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We created the COVID-19 Action page at the beginning of lockdown but we’re keeping it for now, both as inspiration and an example of some of the amazing things Manchester has achieved in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

We Love Manchester's COVID-19 Community Response Fund

We Love MCR Charity was 23 years old on 1st June 2020. It was founded as the Lord Mayor of Manchester's Charity Appeal Fund in 1997 and adopted its iconic We Love MCR branding in 2011.

After 18 weeks, We Love MCR's Response Fund has awarded £900,000 in grants to hundreds Manchester groups and charities tackling the impact of COVID-19 on our local communities.

We Love MCR's video to mark 100 days of the campaign shows the difference being made by grants in local communities. 

Grants have been awarded to organisations addressing urgent needs across four core themes where the crisis has generated major issues:

  • Advice and protection services (focusing on vulnerable children, victims of domestic violence and tenants at risk of eviction)
  • Positive engagement of children and young people
  • Mental health and wellbeing in isolation
  • Food poverty relief

Tackling Food Poverty

We Love MCR have now awarded 123 grants to organisations tackling food insecurity, totalling £405,000 which is 45% of their total Response Fund showing just how important this issue is to Manchester.

The three largest awards in this round went to charities that have been delivering outstanding service to Manchester residents:

Open Kitchen MCR

A not-for-profit social enterprise working to eliminate food waste by intercepting food destined for landfill and turning it into delicious and nutritious meals. They’ve intercepted and used 48,530kg of food so far. For each tonne of food used they prevent 4.2 tonnes of CO2 from being emitted - that's over 203.83 tonnes of CO2 in total.

Corin Bell, CEO:

“Food insecurity, poor nutrition and isolation were serious problems in Manchester before COVID-19 hit. The impact of the pandemic has hit the most vulnerable and those already on low incomes the hardest, but has also thrown a new range of people into financial chaos and food poverty. Since COVID-19 hit, Open Kitchen MCR has worked with Manchester City Council to provide over 130,000 meals to the people and communities affected most by the pandemic. We’re proud to serve our city and this funding from We Love MCR will allow us to transition to deliver a service that’s more sustainable in the long term, so that we can keep providing support where it’s most needed. I’m beyond proud of my entire team for working so hard throughout”

Mustard Tree

The charity has been supporting and creating opportunities for people and communities in Manchester and Salford for over 25 years, tackling both the causes and consequences of poverty and aim to prevent homelessness across the region. During the first three months of lockdown they supported 4,648 families, with people visiting for food or having food delivered over 14,500 times in three months of lockdown.

Jo Walby, CEO:

“We’re delighted to be one of the many charities benefitting from the We Love MCR COVID-19 Community Response Fund. They were one of the first organisations to grant us emergency support in March, which gave us the confidence to remain open. Their latest grant has come at a time when crisis funding has started to slow down and has enabled us to deliver our new offer focused on food, furniture and advocacy for those most in need. We hope to further develop our partnership with the We Love MCR Charity moving forward!”

Rainbow Surprise

A charity in Crumpsall, North Manchester, who have been running for eight years and operated a food drive for the last four of those. Their mission statement is “To provide skills for life, inspiring activities and diverse services to meet the needs of local people and create a strong, vibrant community.” A great example of this is their new ‘Pad Bank’ initiative for locals to get sanitary products, tackling period poverty and cultural stigmas about menstruation.

Shakar Hussain, Chair of Rainbow Surprise:

“Before the lockdown we were serving around 50 families a week with food parcels however that soon changed to 100 families or around 300 individuals a day. This was very hard for us as we had to face many different challenges. First we had to source new funds and donations to keep up with demand. Secondly, to source so much food was a real issue as everyone was in the same boat and the shelves were getting emptier by the day - we were having to make three to four trips a day to the shops in our own small Nissan. We also had to find more volunteers, not only just to help prepare the parcels but to help us deliver these parcels. The funding received from We Love MCR has been a real life line. It has helped us with the purchase of food and it has helped us with our volunteer expenses and buying their PPE. We bought health & safety signs and cleaning products to make sure our volunteers feel safe and protected. We’d like to say a massive thank you to We Love MCR for their continued support towards our charity and food drive project.”

Supporting Survivors of Domestic Violence

In May, We Love MCR Charity approved a package of grants totalling £61,650 to local charities dealing with domestic violence and vulnerable children. One of these grants was to Manchester Women’s Aid (MWA).

