Manchester’s acclaimed United We Stream GM platform is returning to action this winter to raise local spirits just in time for Christmas.
In support of Andy Burnham’s new oneGM initiative, the city’s Night Time Economy Adviser Sacha Lord is planning some festive, feel-good shows to give the region’s residents “a break from the boredom”.
Starting on ‘Mad Friday’ (December 18) United We Stream will party right on through the Christmas holidays – with shows on December 19, Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve.
Proceeds raised will go towards the OneGM campaign – getting vital resources to people who require them most.
One reason organisers opted to reboot United We Stream was to give residents some much-needed joy around the holidays – but most importantly of all, they wanted to raise awareness of, and funds for, people struggling during the pandemic.
The Greater Manchester Mental Health Foundation’s helpline received 2,168 calls in July compared with 1,187 in April, as coronavirus continues to take its toll on mental health throughout the region.
OneGM is aiming to turn the tide – and funds raised via United We Stream’s Christmas programme will go to this worthy cause.
Lord explained: “Greater Manchester is the most resilient city region in the UK. When we are up against it, we come together to look after those most in need.
“Last week, our Mayor, Andy Burnham launched oneGM, a campaign to look after many people who need it right now. The next morning, he called me to see if I could persuade the original United We Stream team to get back together and support the campaign.
“Without hesitation, the whole team said yes. We’ve programmed 4 huge festive parties, including what will undoubtedly be the biggest NYE party in the UK. So many of us want put 2020 truly behind us, and we totally understand that for many, their mental wellbeing is at tipping point and that the holidays could be a very lonely and bleak time.”
He continued: “We hope that these shows will allow you a bit of escapism for a few hours. As always, United We Stream will be completely free to watch, and I know for many that money is very tight, but if you can spare a pound or two, that would be great, and your donation will go straight to oneGM.”
United We Stream GM was launched in response to the first UK lockdown and began on April 3.
The project wrapped up 12 weeks later after raising £477,000 for 12 different good causes and local charities, with 35 fundraising events broadcast to 14.5 million people over three months.
People around the world will be able to watch the Christmas streams via the website’s event page, www.unitedwestream.co.uk, as well as via Facebook, Twitter and You Tube accounts.
The festive shows be will be produced by Parklife Festival founder Sacha with a team from Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) culture department, Badger & Combes production company and L.G. Publicity.
The production team won two Prolific North awards in the summer for United We Stream: 2020 Digital Campaign of the Year and 2020 Broadcasting Programme of the Year.
A highlights reel from the first series of United We Stream can be viewed online.