Manchester Community Central weekly ebulletin
6 January 2020
Manchester Community Central
    The Roaring Twenties

One of the things I’ve said many times over the years is the need to think about volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity as a way of coping with a rapidly changing world. I’m not going to tell you to stop doing that. With a new Government with such a large majority we now know that after years, things will start moving fast…or at least it will look and feel as if they are. That big majority means acceleration. We’re just still waiting to see what direction it will take. Who knows what version of ‘One Nation Conservatism’ we will actually see? Will there be any steps taken to heal the divisions of the last few years, will there be real change?


Somehow I doubt it because all the evidence so far is that the real divisions – class and race for example – don’t mean very much to this Prime Minister. He could go a long way, at zero cost to the public purse, to withdraw and apologise for some of the things he has said and written over the years. If he genuinely wants to bring people together, this has to be his starting point.


To most of us in Manchester’s voluntary groups, community organisations, charities and social enterprises, this might seem to be a distraction: stuff that happens miles away in London – likewise the fights which are already building between PM and the Scots Nationalists since they have both seen significant increases in support and we’re literally going to be in the middle of all that. The reason it matters is because all of this will be at the heart of the stories in the media for the coming years. It boils down to a simple question: who do we want to be?


January marks 10 years since we established Manchester Community Central. In the midst of the worst snow we’d seen in years, a bunch of us made our way into the office and pressed the button which launched our new website, opened our new phone line and made a start. 10 years later it has helped to bring in millions of pounds to hundreds of Manchester organisations, supported local people to build new community groups, helped strengthen what they do and helped bring new talent and energy into our organisations. When we launched I promised it would keep evolving and it has. We have made plenty of mistakes along the way but we will keep listening and learning. We’re going to carry that on this year. We’re building our Opening Up Leadership programme to support leaders of all kinds in communities and organisations, we’re going to do more work to find common cause with people in local businesses who have a sense of social purpose. We’re going to work on how Macc helps great things happen in Manchester and how we can make what we do more inclusive, more mutually supportive and easier to get what you need from us. Macc alone doesn’t make all this happen. It’s all of us.


Poverty and inequality are rising. Social anger and hostility towards each other seems to be increasing. We’re burning through our limited natural resources. All this despite the most widespread and visible campaigns and social action movements I think we’ve ever seen. You might be tempted to wonder whether it all makes a difference. Believe me, it does. The power of people standing with each other, building hope, making their voices heard, it’s a multi-generation effort to create change. It’s people saying “this is who we want to be”. I am sceptical of anyone who claims to have All The Answers: but there is a truth that all of us is more capable, more creative and more intelligent than one of us. And even in the tiniest most informal community group, that spirit is what makes it work. Collaboration is the way out of the darkness. Hope and help are to be found when we work together.


We’re now entering the 2020s. The last version of the Twenties was known as The Roaring 20s. Let’s make this one roar in a different way.


Best wishes for a new year and a new decade.


With love from all of us.


Mike Wild, Chief Executive




    Active Communities

2020 promises to be a year of consolidation, development and progression for the Active Communities Team. We remain committed to and energised by our aim of increasing the role of people in Manchester through volunteering, active citizenship and asset-based community development.


Here are a few lines from each of our projects and services that you can expect to see in the coming year:


Volunteer Centre Manchester

The Volunteer Centre will continue to provide information, support and training to Manchester residents who want to volunteer; and will continue to build relationships with local charities, social enterprises and community groups so we can provide volunteers with new exciting, varied and interesting opportunities they can engage with.


In early 2020, the volunteer centre also wants to collaborate with partners to get its planning for Volunteers’ Week (June 2020) underway – watch this space for a call out about this!


Greater Manchester Older People’s Network (GMOPN)

The GMOPN will get 2020 underway with its next Network Event in late February – which will showcase the work of the network from over the course of the Ambition for Ageing programme. Greater Manchester Mayor, Andy Burnham is also scheduled to speak.


Around this time, the GMOPN will also be launching a photography competition as parts of its work on the Positive Ageing Imagery Project – which is looking at the way that older people are portrayed in the media and through other forms of publicity.


During the coming year, the network will also be focusing on its sustainability and development.


HOUR Manchester

As has been the case in 2019, the HOUR Manchester project will move at pace as it moves into the New Year.


In 2020 HOUR Manchester will be looking to set up new timebanks and sharing initiatives, offer free workshops telling people what we do and how they can get involved, and will start to develop technology that helps us increase sharing and collaboration across the city!


Skill Givers

Skill Givers will be continuing to work with employees across Manchester and Salford and providing an outlet to support New Year’s resolutions to volunteer! We will also be launching with new employers including One Manchester and working towards a way to build-on and share some of our learning.


We said it last year, and we’ll say it again:

All the very best for the year ahead, look after each other – and come and collaborate with us in 2020!


The Active Communities Team


     Capacity Building

The support continues!

The Capacity Building Team is really pleased to be here and continuing to support not-for-profit community groups for a further three years. We are looking forward to working with you in 2020, whether you are a new group or a familiar one and as you continue to develop and strengthen your organisations in challenging times, we are here to help.


