Each month, our Trustees come together to award grants from our two core funds. The 'Stronger Communities Fund' (SCF), where we seek applications from community groups looking to make a difference in their area, and the 'Manchester's Rising Stars Fund' (MRSF) where we award grants supporting ambitious young Mancunians who can't rely on their family's finances to succeed.
Here are some special projects and stories awarded last month in December that we're excited to share!
Stronger Communities Fund
Community groups supported: 4
Total funds awarded: £10,986
Average award: £2,747
Afrocats are an award-winning Manchester charity who aim to tackle exclusion and create a more inclusive environment for refugees, asylum seekers and diverse young people through creative engagement. They are a Black women led organisation with lived experience of the immigration system, and they use that experience to strengthen networks and build resilience within the sector.
Afrocats successfully applied to our Stronger Communities Fund for £3,886 which will go towards room hire, facility and co-ordination costs to run their “Cultural Dance & Creative Movement Workshops”. These dance workshops will engage 45 women from asylum seeking, refugee and low-income backgrounds over a period of 6 months, from the three Manchester groups: Women Asylum Seekers Together, Rainbow Haven, and Little Lions. Through the workshops they aim to not only lessen isolation but also improve mental and physical health and wellbeing, expand their friendship networks and give them confidence navigating the city of Manchester!
Moss Side Millennium Powerhouse
Moss side Millennium Powerhouse are a very well established Multi Service Youth Hub, having served communities across South/Central Manchester since the year 2000. They are home to a huge range of services for their young people, including specialist libraries, youth clubs, and sports, music, arts and drama sessions – many of which We Love MCR has supported over the years.
The Powerhouse applied to the Stronger Communities Fund for £1,500 covering accommodation, travel, and activities costs to deliver a “Community Independent Living Confidence and Life Skills Development” residential for 9 young adult carers and staff who are members of the Powerhouse Community. The trip is an opportunity to support some of their more vulnerable members in developing skills for independence, such as financial planning, money management, confidence building, and how to share their skills with the wider community. We’re delighted to fund this short-term project with long-term, transferable benefits that will enrich the wider community for years to come.
Wonderfully Made Woman (project in Beswick/Bradford)
Wonderfully Made Woman (WMW) provide holistic support for women and girls facing hardship including widows, sufferers of domestic abuse and those on a low income. They aim to build confidence and create a support network so they can thrive, running activities including a befriending service, dance sessions, drop-in support groups and breakfast clubs. We’re proud to have supported WMW in their post-Covid recovery in 2021.
WMW successfully applied to us for £2,500 for material and sessional worker costs to deliver free weekly crochet sessions for 24 weeks in Beswick ASDA’s community room. They primarily serve women from the African community in Manchester, but their work aims to bring women of all ethnicities together, and they’re aiming to support 30 participants with these sessions.
Thriving Together (Gorton)
Thriving Together are a Gorton-based organisation, newly constituted in 2022, bringing women of different backgrounds and cultures together to inspire and empower. They have an impressive membership of around 90 women, mainly from refugee, asylum seeking and low-income backgrounds, who are brought together by the challenges they face as disadvantaged communities. The group supports their members by improving English skills, helping them stay connected socially, and improving their health and wellbeing.
Thriving Together received £3,100 from our Stronger Communities Fund, covering travel, cleaning items, food, drink and outside speaker costs to host a weekly coffee morning in West Gorton Community centre for 5 months. The coffee morning includes many social activities such as inviting tutors to speak about topics that meet their member’s interests, doing morning exercises, learning cheap, convenient, and healthy recipes and crafts. Thriving Together are a great example of what our Stronger Communities Fund is all about!
Manchester's Rising Stars Fund
Young People supported: 9
Total funds awarded: £16,641
Average award: £1,849
Alex from Chorlton has ambitions of becoming a full-time video editor and graphic designer, with a particular interest in documentary production. He believes the next step towards this is to secure a work placement in the industry and, after having secured a Digital Supported Internship at The Manchester College, he is well on his way to that!
Alex’s tutor at TMC gave us a glowing recommendation of his dedication and portfolio of work, but the biggest barrier to his continued achievement is the standard of equipment he has to work with, due to the financial situation he and his mum face. We awarded Alex with £4,327 covering the cost of a laptop, camera, microphone, and other technical equipment that accommodates for his needs. We hope to see Alex as the man behind the scenes in the next Louis Theroux special!
Jake is a 22-year-old lad from Rusholme who is currently studying a Level 2 Plumbing course, working towards his eventual ambition of becoming a self-employed Handyman specialising in Joinery and Carpentry. Based on his talent and initiative over recent years, finishing Site Joinery and Plastering courses, Jake has already been approached by employers who are also offering him a van for work purposes.
However, Jake hasn’t got a driving license which is holding him back from employment and the chance to reach his ambitions. Jake receives PIP due to his autism diagnosis which goes a lot towards the household bills, and lives with his mum who can’t work after an injury, so the cost for driving qualification is too much for them to cover themselves. We were able to support Jake with a £3,399 award going towards intensive driving lessons, so he can take up this job offer as soon as possible, and also providing him a joinery toolkit that would help him on the early stages of his career. We wish this Rising Star all the best!
