Manchester City Council launches transformative year-long campaign for children and young people

Manchester City Council is launching ‘2022: Our Year’ to create a legacy for children and young people living in Manchester and to help bring UNICEF's 'Child Friendly City' recognition for the city.

Young Mancunians are set to benefit from new experiences, opportunities, events, and support through 2022, to help them reclaim their futures after well over a year spent in lockdown or in restricted measures due to COVID-19.

The dynamic, year-long campaign spearheaded by Chief Executive Joanne Roney OBE, Leader Elect Bev Craig, and Councillor Garry Bridges, Executive Member for Children’s Services, will lay the foundations to make a lasting, positive difference for the city’s next generation.

The campaign will also incorporate special fundraising projects specifically to support Manchester’s most vulnerable youngsters.

Businesses and members of the public will be able to access more information and register their interest or support for the cause by visiting the council's new 2022: Our Year website here.

Council leaders have recruited respected local figures, leaders, and innovators from the private sector to be official campaign ambassadors to help put youngsters at the heart of the city’s future.

These inspirational Mancunians from diverse backgrounds and sectors, have pledged to support the 2022: Our Year campaign in a truly ‘Manchester-does-things-differently’ fashion.

Ambassadors will contribute their experience, talent, and time to consult and take part in events, support fundraising projects, and provide practical opportunities such as work experience and mentoring.

They will be involved in official 2022: Our Year masterclasses, TEDx-style talks, a summer sports festival, local culture and arts activations, mental/well-being learning experiences, and an immersive career event.

Leader Elect of Manchester City Council, Bev Craig said: “Covid-19 has laid bare the inequalities that are deep rooted in our society. Around a third of Manchester's children are currently growing up in poverty and our young people have felt the brunt of the impact of the pandemic – missing vital education and left isolated from their friends. A formative time in their lives has been cruelly taken away from them. Those from disadvantaged backgrounds have been hit even harder.

“We are a city with a powerful social conscience and 2022: Our Year is about closing the gap between the haves and have-nots. We cannot shy away from the challenges that face our city and it is our responsibility to do everything we can to ensure that everyone in this city can share its success.

“This work won’t happen overnight, but the aim of this journey is to show our young people that they can succeed. We want to inspire them to think big, believe in their own potential and – ultimately – we want Manchester to be the very best city a young person can grow up in."

2022: Our Year will also be a kick-start for Manchester to begin a two-year accreditation process to be recognised by UNICEF as a Child Friendly City.

The Child Friendly Cities Initiative (CFCI) is UNICEF's initiative that supports municipal governments in realising the rights of children at a local level using the U.N. Convention on the rights of the child as its foundation.

It is also a network that brings together government and other stakeholders such as civil society organisations, the private sector, academia, media and, most importantly, children themselves who wish to make their cities and communities more child friendly.

To achieve the status of Child Friendly City by UNICEF, a place must demonstrate that the voices, needs, priorities and rights of children are an integral part of public policies, programmes, and decisions.

In direct response to extensive feedback from young people, teachers and youth workers across the city, Manchester City Council is also creating sponsorship opportunities for local businesses to support two new essential funding provisions.

Sponsorship partners for both these funds will be actively involved in providing disadvantaged children and young people with meals, activities, and financial support, fulfilling their basic needs.

The first is an Our Year Activities Fund which will provide consistent meals and easily accessible, safe activities during all the school holidays. Despite a partially funded system already being in place it only allows for six of the 13 weeks of the school holiday calendar.

As part of 2022: Our Year the council will include all school holidays and make it accessible to 0-18 age groups making sure no child or young person will go without.

Manchester City Council will also begin a brand new Our Year Legacy Fund to provide financial support for day-to-day support for vulnerable children’s basic needs.

The Our Year Legacy fund will be a dedicated grant-giving system that supports Manchester’s young people’s needs. Education, youth, and community organisations would be able to apply for access to funding that will support the financial barriers faced by young people.

Requests may include money to purchase transport passes, sports equipment, musical instruments, uniform and clothing, respite care, training, activities or school trips.

Councillor Garry Bridges, Executive Member for Children and Schools, Manchester City Council, said: "The last couple of years have been hard for children and young people – particularly in Manchester, where more face-to-face teaching has been missed than anywhere else in the country.

"Despite the challenges, our young people have shown dedication and resilience throughout and now it’s time for our city to stand up for their futures.

"Over the last few months we have gone out and listened to young people in every part of the city - they have told us what matters to them, and we now need to give young people the opportunities they want and deserve.

"We're calling 2022 a 'year of opportunity' – but this 12 months is just a kick-start. We want this commitment to be long-lasting and one more thing that sets Manchester apart -with children and young people at the heart of everything we do."

Joanne Roney OBE, Chief Executive of Manchester City Council, explained: “2022 will be dedicated to our young people. We will create a year of opportunities, experiences and activities that will inspire, engage and support young people in this city. To do this we need help.

“To meet our ambition to create a true and lasting legacy, which will help young people in this city to achieve their dreams, we need to work together. We the public and private sector to work in partnership, pulling in the same direction to put young people at the heart of the city’s future.

“We would love to hear from businesses who share this ambition. Let’s make 2022 the turning point for young people in Manchester."

2022: Our Year sponsorship opportunities will range from £5k - £50k for local businesses to demonstrate their commitment to social value, and to build a better future for local youngsters whilst highlighting Manchester’s culture and creativity.

Manchester’s private sector will also be able to pledge valuable ‘in kind’ support for 2022: Our Year via the website. Suggestions include the donation of play, sports or ICT equipment, free tickets for events, vouchers for experiences, volunteer hours, event space, work experience and storage space for resources.

2022: Our Year business launch will take place on 1st December at Manchester’s People’s History Museum, with a wider public launch scheduled for January.

2022: Our Year ambassadors include: Dr Kirsty Fairclough from Manchester Metropolitan University’s School of Digital Arts, leisure and hospitality entrepreneur Aaron Mellor, renowned litigator Geraldine Ryan, professional boxing coach Jamie Moore, actress Cath Tyldesley, fashion brand owner Seema Malhotra, marketing expert Viv Yao, festival and events director Jon Drape, actress and business owner Brooke Vincent, climate change activist Emma Greenwood, media editor Shelina Begum, sports lawyer and commercial litigator Marc Yaffe, Contact Theatre trustee and poet Reece Williams, professional footballer Kean Bryan, national radio presenter and The Prince's Trust ambassador Chris Hawkins, Deputy Lieutenant of Greater Manchester and LGBTQ+ campaigner Carl Austin Behan, OBE, finance business leader Anthony Morrow, hospitality business leader Karina Jadhav, Manchester Youth MP Alex Kennedy, barrister and diversity leader Sally Penni, female sport entrepreneur Grace Vella, digital talent director Ruby Melling, inspirational speaker and coach Krish Patel and Greater Manchester’s Night Time Economy Adviser, Sacha Lord.

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