AUTHORITIES will spend £6m next year to provide a place to sleep for all those living on the street.

Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham has revealed he plans to scale up public involvement in the ‘A Bed Every Night’ scheme, which launched last year.

The project, which includes £2m of investment from the NHS, will aim to offer 400 beds each night - an increase of 100 from the previous year.

This will be provided by a range of public and voluntary groups and will include more women-only spaces, more options to house people with dogs and more involvement from health services.

The GM Mayor’s announcement comes as startling new figures show an 80 per cent rise in homeless children since 2010.

In Bury 45 children were reported as living in temporary accommodation at the end of last year.

The number of households living in temporary accommodation has also increased by 74 per cent, according to the data from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MCHLG) website.

Similarly, 33 families were in temporary accommodation in Bury at the end of 2018.

Mr Burnham says working more closely with the NHS will be one of the major changes to the scheme and even praised projects in Bolton for inspiring parts of the project.

He said: “In many ways we’re drawing on what’s been going on in Bolton for many years because Bolton’s always had a more health-oriented approach to rough sleeping.

“It’s that partnership I think between councils and health that will really drive the improvement because it’s not just a bed it’s what you can provide in terms of extra support while people are in that accommodation."

Since its launch in November 2018, A Bed Every Night has provided a space for more than 2,000 people, with 680 then moved to permanent accommodation.

The first phase of the project cost £3.3m and offered around 300 beds each night across Greater Manchester's 10 boroughs.

Dr Tom Tasker, co-chair of the Greater Manchester Joint Commissioning Team, is a GP who will be heavily involved in the scheme.

He pointed to the health problems which can cause someone to turn to rough sleeping and can then be magnified by living on the street. Noting that the average life expectancy for a woman sleeping rough is just 43 years.

“Rough sleeping is a dangerous and isolating experience”, Dr Tasker said. “As a GP, we see that there is a considerable impact on a person’s physical and mental health caused by homelessness and rough sleeping. In many cases, people experiencing homelessness are already facing multiple complexities, which are compounded further by spending even one night sleeping on the street.

"GM Health and Social Care partners are providing an investment of £2m to allow us to tackle this issue head on. This will support the continuation of the A Bed Every Night Programme, whilst at the same time giving us a platform to further develop the health and well-being input to the programme.”

Phase 2 of the project will be launched on Tuesday, October 1, and includes a new information leaflet aimed at teaching people how they can help and what to do if you find someone sleeping rough.

In addition to offering new beds for homeless people, organisers behind A Bed Every Night have tried to change the perception of those who live on the street.

This has often involved police officers, who aim to point homeless people towards services where possible.

GMP deputy chief constable Ian Pilling explained that police figures show people who sleep rough are far more likely to be victims of crime than to commit an offence.

“A key priority for GMP is protecting the most vulnerable in society and this includes those who sleep on our streets," he said.

“Being compassionate and offering support where needed is the first step in our response as we recognise how vulnerable those sleeping on the streets can be.

"We’ve backed A Bed Every Night from the start because we know a range of agencies and organisations on the frontline need to work together to help people off the streets and into safe accommodation.”