen; education and advice rooms; a greenhouse and allotment and even a boules court.
Booth Centre chief executive, Amanda Croome, said: 'Homelessness is rising all over the UK according to government figures and we are seeing growing numbers through our doors. This is due to the state of the economy and welfare reform.
'The pro-bono support we have received from Shoosmiths and from GVA has greatly reduced the costs of setting up the new centre. It's fantastic that businesses working in Manchester are happy to give something back to the community and help to ensure that some of the most disadvantaged people in the city have the services they need.'
Shoosmiths real estate partner, James Wynne, said: 'The team at the Manchester office really wanted to offer our pro-bono services to the Booth Centre. Caring about our surrounding community is something we are committed to at Shoosmiths. With the increase in homelessness in the city it's important the Booth Centre has the facilities and space to assist vulnerable people when they need support the most.'
GVA Investment team associate, Gurminder Manak, added: 'The Booth Centre provides an exceptional service to the city's homeless population and the new accommodation at Edward Holt House will ensure that this great work is able to continue. Edward Holt House met all of the Booth Centre's requirements, providing more efficient and modern facilities in the right location, enabling the team to cater for the growing demand for their services. At GVA we are committed to giving back to our local community and we are delighted to have been able to play a part in identifying premises which will make a real difference to the lives of homeless people living in Manchester and Salford.'
The official opening of the new centre took place on Thursday 15 May at 6pm at Edward Holt House, Pimblett Street, Manchester, M3 1FU. The Booth Centre's opera singing group opened the event and a plaque was unveiled by Richard Kershaw - Chief Executive of the Joseph Holt Brewery and chair of the Edward Holt Trust, who financed the project. The event was also attended by The Dean of Manchester Cathedral, the Lord-Lieutenant of Greater Manchester and others who have supported the project.