We pride ourselves on our energetic and creative partnerships!

They often come with equally big-hearted employees who go above and beyond to fundraise for us in unique ways. Which is where Sid comes in… An auditor at Manchester City Council (one of our largest partners) Sid decided to put a difficult year behind him through a novel way to raise funds for us and another charity close to his heart.

His story is brilliant testimony to the immense individual and team efforts across Manchester during the height of the pandemic. Let’s hear from Sid…

Before the pandemic, I was an internal auditor for the Council. However, at 2.30pm on 27 March, I took a phone call from the Council’s lead officer in Health and Safety. He asked if I would support the project team in the establishment of a warehouse and distribution function across Manchester and Trafford (the Manchester and Trafford PPE Mutual Aid Hub).

What a journey this has been for all the amazing staff who worked on or supported this project. By the following Tuesday we were making deliveries, and on the first Thursday of operation we achieved our highest number of deliveries of PPE in a day, delivering to 164 sites and establishments. To date, the PPE Mutual Aid Hub has made over 9,500 deliveries of PPE (in excess of 13million items in total), and that’s been achieved because of a fantastic team of people. 

Like most people during the past 14 months, I’ve had my ups and downs through work and home pressures. That’s probably why the guy normally weighing 13st 7lbs, clean-shaved and short-haired at the start of lockdown, ballooned to just under 16st and grew his hair and beard!

As the months went by, I knew both the weight and beard needed to come off. A number of colleagues at New Smithfield Market suggested I should do a charity beard-shave. So I set myself a challenge to lose the weight and have a shave. That will probably please my boss, Tom, who was horrified by my appearance!

On to the week of the elections last weekend. For the past few years, I have supported the elections team in working in the command-and-control hub during elections day, supporting the packet two count of unused ballot papers on the day of the count. Over the elections weekend, being at the count venue, it was surprising how many people didn’t recognise me, thinking the only difference was having a beard and longer hair. People who had known me for years failed to recognise me, even when stood next to me. It was only my voice that gave it away. 

When those who knew me well realised it was me, they – rightly so – gave me every name under the sun, including Forrest Gump, Mr Wilson, Trump, Tramp, and Uncle Bulgaria. It was all light-hearted and well received. 

So I decided to take the plunge and arrange a charity beard-shave and hair-trim – let’s see if those promised donations are forthcoming! My two chosen charities – We Love MCR and Newbridge Horizons – are close to my heart. The first I don’t think needs any explaining, other than I am an Oldham lad who has proudly worked at Manchester for 29 years and am fully supportive of such a fantastic cause.

The second you won’t know. Newbridge Horizons is the daycare centre my youngest son Matty attends, and it has been fantastic in supporting adults with additional needs. We all know how our children and young people have needed support in the past 14 months. Anyone who works in these types of settings and schools across the country should be lauded as much as the NHS staff have over the past year. Matty is one of the two best things to have ever happened to me, the other being my eldest son, George. 

Matty is 19 and has Fragile X syndrome. As a result, he is classed as a vulnerable adult. Matty has significant learning difficulties: he cannot read or write, and he cannot complete many simple daily tasks, such as making a simple snack, fastening buttons and zips on clothing, and tying his shoes. Matty has never been out of the house alone, has no road sense, and has difficulties in numerous social settings and environments – he will need adult support and supervision for the rest of his life. His daycare centre is the one thing that has kept him going through lockdown, and as we all know, the past 14 months have been tough for us all for various reasons. Therefore, I want to try and give something back to Newbridge Horizons and ensure other adults at the centre can continue to benefit. 

As we approach a return to normality, I am about to leave my PPE secondment at the end of June (which I have loved and all the people I have worked with) and morph from PPE storeman wearing silly shorts and a hat, to my day job as an auditor in a suit (which I can now fit back into!) It’s about time I smartened myself up! You’ve got your wish Tom! 

I hope you’ve enjoyed my story, and if you can manage to chuck a couple of quid towards two fantastic causes, that would mean so much to so many! I promise to post the video of the shearing! Apparently, the shearing team have a few plans, and I have been told just to go with the flow. ‘A couple of quid for Sid’ – sounds like that should be my strapline!

To donate to Sid’s fundraising appeal, check out his JustGiving page, where he’s already smashed his £100 target and is now over £800! We’ll let you know as soon as the “Sid-Shave” happens..

If you run a Manchester business with amazing employees like Sid, and want to support the young people and communities of Manchester, get in touch! We offer bespoke partnerships and opportunities for progressive businesses based in Manchester.

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