For The City
We are a group of people who long to do the stuff that Jesus did. We believe that a love for others and a desire to express that in practical ways is a natural by-product of spending time with Jesus. We want to build a community that finds and understands the needs of the city and seeks to practically and compassionately respond to them. We want to be part of extending the hands and heart of Jesus to the city of Manchester and intend to be a church that gives a significant portion of our time, energy and money to reach beyond ourselves and help others.
Have you heard about our £1 Challenge? You can join us and share it with others here.
Manchester has one of the highest rates of child poverty by local authority, with 42% of families struggling to provide what most others take for granted. More specifically, the Income Deprivation Affecting Children Index ranks Ardwick within the 2% most deprived in England. In an area defined by low educational attainment, unemployment, broken relationships and poor health, we long to rewrite the story.
Up until now we have supported other frontline organisations in the area by collecting food, childrens’ items, clothing and white goods, as needed, but we don’t just want to meet practical needs by proxy. We long for opportunities to build relationships and help people in need to flourish. Once a month we collect essential items for the families that need it most. You can find the latest shopping list here.
Currently what we can do is limited as we lack our own building.
We are in the process of negotiating a Community Asset Transfer with Manchester City Council in order to reopen 422 Stockport Road (formerly known as the Longsight Youth Centre) for the benefit of local people who need support, training and a place to belong.
422 has stood empty since 2011. This grand Victorian building is on the busy A6, with a bus stop right outside the front doors. Around 80,000 residents in the local area are able to get to it by foot or bus within 15 minutes, making it highly accessible.
This is not about having a home for us as a church, it’s about creating a living room for the city. Through the restoration of this building we hope to work towards reversing the detrimental effects of child poverty and help a hurting community flourish.
As a church, we sought to take a massive step of faith and raise around £150,000 towards taking on a building such as this. So far, as a church family, we have given a staggering £212,000.
WHAT IS THE CURRENT STATE OF PLAY?
Between what we have raised and what the council have committed to contributing, we have enough funds to sign the lease and complete the essential works needed to open the doors.
However, we believe that God has immeasurably more for this city.
We have drawn together a fundraising team who are seeking to increase the funds we have already secured in order to completely restore and revive this building and strengthen its ability to change Ardwick and beyond.
We are hoping that by December we will have a better picture of exactly how much more funding we will be able to put towards this.
We have consulted local councillors, regularly attended the local childrens’ advisory board, met with local schools and continue our door-to-door listening campaign asking for residents’ views on current local provision and what would most benefit them personally.
Based on what we are hearing and seeing, we believe Manchester Vineyard can utilise this building to create a community space that will bring about change.
While we know that much of the flesh-and-bones of this will be shaped by the hearts, skills and hopes of the people who become a part of this community project, our plan is to make a difference in three overarching ways:
Tackling social isolation and promoting resilience within the community.
Supporting and equipping people to break the cycle of poverty.
Alleviating the financial burden on families to provide for basic needs.
Despite Ardwick & Longsight being such a diverse area both in culture and age, currently there is very little by way of space for building community, resulting in social isolation and a broken, insular community. The heart of our building will be a café lounge, providing a space to foster community and run a variety of support and outreach groups. Other spaces will be aimed towards confidence-building and wellbeing, with a programme of sports and creative arts. We believe that having such amenities and provision could prove an excellent vehicle to draw people from a range of life stages and cultures together and build supportive, resilient communities.
We are seeking to provide a varied timetable of training and support schemes in order to boost skills and employability, as currently these are significant contributing factors to poverty in the area. These will include money management courses, English lessons, back-to-work clubs, citizens’ advice or job centre clinics, as well as addiction support and mental health support services.
Too many families are unable to provide essentials such as food, nappies or clothes and shoes that fit. This building will enable us to fill the gaps in local practical provision of such items, by expanding our collection and distribution of items and working with other organisations doing the same.
We are already working with a range of local and regional organisations, dreaming and scheming for how we can build a holistic and effective community hub. We want our plans to have a far greater impact on this deprived and, in some ways, forgotten community than we will be able to do alone.
We would love to hear from local organisations who share our vision and would like to join forces in bringing life and restoration to Ardwick and surrounding areas.