If recent events have proved one thing about Manchester, it’s that we all love it. For a city that’s already bursting with pride in our own accomplishments, events of this past week has taken things to a new level, with communities coming together in the face of anti-social behaviour to celebrate our love for the city that we all come home.

In recognition of Mancunian’s passion for our city, Marketing Manchester and the Manchester Arndale have launched the I Love MCR campaign, using the iconic ‘I heart’ logo as a symbol of our pride in our city.

Marketing Manchester will be selling ‘I Love MCR’ t-shirts in Manchester Arndale, and we’re absolutely thrilled that they’ve chosen us as one of the charities to  benefit from money raised from t-shirt sales.

As a charity dedicated to supporting Manchester’s communities in every way that we can, Forever Manchester is right behind this campaign, and feel hugely proud to be part of a city with such a sense of community.

In the past two years, donations from people who love our city as much as we do have helped us raise over £2 million, which has gone to supporting over 100 community groups in Manchester.

Donations are directed to local groups or projects that are in real need of funding and will make a genuine measurable difference to the community and people they serve here in Greater Manchester.

As part of the I Love MCR campaign, Marketing Manchester have created a facebook page with desktop wallpapers and Twitter Twibbons, which Mancunians can download and proudly display.

The lovely folk at ace cupcakery Hey Little Cupcake are also creating special ‘I love MCR’ cupcakes, which as well as tasting incredible do their bit for Manchester, with 50% of all profits from the cupcakes going to Forever Manchester.

And if you’d like to show even more support for Forever Manchester, you can download Forever Manchester wallpapers for your computers and iPhones from the Forever Manchester site here.

August 26th has been earmarked as a ‘We Love MCR’ day, when Mancunians are being asked to display the ‘I Love MCR’ logo with pride. And what better way to celebrate this day than by really helping to make a difference to the future of your city’s communities by donating to Forever Manchester? You could do this by way of a cash donation, or by visiting our online shop – where you’ll find loads of lovely merchandise, as well as limited edition Si Scott prints featuring lyrics from iconic Manchester anthems.

I love MCR. You love MCR. We all love MCR. So let’s show it! Get your ‘I Love MCR’ t-shirt from the Manchester Arndale NOW and wear it with pride.


Photo by @technicalfault: technicalfault.posterous.com

‘But this is Manchester. We do things differently here.’ On the eve of the anniversary of his death, Tony Wilson’s timeless words resonated around social network sites like a shield, deflecting any suggestions that that the riots that had devastated London the night before would spread to our city.

Manchester was in denial. We had too much faith in our city, pride in our communities and belief in our young people to believe that what had unfolded in London and other cities around the UK could really affect us here.

Of course, Manchester was no stranger to conflict. From the Peterloo Massacre of 1819 to the IRA bomb of 1996 and the football riots ten years later, the city centre has had its fair share of trouble.

But one thing that these incidents all have in common is the positive way in which the city responded to them. Out of the devastation and fatalities of The Peterloo Massacre rose The Manchester Guardian. And in 1996, when the city was devastated by an IRA bomb that saw huge parts of the city centre obliterated, Manchester responded by rebuilding itself into a city worthy of standing on a global stage. The football riots of 2007, which saw thousands of Rangers fans rampage around the city centre in angry reaction to a big screen failing in Piccadilly Gardens, was also swiftly recovered from.

We are a city of industry, of creativity, and above all, of community. So when thousands of people descended on Manchester city centre last night to loot and riot, leaving parts of our city in tatters, we responded with similar robustness and community spirit.

From the calm, considered and professional approach of our police force, to the heartfelt and intelligent pleas by our councillors and Assistant Chief Constable Gary Shewan on TV, to the council street cleaners who worked tirelessly throughout the early hours of this morning, Manchester has shown itself at every level as a force to be reckoned with.

And above all, there was the incredible reaction of Manchester’s residents – many of them ‘youths’ – who turned out in their thousands this morning with brooms and binbags to assist in the clean up of our city, fuelled by donations of food, drink and cleaning supplies by nearby businesses

@SR4Longsight The true face of Manchester's young people helping out with the #ManchesterCleanUp

This isn’t a political blog. There are other places you can go to for the hows and whys. But it’s really important that everyone understands that the majority of young people in Greater Manchester will be horrified by the incidents of last night. Most young people, whether disaffected with society or not, would not turn to crime to vent their woes.

A facebook status of a friend this morning read:

“My mate does community projects with disadvantaged teenagers in Salford. She was with a group this morning who said the rioting was pathetic. These are kids who in the past may well have joined in. Instead they are worried their award ceremony at media city will be cancelled tomorrow. Hurray for the power of engaging young people in creative projects & giving them a different focus & means of expressing themselves. And shame on this govt for cutting all the YSDF funding.”

Kids in Manchester want their city to be great. They don’t want to see it destroyed by a minority.

@AdamMcCleanITV: Young people helping to reverse the damage caused by last night's violence

One young male interviewed on Sky News last night claimed that he was stealing in order to claim something back from the society that he felt had given him nothing. Whether he believed in his words or not, it seems clear that appeasing dissatisfaction with short term material gain isn’t the answer. What these young people need from society isn’t iphones and trainers. What they need from us is attention, guidance and education.

The city is now clean and fully functioning. Not licking its wounds, but healing robustly from them with the spirit and vigour that our city is known for.

A tweet from @gmpolice today reads “There is no disorder in Manchester today, it’s business as usual, and we are determined to keep it that way.”

Let’s hope that’s the case. Because whatever happens, this is Manchester. And we do things differently here.

Forever Manchester manages the Manchester Disaster Relief Fund which has money available for people suffering genuine hardship as the result of incidents like last night. Anyone in genuine need should contact our office on 0161 214 0940 to see if we might be able to help.

Also if anyone feels they would like to donate to this fund to provide ongoing support for Manchester communities they can send money to Forever Manchester at 5th Floor, Speakers House, 39 Deansgate, Manchester M3 2BA  or text ‘GMDR11 £5’ to 70070 to donate to the fund to help genuine victims of the riots.

A few tweets from Manchester:

@jonridge: A thousand volunteers at Picc Gardens. That’s not even hyperbole. A thousand turned up. #manchestercleanup

@Chris_Grimes Proud too be a Manc this AM, we have responded the only way we know!! This idiots won’t ruin our city #manchestercleanup

@RiotCleanUpManc I think rain has finally stopped play! Manchester, you’ve blown my mind. The best people in the best city in the world. Thank you!