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Year-long campaign launched to help children and young people in Manchester

2022: Our Year aims to create a legacy for young people in Manchester and help bring UNICEF's 'Child Friendly City' recognition for the city

Manchester City Council has launched a new campaign, called 2022: Our Year, to create a legacy for children and young people living in Manchester and to help bring UNICEF’s ‘Child Friendly City’ recognition for the city.

Young Mancunians are set to benefit from new experiences, opportunities, events, and support through 2022, to help them reclaim their futures after well over a year spent in lockdown or in restricted measures due to COVID-19.

The year-long campaign will lay the foundations to make a lasting, positive difference for the city’s next generation.

The campaign will also incorporate special fundraising projects specifically to support Manchester’s most vulnerable youngsters.

Council leaders have recruited respected local figures, leaders, and innovators from the private sector to be official campaign ambassadors to help put youngsters at the heart of the city’s future.

These inspirational Mancunians from diverse backgrounds and sectors, have pledged to support the 2022: Our Year campaign in a truly ‘Manchester-does-things-differently’ fashion.

Ambassadors will contribute their experience, talent, and time to consult and take part in events, support fundraising projects, and provide practical opportunities such as work experience and mentoring.

They will be involved in official 2022: Our Year masterclasses, TEDx-style talks, a summer sports festival, local culture and arts activations, mental/well-being learning experiences, and an immersive career event.

Ambassadors include global fashion brand owner Seema Malhotra, Deputy Lieutenant of Greater Manchester and LGBTQ+ campaigner Carl Austin Behan, OBE, festival and events director Jon Drape, sports lawyer and commercial litigator Marc Yaffe, media editor Shelina Begum, barrister Sally Penni, Night Time Economy Adviser Sacha Lord, Manchester Youth MP Alex Kennedy, climate change activist Emma Greenwood and inspirational speaker and storyteller, Krish Patel.

“I am so proud to be part of Manchester City Council’s Our Year initiative to support the UNICEF Child-Friendly City programme as I believe that we have a duty to provide a safe and happy environment where children can flourish and reach their full potential,” said Seema Malhotra.

“I am a huge advocate of mental health and there has been a devastating impact on young people during the pandemic, not just mentally but also financially.

“We need to listen to their needs and create a legacy for our next generations to pass on.

“Now more than ever, it’s time we made a change from the heart and what better place to start than Manchester.”

Bev Craig, the newly elected Leader of Manchester City Council, stressed the profound impact 2022: Our Year will have on the city.

“COVID-19 has laid bare the inequalities that are deep rooted in our society,” said Bev.

“Around a third of Manchester’s children are currently growing up in poverty and our young people have felt the brunt of the impact of the pandemic – missing vital education and left isolated from their friends.

“A formative time in their lives has been cruelly taken away from them. Those from disadvantaged backgrounds have been hit even harder.

“We are a city with a powerful social conscience and 2022: Our Year is about closing the gap between the haves and have-nots.

“We cannot shy away from the challenges that face our city and it is our responsibility to do everything we can to ensure that everyone in this city can share its success.

“This work won’t happen overnight, but the aim of this journey is to show our young people that they can succeed.

“We want to inspire them to think big, believe in their own potential and – ultimately – we want Manchester to be the very best city a young person can grow up in.”

2022: Our Year will also be a kick-start for Manchester to begin a two-year accreditation process to be recognised by UNICEF as a Child Friendly City.

To achieve the status of Child Friendly City by UNICEF, a place must demonstrate that the voices, needs, priorities and rights of children are an integral part of public policies, programmes, and decisions.

In response to feedback from young people, teachers and youth workers across the city, Manchester City Council is also creating sponsorship opportunities for local businesses to support two new essential funding provisions.

Sponsorship partners for both these funds will be actively involved in providing disadvantaged children and young people with meals, activities, and financial support, fulfilling their basic needs.

The first is an Our Year Activities Fund which will provide consistent meals and easily accessible, safe activities during all the school holidays. Despite a partially funded system already being in place it only allows for six of the 13 weeks of the school holiday calendar.

As part of 2022: Our Year the council will include all school holidays and make it accessible to 0-18 age groups making sure no child or young person will go without.

Manchester City Council will also begin a brand new Our Year Legacy Fund to provide financial support for day-to-day support for vulnerable children’s basic needs.

Sponsorship opportunities range from £5k – £50k for local businesses to demonstrate their commitment to social value and build a better future for children and young people whilst showcasing the creativity of Manchester. Businesses can pledge their support here.

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