Four weeks since the £8,000 grant was awarded, Gail Heath, CEO at The Pankhurst Trust (incorporating MWA) gave an uplifting update on the charity's achievements, which went far above and beyond what was first expected:

“Things are going really well, we are actually exceeding expectations – we are helping more than eight people to move on. Ten families have moved out and ten families have moved into refuge spaces already, so more families are now safe from DV. We are likely to be able to support another seven families who are ready to move out in the next few weeks, and therefore seven more families will move into refuge, making them safer. The We Love MCR grant gave us the assurance and certainty we needed to help clients. It has enabled us to provide more than just the basics, helping us to provide families with the best start possible for their new lives.”

MWA and We Love MCR created this video featuring Gail, speaking about the stark realities of domestic violence particularly during lockdown, and how the grant will save lives by removing at-risk women and children from dangerous situations. By helping people already living in refuge to move into their own new homes, MWA can make sure there are spaces available in refuges for families in need.


Applications and Donations

Charities can apply for urgent grant funding through We Love MCR's website welovemcrcharity.org

The We Love MCR Covid19 Community Response Fund is almost exhausted and they still need your support.

Lord Mayor of Manchester, Councillor Abid Latif Chohan, Chair of We Love MCR Charity said "The impacts of COVID-19 will be with us in Manchester for many months to come. If you can afford to, please help us to carry on tackling the huge challenges created by this awful disease. Please, make a donation today."

Companies and major donors are encouraged to explore how they can support the fund by calling 07809 284920.

Or you can text MANCHESTER 10 to 70470 to donate £10 (and this works for any number from £1 to £20. Texts charged at standard network rate). You can also discuss how you can help by calling We Love MCR Charity on 0161 459 9950.

The charity promises to get donations directly to frontline charities doing vital work in our communities right now.

Charity Registration No: 1066972

Advice and support for victims of domestic violence is a available here: Manchester Womens Aid (0161 660 7999, Mon-Fri 9:30-4:30), Independent choices (0161 636 7525 Mon-Fri 10-4pm), National Women's Aid helpline (0808 200 247 Open 24/7). Email advice and support is available here advisory.service@manchester.gov.uk

Mustard Tree food donations

If you have spare food and household items they may be invaluable to those in need in central Manchester. Mustard Tree are based in Ancoats and you can drop items off for them. Please check the link below to see what they need.

Forever Manchester's Community Support Campaign


Forever Manchester have a strong 30-year track record of helping organisations to build communities in Greater Manchester. Their emphasis is on hand-ups rather than hand-outs. Forever Manchester’s Community Support Fund was set up to support the work of grassroot community groups across Greater Manchester responding to the impact of COVID-19 in their local communities and helping those most affected. The fund has been hugely successful so far.

Thanks to those who have donated and their work with UK Community Foundations (UKCF) and the National Emergencies Trust (NET), Forever Manchester have been able to support 390 community groups with over £1.3M of funding so far. The initial phase of the Community Support Fund is closing to applications on Friday 26th June 5pm. It will be re-opening with revised criteria shortly. Find out more about the Community Support Fund and how to apply for funding in our article

You can see some of the fantastic stories from community groups who have received funding on Forever Manchester's website forevermanchester.com

Charity Registration No: 1017504

Forever Manchester also have a monthly tombola prize draw sponsored by ZenOffice. You can enter for just £5 to be in with a chance to win one of three cash prizes.


You can also contribute simply by shopping online, at no extra cost to you with Amazon Smile

Follow Forever Manchester for more updates

Twitter: @4EVERManchester

Facebook: /forevermanchester

Instagram: @4evermanchester

Hospitality Action


Support the restaurant and hotel industry.

Many Manchester hotels are going above and beyond by helping to accomodate key workers in the city during the pandemic crisis. You can read more about their amazing contributions in our article

Hospitality Action are the go-to organisation for workers in the hospitality industry. They have had to close their COVID-19 emergency grant due to the unprecedented demand. Any help you can give them helps to support the fantastic staff at our favourite restaurants and hotels who have recently lost their jobs.

"Hospitality Action was established in 1837 and has since offered vital assistance to all who work, or have worked within hospitality in the UK.

We’re here for the chefs, waiters, housekeepers and managers. We’re here for the concierges, receptionists and kitchen porters. And we’re here for every sommelier, bartender, catering assistant and cook across the UK.

Whether you work in hotels, restaurants, pubs, bars or cafés, schools, hospitals or event venues, we’re here to give you the help, advice and support you need whenever times get tough.

Whatever challenge you face - from physical illness or mental health issues to financial difficulty, family problems to addiction - Hospitality Action is here to get you back on your feet again. And when it’s no longer possible to work, we can help you prepare for the next phase of your life. 

Whatever you do in hospitality, we’ve got you."

