Cathy Rodgers
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Headspace Stories: Mustard Tree Shopathon @ Headspace Manchester

At Headspace, we’re always striving to cultivate community. For our Shopathon Fundraiser last Friday, Manchester Headspacers came together and collectively donated their unwanted clothes to sell in a car-boot style pop-up in our Studio. All funds raised and leftover clothes we donated to Manchester homelessness charity, Mustard Tree. Sophie Appleton, Corporate Partnership Manager at Mustard Tree, dropped by to see how we were getting on. Scroll down to find out more from Sophie about what Mustard Tree do for the Manchester community, fundraising tips, and how you can get involved.

What is Mustard Tree and what do you do?

Mustard Tree is here to support Greater Manchester with homelessness and poverty. It’s all about long term solutions to sustain a positive and supportive environment for those undergoing homelessness and low-income. As the Corporate Partenership Manager, I’m reliant on businesses like Headspace and the wider community for support and fundraising to help us make the biggest difference we can. We provide a space for individuals to develop skills they’ve learned at Mustard Tree, and prepare them for an external, more real-life setting.”

What will happen to our clothes after we donate them?

“All of the clothes donated to Mustard Tree will be sold in our shop. The shop is multi-purpose, and it generates a third of our income. The other two-thirds comes from our fundraising team. It’s a brilliant space for the community, so for example if an individual achieves their first tenancy, people quite often have no furnishings or items to make their house a home, so the idea is for people to come in and it’s completely affordable for them. We also do referrals with other agencies and match those referrals, so people can often get up to £150 to spend in our shop for free.”

What’s Mustard Tree HQ like?

“The shop floor also operates for people on our project to do an internal work placement, gaining experience in maintenance, receptionist, retail and administrative roles. This gives them the experience necessary to go on and gain roles in the workplace. It also builds confidence with those in ‘hidden homelessness’, for example, those in hostels or b&bs. The shop has a lot of benefits other than just selling to the community. We also have a community kitchen that provides a hot meal for about 80 people a day, which offers people experience in catering. We also have contracts with companies like Radisson Blu Hotels, who take on individuals who have gained experience with us in industries such as cleaning.”

How do businesses like Headspace support Mustard Tree?

“Businesses are unbelievably important to us. They help us raise just over £200,000 a year. We don’t get any Government funding other than a small grant of £10,000 per year, so that out of £750,000 isn’t a lot, therefore we’re always reliant on the Greater Manchester community. We’re always happy to have new partners, and fundraising events like the Shopathon are absolutely brilliant. My role is to support businesses like yourself, as we don’t spend a lot on our events: 84p for every £1 goes back to our service users. I also facilitate volunteer groups from businesses. One of the biggest causes of homelessness is isolation. Tonight we have our Soup Run where we provide anyone who needs it with a hot meal and a chance to socialise. A lot of people feedback that they’ve not spoken to anyone for a whole week, so this is a great way of preventing future homelessness. We always need volunteers for collating food parcels and for our social events, so lots to get involved with!”

Thanks to Sophie Appleton for sharing her experience with us. If you’d like to learn more about Mustard Tree, or would like to take part in fundraising or volunteering, drop Sophie an email at sophie.appleton@mustardtree.org.uk. 

Thank you to everyone that donated and bought clothes- it was a collective effort and we’re grateful for the effort everybody put in. 

If you’re interested in membership or office space at Headspace group, you can visit our website or contact enquiries@headspacegroup.co.uk to speak to a member of our team.

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