Minutes after the worst terrorist attack in Britain since 7/7 left at least 22 people dead and 59 injured, the people of Manchester mobilised to support those affected. The resounding message is this – Manchester still stands strong.
Rolling news coverage of the bomb blast at the end of the Ariana Grande concert last night showed the devastation caused by this appalling act. At least 21,000 people were there and there were many walking wounded, with Victoria Station closing following the incident.
At the same time as details of the incident were becoming clearer, the news was also filled with examples of the generosity and solidarity of the people of Manchester.
The hashtag #roomformanchester rapidly appeared on social media, with locals opening up their homes and help to people caught in the attack.
Hotels and other venues rushed to provide free places to stay for people who were stranded. Holiday Inn Express Manchester Arena took in over 50 children without a guardian. Taxi drivers were also offering free lifts to people in need.
Holiday Inn Express Manchester Arena (M4 5JY) have apparently taken in 50+ children tonight without a guardian
— I Love Manchester (@ILoveMCR) May 22, 2017
— I Love Manchester (@ILoveMCR) May 23, 2017
Businesses and organisations in the city took action to help people following the attack. Steven Barlett of media group The Social Chain tweeted “Anyone needing somewhere to stay can come to our Manchester headquarters in the city centre. 127 Portland St M1 4PZ” whilst theatre space 53Two took to social media saying “If you need somewhere to come grab a coffee and await news, head to the arches. We’ve got the kettle on!”
Deansgate bar The Living Room opened its doors to provide shelter and a place for families to meet, whilst new mayor Andy Burnham was quick to comment on the solidarity of the people too, telling people to look around them: “Follow #MissinginManchester and #RoomForManchester… demonstrating the true spirit of our city in the face of such devastating tragedy.”
AJ Singh, a taxi driver offering lifts all night, summed up the response when he told reporters: “I try to help out everywhere I could. I’ve had people who needed to find loved ones. We should come out and show whoever’s done this it doesn’t matter because we’re glue and we stick together when it counts.”
Police have set up this number for those concerned about loved ones in Manchester: +44 (0)161 856 9400