Hope is a 16-year-old GCSE student from Beswick who has discovered a passion and talent for playing the guitar, specifically the electric guitar which she hopes to master and use to complete an A-Level in Music. Hope plans to pursue arts and music as a career, using her skills to make music for films, with a particular interest in animated films. Hope has already gained a Bronze Arts Award, and is working on her Silver, hoping to progress onto a Gold qualification at a local arts organisation which will allow her to lead her own projects.
Hope's current school doesn’t have a working electric guitar, meaning she can only practice a few precious hours a week on the school’s acoustic guitars. Money is tight in her household, so she can’t afford the equipment she needs to purchase her own electric guitar, to prepare for her college audition to study Music Technology A level in early Summer 2023. Hope successfully applied to our Manchester’s Rising Stars Fund for £224, covering the cost of an electric guitar starter kit, a music stand, and noise cancelling headphones, so she can practice her craft in her own home to her hearts content!
Sean is a 16-year-old lad from Moston in his first year of A-Level study, with a real knack and love for his Computer Science course. His ambition is to pursue a career in software development, focussing on applications and games, as well as website development. He is making steps in this aim thanks to a 3-day software engineering mentoring course he is about to go on, which will include virtual work experience in the computing sector.
Sean has shown this brilliant aptitude for computer science while not even owning his own computer, which speaks volumes about his talent and drive. He is also a Young Carer for the sole parent he lives with after they suffered an accident a while ago, which unfortunately caused periods of homelessness for the family. We were glad to support Sean with an award of £740 from the Manchester’s Rising Stars Fund, going towards the cost of a suitable laptop that he can work on at home, and Maths textbooks of his own so he doesn’t have to borrow from school.
Grace is a young woman from Moston working towards becoming a makeup artist and beauty technician, with an ambition of mastering all areas of the industry and delivering training courses of her own one day. Her tutor at Global Makeup Academy tells us she is clearly on her way to achieving this, having already completed her Level 2 qualification, saying she has her goals planned out and knows exactly what she needs to achieve them.
Grace struggled at mainstream school due to her dyslexia, but the intelligence and standard of work she shows at GMA proves that she is more than capable of succeeding in her chosen path. She works at a salon as much as she can to support her household, but could not afford the course fees and kit she needs for the final Level 3 qualification. We awarded Grace £4,000 for the course and kit from our Manchester’s Rising Stars Fund, ensuring she has every chance of success!
Samara is 17-year-old from Longsight in her final year of A-Level studies, with aspirations of a career in tech consultancy. She has applied to many universities, but her goal is to study locally at University of Manchester, on the Information Technology Management for Business course. Samara is described as a “first-class student” by her careers adviser, and impressively she is the head of their Young Enterprise programme – a regional competition for entrepreneurial students!
Samara has succeeded so far without her own laptop, but there is no way she would be able to continue without one into university. She is from a single parent family with 4 siblings, and there is little money in the household for items that would maximise her talents like a laptop would. Samara successfully applied to the Manchester’s Rising Stars Fund, receiving an award of £1,157 for a quality laptop that will best suit her course and last her years into the future.
Michelle is a young woman from Whalley Range, studying Educational Psychology at Manchester Metropolitan University as the first person in her family to go university, and aims to become an educational psychologist in the future. Michelle has a passion for this that stems from her experiences as a carer for her brother, who has ADHD and is autistic. Michelle wants to ensure children’s needs assessed and met so they can gain the best education possible.
Michelle is from a single parent household, and the oldest of 5 children, so a lot of her time and student loan is spent caring for her mum and siblings. Michelle successfully applied to our Manchester’s Rising Stars Fund for an iPad and accessories to support her studies and her future career in Educational Psychology with portability and convenience. Our Trustees awarded a total of £894 to Michelle, £794 for the iPad/accessories and an extra £100 at their discretion for top of the range noise-cancelling headphones so she can study in peace at her busy home!
Omar is a driven 15-year-old GCSE student from Longsight, who plans to study Computer Science, Maths, and Biology at A-Level. His ambition is to earn a place on the University of Manchester’s Computer Science With Industrial Experience course, revising 3 hours a day to achieve this. His form tutor told us about Omar's top results in Computer Science so far, believing he has a has a very bright future ahead of him in his chosen pathway, given the right support.
Omar's family only have the funds to share one device between 6 people, so he finds it difficult to put in the extra hours of committed revision he knows he needs. We Love MCR awarded Omar's £1,300 for a laptop, ergonomic chair and mouse, giving him that support and belief to keep him succeeding on his path!
David is a young man from Levenshulme who is currently studying a PGCE at Bolton University, which he needs to fulfil his aspiration to become a teacher for children with additional needs, an aspiration based off his own and his family’s experiences throughout education.
David completed a scholarship playing football with Salford City F.C. upon leaving school, and while there he sourced alternative courses which led him to higher education and completing a Ba Hons in Football Business Marketing. The headteacher at his PGCE placement school describes David as a hardworking person who demonstrates leadership skills, self-awareness, and is a natural teacher.
David supports his family of 5 through part-time work and student loan, making a PGCE extra difficult to complete as unpaid work is required on top of his existing studies and work commitments. We awarded David £600 for the cost of a new laptop to support him in completing his PGCE. We wish David every success in his qualifications!
*Some of our Rising Stars names have been anonymised