We chose to support two charities through donations of Worker Bee MCR tea and coffee. Having spoke to both We Love MCR and Forever Manchester, there was no comparison as to which charity was more deserving. Read below to learn more about the unique projects each charity supports in the local community.
How does We Love MCR support our community?
Every summer the Lord Mayor of Manchester's Charity - We Love MCR funds selected families from across Manchester to attend a family course at the One Education Outdoor Centre in Windermere. Children and parents experience a range of outdoor activities which help increase confidence, broaden horizons and develop new skills. This is an incredibly positive experience for everyone involved - family bonds are strengthened, lasting friendships are formed and families leave with an experience they won't forget.
In their words
"I cannot thank everyone enough for giving my family this amazing experience. We have done things we would never be able to afford to do and have done things we probably wouldn't have tried. Thank you."
"My favourite activity was canoeing and jumping in the lake. I like getting wet and swimming. I've never been away with my dad and brother before."
"This is the place to be. Rock climbing, rope climbing, gorge walking, mountain walking with the cows - that was great. I met lovely families and we all worked as a team. Coming away from the city is great. I am glad I was picked and that I said yes. "
"We have had the best time at Ghyll Head! Spending time with other dads and sons did me good as we all learned from each other. I am proud of my boys - both of them showed no fear."
Supporting young people in Levenshulme and Gorton
Manchester Community Spirit, with the support of We Love MCR, ran a 12 week programme of activity sessions for young disadvantage people in Levenshulme and Gorton. The young people learnt how to cook and prepare healthy meals, how to work as a team and work independently. The programme, which supported 21 young people from various disadvantaged backgrounds, helped develop new skills, improve confidence and self-esteem. The sessions also helped young people to integrate with young people who they did not know.
Greater Manchester Law Centre
The Greater Manchester Law centre provides much needed legal advice and support to vulnerable people across Manchester. A dedicated team of volunteers, under the guidance of a solicitor, have assisted over 200 clients with benefit applications and appeals, as well as signposting or providing other advice to many more. We Love MCR Charity have supported the Law Centre to purchase much needed equipment and recruit and train volunteers, enabling them to continue their vital work.
Greater Together Manchester's Winter Night Shelter
Since 2010 the number of people sleeping rough in Manchester has increased 10 fold. Around 95% of single people who find themselves homeless are not eligible for statutory support and the large majority of these people are male. Winter is a particularly challenging time to be experiencing homelessness. The We Love MCR Charity supported this fantastic project, run by Greater Together Manchester, which provided overnight shelter and support for homeless men throughout winter 2016/2017. The shelter operated for 6 months via 5 churches that are all within 2 miles of Manchester City Centre. The shelter is open to all and supports 12 men at any given time. People can experience homelessness for a whole range of reasons.
Colin joined the shelter in November 2016. Colin’s relationship had recently ended and he had lost his job, as a result he ended up sleeping rough. Looking at Colin, you would never have thought he was homeless – he was always well dressed. Colin flourished in the shelter – he got stuck into every activity and was always willing to help the volunteers with their tasks. He took on an informal mentor role, supporting new guests in settling in and helped other guests who were unfamiliar with Manchester find their way.
After two months at the shelter, Colin secured his own one bedroom flat near the city centre. He also received a grant from the Big Change for new furniture. Colin is now applying for jobs and, within one week of leaving the shelter, he applied to be a volunteer. Colin is now volunteering regularly each week and is valued member of our team and community.
* Names have been changed to respect individual's privacy
Dr D's Healthy Body Healthy Mind
Sixteen residents from Moss Side, Rusholme, Fallowfield and Longsight areas, who attend Dr D's community circuit sessions, benefitted from a residential weekend thanks to the Lord Mayor's charity. The diverse group who are unemployed and on low income took part in a range of challenge activities, helping to build self-esteem, develop communication and team working skills.
How does Forever Manchester support our community?
Forever Manchester is a charity which funds and supports community activities across Greater Manchester. The charity focuses its resources towards activities which help young and old, the able and disabled and the homeless. Forever support sporting activities, environmental and educational activities and cancer support projects, to name a few. Collectively, the charity works hard to support and inspire projects which help local communities to work towards a happier, healthier, safer future.
Brink Productions uses music, performance and multimedia as methods of engagement with the young people of Trafford.
The project aims to increase the confidence and communication skills of the young people who attend and by including young women in the decision making process added to feelings of improved self-esteem.
Speaking of the project, Director Lisa Ellis said: “Overall the funding enabled Brink to increase confidence, build trust, offer support and enable the young women of the area the opportunity to share their experiences and concerns in a safe environment.”
Challenge 4 Change
Challenge 4 Change is based in Manchester and provides learning through fun activities. The Challenge 4 Change Centre, based in Trafford Park, is the only indoor training centre of its kind in the North of England. It combines training and conference facilities with an aerial runway, high ropes training course and a low-level obstacle course.
The group also offers exclusive use of this unique venue to accommodate disabled people and their families. Success over the assault course, taking a giant leap of faith and completing the aerial trek leaves the young disabled visitors feeling very proud of their achievements.
Marie, who has attended Challenge 4 Change with a group, said: “Challenge 4 Change is a superb, safe setting which is perfectly equipped to enable children and young people of all abilities to take part in a variety of exciting activities.The staff are exceptionally well trained, welcoming, supportive and enthusiastic.They have a very positive attitude which is essential for success with children and young people with disabilities.”
Chelwood Foodbank Plus
For Stockport residents who are facing financial hardships, Chelwood Foodbank Plus provide help and support and vital food stuffs to stock the cupboards. In addition, they provide a referral service – the Pots and Pans Project – where they provide donated utensils to those in need. The project is a lifeline for many, not only donating much needed food parcels but offering valuable information about other available services.
Luke found the project when he was homeless and has since become a volunteer at the Chelwood Food Bank. He became homeless in 2014 and struggled with debt as a result of drug use. Luke was in trouble with family, friends and the police as a result of a period of selling cannabis. Further problems with the police resulted in a short prison sentence. With renewed ties to his family and help from Chelwood Foodbank Plus, Luke has changed the direction of his life and continues to receive help and support from the project.
Chelwood Foodbank Plus said: “There are many ‘Lukes’ out there, it just takes somebody to listen and give a little time to them, not just food and clothing.”