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.
The last committee meeting was for grant applications received in November - here are some special projects and stories that we're excited to share!
Stronger Communities Fund
Community groups supported: 4
Total funds awarded: £10,900
Average award: £2,725
Together Dementia Support (city-wide)
Together Dementia Support is the main provider of community support for people affected by dementia in Manchester. They previously applied for funding in 2021 for their Pyaari Yadein (Happy Memories) Group, which provides a safe space for South Asian people in Manchester who are either diagnosed, or caring for someone, with dementia. Culturally appropriate activities are run by staff members who speak a variety of languages from across South Asia – Urdu, Punjabi and Bengali being just a few – and have a heavy focus on intergenerational socialising, whether on days out or activities at the centre. The Stronger Communities Fund awarded £3990 for the Pyaari Yadein Group to run for a second year, and this time almost double the membership from 16 to 30. The varied programme will continue to aim to stimulate those living with dementia cognitively, helping them to maintain skills and physical health, make new friends, and enjoy themselves. The work they do to support the diverse South Asian community living in Manchester is crucial to ensuring that those who may not speak English still have access to support through dementia.
Pursuing Individual Excellence (project based in Chorlton)
Pursuing Individual Excellence (PIE) is an educational social enterprise based in Greater Manchester. They run a variety of community and school-based programmes, each of which focusses on developing the five PIE slices: Communication, Digital, Project Management, Community Links and Cultural Capital. Through their work, PIE look to support young people who have been identified as being vulnerable and/or disadvantaged, through activities like sessions to support NEET young people, SEND learners or young people whom English is an additional language. The Stronger Communities Fund awarded PIE £3500 towards a 12-week workshop, the BUILD programme, at Chorlton High School for new arrivals to the country – specifically refugees or asylum seekers. There are 21 students identified to take part in the programme, all of whom speak little English and have suffered from displacement and the resulting trauma. Many of these children are from Ukraine or Hong Kong. The 2-hour weekly sessions will help them to develop confidence, resilience and teamwork skills, through challenging them to create a social action project that supports a need in their community, including planning and delivering an event.
Our Happiness Factor (project across North Manchester)
Our Happiness Factor engage local people to enable them to recognise their potential in Manchester’s urban neighbourhoods. They work with communities facing many socio-economic and health-related issues, with a view to spark the imagination of local people, leading to the emergence of powerful ideas, connectivity, and wellbeing. The goal is to build the confidence of participants and push them on to achieve their ambitions while also building peer support networks and new friendships. The Stronger Communities Fund awarded £3000 to deliver ‘Creative Women in Neighbourhoods’ workshops in North Manchester through 6 one-day workshops for women aged over 50, who are experiencing social isolation and financial challenges. Through this, they hope to engage 160 local women who want to make change in any area of their life, have ideas for community building projects that connect and bring neighbours together with a view of strengthening their local communities, and create new social networks that provide positive impact in their neighbourhoods. A similar project run by Our Happiness Factor in Stockport previously on a smaller scale had a hugely positive impact on the local community, so we’re sure this project will make waves in North Manchester.
Barlow Moor Community Association (project in Chorlton Park ward)
The Barlow Moor Community Centre is based on the Merseybank estate in Chorlton, and support families through inter-generational services and activities that tackle complex issues and provide early intervention to support vulnerable people in the community. As an accessible, welcoming, and trusted community centre, they provide numerous services and activities all year round. The Stronger Communities Fund has awarded £400 to the Barlow Moor Community Centre to deliver a Christmas Day lunch for 40 people, which will give a hot two-course meal to each person along with a small Christmas present to those who may otherwise be alone during the festive period. They hope to give a sense of belonging to people who may not have family or friends to spend Christmas with, and bring the Christmas spirit to the vulnerable in the local community.
Manchester's Rising Stars Fund
Young People supported: 8
Total funds awarded: £16,175
Average award: £2022
Toni is a keen snowboarder and is currently a full-time apprentice working towards her NVQ in snow sports, to be completed in April 2023. Her end goal is to achieve a Level 3 Ski Instructor qualification through BASI (British Association of Ski Instructors) in order to become a snowboarding and skiing instructor. Not only this, but Toni wishes to specialise in teaching people with additional needs and those with limited mobility, and is currently completing a placement with Disability Skiing UK as an Assistant Ski Instructor as part of her apprenticeship.
Being from a single-parent, low-income family, there are financial barriers to Toni's ability to purchase the expensive and specialist equipment needed to progress as a snowboarding and skiing instructor. The MRSF awarded Toni £4,916 for the training and protective equipment she needs to take the next steps towards her dream career, and wish her all the best for her ambition of diversifying the provision of snow sports.
