Manchester wine connoisseurs Le Social have revealed plans to open a new wine bar and tasting room in Ancoats, bringing its organic and biodynamic wines into a new permanent sit-down setting for the very first time.
Having found success during lockdown as an at-home wine delivery service, and collaborated on several pop-ups and supper clubs around Manchester, the team is now preparing to throw open the doors to its very own space this weekend, Saturday 29 January.
Here in its new trendy shipping container home, drinkers and diners can expect an ever-changing menu of natural wines, deli boards and continental plates, served on Saturdays between the hours of 2pm and 10pm.
Designed for sharing amongst friends, dishes will utilise an array of authentic French, Spanish and Italian produce which, like the wine list, will all be created using responsibly sourced ingredients to help support independent farmers and producers.
You can either select a few plates from a list or create your own bespoke spread, choosing from nibbles including the likes of plump Spanish green olives and salted almonds.
Elsewhere, you’ll find delights like Catalan sardines, Italian aubergine fillets, roasted artichoke halves, French duck rillettes and black humus, sourced straight from the Basque Country, to enjoy alongside your wine.
There’ll also be a range of different cheeses, selected weekly by local suppliers the Butcher’s Quarter, and fresh bread from Ancoats’ community bakery Companio – perfect to mop up all that olive oil from the aubergine and sardines.
Drinks-wise, the shelves are stacked with a diverse range of unique and quirky wines – all handpicked with excellent taste, individuality and character in mind. Guests are welcome to try any bottle they like for the usual retail price, plus a £5 corkage fee.
Bottles will be rotated regularly, including different options at various styles and price points to make sure Le Social’s incredible wines are accessible to everyone – no matter their budget.
Due to the small nature of the space, bookings are mandatory – with tables reserved for two hours at a time.
As well as opening up for drinkers on Saturdays, Le Social is also launching its new tasting room this week.
Designed for wine tastings, workshops and private functions, a full calendar of events is yet to be announced but will include educational tasting nights, art exhibitions, craft workshops with other Pollard Yard residents and more.
As much a lifestyle brand as a wine connoisseur, social consciousness flows throughout the entirety of Le Social with environmental and social impact factored into every element of the offering.
Beyond a passion for wine, Founder Jérôme’s wider mission is to advocate for a more inclusive and representative wine world by working with independent, sustainable and minority wine producers.
His appreciation of community and the environment translates into sourcing and pouring wines which make a positive social impact throughout the supply chain, from the people working in the vineyards to the friends and families who will live a special moment sharing them.
Speaking on the new opening, founder Jérôme Boullier said: “With Le Social I want to create an alternative wine-led space which is centred on experience and inclusivity.
“The Wine Bar and Tasting Room will serve as cosy destinations where all are welcome to appreciate delicious wine with a purpose and food that will enhance the experience.
“The intimate nature of the bar means customers will gain knowledge as well as try out something new and exciting and meet new people in doing so!
“Wine has always been part of my everyday life, as a child I was often sent to the wine cellar in my grandparents’ house to find a specific bottle for the occasion.
“Family rituals were always accompanied by wines appropriately matched, and I was invited to try from a pretty young age!
“I’m so happy that I now have the opportunity to pursue my passion in a meaningful way. I’m very excited to show the space off.”
Le Social Wine Bar will be open every Saturday from 29 January 2022 onwards. Reservations can be made directly through Le Social’s website here and bookings for the tasting room can also be found on the website.
Viral sportswear brand Gymshark is holding a huge free fitness event in Manchester this weekend
Some of the biggest names in the fitness community are coming together for a huge Gymshark event at Manchester Central this weekend.
The fitness brand’s previous Lift events have had queues stretching down the street as thousands flock to see figures from the worlds of lifting, fitness and bodybuilding.
Gymshark’s first post-pandemic Lift event is taking place right here in Manchester, featuring a programme of athlete seminars, meet and greets, competitions, challenges, and prizes – and it’s free.
It promises to be their biggest event yet, with the huge events space split into four zones.
There’ll also be a pop-up shop selling the brand’s activewear range, loved by fitness influencers across the globe.
Famous faces appearing at Lift this weekend will include Whitney Simmons, whose hilariously honest and educational fitness content has pulled in 3.5m Instagram followers (plus another 2.1m on YouTube and 1.4m on TikTok).
Also taking part are Gymshark’s creative director of lifting David Laid, Instagram star Libby Christensen, and power lifter Jamal Browner.
More than 10,000 tickets have already been sold for Lift at Manchester Central.
Gymshark itself was founded by Ben Francis in his garage in 2012. He used YouTube tutorials – and a little help from his grandmother – to learn to sew.
Now, there are more than 18 million Gymshark customers across 180 countries, and it’s achieved ‘unicorn’ status after being valued at more than £1bn.
The brand turned over around £500m in its last financial year and employs around 800 people worldwide.
You can book your spot at Gymshark’s Lift event at Manchester Central, taking place on 1 and 2 April, here.
Rio Ferdinand is helping change young lives with community programmes in Oldham and Salford
Ex-Manchester United and England defender Rio Ferdinand and his foundation’s wonderful work is helping better the lives of young people in Oldham, Salford and across Manchester as a whole.
Over the past year, the Rio Ferdinand Foundation and The Guinness Partnership have been putting together a vital social initiative aimed at providing opportunities and resources to young people across Greater Manchester, helping them develop their skills and aspirations for future working life.
Now, after a hugely successful 12-month campaign, their skills and progression community programme, participants are well and truly starting to feel the impact, with 90% of those taking part now stating that they are enjoying a clear idea and focus on what they want to do for a career.
It may have be thriving in Salford and Oldham at the moment, but given the benefit the scheme has already had — not to mention the ambition the Rio Ferdinand Foundation has shown around various areas of the UK since being set up in 2012 — we can only see this spreading further across the region.
The skills-based initiative engages young people aged under 25 years old and living in Guinness homes in a six-month skills-based programme which has been up and running in the two Manc boroughs, as well as the London boroughs of Southwark and Lambeth, since March 2022.
Young people from both Oldham and Salford take part in a weekly schedule of activities designed to tackle youth unemployment, including digital media training (photography, product design, filmmaking, podcasting), building and construction, CV workshops, mock interviews and more.
Not only do these shadowing opportunities garner confidence and raise aspirations among other young people in the local community, but they also help directly develop their employability skills via mentoring.
For instance, Matthew, 19 from Royton in Oldham, completed the programme and then was supported to apply to the Guinness Aspire Awards to request funding to purchase camera and lighting equipment to help him start a small local photography business. Quality stuff.
Matt says that the scheme “has been an amazing opportunity and has given [him] a chance to get back on the right path… I know what I want to do now and can’t wait to start… I would recommend that other people in my position get involved with it in the future.”
As well as markedly increasing participants health and well-being, all 100% of those involved across Salford and Oldham reported feeling more confident, with many now enjoying opportunities with the Rio Ferdinand Foundation’s partners such as Warner Music, Kiss FM, The Jockey Club and the Gym Group.
Speaking on the programme’s success, Rio himself said in a statement: “The Foundation is committed to working with young people at the heart of their communities to offer support, training, and opportunities to those that need it… engaging with the Guinness Partnership has provided a great boost to our reach and our work”.
Well in, Rio. Thankfully, he isn’t the only ex-Manchester-based footballer still trying to make a difference in the local community either: