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Thursday, April 18, 2024
CharityGreater Manchester Mayor’s Charity announces presenter Matty White as official ambassador

Greater Manchester Mayor’s Charity announces presenter Matty White as official ambassador

Matty White (pictured) is well known on the Manchester scene as a presenter, podcaster and foodie champion.

Now, for the first time ever, he’s spoken candidly about his past experiences of homelessness as he becomes an official ambassador for the Greater Manchester Mayor’s Charity.

Matty has notched up an impressive list of career achievements to date, having produced and presented on stations including BBC Radio Manchester, 5 Live, 6 Music and XS Manchester, as well as featuring in regular slots for the likes of Channel 4’s Steph’s Packed Lunch and Manchester’s Finest.

His warm demeanor has helped rack up millions of views across his videos profiling Greater Manchester’s best eating spots. But it hasn’t always been so peachy.

Having grown up in the Midlands, Matty experienced homelessness from age 16 – a period he describes as exhausting and relentless. Now 47 and having carved out a successful career and homelife, he’s in a place to champion and support the type of services that helped him turn things around.

Sofa surfing

He said: “I was sofa surfing at first but then I was sleeping in train stations, on benches, in photo booths. At one point I was kipping in a battered yellow mini metro that had been abandoned for years at the back of a pub.

“One of the lowest moments was trying desperately to sleep under a tarpaulin on rubble at the end of train platform, having just been moved on from a photobooth. I was just hit by an overwhelming sense of failure and fear and it came out in tears. You’re hearing drunk people having fun with their mates and you feel like you’re just on the outside. With nowhere to go and no place of safety, I just walked and walked to try and put off the need to sleep, it was exhausting and relentless.

“I’ve only ever really spoke to my wife about it all, but I’m at place in my life where I can acknowledge the experience, recognise what got me out and hopefully be part of the change.”

It was thanks to charities that Matty eventually found temporary accommodation. They supported him to get his own place, get it furnished and find ‘hard graft’ jobs to get a stable income, which he says marked the beginning of the end of his struggle. He eventually went back to college and relocated to Manchester to study media.

Advocate

Now, he’s flying the flag for the Greater Manchester Mayor’s Charity as an ambassador, joining a diverse line-up of champions, supporting fundraising and advocating for the charity’s mission to end homelessness and the need for rough sleeping in Greater Manchester.

With the charity’s second gala dinner just around the corner (Thursday 7 March at New Century), a Greater Manchester-wide pub quiz in the pipeline, and the return of the charity bus pull inside Manchester Central in August, there are lots of fundraisers to get involved in.

Matty’s busier than ever, with new videos hitting his YouTube channel and a second series of his podcast ‘Fodder’ in the works as well as new live events. But with growing teenage sons, he often thinks back to his own late-teen experience and how it shaped him.

“I pulled myself out of a bad place with the help of people and charities that were there. I don’t know where my life would have gone without them. So people know, when I stand up and champion the cause, it really means something to me.

“But there’s still work to be done, still those who need help and young people in particular who, sadly, are starting out on the same journey I did. People have really got behind the Greater Manchester Mayor’s Charity and their fundraising initiatives, which are making tangible differences to help rebuild peoples’ lives. I’ll be doing my bit to tell the charity’s story and bang the drum for change.”

Fresh off the back of the DJ Battle between Mayors Andy Burnham and Steve Rotheram – which raised over £25,000 – the charity has a stacked schedule of events for the year ahead.

Recruiting

They’re actively recruiting more ambassadors too, drawing from a diverse range of businesses, sectors, leadership levels and experiences to raise the profile of the Greater Manchester mission.

Fran Darlington-Pollock, chief executive at the Greater Manchester Mayor’s Charity, said: “We couldn’t be prouder to have Matty on board as ambassador. He’s a massive champion of the hospitality sector across Greater Manchester, who’ve done so much already to support us in our mission to end homelessness in the region. We feel very honoured that his first move as an ambassador has been to speak candidly, for the first time, about his own experience of homelessness and the role that charities played in his life.

“A big part of what we do is breaking the stigma attached to homelessness. With his work in TV, radio and online, Matty feels to many like a friendly face or voice they recognise. For them to hear about what he went through is really powerful and demonstrates the very real difference donations make to people at the time when they need it most.”

The charity’s flagship ‘A Bed Every Night’ campaign has helped tackle homelessness across the region ever since its peak in 2017. Since 2020 it’s helped nearly 6,000 people, with 2,910 people supported in the last year alone. Currently, there are 658 people in A Bed Every Night who would otherwise be at risk of rough sleeping.

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