Emily is a college student from Clayton in East Manchester, with aspirations of working in the legal sector. To get there, Emily would like to apply to Royal Holloway – one of the top 25 universities in the UK – to study Law and International Relations at undergraduate level, following which she plans to apply to the Bar and become a practicing legal advocate. She currently shares one device with the rest of the family at home, making it difficult to study for long periods of time uninterrupted. She therefore has to travel to the local library regularly to study. Due to cultural differences, her parents will not fund her own laptop for studies, as they do not believe it is essential and only fund her food and what they deem necessities.
Emily was awarded £1357 from the Maurice Watkins Bursary (a ringfenced legal fund within MRSF) for an iPad, apple pencil and a keyboard to make studying easier and support her high ambitions. She states that although she works part time she is still not able to afford these items, as she has to limit the amount of hours she can work so that she can study in the comfort of her own home to achieve her top grades.
Amaka is a college student with a strong interest in studying Forensic Psychology at University. After she completes her undergraduate and masters degrees, Amaka aims to work in the NHS. Her Criminology teacher describes her as 'a hardworking and conscientious student who puts in tremendous effort'.
Annika is currently living in supported accommodation at Manchester Foyer following estrangement from her family. She is working part-time at Manchester United, but is limited to the amount of shifts she can take by her studies and universal credit. Amaka applied to the MRSF for £1152 to fund the purchase of a laptop which will help with her college studies. Our Trustees were delighted to approve this award and help Amaka reach her ambition of becoming a forensic psychologist.
Shahd is an A Level student from Moss Side with aspirations of becoming a GP pharmacist. In addition to her heavy A Level workload, Shahd is currently studying for a sports leaders course, and is organising a Muslim Arts and Culture Festival to take place at her school in March! Clearly a hard-working student with a community mindset, Shahd says her ambition of becoming a GP pharmacist is rooted in her desire to give back to her community.
Being the eldest of 6 siblings, Shahd has to share one laptop with the rest of her family, making it difficult to dedicate large chunks of time to her studies. In a household with one working parent who is in receipt of universal credit, there are no additional funds in the household for Shahd to purchase her own laptop. The MRSF has therefore awarded Shahd £899 to support her through her A Levels and eventually onto University to achieve her dream career.
Maria is a care experienced young person from Wythenshawe with the ambition of management in the hospitality industry. Currently working at a Hotel in Manchester Airport as a waitress and supervisor, Maria has saved up £3000 to purchase her own car and pay some of her insurance, which allows her to travel to work at unsociable hours and to other sites as needed.
Maria has suffered significant health difficulties which resulted in an operation to have her bowel removed, which means she now has a stoma. This makes getting public transport incredibly difficult, so having her own car is essential to her independence and ability to work. The MRSF has awarded Maria £2,000 towards her car insurance, which will mean that she can use her own income to support her goals of furthering her career.
Kameela is an A Level student from Moss Side with ambitions of becoming a political risk analyst, a highly specialised job which demands broad understanding of geo-politics, conflict trends and international trade. She found a passion for this as a keen geography student, and is planning on a degree in International Business & Economics as the next step to this goal after completing her A Levels. Outside of studying, Kameela has also undertaken Leadership Training at local youth organisation Hideaway Youth Project, volunteering her time in events and sessions for her peers over the last two years, showing how driven and community-minded this young woman is.
Kameela approached the MRSF for support to purchase a laptop, as she currently shares one with her two siblings and parents, massively restricting her work capacity and independent learning. The health of Kameela’s parents both adds to her caring responsibilities and means the family relies on one part-time income, so the cost of a quality laptop is out of her reach. Our Trustees awarded Kameela £1152 for a laptop which will ensure the quality of her work and research throughout college and then support her journey into university!
Nakita is a teenager from Blackley with sights set on making a career in special effects make-up for the TV and film industry. She has just completed her Level 2 Make-Up Artistry diploma, where her creativity and passion were praised by the college Tutors. Nikita tells us she’s always had a keen interest in Halloween and horror acting and identified that to purse this in higher education she needs to complete a Level 3 MUA diploma, allowing her to work on sets and hone her craft.
Nakita has been offered a place at Global Makeup Academy, which are a respected local MUA course provider, but Nakita and her mum don’t have the expendable income for the course and materials cost. We were delighted to award Nakita with £3,500 to cover her kit and course fees, which will allow her to progress in the niche industry that she has such a passion for!
Samia is an A Level student from Longsight with ambitions of becoming a hospital-based pharmacist. To achieve this goal, Samia is working hard and revises for 3 hours every day with the hopes of achieving the highest possible grades so that she can study Pharmacy at the University of Manchester. Her referee describes her as 'ambitious, mature and determined to succeed'.
Samia's family share one device between the 6 of them, making it difficult for Samia to dedicate large, uninterrupted amounts of time to her studies. There is also an expectation to complete and upload college work remotely, which would be much less stressful if Samia had her own device. Samia is from a low income area and there are no spare funds within the household to purchase another device, so the MRSF has awarded her £1,200 for a laptop to help with her current A Level and future University studies.
*Some of our Rising Stars names have been anonymised