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 and after a 6 months stretch he landed back on Gary & Hannah’s doorstep. He searched for stability in all the usual ways; searching for accommodation, looking for work and finding 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.
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 and supported by the Big Lottery Fund 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. Quickly they discovered that the needs which they had uncovered in Manchester were very evident in Brighton & Hove with hundreds of vulnerable people being placed in emergency accommodation every year. Whilst continuing to develop the work in Manchester Justlife worked with with partners in Brighton & Hove to develop a pioneering service called Pathway Plus which now supports all over 400 homeless patients who use the Royal Sussex Country Hospital each year, assisting them with additional clinical supper in the the hospital, supporting their discharge and transition and providing necessary care once they are back in the community.
Today Justlife runs services in both Manchester and Brighton and has become a leading organisation researching, advocating for and working with vulnerable people living in temporary accommodation.