Which is colder: a Lake District Mountain or Manchester City Centre?

I have led a privileged life, I have never been homeless, indeed I’ve never been under threat of homelessness. Living in West Cumbria I’ve had little contact with anyone who’s homeless either as they tend to borrow a sofa for a night from a friend in this area rather than sleep in shop doorways and so are a hidden problem.

A colleague of mine, Eamon Rodgers, ¬†spent last night sleeping rough in Manchester City Centre to raise funds for the Booth Centre, looking at the weather here I’m hoping it wasn’t quite as wet in Manchester. I mentioned his sleep out to a colleague who took part in the Cumbria Community Foundation’s Big Sleep this year who commented jokingly that sleeping rough in Manchester was comparable to sleeping indoors when compared to a mountain top. Having seen a photo from last year showing the frost on the ground I know what they meant!

It struck me then that cold isn’t just about temperature, that sitting in the middle of a busy, prosperous city in the lead up to Xmas, being ignored by passers by who are worried that you’re a professional beggar & going home to a mansion tonight or who just feel plain awkward (something I admit to myself) so don’t smile or talk to you would feel colder than sleeping on a mountain top where there’s no-one to ignore you.

When I organised TEDxWhitehaven last year with my son, Luke, one of our speakers was Steve Houghton-Burnett and his talk got me thinking differently. As we now approach Black Friday¬†, an American tradition I sincerely wish we hadn’t imported, his cure, Rainbow Saturday, is also approaching. To find out more watch the video:


If you live near Manchester why not have a sort out of your wardrobe & not only give someone warm clothing for winter but also choice, something many homeless people feel they lost a long time ago.

As I said earlier I tend to feel awkward when I visit the cities & see homeless people but from now on I’m going to give myself a shake, remember how privileged my life is & offer to buy them a hot drink & sandwich with a smile.