A training academy supporting those in need which opens a base in the borough next year has launched a bid to provide better clothes to rough sleepers.

Fix Up Academy, which will open in March at Fleek Aesthetics' base on Bury Old Road in Prestwich, is gathering togs from the public to protect rough sleepers, who have an average life expectancy of just 45, against the cold and prevent cases of deadly hypothermia.

These will be collected by charity Homeless-Friendly and distributed to Christian organisations to share with those in need.

But while random acts of kindness like this at Christmas have proved popular with their peers in the hospitality and barbering professions, Fix Up is also marking an important promise to offer hope to rough sleepers long after the decorations come down.

Fix Up supports army veterans, prison leavers and the disadvantaged.

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Cheryl Hogan, who created Fix Up, said: “Christmas meals, a festive haircut, even a bed for the night is appreciated so much by the homeless. 

“But they also tell us that come Boxing Day they are back outside in the cold and facing problems such as addiction, ill health, and hopelessness.

"This Christmas, we are saying 'look to the future now, the battle to help the homeless has only just begun'.

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Cheryl’s sustainable solution for rough sleeping involves teaming up with faith organisations, local authorities, and referral agencies to engage with the homeless.

Her academy will then offers courses to give them the skills to find work allied to unique access to nutrition and mental health wellbeing training, which have been used in other parts of the country successfully.

Reported incidents of homeless people experiencing frostbite, falls on the ice and pneumonia have spurred her team onto using their premises, a former record shop, as a drop-off point for pre-loved clothes.

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But even in this endeavour, Cheryl is wary of the need for sustainability.

She added: “Of course, clothes are there to keep us warm but I am also conscious that those in need require good clothing for interviews and important occasions. 

“Decent clothes also increase your confidence and bring out the best in you. As beauticians, we know that dressing for success definitely gets you a step ahead on the career ladder.”

Homeless-Friendly ran the first ever Covid-19 vaccination clinic for the homeless in the world.

They were also instrumental in making Bury the first borough in the UK to pledge to be homeless friendly and ensure their services catered for those without a permanent address.

Cheryl said: “Bury has proved itself a real trailblazer in providing support for the most vulnerable.

"We realise that we are in the right place and that this community will be right behind us as we aim to fix up lives during and beyond the festivities.”

If you would like to support Fix Up's work, offer mentoring or other benefits in kind, or become a volunteer, email info@fixupacademy.co.uk.

People who have warm, quality clothes to spare for the homeless can drop them off at Fleek Aesthetics, based at 377 Bury Old Road in Prestwich.