Manchester’s acclaimed United We Stream GM is back by request of the Mayor of Greater Manchester, as a morale booster in time for Christmas.
The award-winning streaming platform will restart following the government’s announcement of a second national lockdown, and growing concern about the rapid decline in mental health throughout the region.
Calls to police and specialist services about mental health issues caused by loneliness, depression, isolation and personal circumstances have almost doubled in Manchester since the start of the pandemic and are continuing to rise.
The Greater Manchester Mental Health Foundation’s helpline received 2,168 calls in July compared with 1,187 in April.
In support of Andy Burnham’s new initiative oneGM, the city’s Night Time Economy Adviser Sacha Lord is planning a host of festive, feel-good shows to give the region’s residents a break from the boredom and isolation of restrictions, starting on ‘Mad Friday’ (18th December).
Then the city that thinks a table is for dancing on will continue to party through the Christmas holidays with three more exclusive productions to enjoy at home on 19th December, Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve.
All donations will go directly to the Mayor’s oneGM initiative via the Just Giving page. The campaign was launched by Andy on 27th October, backed by a group of the city-region’s business leaders and celebrities.
oneGM is raising funds to get local support to the people hardest hit by the economic impact of COVID-19 in Greater Manchester, from food poverty to supporting those experiencing or at risk of homelessness, to providing mental health support.
“Greater Manchester is the most resilient city region in the UK,” says Sacha.
“When we are up against it, we come together to look after those most in need.
“Last week, our Mayor, Andy Burnham launched oneGM, a campaign to look after many people who need it right now.
“The next morning, he called me to see if I could persuade the original United We Stream team to get back together and support the campaign.
“Without hesitation, the whole team said yes.
“We’ve programmed four huge festive parties, including what will undoubtedly be the biggest NYE party in the UK.
“So many of us want put 2020 truly behind us, and we totally understand that for many, their mental wellbeing is at tipping point and that the holidays could be a very lonely and bleak time.
“We hope that these shows will allow you a bit of escapism for a few hours.
“As always, United We Stream will be completely free to watch, and I know for many that money is very tight, but if you can spare a pound or two, that would be great, and your donation will go straight to oneGM.”
United We Stream GM was created in response to the first UK shutdown and began on 3rd April.
The project wrapped 12 weeks later having amassed donations of £477,000 for 12 different good causes and local charities, with 35 fundraising events broadcast live on the platform.
“With a tough winter on the way for many of us, we wanted to do everything we could to lift people’s spirits and help pull Greater Manchester through the challenging months ahead,” said Andy Burnham.
“Having seen the phenomenal impact that United We Stream had earlier in the year, it seemed the obvious choice to get the band back together in the true spirit of the oneGM campaign.
“The artists, the performers, the DJs – everyone who got involved and tuned in to United We Stream helped create something really special, something that brought people together all over the world and raised a staggering amount of money for local charities and good causes.
“This time around, all of the money you donate will go directly to oneGM and will help support those across our city-region hardest hit by this crisis.
“If we can achieve even a fraction of what we saw earlier this year I believe we can make a real difference this winter.”
United We Stream GM is free to view, but donations to oneGM will be encouraged. People can watch the streams via the website’s event page unitedwestream.co.uk, and their Facebook, Twitter and You Tube accounts.