Our Trustees 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 from October that we're excited to share!
Stronger Communities Fund
Total funding awarded: £17,368
Number of groups supported: 6
Manchester Parent Champions/Regen.me CIC (project is city-wide)
Manchester Parent Champions (MPC) are a part of Regen.me CIC, working with parents and carers of children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) in Manchester. Their aims are to reduce social isolation in SEND families, build resilient networks within them and the wider community, and to reduce their barriers to support and education. Statistically, SEND children in England achieve poorer educational outcomes than their peers, and one of the key contributing factors to this are gaps in external provision and training – showing just how vital MPC’s work is to our communities.
Our Trustees awarded the group £2,250 from our Stronger Communities Fund for their “Light Up Your Life” trip, in collaboration with The SPACE Group. The trip will allow 118 parent/carers and children to visit the Blackpool Illuminations as part of MPC’s activities supporting SEND families who will experience loneliness and financial hardship this Winter. Our funding will cover transport costs for two coaches and for sensory packs to allow for calming input and regulation, aiding the children’s engagement as they witness the lights. Many Mancunians have fond memories of visiting the Illuminations as kids, so we know the families will have an amazing time together!
Collyhurst and Moston Boxing Club (project in Collyhurst, Moston and Harpurhey)
Collyhurst and Moston Boxing Club (CMBC) has been an asset to the local area for over 100 years. First established in 1917, in 2019 they took the decision to become a charity with the vision of using their experience with Boxing and mentoring activities to make an even greater impact on the health & wellbeing of the Moston and Harpurhey communities, one of the most socio-economically deprived areas in the country. CMBC staff use their local knowledge to act as role models and build relationships with their young people as they face complex personal issues, or are at risk of involvement in criminal activity, often caused by the deep-rooted social challenges deprivation creates.
CMBC’s sessions at their Moston base are thriving, seeing 80 young people a week, but this means they’re close to full capacity. To ensure they engage as many as possible, they want to begin two new evening sessions per week in two sites across Harpurhey, allowing them to take on an additional 40 students. We Love MCR has awarded CMBC £2,938 from our Stronger Communities Fund for equipment and three months of coaching costs, with the initial period starting January 2nd, 2023, and ending 31st March. We’re delighted that our funding will enable CMBC to bring their transformational work to even more young people in North Manchester!
The Place at Platt Lane (project in Fallowfield)
After the closure of Fallowfield Library, The Place at Platt Lane took over the running of the site in 2014 operating both as a library and as a valuable community hub in the M14 area. They offer several support services including a foodbank, a credit union, and baby groups.
The Place approached us for funding of their proposed warm-bank, which are spaces for local residents to stay warm in that are sadly being created across the country as millions are facing a Winter with increased energy costs, alongside food, rent and mortgages too. We awarded them £500 for the costs they’ll be missing out on from the hiring of the room from November to March 2023.
Chrysalis Manchester (project in Moss Side)
Chrysalis Manchester are a Moss Side based organisation, first established in 1994 to benefit local African and migrant residents through education, welfare advice and health support to promote participation and self-esteem throughout their community. Examples of this are their parenting skills training, ESOL classes, and the Skill-Up project which aims to get residents who are out of work back into employment.
Chrysalis approached We Love MCR for funding to continue their Active Children & Youth Club, a project with the aim of engaging children and young people between the ages of 7-16 with a wide range of enriching activities. These include teaching children to prepare healthy food, sewing upcycling to help them understand the value of sustainability, and physical activities in South Manchester parks. We awarded Chrysalis £3,700 to run this throughout the academic year, until March 2023.
Global Vision Initiative (project is city-wide)
Global Vision Initiative (GVI) are a charity who started in the Gorton/Longsight/Levenshulme area. They began with an aim to improve the mental and physical health of residents in what is one of the more deprived areas of Manchester, and also encourage community cohesion between the many ethnic groups with a significant presence there. GVI now operate city-wide, supporting lower income & BAME communities through leadership skills training, sports and exercise, and also offer opportunities into education, volunteering and employment.
GVI applied to We Love MCR to fund their “Bridge The Gap Project”: 5-a-side group football specifically targeted at 45 people aged 50+ with/or at risk of long-term health conditions following COVID lockdowns, encouraging them to come back to a socially active life and build the positive habits and routines that create a foundation for a healthy future. We awarded Global Vision Initiative £4,000 towards the hire cost of pitches at Ardwick Power League for 12 months.
