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Cast your vote for the Best Community Space Spirit of Manchester Award 2017

Award criteria
A community space can be a piece of land or a building available for use by the community. Organisations needed to show:

  • Best use of a community space
  • How the space is seen as central within the community
  • The impact it has within the local community

Please read all the options below, and cast your vote at the bottom of the page. The winner will be announced in August.
Please note: there is only one vote per person, due to the set-up of the poll only one vote can be cast per computer as a vote is identified by an IP address.

Voting is now closed

The winner will be invited to attend the Spirit of Manchester Awards 2017 Ceremony to receive their award and the film of the winning Best Community Space, made by our Community Reporters, will be shown on the night.

Anson House
Anson House is a community house located on the Anson Estate serving Rusholme and Longsight residents. It is entirely managed and staffed by local volunteers providing activities and services for people living in the local area. The house is open 5-days a week often until late at night with the front-door never closed.

Social activities include a breakfast and luncheon club, bingo and a successful community-shop tackling food poverty by providing access to affordable food with members accessing services like job-support and debt management.

The volunteers fundraise for all their activities along with fundraising for other good causes too. It is amazing how a group of passionate volunteers provide so many activities and services with so few tangible resources. For so many people it is the first stop for support, help and most of all friendship.

Apostles Community Kitchen
The Apostles Community Kitchen is within the church of the Apostles in Miles Platting. We seek to serve the community in as many ways as we can by making our community kitchen available for projects. We have established a food 4 all project that serves 80 plus meals every Sunday. Our guests are from the local community, local vulnerable housed and the homeless. Everyone is welcome.

We also run holiday kitchen projects over the school holidays to serve those in our community that struggle to provide food for the family throughout the long school holidays. We have ten families attending each project which includes activities and food provision.

We regularly host cookery classes to encourage healthy eating in partnership with Cracking Good Food and FareShare. We host a coffee morning for over 50's every Friday morning providing refreshments and access to food to take away for those facing poverty in later years. Our kitchen is used weekly for our youth project and Rainbows, Brownies and Guides plus community meals.

The Chatterbox Project
Chatterbox is a charity in Blackley which has been supporting one of the most impoverished communities in the country for 16 years. Run exclusively by local people from the centre of a large council estate, Chatterbox offers an open-access programme of activities and services designed to bring people together, provide practical support, and raise the aspirations of people living in poverty.

At present this includes a food bank, peer support, adult education and training, recreational classes, addiction support, community events, children's clubs, informal financial advice and advocacy, volunteering opportunities, and more. Chatterbox is a hub of community life where anybody is welcome. It is a lifeline for vulnerable people, and over the years has supported thousands of individuals and families to become more confident and resilient.

Last year, Chatterbox was able to purchase its premises from the Diocese of Manchester, showing its commitment to the community, and ensuring that there would be a base for outreach in this neighbourhood for years to come. Chatterbox is indispensable to this community. There is nothing else like it in this area, and its work over the years has helped to make this deprived community a safer, cleaner, more cohesive place to live.

Website: www.chatterboxproject.org.uk
Facebook: www.facebook.com/TheChatterboxProject
Twitter: @chatterboxmcr

The Grange Community Resource Centre
Every time I have been to the Grange the staff are welcoming and always go above and beyond their duty. The venue has a great variety of services for the local community. These services include play-schemes, nursery, credit union and it also hosts the invaluable Community Accountancy Service.

They offer rooms for hire, from as little as £5 per hour, the rooms range from small meeting rooms to a large hall suitable for conferences and team building events. The centre is vibrant and they are always seeking ways in which to respond to community need.

The Grange Community Resource Centre was opened in July 2002, it was previously a derelict school in Beswick. Initially managed by the council it was transferred to community led management in January 2005 when the ‘4CT’ charity took over. 4CT have run the building for 12 years and seen the building change over the years, tenants have moved on, user groups have developed and areas have been updated and refurbished. Throughout this, 4CT has endeavoured to strike a balance between generating income (car parking for concerts at the Etihad for example) and meeting local needs (from youth club on Mondays to ping pong on Fridays!).

