In times like these, everyone’s support goes a long way…

As the COVID-19 outbreak continues to wreak havoc on lives and livelihoods alike, Manchester has shown its unwavering community spirit once again. Hotelier and restaurateur Gary Neville opening his hotels to NHS staff, the Co-Op giving weekly £20 vouchers to 6500 children who normally get free school meals, Man United’s Paul Pogba launching a birthday fundraiser in aid of Unicef…these are just some of the many amazing gestures we’ve seen.

Gary Neville
Gary Neville will be supporting his staff from Stock Exchange and Hotel Football, as well as letting NHS staff use both hotels during their temporary closure

It isn’t just Premier League footballers or major corporations making a difference either: individuals across Manchester are pulling together and showing that, in times like these, everyone’s help goes a long way. For those who can spare a little time or money, we’ve rounded up some ways you can show your support…

Shop local and indie

Needless to say, it’s a hard time for everyone but local independents have even fewer resources to help them cope. So, whatever you fancy - from artisanal homeware to quirky magazines or top-notch deli produce - consider some of Manchester’s many superb indies over the likes of supermarkets and Amazon. With many now offering online shopping and delivery service, you can help with the click of a button.

2019 05 03 Afflecks Jody Hartley 4
Afflecks, currently closed, hosts some of Manchester’s many independent businesses Jody Hartley

Order in or buy gift cards

Although we're no longer able to dine out, many cafes and restaurants have started takeaway services so you can enjoy restaurant-quality food from the comfort of your kitchen table (or sofa or bed…) Another great way to help is buying gift cards to redeem later: you’ll be helping with cash flow and have something to look forward to once the madness is over. Check out our regularly updated list for full details.  

Porta is amongst those now offering takeaways


There are so many worthy causes in need of support it can feel overwhelming. But every little really does count: from a couple of quid to a couple of hundred. Many arts organisations have set up relief funds, as have local artists and hospitality charities, while volunteering services - especially those who work with the elderly like Manchester Cares - need your help to adapt. Meanwhile, as food banks are increasingly struggling to feed the vulnerable, well-known cook Jack Monroe has launched a Trussell Trust fundraiser (which hearteningly has already well surpassed its initial target).   

It’s not just money you can donate either. As Manc Spirit posted, electric devices can be useful to help older people stay connected, and Open Kitchen Manchester is seeking food for its charitable catering service. Have a parking space or driveway near a healthcare facility? You can even donate that to NHA staff and patients. These are just some of the myriad ways you can contribute. If you have a cause or business you are passionate about, look them up and see if there’s anything you can do.

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HOME is one of several arts venues to set up relief funds


Have a little time on your hands? Volunteers are more needed than ever. ACORN is organising local volunteers to support people in the community who need shopping, prescription collection, post and anything else they may need if they are stuck at home. The UK-wide COVID-19 Mutual Aid lists groups in your region while Greater Manchester has launched a new volunteering service especially for the outbreak. Or, if you want to take action without joining a group, Barakah Food Aid has created a little help form you can deliver to neighbours who may be struggling.  

Coming up next week…family home entertainment for everyone, including some that supports local businesses to boot

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