Lavender Hills care assistant volunteers to be homeless for 2 nights

Denise’s amazing story!

Denise is a care assistant at Lavender Hills care home Ramsbottom, when I found out about Denise’s story I wanted to know more so I asked Denise to describe to me how it was living on the streets of Manchester and what made her decide to do it.

Denise has always had a passion for helping others and doing her part for charity but she decided to take her passion for helping and understanding mental health to a new level by volunteering to be homeless for 2 nights in Manchester city centre with the help of centre point charity.

On a cold September night Denise went to the centre point cabin in Manchester and was transformed to look just like a homeless person, she was given stained torn clothing, had greasy hair, all make up washed off and given £3 to survive.

The first night

Denise was positioned in a door way in the city centre, it didn’t take long for the homeless people in that area to start coming over and asking questions “How long have you been on the street?” “I’ve not seen you before, where have you moved from?” “How did you end up on the street?” I replied “The Arndale, I’ve been moved on.” Denise said she hates lying but had to think fast and stay in character to get a better understanding of what it is like to be homeless and how these people ended up in this situation.

The first person I developed a bond with was John, John came along and said “it’s cold isn’t it, shall we try and get a coffee from Macdonalds?”  I went along and stood in the door way trying to get a hot drink but nobody would listen and we soon got moved on. Not long after being moved on from Macdonald’s Denise and John found a small tea room where a lovely gentleman came out and asked if they would like a hot coffee, Denise said “YES please!”  so pleased that someone was being kind, he then came back with 2 large coffee’s each and 2 large soups in paper cups!

As the night went on Denise began to ask John a few questions to find out how he ended up in the situation he was in, living on the streets of Manchester without a penny to his name, it turned out John used to be a Chartered Accountant with a wife and normal family life just like anyone.

As the night went on Denise began to dig a little deeper to discover the reasons behind John’s misfortune. “My wife was cheating on me for years and I didn’t know, she was also spending all of my money and not paying the bills.” Before John knew it, his wife had ended up with so much debt and drank away a lot his money, when John found out about the affair and debt in his name he lost everything, he turned to drink and had a mental break down which lost him his job and everything he had ever built up to in his life.

Later on in the night the drunks were walking the streets and shouting so much abuse such as “Get a job you scruff” the abuse turned from verbal to physical being kicked by groups of drunk men and women.

John said “Keep your head down and don’t move.” He must have known that a group were approaching us, all of a sudden, I felt a trickle on my back… a man was weeing on me! I was horrified, the verbal and physical abuse was one thing but to be treated like this was so humiliating and sad I felt so angry but couldn’t express it until the morning when I was back at the cabin for a shower however, John helped me through the night by offering his dry clothes to me! What a gentleman he was after everything he had been through.

Night 2. showered and back out

It was getting late in the day on my second homeless experience and the nerves were setting in especially after centre points had told me that being kicked and urinated on was an everyday occurrence on the streets.

I went out to the same door way but John wasn’t there, I felt a bond had grown with John and was so sad when I heard that he had moved on to a different area.

Instead of john I was next to a lady a bit older than myself with a little trolley with all her belongings in.

Straight away I asked what her story was and it turned out she was a charge Nurse in a Manchester hospital, she had been a nurse for many years but the pressure of the job became too much and she turned to drink and suffered a mental break down.

These people are remarkable, the experience has changed my life for the better! My boiler broke down at Christmas and as soon as I was annoyed about it I remembered the cold streets of Manchester and suddenly felt very lucky that I still had a roof over my head, a bed to sleep in, I was able to make a hot cup of coffee and wear freshly washed clothes!


Millennium care uk have be inspired by Denise’s story and are in the process of planning to purchase equipment to  help the homeless in Manchester city centre.

Write to us at: Millennium Care UK Limited, Lavender Hills Care Home, Stubbins Vale Road, Ramsbottom, Lancashire, BL0 0NP
Telephone: 01706 285 221 or Email: