Manchester City Council has announced it will extend free school meals throughout the 2022 Christmas holidays to make sure that no children go hungry this winter.
Council bosses said they were responding “to the lack of action being taken by the central government” in order to address the “desperate situation thousands of people could soon face”.
The move was announced on Wednesday 5 October as part of an £8m package of local support designed to help Manchester residents deal with spiralling bills and soaring food costs caused by runaway inflation.
It is hoped that the move will pull a large number of children out of food poverty this winter, as it is is estimated that the cost-of-living crisis could adversely affect up to 100,000 households in Manchester this winter.
As well as extending free school meals through the winter break, council bosses are also setting up a support line to connect people with local foodbanks, pantry services, and dedicated meal providers.
Inspiration is being taken from the Council’s previous work supporting people throughout the Covid pandemic, where emergency hubs were established to provide people with essentials.
A new Cost of Living Advice Line has just gone live this week, through which residents can contact the Council via phone, or online, to get advice on how to access support this winter. between Monday and Friday, 9am–4pm.
The number for the hub is 0800 023 2692 and will function in a similar way to the Covid emergency response seen during the pandemic, putting residents in touch with local support and advice services.
Elsewhere, the Council’s Welfare Provision Scheme is being expanded to provide emergency hardship support, and a new website has been set up to help make it easy for residents who are in financial difficulty or crisis to apply for grants and support.
Additionally, the Council and its health partners will be getting in touch with residents about Winter wellbeing information, including Flu and Covid-19 vaccination details set within help around food, heating and household bills linked to the Cost-of-Living crisis.
However, bosses recognise that far more needs to be done to avert the “impending disaster.”
Councillor Bev Craig, Leader of Manchester City Council, said: “As we head into the winter months many residents in Manchester are staring down the barrel of true hardship.
“We are proud of the work the Council has already done in recent years to alleviate poverty and create an economy in Manchester which works for everyone, but it is clear that in these dire times greater action is needed.
“The steps taken by the government have not gone nearly far enough and much more has to be done if we are to prevent our residents from slipping below the poverty line.
“A lot has been said about the impact of the cost-of-living crisis but we believe that in the absence of leadership from the centre, we need to take action with the powers we have at our disposal.
“By declaring a Cost of Living emergency the Council is laying out just how seriously we are taking this situation. We are not prepared to stand idle as more and more of our residents are exposed to hardship.”
Outdated Manchester building could become new ‘innovation hub’ as part of £1.7bn transformation plans
An outdated Manchester building could be “reactivated” into a brand-new innovation hub as part of ambitious transformation plans.
The Renold Building – which dates back to 1962, and was the first of its kind UK at the time – will take on a new lease of life, and become a home for “forward-thinking entrepreneurs and SMEs” to develop new ideas and solutions that will help tackle some of the world’s biggest challenges.
ID Manchester is an “ambitious” plan to transform the University’s former North Campus into a “welcoming and accessible” new £1.7 billion innovation district.
According to UoM, the new vision for the Renold Building will celebrate its history as an educational hub by hosting the next wave of science and technology innovators, and building an inclusive and purpose-driven community.
The city centre building will provide a range of coworking, office, and meeting facilities to accommodate and support collaboration between researchers, entrepreneurs, businesses, and partner organisations.
On top of this, new events and exhibition spaces – including lecture theatres, and a community cafe – will be accessible to local businesses, community groups, and arts and culture organisations as part of the project, so that they have the chance to host and participate in a wide range of engaging events and activities.
“The Renold Building will be an invaluable place to bring together like-minded organisations and partners to collaborate, develop, and test new ideas,” commented John Holden, who is the Associate Vice-President for Major Special Projects at UoM.
“We’re building our innovation ecosystem from the ground up, and the Renold Building will be a place that not only accelerates the growth of our city’s most promising entrepreneurs, SMEs and university spin-outs, but also provides the spaces and opportunities to allow our local communities to participate, experience and benefit from innovation too.”
An application to convert the building from educational to commercial use has been submitted to Manchester City Council, UoM and Bruntwood SciTech have confirmed.
Pending application approval, the building is set to open in late 2024.
Featured Image – UoM
GMP makes public appeal after ‘violent assault’ in Manchester Arndale
Police are appealing to the public for information after a “violent assault” took place inside Manchester Arndale last week.
The incident occurred at approximately 7:30pm last Friday evening (23 February).
Greater Manchester Police (GMP) has explained that officers were called to reports of a section 18 assault inside the Arndale shopping centre in Manchester city centre, and when they arrived on the scene promptly after, found that a man had sustained injuries.
The man, who is said to be 19-years-old, was taken to hospital shortly after as a result of his injuries, but according to police, these are not believed to be “life-threatening or life-changing”.
GMP has made a public appeal after a ‘violent assault’ in Manchester Arndale last week / Credit: GMP
A police investigation into the investigation has subsequently begun, and is now proceeding with enquires currently ongoing – which is why GMP has decided to issue an urgent appeal to the public for information, footage, and any potential witnesses.
No arrests have been made at this time, GMP confirmed.
“This was a violent assault that occurred in a public place early Friday evening,” explained Detective Inspector Natalie McDonald in her appeal.
“Thankfully, the victim was not seriously harmed, but we absolutely will not tolerate such violent behaviour and are carrying out extensive enquiries to trace the person responsible and hold them to account.”