J.K Rowling once said, ‘We are only as strong as we are united and as weak as we are divided’. This current crisis is affecting us all, both individually and collectively, but it has also revealed that we are surrounded by incredible, dedicated people who are ready to help one another and determined to not let this situation damage our city and our businesses.
Whilst it goes without saying that we applaud and are truly inspired by the fantastic job that the NHS staff are doing daily, some of our homegrown Manchester’s leaders are also making a genuinely positive difference during this unprecedented time, and we couldn’t be prouder to see our beautiful city remaining united and standing together.
Here are five amazing initiatives implemented by Manchester’s leaders that will definitely leave our city in a better place.
- Stock Exchange and Hotel Football
Last Sunday, former Manchester United football players, Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs, announced that they would cease operations at their Hotel Football and Stock Exchange hotels.
Their priority was understandably the health and safety of their staff and guests, and deciding to lead with authenticity and heart, these Manchester United legends have vowed to make zero redundancies towards staff and ensure no one is put on unpaid leave.
An incredible gesture as we’re sure you’ll agree, the duo weren’t even finished there. They are now offering their vacant rooms to NHS staff free of charge.
By teaming up with the Manchester University NHS Trust, these inspirational leaders will now be able to offer healthcare workers and medical professionals a comfortable place to stay during this very challenging and uncertain time.
These small acts of kindness will truly go a long way, and may help to save countless lives. Gary and Ryan, we applaud you.
- Manchester International Festival
All industries have been affected since the beginning of the crisis, and whilst the government is trying to help all businesses, things have been moving a little bit more slowly for freelancers and self-employed - who up until recently had been left with very little support.
In response to this, the amazing team at Manchester International Festival have put together a valuable resource for our independent working community.
Not only have they created an online customer service network, offering advice to freelancers every Monday to Friday, they’ve created a list of resources that offers our valued self-employed neighbours financial planning advice, grants and income opportunities and creative networking guides.
These infinitely useful materials will help an under-supported group rebuild their lives and come out of our current crisis in a better state than they could have been in.
And it’s important to remember that MIF didn’t have to do this, but they did it anyway. By walking a mile in another’s shoes, they realised the importance of creating this huge piece of work and the benefit it would bring to their city, and we think that’s truly remarkable.
#PayitForward was launched by ourselves at Roland Dransfield in partnership with Greater Manchester’s Night Time Economy Advisor, Sacha Lord. The main idea behind the campaign was to support leisure and hospitality venues throughout the next few months – a time when income, business and support would be at its lowest.
The campaign is simple – we’re encouraging people to buy discounted gift vouchers for their favourite bars and restaurants that can be redeemed when social distancing measures are lifted, and venues can open their doors once again.
In addition to this, £1 from each discounted voucher will go to Hospitality Action, a charity that supports the mental health of staff across the hospitality industry.
Like all good ideas, this was an off-the-cuff comment in the boardroom (pre-social distancing) that we realised could actually have a real impact on an industry that’s done so much for us over the years - particularly for us, who have worked with many of Manchester’s favourite venues (and socialised in even more!).
We could sense the negative impact this crisis was going to have on our city, and we wanted to try and do as much as possible to leave it in a better place. By staying true to our values, hopefully we’ve made a difference.
If you’re a restaurant/bar that would like to sign up to Pay it Forward, or you’d like to find out which venues are offering discounted vouchers, just visit our website here.
As a result of the pandemic, vulnerable communities are in need of support and the demand in food is increasing significantly. For this reason, acting as authentic leaders, the governing bodies of Manchester United and Manchester City have set aside their rivalry to help food banks in Greater Manchester.
Both clubs have donated a combined £100,000 to Trussell Trust, who support a network of over 1,200 food bank centres, including 19 in the Greater Manchester area.
For us, this shows an immense amount of loyalty – their fans have remained loyal to each respective club for years, and they’ve now taken the opportunity to repay the favour, despite the clubs’ historic rivalry.
This encapsulates the spirit of Manchester and has helped radiate a feeling of unity across the city. That’s how you lead.
- Everton CEO leads businesses through Coronavirus crisis
It’s easy to sit back and let a situation take care of itself – particularly if you’re in a position that will protect you from financial hardship.
Whilst this might be the case for some, Everton chief executive Denise Barrett-Baxendale, has come forward to offer a lifeline for businesses that are being negatively affected by COVID-19.
Denise has joined the C-19 Business Pledge - a national scheme encouraging businesses that can, to join the coronavirus effort by pledging to help employees, customers and communities across the country.
Whilst this is not a Manchester-specific campaign, we wanted to include it as it shows that boundaries are breaking down all across the UK – we are in this together and support will be given to those who need it.
Denise has been quoted saying: “Signing up to this pledge and committing to the measures and steps necessary to help our fans, our staff and our wider communities underlines how seriously we are taking the task ahead of us - and how determined we are to ensure we support the most vulnerable now and in the weeks and months to come.”
The first football club to join this movement, Denise and Everton are truly leading by example, and as leaders tend to create leaders, we expect to see more football clubs coming forward to support businesses throughout the country. We don’t think they’ll be leaving the game early.
Get in touch
If you know of someone who’s been leading by example during the COVID crisis and feel like their story should be shared, get in touch. We’ll be shining a spotlight on a host of individuals with our upcoming Leaders Create Leaders campaign, offering guidance, advice and hope during these uncertain times.
And if you’re looking for a bit of escapism, you might enjoy our new podcast, We Built This City. In it, we catch up with notable Mancunians – born, bred or adopted - who helped shape the city we live in today, and find out how they have helped to put the heart into Modern Manchester. Hopefully it helps inspire you over the coming weeks. Listen live here and please do rate and review. Thank you.