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Spirit of Manchester Story Week 2018 - Day 2

Spirit of Manchester Story : To match their full potential - whatever that may be

On Monday 24 September, PIE ran a session at Chorlton High School to get young people future ready.

Established with the aim of improving the life chances of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, PIE (Pursuing Individual Excellence) is an educational social enterprise created in 2017 and is operating in several schools across Greater Manchester. As a teacher herself, Beth had witnessed the obstacles some young people faced due to lack of communications skills and contacts in the outside world and felt there needed to be a link between formal education and attaining successful employment and workplace opportunities. PIE strives to bridge the gap for students to be able to match their full potential – whatever that potential may be.

Beth Nunn, the founder, explained “I hope to give them the ‘slice’ young people are missing. The programme will offer different services or opportunities to young people, including communication workshops, motivational talks, career events, mentoring and monitoring.

There will also be volunteering opportunities  and support in finding and completing relevant and meaningful work experience placements.

Students at Chorlton High have joined the programme recently and are feeling positive. Femi, a student at the session, said “There’s stuff for me to try out here that isn’t covered in the subjects I am doing and it sounds helpful. I hope it will increase my confidence.” Andrea said “I want to know more about businesses and what apprenticeships are out there; the world of work – what it’s really like?”

Spirit of Manchester Story : John's Volunteering Story

Listen to John's story of what a day in the life of a Back on Track Volunteer looks and feels like.


Having benefitted from their courses in the past, John is now a dedicated volunteer.

Back on Track are based in city centre Manchester. Their mission is to provide the opportunity to learn for people affected by homelessness, mental health problems, drug and alcohol misuse, and offending, so they can make positive changes that last. They do this by providing education, training, work experience and volunteering opportunities - helping people move on from problems in their past towards a meaningful and fulfilled life.

Spirit of Manchester Story : A Lush Evening

A group of seven young women aged 19- 23 (including two volunteers) went to a Lush showcase at the Manchester Convention Centre. The group had received free VIP tickets to the event, which entitled the young women to being at the front of the queue, a bag full of complementary products, food and generally being made to feel really special.

This event was arranged by the Proud Trust, a life saving and life enhancing organisation that helps young people empower themselves to make a positive change for themselves and their communities. They do this through youth groups, peer support, managing the LGBT Centre for Manchester, delivering training and events, campaigning, undertaking research and creating resources.

The young women participated in activities including making their own bath bombs, there were plenty of displays to look at, talks to listen to and free samples to take away. They chose this activity because it was something different to do, and also something that might otherwise have been financially out of their reach.

The group meets regularly and is run by and for young women.

Nichola from the Proud Trust said "They all had a fantastic time. There is a real positive benefit to a group of young lesbians being seen, being out and being proud together. The trip definitely had a huge positive impact on the young women’s well-being and mental health, and they will have taken this feeling home into their communities and workplaces, for an even more positive knock on effect."

One of the group, Georgia, said "I've had the best time, doing things I wouldn't normally be able to afford to do"

Spirit of Manchester Story : Healthy serving of laughter

On Tuesday 25th September, Oyovwe, the founder and CEO of the Widows Empowerment Trust, hosted a cook and taste session.

On the menu was a delicious yet healthy serving of low-fat chocolate sponge cake, and judging by the sounds of laughter and activity coming from the room, everyone was enjoying themselves. It’s hard to believe there were just 17 people taking part.

Sessions like these are run on Tuesdays and Thursdays, with the focus being to support widows/widowers with bereavement whilst also providing them with useful and fun activities. Whilst today focused on cooking skills and healthy eating, other sessions can include arts and craft activities, knitting/crochet, pampering sessions, and days out.

Oyovwe mentioned that cook and taste sessions were a good way to promote healthy eating which in turn promotes general wellbeing and mental health. Beyond this, these sessions teach new skills, build confidence and crucially help to reduce isolation and reintegrate people into the community, which has an additional benefit for the participants who have dementia. She cited several individuals who were once “withdrawn” from the sessions, but over time have “greatly improved”.