Each year, as one of our biggest projects, We Love MCR funds therapeutic breaks for Manchester families, to stay and learn at the incredible Ghyll Head Outdoor Education & Activity Centre in the Lake District.
For many, this will be their first ever family break. For some, it will be their first time out of Manchester. But more importantly, it’s a crucial part of their work to succeed and grow together as individuals and families.
We Love MCR has funded the programme since 2015, covering all accommodation, transport and food costs, and has seen hundreds of Mancunian children and their carers benefit from the family-strengthening residentials in those years. The numbers are thanks to the work put in by the two services who refer families to our offer: Manchester City Council’s Early Help Team, and Big Manchester – a multi-partnership with Barnardo’s as the lead partner.
Quotes we've received from parents after the event have been powerful:
“We encouraged each other and were able to try out new things. This has given us confidence to plan trips together and book days out as holidays. We feel our relationship has strengthened, we’re more aware of how each other feel, and look after each other more.”
“My son loved the zipwire and caving. He enjoyed making new friends and experiencing new things. I hoped to build on my relationship with him and build up his confidence. I feel we’ve become closer and his confidence has definitely grown. Mine too.”
We were delighted to fund a group of families identified by Big Manchester for the Ghyll Head residential in Summer 2022. The stay was full of activities that many participants had never experienced before, like jumping off high zipwires, building campfires and kayaking in open water on the stunning Lake Windermere! Ghyll Head staff pushed them out of their comfort zone in a supportive environment of their peers, giving them unforgettable memories.
Amy Leech, Children’s Service Manager at Big Manchester, said:
"Ghyll Head is a unique experience for our families, and very rewarding for the Big Manchester workers. The positivity and peer support, strengthens relationships and motivates families to continue increasing their resilience for a better future. Huge thanks to We Love Manchester for providing this wonderful opportunity”
When back home, Big Manchester organises sessions for families to spend time together reflecting on how they implemented skills and any changes they saw during and after the residential. The positive impacts of this year’s trip were clear in the feedback:
Everyone loved the views and being in nature - even having less screen time! They experienced better sleep after activities and being in the fresh air outside of the city, with parents highlighting the space children had to play together in a safe environment.
Children made friends with each other, which inspired the parents seeing positive relationships forming. Older children particularly have stayed in contact since returning and are socialising online.
Parents enjoyed time to reflect with their peers, encouraging each other to attend their support groups when they returned home, feeling positive, and have stayed in contact with each other too!
Parents were able to put into practice skills they’d gained through Big Manchester’s support and felt supported by other parents to continue this.
The support provided by Big Manchester to their families is undeniable. Their therapeutic work helps families to stay together and to grow. We Love MCR will continue funding this unique offer for Manchester families, and we’re looking forward to seeing more positive outcomes for the families attending next year’s visits!