Close this search box.

The selfless community leaders up for a mega Manchester award

It's time to meet the shortlist for inaugural I Love MCR Community Leader Award.

In this spirit of unity and community, the I Love MCR Awards annually recognise individuals who go above and beyond to make a profound impact on the city and its people.

This year, the nominees for the Community Leader Award are shining examples of strong leadership, compassion, and dedication to the betterment of Manchester.

The awards will take place on 23rd November 2023 at DieCast Manchester, presented by Will Mellor and Gemma Atkinson.

Without further ado, let’s meet these remarkable nominees:

Adam Farricker: The Youth Champion

Adam Farricker, the CEO of HideOut Youth Zone, has dedicated over two decades of his life to empowering Manchester’s young people.

Since its inception in 2020, HideOut Youth Zone has provided essential support to over 6,000 local youths.

Adam’s journey began as a youth work volunteer at the age of 16, eventually leading him to his role as the Head of Youth Work Strategy and Engagement at Manchester City Council.

His commitment to bringing communities together to support young people is deeply rooted in his working-class background growing up in Gorton.

Due to the remarkable success of HideOut Youth Zone, Adam is now spearheading a new project to establish a Youth Zone in Salford, scheduled to open in 2025.

This initiative will offer a haven and constructive activities for thousands of young individuals, providing them with trusted guidance and support.

Vote for them here

Judith Vickers: The Advocate for the Homeless

Judith Vickers, Operations Manager at Lifeshare, Manchester’s oldest homelessness charity, is a tireless advocate for those facing homelessness.

She has been instrumental in bringing together partners from various sectors to address homelessness challenges in Greater Manchester, leading to the formation of the Coalition of Relief.

Her efforts even attracted the attention of former Mayor Andy Burnham, resulting in a continued focus on the homelessness issue by city authorities.

Beyond her core role at Lifeshare, Judy actively participates in several strategic boards across the city, including the Sex Worker’s Forum and the Crime and Disorder Board.

Her expertise and dedication have made her an invaluable asset to these organisations.

Judy’s commitment extends to the grassroots level, where she actively supports the Weekend Breakfast Project, serving meals to rough sleepers and connecting them to further assistance.

Vote for them here

Mike Hirst

Mike is the co-founder of ‘Lads Like Us’  an organisation born to encourage boys and men to speak about all forms of childhood trauma and ACEs in order to claim back their lives for themselves and to stop the vicious cycle of self-sabotage which, in turn, has a positive impact on loved ones and the damage caused to society when undealt with trauma plays out.

Mike is currently working with fellow founder of Lads Like Us, Danny, on an outreach program/campaign called #FollowMeRKid – their form of restorative justice.

They want to help people repay society for the damage they’ve caused by helping other men turn things around through their lived experiences, carrying a message of hope and encouraging transferable skills to change.

A truly inspirational character.

Vote for them here

Simon Naylor: Community King

Simon Naylor is the driving force behind 53Two.

Over the past 12 months, this venue has not only grown but flourished, transforming into a multifaceted space encompassing theatre, pub, and community hub.

And at the core of its resounding success stands Simon Naylor.

Simon’s dedication to 53Two goes above and beyond the call of duty. He doesn’t merely manage the venue; he embodies it. From promoting the venue on social media to working behind the bar, from managing a dedicated team to applying for funding, Simon is the heart and soul of 53Two.

He doesn’t shy away from any task – whether it’s setting up a show, welcoming the public, or ensuring every aspect runs smoothly, Simon is there, ensuring nothing falls through the cracks.

But his contributions extend far beyond the walls of 53Two.

Simon is a true advocate for young people, both within the venue and in the broader community.

He volunteers at a local hospital.  At 53Two, he opens the doors to students, allowing them to film on the premises and providing the lighting and space they need.

He even offered a young person a valuable summer placement opportunity from a local college.

Simon’s kindness knows no bounds, and he has channelled his compassion into the charity 500 Acts of Kindness.

Through his nominations, he has directly transformed lives. From providing one month’s rent to a homeless student, ensuring they had a place to call home, to sourcing a bed for Colin, a Big Issue vendor with a broken back who had been sleeping on a two-seater couch, Simon’s impact on the people of Manchester is gigantic.

Vote for them here

Mohammad Khairuzzaman: The Community Catalyst

Mohammad Khairuzzaman, the founder of ‘Work For Smile,’ has dedicated his life to providing charitable services to those in need in Manchester.

Since 2016, he has directed various projects, including Litter Picking, Refugee Support, COVID-19 vaccination initiatives, and Book Distribution, all aimed at making a positive difference in his community.

One of his most notable achievements was his leadership of the Food Distribution Project during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Khairuzzaman not only ensured immediate relief through food distribution but also addressed broader issues affecting his community.

His dedication has inspired a diverse group of volunteers, and together, they have expanded their reach and impact.

Vote for them here

Myroslava Coates: The Inspirational Doodler

Known as MyroDoodles, Myroslava Coates is a source of inspiration in the Prestwich community.

She actively organises fundraisers, promotes local businesses, and fosters a sense of community camaraderie.

Her artistic talents have grown over the years, and she uses them to promote positivity, kindness, and empathy.

Myroslava is open about her struggles with mental health and consistently advocates for kindness and support within the community.

She has undertaken various charitable initiatives, from brightening local hospitals with her artwork to organising fundraisers for important causes. Myroslava is a true beacon of hope and inspiration for Greater Manchester.

Vote for them here

Victoria Holden: The Green Thumb Visionary

Victoria Holden, the founder of Northern Lily Community Interest Company, is passionate about connecting communities with nature through horticulture, food growing, and community orcharding.

With 24 years of experience in youth and community work, Victoria is dedicated to providing support and resources to empower people and communities.

Over the past two years, Victoria has played a pivotal role in revitalising community gardens and supporting local start-ups.

She leads the GROWE project in Failsworth, where she has created opportunities for various activities, from therapy goats to forest school, enriching the lives of residents.

Victoria’s leadership and passion for inclusivity have made her a driving force for positive change in Greater Manchester.

Vote for them here

Steve Hill MBE: The Local Hero

Steve Hill, a primary school teacher and founder of Team Hill Charity Trust, has dedicated his life to making a difference in Oldham and Greater Manchester.

His journey began with self-funded challenges to inspire others, eventually leading to the establishment of his charity in 2019.

Steve’s charity has touched the lives of thousands, providing support to the homeless, food banks, children in need, and environmental initiatives.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, his charity played a pivotal role in supporting vulnerable families, demonstrating the power of community unity.

Steve’s impact extends to knitting groups, supporting young carers, and enhancing the children’s ward at a local hospital.

Vote for them here

These remarkable individuals exemplify the strength, leadership, and social values that define the essence of the Community Leader Award at the I Love MCR Awards.

Each nominee has left a huge mark on Greater Manchester, demonstrating the power of community-driven initiatives and the potential for positive change in our beloved city.

Manchester truly thrives when its people come together for a common cause.

Did we miss something? Let us know: [email protected]

Want to be the first to receive all the latest news stories, what’s on and events from the heart of Manchester? Sign up here.


Manchester is a successful city, but there are many people that suffer. The I Love MCR Foundation helps raise vital funds to help improve the lives and prospects of people and communities across Greater Manchester – and we can’t do it without your help. So please donate or fundraise what you can because investing in your local community to help it thrive can be a massively rewarding experience. Thank you in advance!

Got a story worth sharing?

What’s the story? We are all ears when it comes to positive news and inspiring stories. You can send story ideas to [email protected]

Close this search box.