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Justlife's story

Living and working at the heart of the Toxteth Street estate in East Manchester, Gary and Hannah Bishop encountered many people for whom drug and alcohol addiction were a way of life.

Jason was one of the people they met during this time. After a long, wretched battle with heroin addiction, Jason found himself in prison. After a 6 month stretch, he landed back on Gary & Hannah’s doorstep.

He searched for stability in all the usual ways: looking for accommodation, work and appropriate healthcare. However, all Jason’s best efforts left him jobless, desperate and living in Gransmoor Avenue; a notorious, privately-run street which is full of temporary accommodation. This is where, just a few weeks later, he was found dead.

Where it all began

Over the next few months, Gary and Hannah engaged in dialogue with Manchester City Council, and developed proposals for a response to this community which had been left to decay for decades. These conversations led to the formation Justlife Community Interest Company, Gary & Hannah along with colleagues; Gretta Starks, Daniel Jones and Sam Ward were the founding directors and their vision was to see hope restored to places like Gransmoor Avenue. Justlife gathered a small group of friends and local residents to pilot a project providing a weekly meal to people living in this B&B emergency accommodation.

In 2011, the Justlife Charitable Foundation was formed

In 2011, the charity was established with support from the Big Lottery Fund, and the Justlife Health and Enterprise Centre was opened in Openshaw, East Manchester.

In 2012, Justlife began a similar pilot service in Brighton & Hove, again under the leadership of Gary & Hannah. They quickly discovered that the needs they had uncovered in Manchester were present in Brighton & Hove too, with hundreds of vulnerable people being placed in emergency accommodation every year.

While continuing to develop the work in Manchester, Justlife worked with partners in Brighton & Hove to develop a pioneering service called Pathway Plus which now supports over 400 homeless patients who use the Royal Sussex Country Hospital each year.

Today, Justlife runs services in both Manchester and Brighton and has become a leading organisation for researching, advocating for and working with vulnerable people living in temporary accommodation.

Find out about our vision to make peoples experience of temporary accommodation short, safe and healthy.