Website: http://4ctltd.blogspot.co.uk/
Facebook: www.facebook.com/4CTLimited
Twitter: @4ct

The Horsfall at 42nd Street
The Horsfall at 42nd Street is a new venue and creative programme in Greater Manchester, leading the way in developing creative approaches to improving mental health and wellbeing and the opening programme of projects, workshops and events has seen artists, makers and heritage experts working with 100s of young people and the general public to reinterpret stories from the past, interrogate their own stories and to imagine new futures.

The programme launched in February with HIDDEN; site specific, immersive theatre created with young carers. The building is also home to wellbeing café sessions, animation classes, sound projects and a young person led Ted Talk style series of events.

42nd Street took inspiration for The Horsfall from the Ancoats Art Museum; a unique social and artistic experiment established in Ancoats, Manchester at the end of the 19th Century and sensitively restored the Victorian shop that had lain derelict for years into a truly useful and beautiful space. The Horsfall is the only dedicated arts and mental health space in the UK and an example of how a need to find more ways to reach more young people asking for help with their mental health can lead to imaginative solutions.

Website: http://42ndstreet.org.uk/horsfall/
Twitter: @thehorsfall

The LGBT+ Centre
The LGBT+ Centre is a hidden gem in Manchester's political history. It is the first fully publicly-funded 'gay centre' in Europe and opened in 1988 amidst abhorrent state-sanctioned homophobia. Over the past 29 years it has been a haven and safe space for many LGBT people and their families, friends and allies. Currently there are 15 regular user groups who use the space to run vital support services e.g. Alcoholics Anonymous, Rainbow Noir and Edward Carpenter Community. It provides an affordable space for grass-roots, community-led initiatives working at the intersection of many identities.

The community cafe that operates here provides a welcoming environment open to the public. This helps to promote inclusion and de-mystifies what goes on in a 'gay centre'. We are a wheelchair accessible, family-friendly dry space.

Each year we have 5,000 people through our doors who love and care for the Centre. Users of the LGBT+ Centre told us: "Thank you so much for all the work you do! My life has changed tremendously in the short time I've been there and I can't wait to see how the centre grows in the future." and "I would be at a loss without this place".

Website: www.theproudtrust.org
Facebook: www.facebook.com/The-Proud-Trust
Twitter: @theproudtrust

Since 2009 MadLab, short for Manchester Digital Laboratory, has been home to a diverse and creative community of makers, technologists, scientists and artists. With over 25,000 users every year, MadLab, UK’s second largest makerspace, offers the majority of its services free of charge - a conscious decision from the start. Our aim is to help people to make things better, together.

Home to more than 50 self-organised community groups, who mostly meet monthly or quarterly, MadLab has seen more than 14,500 community group users coming through its doors this year. These groups, all free to attend, are run by over 100 volunteers who are experts in their field, and motivated to share their expertise with their peers. The ongoing relationship we have with the community group organisers and their members enables us to work together to deliver our educational and social objectives.

MadLab has been teaching Manchester residents emerging skill-sets for all things digital. This year, we have engaged over 14,100 people in Manchester and trained 3,500 from basic computing to coding. Our core mission is to provide a diverse and welcoming space for all; community is at the heart of everything which we do.

Website: https://madlab.org.uk
Facebook: www.facebook.com/madlabuk
Twitter: @madlabuk

Miners Community Arts and Music Centre
My partner Louis and I have run this centre for the past seven years (Louis being a full time volunteer). When we took it over it was a burnt out shell and we have transformed it room by room into a thriving community centre/venue. Louis is there seven days a week looking after the centre/local residents. We have all types of groups using the centre on a daily basis for dance, drama, kids clubs, creative classes, singing and band rehearsals. We have an on site café that is used on a daily basis by local residents.

Last year we received a donation from Tradepoint to create a community garden at the back of the centre and this is used by local residents, one in particular Mike (who sadly recently lost his partner) has asked if he can look after it for us and has been planting seeds for the coming summer.

We also have a 70 seater cinema on site which is used for screenings from independent filmmakers, and free films for local kids. This nomination is for Louis as he is, and always will be the Miners Community Arts and Music Centre.

Website: www.theminers.org.uk
Facebook: www.facebook.com/arts.music.community
Twitter: @Minersartnmusic

Moss Side Community Allotment
The allotment is an invaluable community resource, which engages local residents in food education, life skills, and is a social hub for the community.

