The Justlife Centre, Manchester

The Justlife Health & Enterprise Centre is based in Openshaw, East Manchester, at the heart of a dense area of temporary accommodation, hostels, B&Bs, houses of multiple occupancy, bedsits and similar low-grade accommodation. Being situated on the doorstep of some of the most vulnerable and hard-to-reach people in the city enables us to engage with, support and move on people with multiple and critical needs.

The Centre provides a radical welcome to anyone who accesses our service. Taking an aspirational approach, the provision of a friendly morning drop in and weekly meals act as a means of encouraging greater engagement in our workshop programme and project work which in turn help to build build relationships, self-confidence, skills and experience. This ultimately will enable people to make a positive contribution to society through volunteering, employment or enterprise creation. The primary funder of the centre is the Big Lottery Fund, who has supported the centre since opening January 2010. In addition to this funding we have secured support from funders listed here.

To download the latest timetable for the Manchester Centre CLICK HERE.

Services and Activities

Drop-in Services and Initial Contact

Drop-in meals – On Mondays and Friday a free, nutritious, hot meal is provided and this creates an opportunity for service users to engage with project workers, identify areas of need and communicate relevant information.
Internet cafe – Justlife service users are able to use the IT facilities four mornings a week for jobsearch, social networking, email and internet searching.
On the spot advice – Along with a cup of tea and a chat, drop-in visitors are able to get friendly on-the-spot advice regarding different issues.
Activities – Taking part in games, reading books, writing and art activities are all encouraged in the drop-in, helping people to learn, engage and build relationships.
Partnership  Working – Justlife works with many voluntary and statutory organisations across Greater Manchester and makes referrals to health, housing and other services to ensure clients receive the best possible support. Drugs and mental health services attend the drop-in and offer services from the centre on a regular basis.

Skills Development Activities

As part of our confidence-building programme we offer a range of workshops including: 6 week IT for Jobs and cooking courses and weekly (March-August) gardening and growing food (on our on-site allotment). We also run women’s and men’s groups and a range of creative and sports workshops some in conjunction with other agencies such as Zest and Acting on Impulse. The workshops are led by a number of specialist sessional staff. As well as building confidence and relationships, service users are able to build skills for employment and life, helping take positive steps forward.


Community Drugs Team – Manchester City Council’s Drugs Team (Directorate for Adults Health and Wellbeing), provides advice, guidance and support from the Justlife Centre on a weekly basis.
Homeless Mental Health Team – Justlife works closely with the homeless mental health team to support service users with complex mental health needs, using the centre as a neutral base from which to offer appointment-based support services and treatment. The team has provided basic mental health training for Justlife staff and volunteers dealing with these people on a daily basis.

Trips and excursions

We are keen to broaden the horizons and experiences of the service users and have introduced monthly trips. These have included visiting museums and galleries, Manchester United football club, canal barge trips, pitch and putt and using Beswick Library. We have partnered with the Royal Exchange Theatre’s community programme which has enabled us to take groups on tours and to see plays.

Key working

The Project Workers provide crucial one-to-one support to many Justlife clients with complex needs. This support is based on an outcome-focused needs assessment and support plan developed to help people address their barriers to a settled lifestyle. We ensure clients are at the centre of service delivery, working towards mutually agreed goals contained in their individual support plan. Social work placement students have been trained and support of the Project Workers in this work, therefore expanding capacity in a much-needed area.


Ruth Cox: Regional Operations Manager
Sarah Todd: Specialist Support, Team Lead

Click here for contact details for the location of the Justlife Centre