I wasn’t familiar with the Barnabus charity before helping them out as a volunteer with my DOMU colleagues Mark, Sarah and Ed. Before going, I found out that they are a Christian Homeless Charity who provide help and support for the homeless population in Manchester.
They currently look after an allotment plot, which is provided by the Church of the Nazarene, in Longsight, Manchester. There, they’ve built 10 raised bed planters out of recycled wooden planks and grow strawberries, radishes, rhubarb, potatoes and the like.
They have also used charitable donations to invest in a greenhouse to help grow other foods, like tomatoes and chillies. Members of the homeless community help look after the allotment and, once the fruits and vegetables are ripe, they help provide tasty and nutritious meals at Barnabus’s drop in centre.
When we arrived, we were greeted by Diego – a member of the Church of the Nazarene Pastoral team, Carol – the Development Manager for Barnabus Charity, and Jenny – a local resident who is heavily involved with the allotment project. They outlined their vision for the charity and showed a real passion for helping others in the community.
Our first job as volunteers was to paint the raised bed planters in a green colour that really matched the surrounding area. We then moved onto some more physical tasks around the allotment – separating out the high quality soil and the lower grades into three sections, which freed up a large area of land on the plot.
There was also several piles of old bricks and paving stones, which we stored behind a large storage container at the far end of the allotment. After a few hours the allotment was looking really good.
Even in the one day that my colleagues and I were all able to volunteer at the Church of the Nazarene, so much was achieved and the images of the allotment from the start of the day compared to the end show a real difference.
It was great to work alongside some really inspirational people who have a genuine desire to do good and help others.
My experiences of the day allowed me to gain a real insight into the great work that Barnabus does around Manchester and I have become more aware of the importance of donating to good causes.
On a personal note, I was left feeling positive that I was able to help out with this project and hopefully make a difference in the lives of people who are struggling with homelessness and vulnerability.