The year is 1991. The UK is in the grip of an economic recession and about to have its coldest winter since the 80's. A Christian couple;

Peter and Beryl, have just arrived in Manchester’s city centre to see a show. As they head to the theatre, they’re shocked to see the number of people sleeping rough under bridges and in shop doorways. The very next week, they’ll visit again with sandwiches and flasks – and the seed that became Barnabus will be planted…

As we enter our 30th year, we’ve taken a little time to reflect on our history. Read on to discover more of our story and what we’re doing to celebrate this incredible milestone.

A potted history of Barnabus

At that time, there was very little support in the city for people sleeping rough. A volunteer street team soon began to grow out of Peter and Beryl’s love and dedication, and the Maranatha Community even donated a double-decker bus to help with their outreach! In fact, that’s what gave Barnabus its distinctively spelt name. In the bible, Barnabas means encourager, and this bus did just that.

Street outreach was a vital part of our history, but Peter and Beryl knew they also needed a welcoming place for people to come to and seek refuge from the cold. So, in 2000, Barnabus said goodbye to the bus and opened our drop-in centre. It offered hot food, showers, healthcare and activities. In 2015, thanks to the generous response of our supporters, we extended the centre to include a new Health and Wellbeing Suite, more showers, a bigger kitchen, and larger rooms for support and activities.

Staying true to our values

Thirty years on, and Barnabus is still very much a Christian charity founded on giving unconditional love and support to people experiencing homelessness. But we’ve also evolved and grown along the way.

Our drop-in has developed into a Support Centre with a dedicated team of support workers and health and wellbeing staff. We now cover everything from trauma informed care and counselling to mental health support and physical therapies, thanks to our partners in the city.

We have our own Supported Resettlement Tenancy Project too. This empowers people experiencing homelessness and rough sleeping into homes so that they can rebuild their lives and take hold of their hopes and dreams for the future.

 

We couldn’t do it without you

Barnabus helps with accommodation, recovery from addiction, safeguarding, and supporting physical and mental health needs. We enable and equip people with the life skills (and encouragement) they need to succeed at independent living.

We know we wouldn’t be able to continue to do any of this without your help and we really want to thank you. And, as such key players in our journey, we know you’ve got a fair few of your own stories to tell…

 

Help us mark the occasion with your Barnabus stories on our memory board

Over the years, Barnabus staff, volunteers and partner organisations have been blessed to support people experiencing homelessness. We’ve been helped by so many generous and thoughtful people, companies, churches, schools, groups and universities.

So, we want to mark our 30th Anniversary by opening up a digital memory board to collect and celebrate your memories of Barnabus. Perhaps Peter and Beryl supported you back in the 90's, or you helped volunteer or support our work, whatever your story, we’d love to hear it.

You can add your message to our memory board here, or alternatively you can send your memory to [email protected]hester.co.uk and we’ll add it for you.

It can be anything from a written letter or piece of artwork to a poem, photo or video – anything you like. We can’t wait to see the board fill up with messages from all the people who have made Barnabus who we are!

 

Get involved: 30 ideas for 30 years

Keen to do a little more? Barnabus has survived and thrived over the last 30 years thanks to God’s grace and the generous support of amazing people like you. If you’d like to make our 30th year an extra special one, we’ve come up with 30 easy ways you can support our work.



You can pick one – or all 30! – or use them to inspire your own. Please add your challenge or fundraiser to our Just Giving campaign page too, so we can share your efforts and cheer you on!

Download the poster here