MancSpirit is a new Charity covering Greater Manchester that is harnessing creative Manchester to inspire mental well-being. Primarily this will be through the Arts but we will utilise any creative form that can entertain and engage people.
Our model is relatively simple in that we raise funds through corporate sessions and events which then enables to provide similar services to vulnerable groups at reduced rates or entirely free of charge dependant on their situation and needs.
We know that engaging with creativity benefits people whether that means simply providing them with a few hours entertainment to give them some time and space away from their own challenges, or whether they choose to take the next step and get involved themselves. This is true whether it’s looking at well-being in the workplace or if it’s engaging with a support group, people in Prison or people living in a Homeless Hostel.
When people find themselves in difficulty it’s really hard to find that ‘next step’ to become part of a social group or discover a way to explore your own personal narrative once you’ve decided to make positive changes in your life. Going into a Hostel, leaving prison or building resilience to drugs or alcohol abuse is a daunting and lonely process. We know from personal and previous experience that the creativite activity can be a great way of finding belonging and building confidence at a very crucial time in a person’s personal transformation.
We have also identified a need to ‘Heal the Healers’ or ‘Care for the Carers’ and we will galvanise public support and positive action to demonstrate to people working in our Emergency Services, NHS, Support Workers, Carers and Volunteers that the people of Greater Manchester value them and the work they do to look after us. We have consulted with many of our ‘Healers’ and ‘Carers’ and many feel that when they’ve struggled in their own lives and Careers they’ve felt particularly alone and unvalued. We believe that it’s up to the general public to show them love and fellowship and we’ll provide the vehicle for that to happen.
We’ve consulted with a number of Mancunian ‘Creatives’ and they have all said that they want to be involved. These are established Poets, Playwrights, Actors, Artists, Musicians, Inspirational speakers, etc. many of whom have struggled with Mental Health during their own journeys. They are eager to share their stories and their passion for creativity, but many are lacking in the organisational and business skills needed to deliver a sustainable and robust service. We have also discussed with them the importance that they receive payment for their work to ensure that their own creative development is nurtured and secure. We can all benefit from the opportunity of the invite to join the MancSpirit movement.
MancSpirit will work with other groups and organisations to signpost people to local activity and we will create services where there is a gap in provision. There are already some amazing groups and charities already working across Greater Manchester and we will support them to expand that provision and learn from them to share best practice across our network.
Funding is always an issue and it is always a challenge for creative people being held back by financial constraints, and we want MancSpirit to be the ‘go to’ organisation to broker exciting collaborations that encourage Manchester Communities to come to us with their ideas that we then work with them to bring to life. We want to ensure that whatever grants or sponsorship is available is fully utilised and maximised by creating events that raise additional funding, increases involvement and raises awareness.
We are also aware that there is an imbalance in voluntary activity across Greater Manchester and within some communities and we will work with professionals to identify and prioritise these areas to ensure that the funding available to them is unlocked and used to benefit the well-being of those people. MancSpirit will transform people from ‘hard to reach’ to ‘hard to ignore’ in inspiring a new cohort of Community activists each championing their own favourite creative activity.
We are currently constituted as a small charity while awaiting confirmation from the Charity Commission that our registration as a CIO (Charitable Incorporated Organisation) has been agreed. We have strong and knowledgeable Trustees in place and the support of a strong network of creative people. We have also been discussing the design and vision of MancSpirit with professionals from Healthcare, Business owners and established Arts providers that all see the potential and benefit of what we are creating. We now need to put all this into action and we will soon be delivering a selection of activities and workshops to explore ‘what works best’ to establish our initial programme of sessions.
If you feel that you can assist us in any way we are looking for funding (sponsorship, paid work or grants), we also need groups of people to include in our pilots and we are always looking for people to signpost us to potential partners.