Brink Productions (project in Moss Side and Hulme)
Brink Productions are a Moss Side-based organisation which provides platforms and spaces that give young people an artistic voice, and the opportunity to express themselves within their communities. Over the last 7 years, Brink have developed the talent of tons of aspiring young musicians, also running popular street dancing sessions for young women which We Love MCR funded in recent years.
Brink applied to our Stronger Communities Fund for their “Terminology” project, weekly music sessions aimed at young people who will work with industry experienced mentors to learn the art of DJing, music production, and performance skills. They aim to teach 20 young people how to mix tracks, sing or rap over their chosen genres, and move onto producing their own music, all with the aim to increase their confidence while developing new skills. We Love MCR awarded Brink £3,980 for this 5 month project, which covered sessional costs and room hire for this 5 month project. We cannot wait to see Brink bring through this next generation of Mancunian musical talent with the support of our funding.
Manchester's Rising Stars Fund
Total funding awarded: £15,607
Number of young people supported: 7
17-year-old Tyler from Chorlton Park has been playing the clarinet since he was just 8. He discovered such a passion for it that he is now on the verge of achieving the highest qualification possible outside of higher education: a Grade 8. His ambition is to become a professional musician, making a living from his passion, and the Director of Music at his college tells us that Tyler’s temperament and talent makes this ambition more than possible. Tyler has already performed at the Royal Northern College of Music three times, is lead clarinet in his college orchestra, and started a foray into new styles of music with the Manchester Experimental Orchestra. His enthusiasm and leadership are clear to see!
Tyler has gone as far as he can on the 2nd hand resin clarinet he purchased in 2016. Professional guidance, and his own research, indicated that the instrument needed to match his ambition is a naturally aged wood clarinet used by the best in the field for their superior sound. Tyler found it difficult to juggle his studies with retail work to make the amount he needed, and relying on a low single-parent income made the cost unaffordable for his household.
Tyler applied to our Rising Stars Fund for £1,500 to cover the shortfall in his savings, after finding the best value clarinet of this kind at £1,850. Our Trustees commended Tyler’s drive and awarded him the funds he needed. We hope to see him finish Grade 8 and progress to a Music Degree after his A-Levels in Spring 2023!
Alice is a tirelessly dedicated student, studying Biology, Chemistry and psychology at College and aspiring to become a bio-medical scientist after studying the subject at university. Each of Alice’s teachers told us of her capability and intelligence, with her Tutor saying “overall Alice has proven herself to be a mature, driven and resilient young woman”. Unfortunately, Alice has had to mature faster than most, with the teenager living independently throughout college in supported accommodation at Manchester Foyer.
Alice relies on receipt of Universal Credit to be able to pay rent at the Foyer, and despite attempting part-time employment, it has affected her UC eligibility and poses risks to her accommodation and ability to support herself. While there, despite studying as hard as possible, regularly asking not to be disturbed by visitors, she shares computer resources with 60+ people and they’re not open 24/7. Alice applied to We Love MCR for the purchase of a laptop, allowing more independent study in preparation for her upcoming exams and University. We approved an award of £1,152 for a laptop that will support Alice throughout education and into future job requirements. We can’t wait to see how this fantastic young woman’s journey goes!
Sam, from Baguley in Wythenshawe, is a 16-year-old with an ambition to win international titles as an elite Karate athlete. After 11 years of training, he was selected to represent England at the Commonwealth Games and incredibly won a Bronze medal, amassing enough points to be selected for October’s World Championships in Turkey, and making Sam the reigning English & British champion at his age and category! He hopes to build his experience and ranking within the sport at the World Championships by competing against the best in the world, of which he aims to join.
Karate is a non-funded sport in the UK however, with hopefuls mostly relying on personal financing to travel and compete, meaning individuals from less privileged backgrounds have massive barriers no matter how talented they are. Sam’s parents work full-time and support him as much as they can, but to make the most of his ability he needs to attend as many European rankings as possible and his family may have to eventually borrow money to support his ambitions.
Being selected on the medal pathway for the World Championships by the English Karate Federation gave Sam some funds towards the trip, and he successfully applied to our Manchester’s Rising Stars Fund for the remaining £657 needed. We’re all rooting for Sam as he competes in more tournaments, and hope to bring you updates on this Rising Star as his development continues!
