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 in July - here are some special projects and stories that we're excited to share!
Stronger Communities Fund
Total of grants awarded: £17,400
Number of groups supported: 5
Happy Somedays (Newall Green, Wythenshawe)
Happy Somedays are an inclusive football and fitness group based in Wythenshawe for people who, in their own words, “don’t fit the norm or usual social circles”. Incredibly, what started as a kick about for anyone has grown into regular sessions with a weekly participant base of over 100 people! They have women’s, men’s and mixed football sessions, and have even expanded to offer fitness sessions with a qualified personal trainer.
Their sessions are mostly self-sustaining: members pay subs but they employ an honesty policy to allow for those in the community who can't afford every session - HS are a great example of what the Stronger Communities Fund is all about. We awarded them with £4,000 to pay for their pitch costs for an entire year, which will make sure this brilliant group can keep supporting members. HS Website
Read Easy Wythenshawe (across Wythenshawe + surrounding areas)
We awarded Read Easy Wythenshawe funds to continue their work helping adults in South Manchester to develop their literacy skills with one-to-one support. Our award of £1,400 will cover the costs and resources needed for their volunteer coaches to work with another 12 adults. We love the work this group does for adults in the area since they started in 2019, and we're proud to be funding them for the second year in a row. REW Website
Friends of Debdale Park (Gorton)
Friends of Debdale Park are a charity working to make sure one of Manchester’s biggest and oldest public park remains a quality location for many years to come. They applied for funding for their Heritage Dye Garden restoration project, to breathe life back into a section of the park, created in 2014 to commemorate the history of Manchester’s dyeing industries, that had become overgrown and unloved.
The project will work with local schools as an educational resource, and use the plants grown there in craft classes for dyeing and working with fabrics. They have a strong group of local volunteers ready to get to work, including a Professor of Botany from University of Manchester! Our grant of £4,000 will go towards the turf and plants needed, information boards and other resources to prepare the area for a new lease of life – we can’t wait to see the results! FoDP Facebook Page
Manchester Youth Zone (Harpurhey)
Manchester Youth Zone is a long-established partner for We Love MCR, as one of the organisations in our Manchester's Rising Stars Fund's referral network. They provide a wide range of services to young people in Manchester, from skilling-up workshops to leisure facilities and training courses. We Love MCR Charity awarded Manchester Youth Zone £4,000 to help them enhance and expand their work in support of their LGBTQ+ members and allies.
As an organisation leading the way in youth support in the city, we’re pleased to award them the money they need to give welcoming support, plus guidance on safety and welfare, to young people across the city exploring and identifying their sexual orientations. The funding will cover the cost of the provision of support, resources and fellowship work for the upcoming year. MYZ Website
Talbot House (Newton Heath)
Talbot House in Newton Heath provides support services for parents and unpaid carers of people with severe learning disabilities living in Manchester. They've been supporting members for over 45 years now, with services such as advice and guidance on subjects including budgeting, benefits, and child-minding services.
We awarded them with £4,000 to enable a conversion of their existing building, creating a completely new Activities & Events room, and allowing them to accommodate 2 extra support workers for their growing membership. TH Website
Manchester's Rising Stars Fund
Total grants awarded: £18,059.97
Number of young people supported: 9
We're delighted to award *Aisha, a 17-year-old netball prodigy from Cheetham Hill, an award of £3,600 supporting her to make a name in British netball. She was offered a place at the specialist Elite Netball Academy with Loughborough Lightning U17s, but her finances made accepting it impossible on her own. Our grant will cover this Rising Star’s initial travel costs, kit, summer camp and membership fees, letting her make the most of this opportunity!
*Kaleb is a teenager from Ardwick who has overcome serious personal battles to be ready to embark on a career in construction. He fell in with the wrong crowd, but support from Manchester City Council’s Virtual School gave him the chance to shine in his studies and subsequently he was offered a place on a Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) course. Our Trustees were impressed by Kaleb’s response to his past troubles, and awarded the £200 costs he needed to take the CSCS course, qualify to work on construction sites, and maintain that positive progression.
A first for our Manchester’s Rising Stars Fund has been supporting *Kieran from Higher Blackley to reach his ambition of running his own food prep business! Kieran has a keen interest in cooking, shown by his efforts in local community centres, but running his own business is his real end goal. We awarded him £750 to pay for the final food hygiene course he needs to start setting up, and a professional laptop to give the business every chance to grow.
We awarded Hulme teenager *Leah with £750 to cover her deposit for student accommodation, as she prepares to start her Nursing degree at Salford University. She has been staying with Manchester Foyer, a service for homeless young Mancunians, due to being estranged from her family in awful circumstances. This support ceased when she accepted a university place, so we’re delighted our award guarantees that Leah can safely take the next step of her journey on her dream course!
Another grant was awarded to 17yr old *Edward from Rusholme, to bring his long-term ambition of opening his own barber shop closer to being a reality. He had to take time out of school due to alternative education needs but has put in tons of work since being supported by Career Connect, and has excelled in introductory barbering courses. Edward was awarded £3,650 to cover course costs as well as equipment, products and study materials necessary for him to gain the Level 2 accreditation - this allows him to work in a professional shop!
*Taylor is a talented young creative from Gorton, currently on a Digital & Creative Supported Internship at The Manchester College, with ambitions of becoming a freelance artist. We supported Taylor with a £2,300 grant from MRSF, to purchase a chair and ergonomic desk to make their room a positive workspace, higher spec parts for a PC that they’ll build themselves, and other equipment and materials to support her online artwork sales. The support we’ve given Taylor will remove financial barriers to achieving their ambition, allowing them to flourish!
We awarded Wythenshawe teenager *Jason with a grant of £1,750 for photography equipment to support his ambitions of becoming a motor-sports photographer. He has impressed at college, leading him to be offered a place on a Digital Internship where he’ll need his own equipment. His family just don't have the spare income needed to level the playing field for him. We’re glad that our award will do that, and can’t wait to see Jason succeeding and making his family proud.
Trustees also awarded a grant to *Mia, a skilled young woman based in Manchester who aspires to become a successful musician, actress and model. Lofty ambitions, but her musical output and recent offer of a place on Gold Arts Award course at The Met arts institution in Bury say a lot about her ability. £4,000 was awarded to pay for the course fees and necessary musical equipment, giving Mia the opportunity to make the most of her talents.
*Megan is a teenager from Moss Side with ambitions to break into the media industry, and is applying for degree apprenticeships in Media City to do just that. Megan’s tutors praise her work, but the fact that she shares an old laptop with 5 family members is now unsustainable. We awarded her £1,100 for a new laptop with the processing speed to fulfil her coursework demands now, and with the durability to last her for many years to come on her media career journey!
*All of these Rising Star's names have been changed to protect their anonymity.