Sign in

15 Dec 2020

As has become tradition, instead of sending Christmas cards (the good-old-fashioned way, in the post) MIS Group has supported a charity doing excellent work within the community. This year, Manchester-based homelessness charity Coffee4Craig, has been chosen to receive the donation. 

The charity was founded by husband and wife, Risha and Hendrix Lancaster, after the tragic death of Risha’s brother, Craig. In the years before his death, Craig had been battling with mental health issues, addiction and homelessness. Determined to create a positive legacy for Craig, the couple started with the kind act of sharing a cooked meal and buying a coffee for some of the vulnerable people of Manchester. 

Their good deed grew into a campaign, in which they encouraged others to buy a meal and a coffee for a homeless person. Fast-forward seven years and Coffe4Craig is now an established charity, operating from its own building and providing hot meals, showers and medical support, one-to-one advice, clothing and crucially at this time of year, cold weather provision to hundreds of people each week.

The service is vital in Manchester, where the number of people living on the streets is increasing year-on-year, and expected to grow further as the economic impacts of COVID-19 develop.

Risha said: “Hendrix and I had started volunteering with groups supporting people who were homeless so we knew where the gaps in provision were and what needed to be done. In the early days, it was just about things like providing a hot meal or a coffee to anyone that needed it or dropping off boxer shorts and socks to rough sleepers. We had no idea what it would become. All we knew was that there were people in need, people like Craig who needed more.”

Initially, Risha and Hendrix joined forces with Centrepoint, offering weekend, evening and bank holiday services to plug the gaps in service provision. But after the building they shared was condemned, they parted ways and adopted separate properties.

“We are incredibly proud of our new premises on Manchester’s Ducie Street. When we first found it, it was a bit of a wreck so we gutted it and started from scratch. But now, it has everything we need and more. A kitchen, beautiful showers and bathroom facilities, a TV room, a dedicated medical room, storage for the donations we receive and offices for the team.”

Other organisations within Manchester’s homelessness network are also making use of their new space, with services such as On the Out which supports people recently released from prison, using the space during the daytime Monday to Friday.

Since 2017, Coffee4Craig has provided over 30,000 meals to homeless people, is an established member of the Manchester Street Engagement Hub and advocates for people who’s voices otherwise go unheard to influence local policy. 

Risha said: “Each day I find it hard to believe that we have grown into what we are today. But we still have so many plans for the future. Our next mission is to provide alternative and holistic therapies, such as massage and reiki, to the men and women we support. Looking after their wellbeing and helping to boost their self-esteem is an important part of enabling them to end the cycle of homelessness.”

MIS Group Managing Director Andrew McLaughlin said: “We are delighted to support Coffee4Craig with this donation. They support a huge number of vulnerable people at a grassroots level, whilst also tackling local policy to ensure an effective framework is in place. With their admirable passion, they are creating lasting change for the under-represented people of their city and leaving a positive legacy behind for Craig.”

Risha concluded: “We are delighted with the donation. It will make a huge difference to our service and enable us to continue to provide essential items for our guests.”

If you’d like to learn more, visit the Coffee4Craig website or follow their Twitter page. Alternatively, you can donate here.

Scroll Up