Keli is a young woman who is also dedicated to her studies. Currently living in Ardwick, she aspires to have a successful career as a pharmacist. Keli’s journey to Manchester has been a difficult one, arriving from China as an unaccompanied minor, with no family in the UK, which can be a traumatic experience for anyone let alone a teenager. Despite many in her situation having poor outcomes due to lack of opportunity, she excelled academically under the care of Manchester Children’s Services. Her tutor at college describes Keli as an ‘excellent student who grasps complicated concepts quickly’, telling us she completed two levels in introductory Maths and English in one year which is unusual.
To follow her chosen path in Pharmacy, Keli needs a science grounding that she can’t access via A-Levels or T-Levels due to being over 18. She has however secured a place on a Pre-Access Level 2 course at Manchester College, but has a very limited income through Universal Credit and can’t afford the fees. Keli also can’t access financial support from Manchester Children's Services until she is at university level, which is her planned next step. Keli applied to the Manchester’s Rising Stars Fund for £798 to cover the course fees. Our Trustees awarded to her with the wish of seeing Keli continue to excel and make it into university in 2024, succeeding in her ambition against the odds.
Charlie is an incredibly talented 18-year-old musician living in North Manchester, who applied to our Manchester’s Rising Stars Fund to support her career aspirations as a music performer and producer. Charlie told us music is the one thing she has always excelled at, saying it’s always been there to help her when she goes through hard times.
To say she excels is putting it lightly, having taught herself piano, ukulele, guitar, flute, drums, singing and now production, whilst travelling long distances every day to study on a Professional Performance Programme at college and taking extra Music Theory A-Levels in her own time! Her college’s Head of Performing Arts praises Charlie as a “highly-committed student, combining a strong work ethic with a proactive approach and a wide range of effective performance skills”.
Confidence is another of Charlie’s qualities, proven by her street busking since the age of 14 for an income to gain some independence. A tragic bereavement in the family has recently added to the financial gap Charlie experiences from her peers, and her application to the Fund is to purchase the kit she needs to overcome this gap and pursue a career in music production. Our Trustees awarded Charlie £4,000 for a range of equipment that will allow her to maximise her ability and realise her potential. Music is Charlie’s life, and we’re sure she can make a living from it with We Love MCR’s support!
Chelsea is a 19-year-old from Gorton, with a keen eye for photography, who aims to make living as a professional photographer with her own business. Part of Chelsea’s portfolio is her role as Club Photographer for Abbey Hey Football Club who are a local 10th division side with deep roots in the community, celebrating their 120th birthday this year. Her photos are used in their matchday programmes, for sponsorships, and on the club’s website and social media. Her supervisor tells us her work has been invaluable for the club since she joined in their pre-season this Summer, building a great relationship with the players and club management in that time.
After spending time on Universal Credit, Chelsea has now earnt herself a part-time job as a Photographer at a local business, but the income isn’t enough for the professional kit and insurance cover that she needs to improve her opportunities, and progress in the field. Chelsea applied to the Manchester’s Rising Stars Fund for £3,500, to purchase a professional standard camera, portable studio backdrop, and public liability insurance which is vital for her being able to secure employment in a professional studio. We Love MCR’s Trustees awarded Chelsea these funds to support her developing career, and we wish her every success!
Chelsea is an aspiring photographer. She currently volunteers at Abbey Hey FC as the official photographer and would like a grant to support her to buy expert kit so she can further her career aspirations to create her own photography business.
Carys* is a young mum with a passion for make-up, having done friends’ and family’s make up for years, she now wants to turn her passion into a career by completing a level 3 diploma in make-up artistry. Carys has experienced many traumas in her life, with mental health troubles from a young age leading to suicide attempts, and more recently experiencing homelessness due to domestic violence from the father of her child. Thankfully, she is now in a much better space settled in a flat in Manchester, with her son in full time nursery, planning to pursue her career ambitions.
Carys’ plan is to gain the skills, knowledge, and qualifications in the hair, makeup, and beauty industry to be able to get employment, be independent, and work doing something she loves whilst being financially stable and supporting her son. We awarded her £4,000 from the Fund to cover the costs needed to take a Level 3 Diploma in Make-Up Artistry, which upon completion will allow her to practice professionally as a Make-Up Artist. We wish Carys all the best for her and her son as she makes her way in her career!
*Some of our Rising Stars names have been anonymised