Greater Manchester schoolchildren highlight homelessness issues in poetry competition

Over 100 schools around Greater Manchester have been raising awareness of homelessness, by taking part in a themed competition judged by GM Mayor Andy Burnham.

The poetry competition was organised by the Altrincham-based Teaching School, the Alliance for Learning at Bright Futures Educational Trust (BFET), with book voucher prizes being given to the three winning poems.


The aim of the competition was to help young people across the region recognise the problem of homelessness at this time of year. Andy judged the competition alongside author Amanda Berriman* and Liz Morris of Shelter.

The winning poems were:

1st – ‘Homelessness’ by Evie Keller, Sale High School

Joint 2nd‘That man is my Dad’ by Zion Townsend St Mary’s Co of E Moss Side and

‘Don’t judge a book by its cover, by Freya Johnson, Higher Lane Primary School

3rd – ‘She will never lose hope’ by Sahar Sashemi St Mary’s C of E School Moss Side

Lisa Fathers, Director of the Alliance’s Teaching School, comments: “We asked the young people to write a poem that highlights the realities of being homeless, as we wanted to raise awareness of the issue and support the Mayor’s A Bed Every Night Fund.”


Research by Shelter has revealed that 4,428 people in the region no longer have a permanent roof over their heads. Burnham launched a Mayoral fund on his first day in office with the aim of ending rough sleeping in the region by 2020.

Lisa adds: “The youngsters across Greater Manchester have been inspired to help by the competition – Sale High School students have been collecting and delivering food to the Trussell Trust Food Bank, while Stanley Grove are carrying out regular deliveries to Cornerstone Day and Night Shelter. These are just two examples. As a teaching school we are in the business of supporting schools’improvements, but if we support communities, we can try to help whole are as survive and thrive.”

Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said: “It’s pleasing to learn that one of our biggest Teaching Schools the Alliance for Learning is highlighting the issue of homelessness and rough sleeping and is raising awareness in Greater Manchester’s schools.

“The quality of the submissions in the competition have been amazing and reflect a real understanding of the issues.Thank you for spreading awareness of A Bed Every Night – it’s an initiative that is already bearing fruit with hundreds of people already being supported into their own safe and secure accommodation. I reiterate my pledge to end the need for homelessness in our city-region by 2020.”

Amanda Berriman commented: “I’m so impressed with the standard of writing and how deeply the students have considered the causes and impact of homelessness.”