Volunteers work all year round to keep the allotment running, and actively works for the advancement of the community and Moss Side.

Website: https://mosssidecommunityallotment.wordpress.com/
Facebook: www.facebook.com/groups/mosssidecomallotment/


Nutsford Vale Country Park
Nutsford Vale is a unique space in Manchester, which is tended and supported by the Friends of Nutsford Vale. Nutsford Vale was established over the last 10 years by local residents working with the Council and charities for the benefit of the community.

The friends group have been fundamental to establishing a beautiful wildlife haven, with wildflower meadow to support dwindling bee species, a fledgling community orchard along with numerous large trees, a pond, bushes and long grasses. Species noted on the Vale include, bees, bats (protected), foxes, hedgehogs, herons, water voles (protected), butterflies and countless birds.

Many residents describe the vale to me as a sanctuary from the City. A place to escape, a place to walk the dog, a place to exercise or simply just 'be'. When you step inside it on a sunny day all you hear is birdsong and you feel a real sense of peace. What makes it so special is that it is genuinely 'owned' by residents and the community - that sense of ownership of the space has been key to its survival and how it has blossomed from a former tip site to a sanctuary in the city.

Website: www.friendsofnutsfordvale.co.uk
Facebook: www.facebook.com/savenutsfordvale/
Twitter: @Nutsfordvale

The Place
The Place is a vibrant community hub that provides relevant services tailored to the community it serves. At the heart of the organisation is a Friends of Fallowfield group established to challenge the closure of their local library. Many of them shared stories and memories of being brought to the library as a child and felt the need to react. More than 80 volunteers stepped in to help run The Place when the library was threatened with closure following council budget cuts in 2013. Through an innovative partnership with a local housing association and the City Council the Place was created.

The Place now provides: library services; assisted job searches; a credit union; women in business and enterprise support; Talk English classes, Citizens Advice; knitting; a kids craft club; a free homework support and much more.

The Place deserves this award because the campaign to save the library evidenced its ‘Place’ in the hearts of local residents and the surrounding community. It represents the best partnership approach to deliver a local solution to the point that it's more vibrant, multipurpose and sustainable now than it ever was as a council service.

Website: www.theplaceonline.co.uk
Facebook: www.facebook.com/ThePlaceFallowfield
Twitter: @ThePlaceM14

The Tree of Life Centre Wythenshawe
The Tree of Life Centre Wythenshawe is a thriving community hub. We successfully refurnished an abandoned old single story school building which is now used and enjoyed by an average of 300 people on a daily basis. We work to relieve the effects of deprivation and improve the health, wellbeing and long term sustainability of families.

This is achieved through seven integrated projects at the Centre, namely: a household furniture and clothing re-use shops; a job club and IT learning centre; community café; foodbank; community repaint; an extensive list of health and wellbeing activities; and we also run a volunteering program. As all projects are volunteer and community centred; each year we work with an average of 100 volunteers from a range of backgrounds, ages, and abilities who work together contributing over 30,000 hours to create and support their community.

The Tree of Life Centre Wythenshawe responds to those in immediate crisis as well as those with longer term needs, providing a constant source of support. Through our projects we raise living standards and help build the long term capacity, environment and cohesion of our community.

Website: www.treeoflifecentre.org.uk
Facebook: www.facebook.com/TreeOfLifeWythenshawe
Twitter: @Treeoflifecentr

Volition Community
The Volition programme has been manning the Cenotaph on St Peters Square daily since November, utilising volunteers from all areas of Greater Manchester with a range of different backgrounds and abilities. Our volunteers have branded coats, bags and sashes with the Manchester Cathedral and We Love Manchester logo on them.

We offer information and advice on the Cenotaph and it being recently relocated. We also offer information and directions about surrounding areas for tourists and Mancunians daily and maps for people that are visiting and may be lost.

This not only helps the visitors but the guides and welcomers as the majority of them suffer from either depression, anxiety or social isolation, so what better way to combat this than to be in the centre of such a busy and welcoming city.

Website: www.manchestercathedral.org
Facebook: www.facebook.com/ManchesterCathedral
Twitter: @ManCathedral