Meet Forever Manchester: Charity the Mancunian Way
Forever Manchester, a charity that raises money to fund and support the fantastic local community activity taking place across Greater Manchester is helping local people to do extraordinary things together. The perfect fit for Float, they’re this years official charity partner and we’re positively bursting at the seams to share more about this incredible organisation. We caught up with their Business Development Manager - James Hampson to learn more about the fabric that holds Forever Manchester together, the initiatives they’re supporting and why a good cuppa and office natter at their HQ is the perfect dose of wellness.
Since its formation in 1989, Forever Manchester has delivered over $36 million into local communities benefiting 1.1 million people. With some clever arithmetic this means that at any given time there are an unbelievable 20,000 local grassroots projects of varying sizes and interest taking place, all within one mile of your home or business. Working with communities to inspire and encourage every idea, big or small, crazy or cool, they want to facilitate activity that makes neighborhoods happier, healthier and safer places to be. Helping to build communities from the inside out, championing true creative entrepreneurialism and enabling people to shine in a truly Mancunian way, Forever Manchester is a charity that puts people first.
Driven by a belief that everyone has a right to be happy, the charity supports all manner of community projects. From the sidelines of a under 11’s football match, to village hall coffee mornings, to the office fundraisers, Forever Manchester helps local people go the extra mile because each and every cause promotes human connection; an ideal that is central to our offering at Float. Speaking with James Hampson, Forever Manchester’s Business Development Manager, about some of the groups the charity helps to fund, he admits that he has a soft spot for one particular group of ladies - the Neonatal Knitters, who congregate every week to knit hats and jumpers for premature babies and their families. Visiting families in hospital, some sharing pictures of their own children who were born premature, these ladies offer a friendly face at what can be a very challenging time. The coming together of this group also tackles societal issues such as loneliness and isolation, James loves popping down to their meetings because the room is always awash with laughter and chatter, fostering friendship and companionship; proof of community in action.
Groups such as this truly give people the power to determine their own future, and while Forever Manchester facilitates these groups, the remit and outcome is completely self-directed by the people at the heart of the cause or initiative. By doing something they love and care about, James feels that this instills greater wellbeing within communities, but in a non patronising or hand holding way. Whether they are aware of it or not, local people are providing solutions to problems within their communities by creating opportunities for connectivity and safety to flourish.
For James, Float’s ethos ties nicely with the work done by Forever Manchester because wellness should not be a one size fits all approach. Float, like Forever Manchester looks to support people in doing what makes them feel happy and well, in a way that feels true to the individual, rather than a prescriptive approach to wellness. It is the belief of the charity that not only do people have the right to be happy, but that they should be able to make their own choices as regards to what makes them feel well. Their work proves that there is a whole spectrum of local activity taking place across Greater Manchester and like Float, wellbeing should be tailored to the individual or group at hand. So what makes James feel well? He finds that some quiet mindfulness and meditation, exercise and journaling are important rituals for him to uphold for his own wellbeing. He also finds spending time in other peoples company extremely beneficial. Forever Manchester’s HQ is living proof that a friendly and welcoming work environment, that encourages conversations around mental health and wellbeing, can be a very powerful tool in connecting people and promoting simple and effective ways of self-care; a place where you can surround yourself with people who genuinely care.
It would be fair to say that Forever Manchester truly represents and installs the Mancunian ethos of doing it for yourself. Supporting self-directed group initiatives that make people feel happy and well, Forever Manchester is successfully facilitating tangible and effective community activity that combats societal issues head on, in a fun and engaging way. Float is proud to be partnering with a charity that puts wellbeing and community first, and in a way that lets the individual take ownership and control of their happiness and destiny.
Fancy coming down to Float? Grab your tickets here.