Charity Registration No: 1101083

Follow Hospitality Action for more updates

Twitter: @HospAction

Facebook: /HospitalityAction

Instagram: @hospitalityaction

The 20,000 Mile Hospitality Challenge

551 fundraisers have raised £75,341 for Hospitality Action by walking, jogging, running, cycling and roller-skating the 20,000 mile length of the UK coastline. You can find out more and see photos from the five-day challenge here

Greater Manchester Mayor’s Charity urgent appeal to support the homeless

Greater Manchester Mayor’s Charity has launched an appeal to help support and raise money/donations for people who are experiencing homelessness during this pandemic.

Spare change just doesn't cut it. There needs to be a strong and coordinated approach, so this is a fantastic opportunity to make a lasting difference. The importance of the charity’s aim for a long-term solution is something highlighted by the current pandemic crisis.

The charity is helping to get people experiencing homelessness into self-isolated accommodation to keep them and the wider community safe and limit the spread of COVID-19. The impact of action now could have wider benefits in helping bring about lasting change, ultimately ending homelessness in Manchester for good.

Follow @GMMayorsCharity for updates.

“Let’s show the rest of the world what Greater Manchester can do when we all come together.”

Charity Registration No: 180418

Greater Manchester’s business community is being asked to make bulk donations of essential items including, food, such as cereals and microwaveable meals, toothbrushes and toothpaste, soaps and wet wipes, and even white goods and IT equipment. These goods will be channelled by the organisation Street Support to those working on the frontline and those who need them most. If your business has any bulk supplies they could provide, please contact the GM Mayor's Charity at www.gmmayorscharity.co.uk/corporate

Support our NHS staff, social worker and carers

For businesses, if you have spare gloves, masks or anything local carers, hospitals and essential workers need then let them know before sending anything. Everyone can donate to local hospital charity funds and local support programmes if you are able to do so.

Northern Care Alliance NHS Group (NCA)

For North Greater Manchester, Salford, Bury, Oldham and Rochdale follow @NCAlliance_NHS

They are very grateful to everyone who has made a donation of some form to their hospitals and services over the last few weeks. They have made it easier to donate items by setting up dedicated drop off points at each of their hospitals. Please use the hashtag #NCAfamily on social to show your support.


Manchester Foundation Trust Charity

For Central and South Manchester, Altrincham and Trafford follow @MFT_Charity

They are very grateful to have recieved more than £500,000-worth of goods for NHS workers from local and national businesses. They have asked for donations via the link below to help them to support 25,000 local NHS staff over the coming weeks and months. Please use the hashtag #ThankyouTeamMFT on social to support their campaign.

Manchester Mind

Manchester Mind usually operates from the Zion Community Resource Centre in Hulme and also delivers services for young people from their base in Levenshulme. Services have been rapidly adjusted so they can be accessed from home by those in need, either online or by telephone and continue to be delivered to all those who were already receiving support. In addition, anyone who is experiencing a mental health issue for the first time is encouraged to get in touch to access help.

They have introduced two new listening services, one for young people (age 15-25) and another for over 25s. The listening services are for anyone struggling with their mental health, social isolation, worries and anxieties. Callers can talk to someone who will take the time to listen and understand, while also signposting other helpful support services.

Manchester Mind can be contacted on 0161 769 5732 or for young people’s services on 0161 221 3054.

For adults who are struggling with their mental health, they also offer free and impartial advice for benefits, including Universal Credit claims, debts and housing. For young people (age 15-25) they provide counselling, advice (for benefits, work, housing, studies or money worries) and a virtual wellbeing café.

Meanwhile, like many other businesses, Manchester Mind’s community café and their outside catering enterprise, Good Mood Food, have both temporarily ceased trading, meaning the loss of a vital income. Recognising that poor mental health, loneliness and lack of access to healthy food are intertwined, within days of the lockdown the team responded to the crisis to do what they do best - cooking and delivering high quality, healthy and nutritionally balanced meals to those in the greatest need. They have been turning food donations from Fareshare into hundreds of home-cooked meals, on average producing over 1500 meals per week for Manchester City Council’s community hub, Maverick Stars Trust (for young people who would normally receive school lunches), and Just Life.

To help them make a difference and support the emergency food response, Manchester Mind are are asking for donations.

Donations can also be made via text by quoting MM30YEARS to 70085 (£3) to provide free healthy and nutritious meals to people in need within our community.

RSPCA coronavirus emergency appeal

In case you need to go to hospital, use the emergency pet carer form and display at your home so people know who to contact.

Our pets are doing such a good job of keeping us all sane. Don't forget to look out for them and those who have been sadly separated from their owners. See the link below for more coronavirus related pet advice and donations information.

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