• Social Entrepreneur Index

Greater Manchester Businesses to Open the Doors on Homeless Employment



Manchester Airports Group (MAG) and Balfour Beatty are joining a new cross-sector collective of Greater Manchester organisations empowering people who have experienced homelessness to re-enter the workforce.


HI Future - Mooch Ashley and Lauren Coulman (Photograph by Jason Lee - Heaton Photography)

The Homeless Inclusive Future project is set to begin in February and will provide inclusive employment opportunities, with ambitions of placing 250 people across the region in its pilot.


The project will develop a working blueprint that can be rolled out by businesses across Greater Manchester and will include a matchmaking offer and post-employment support system.


Lauren Coulman, founder of social enterprise Noisy Cricket will be leading the new initiative. She comments: “HI Future is a huge passion project for me. With Crisis reporting that 88% of people experiencing homelessness want to find and sustain work opportunities, it is crucial for us to overcome the barriers that businesses face in this area.


“Businesses occupy a unique position from which to create secure and stable futures for the most vulnerable in our society and we are delighted that two of the region’s largest employers are working with us to make this happen.”


The HI Future project will bring together a wide range of businesses, public sector organisations and charities to find workable solutions.


Kelly Singleton, HR Director at MAG-O, MAG’s digital technology division, comments: “MAG is delighted to be sponsoring this programme. There is a lot of great work taking place across Greater Manchester in this area but this is the most prominent collective effort we’ve seen to date.


We are always looking to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace, and this includes breaking down socio-economic barriers, as well as looking at areas such as gender and ethnicity.


Supporting the communities around our airports is a key focus for MAG and each year we commit a significant amount of time, effort and funding to community projects which really make a difference, like this one.”


Sophie Stephens, Head of Social Value and Sustainability at Balfour Beatty, said: “We recognise the important role businesses such as ours can play in creating stability and self-worth for those who have experienced homelessness through employment opportunities.


Our industry is facing a skills gap and with a number of significant construction projects in Manchester, we are continually looking to employ a diverse range of people both directly and through our supply chain. This is a really exciting project and something we are proud to be a part of.”


Local organisations Mustard Tree, Groundwork in Greater Manchester and The Growth Company will also be bringing their expertise to the HI Future community along with Mooch Ashley from Big Change Manchester, who offers personal insight into homelessness and will ensure the needs of people experiencing homelessness are central to the solution.


Other corporate and social sector supporters include KPMG, Lloyds Bank, the DWP and the Co-Op Foundation, with the delivery team bolstered by Paper, Grow Inc and BIG Partnership.

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