New or old

If you are new to our support service or perhaps not used us in a while, below are just some of the types of support we can offer in 2020. We can help you to:

  • Identify and tackle areas of development in your organisation
  • Understand which policies and procedures are needed, which are priority and review draft policies
  • Explore, choose, register or change legal structure
  • Create a survey in a community consultation to inform and support funding bid
  • Draft funding applications (and be a critical friend to these)
  • Understand, be informed about and explore community asset transfer (CAT)
  • Develop or clarify board strategy and vision
  • Improve business planning
  • Plan for and promote trustee vacancies and recruitment

Training and support – tell us what you need!

The new training needs analysis survey will be coming soon. This is a key opportunity for you to tell us what the training gaps are and what would most help your organisation develop; don’t be shy!


New groups

We recognise that starting out can be a bit daunting. Over the last year or so, Macc has worked with 10GM partners to develop 11 revised (including some completely new) factsheets on topics that we think are particularly helpful if you are a new group. These are all live on the Manchester Community Central website:

Love for the north

There’s lots to love about North Manchester and we’re excited to be part a process of looking at what can be done to build on and invest in existing strengths and talents there and using the North Manchester Inquiry recommendations. Look out for further information on this coming soon. There will be a mailing list that anyone in North and East can sign up to, for information and opportunities.


CATs – the non-furry kind

Close partnership work with Manchester City Council’s Corporate Estates team continues as we work to support groups exploring Community Asset Transfer (otherwise known as ‘CAT’). We look forward to supporting existing and further groups who are working towards a specific building or land and groups working more generally to be ready for CAT in the future. If you have never managed an asset before, look out for our Introduction to CAT training, a great place to start improving your knowledge and whether a building is really the right step for your group. We provide more detailed support and training for groups that can evidence they are ready for/CAT is suitable for them.



Our weekly Tuesday drop-in, 2pm-4pm has proved a useful way for groups new to Macc to bob in and find out more about the capacity building support the team can offer. The helpline (0333 321 3021) is as popular as ever but if you prefer to make your very first contact with us face-to-face, come along on any Tuesday afternoon. No need to book, there is always a member of the team available to talk to you, whether it is information that you need or to make a request for support for your organisation.


    Policy and Influence

Gazing in to my P&I crystal ball, I can see that 2020 is already shaping up to be an interesting and exciting year. The focus of the team will continue to be working to influence decision making in the city to benefit the VCSE sector and the people we work with. Whilst Macc staff do act as representatives for the sector, we want to do more to support and promote opportunities for other organisations who do this work. 


The devolution of health and social care to Greater Manchester has created new opportunities for the P&I team’s work to make sure VCSE organisations are involved, consulted and represented in the city, especially in relation to grants, commissioning and other resources for the sector. Examples include working with the sector to progress a Memorandum of Understanding which has been agreed between the Local Care Organisation and the sector, and the new Health and Wellbeing Leaders’ group. We will also continue to work with the new structures and teams in Manchester’s 12 neighbourhoods, and we’re planning the next Community Explorers meeting across the city.


Behind the scenes, we’re working to update our website and make it easier for people to find the information they need to get involved. We’ll continue to run Macc’s quarterly Voluntary Sector Assemblies, and regular events and training on topics such as social value, community development and leadership. Members of the team also work on Macc-wide issues such as staff health and wellbeing and equalities. We’ll also be working with members of the trustee board to help Macc review how we work with our membership.


For more information, contact us directly, visit the P&I pages on the Manchester Community Central website, and sign up to P&I shorts, our weekly round up of policy news.

   Visit our website: 

> Information, factsheets and resources

> Online Directory of VCSE groups

> To hire one of our meeting rooms

> To sign up to become a member and much more

   Active Communities

The aim of the Greater Manchester Older People's Network is to inform and influence Greater Manchester strategies that affect older people. Membership is open to all older people living in Greater Manchester.


Skill Givers is an employer supported volunteering project working with organisations across Manchester and Salford. The project links employers with local voluntary and community groups, charities and social enterprises, who support their community to get active.


Volunteer Centre Manchester provides information, support and training to Manchester residents who want to volunteer and to organisations who work with or involve volunteers.

   Group Development

The Capacity Building Team provides group development support to build the capacity and sustainability of Manchester's voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) organisations. This is available through bespoke, one-to-one support and our training and we co-ordinate a training calendar of other relevant training opportunities from across the city.

Click here for resources on starting a group, governance, funding factsheets, managing / taking on a building, policy templates, a directory of VCSE organisations and much more.


Weekly Drop-in Tuesday afternoons 2pm-4pm

Community groups: brand new / starting out, never accessed support from Macc, not sure of or how we can help, come along for a chat with our friendly team at offices: Macc, 3rd Floor, Swan Buildings, 20 Swan Street, Manchester, M4 5JW. We’ll be there to listen to your ideas and questions, tell you about what we offer and show you how you can access our support.

   Policy and Influence

The Policy and Influence Team promotes positive change in Manchester through bringing the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector together, enabling opportunities for constructive dialogue with the statutory and private sectors, encouraging creative solutions and informing the sector about policy and strategic developments.

Contact us

To get in touch

Telephone information service: 0333 321 3021

  • Support line open Monday to Friday 10am - 4pm
  • Calls are charged at the same rate as a local call, whether made from a landline or mobile phone



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