Manchester HIV Activists continue the fight to eradicate AIDS by 2030
Right here in Manchester, a community-led outreach program called ‘In Equal Parts’ is taking on HIV - aiming to eradicate the disease within ten years whilst ending the shame and stigma surrounding it.
As scientists across the world have spent 2020 scrambling to find a vaccine for the virus putting life on pause – another group much closer to home have been fighting a battle against a very different beast.
Right here in Manchester, a community-led outreach program called ‘In Equal Parts’ is taking on HIV – aiming to eradicate the disease within ten years whilst ending the shame and stigma surrounding it.
This incredible project also has an incredible origins story. It all began with a play.
First Time was a performance written by the Mancunian creator of the project Nathaniel Hall (who describes himself as an ‘accidental activist’). Premiering in 2018 and appearing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, it documents the protagonist’s difficult journey with HIV, whilst also keeping the audience laughing.
After two successful sold out tours of First Time, the 2020 Autumn tour was cancelled due to coronavirus, which spurned Nathaniel to create and curate In Equal Parts instead.
The goal of this project is to help with the global aim to end all new transmissions of AIDS worldwide by 2030, but also to open up a dialogue on a smaller scale about an issue that affects over 38million people.
According to Worldaidsday.org: “Each year in the UK over 4,450 people are diagnosed with HIV, people do not know the facts about how to protect themselves and others, and stigma and discrimination remain a reality for many people living with the condition.”
‘In Equal Parts’ combines artists and non-artists, people with HIV and people without, and educates them on modern healthcare and prevention, destigmatize the virus and empower people to understand their role in ending all new transmissions by 2030.
In preparation for World Aids Day on the December 1, Nathaniel Hall will be leading the project alongside Yvonne Richards, Paul Fairweather and Mark Holder. All four have different relationships with the virus, and all are determined in their plight to bring awareness to the disease.
Nathaniel said: “To date, In Equal Parts has engaged over 5.5k people in creative workshops, talks, exhibitions, rapid HIV testing and fundraising parties – over 18k people have been engaged online.”
The project is working in partnership with George House Trust, Positive Steps North West, Contact and Waterside Arts.
At 8pm on World Aids Day, a digital event hosted by Contact in association with George House Trust and Superbia will join Nathaniel and Jordan Roberts in a creative discussion panel about HIV stigma and shame, with Positive Speakers from George House Trust.
The panel will be open to all questions surrounding the disease, and the event will be closed by the premier of Jordan Roberts’ brand new film: HIV + Me.
Coming soon, HIV+Me will also showcase the lives of three people in Greater Manchester currently living with AIDS, through three short films.
The project has also created ACTUP+Live, a free virtual learning resource for local schools and community groups that will help to raise awareness of HIV in the younger generation, and explores how everyday creativity can inspire radical change.
The activities continue into 2021, with events such as ‘a conversation with Russel T. Davies’, artist development workshops with Nathaniel Hall, and increased promotion of sortHIVorg.uk, which encourages access to HIV testing and PrEP.
Tickets for the first In Equal Parts digital event can be found here.
More information on the In Equal Parts outreach program can be found online.
This Manchester restaurant serves an all-vegan roast with ‘meat’ and all the trimmings
A Manchester vegan restaurant is serving an all-vegan roast with mock ‘meat’ and all the trimmings, putting an ethical twist on the British Sunday classic.Keen to see if it’s worth the hype, I took a trip down to try it out for myself – and left feeling pretty impressed.
Not being a vegan personally, I enlisted the help of two friends of the plant-powered persuasion to accompany me to get a real feel for every option.
Suffice it to say, it was a success and, whilst I won’t be converting to veganism any time soon, it’s nice to know that there are options out there for when I feel like being ‘good’.
With three different roast choices on offer, Wholesome Junkies is the first restaurant in the city centre to venture past the usual vegan choices of mushroom Wellington and roasted squash and go all-out with a variety of mock meat options.
Meats have been created in partnership with Liverpool vegan brand CB Sushi, using their mock beef and turkey joints to give vegans the feeling of a ‘proper’ roast.
Think glazed ‘turkey’ filled with stuffing, medallions of ‘beef’ and crispy deep-fried oyster mushrooms, all served with lashings of onion gravy, ‘buttered’ seasonal greens, glazed carrots and parsnips, deep-fried stuffing balls, crispy roasties and fluffy Yorkshire puddings created by Mabel’s.
Having tried all three, I have to say that my favourite was the turkey. It’s actually my least favourite meat to eat, so it was something of a surprise to find I enjoyed the vegan version much more than the real thing.
The texture was spot on, and there was none of the dryness you typically associate with the bird. Washed down with a pint of locally-brewed Cloudwater Fuzzy Hazy Pale Ale, it absolutely hit the spot.
Coming in a close second was the deep-fried oyster mushroom roast, which was so packed with flavour that it almost felt like I was eating fried chicken with my Sunday dinner.
As for the beef, it didn’t really do it for me – tasting more of herbs than red meat, but then, I don’t suppose there are many vegans queueing up the block for a bloody meat substitute.
Wholesome Junkies has long been a favourite with Manchester vegans. First shooting to fame in 2018 with an appearance on BBC2’s Million Pound Menu, owner Chelsea appeared on the show to ask for 95,000 to open her own vegan junk food restaurant.
Prior to that, she’d been running her Wholesome Junkies concept as a street food pop-up at sites like Grub and Ancoats General Store.
Whilst her bid to impress the BBC judges was not successful at the time, the TV appearance put her on the map and within a year she had her own Arndale market stall.
Fast forward a few more, and in 2022 she opened her first bricks and mortar restaurant – taking over the former Umezushi site at 4 Mirabel Street.
Since moving in, she’s completely transformed it: decking it out in bright colours and filling every corner with quirky little ornaments and decorations.
Strings of fairy lights, hanging mushrooms and frames filled with pictures from local artists all make the small space feel incredibly warm and welcoming – and our visit the restaurant was absolutely packed.
At a time when so many vegan restaurants seem to be closing, it was an absolute joy to see so many bums on seats during our visit.
Veganuary might almost be over, but if you’re a vegan – or simply just trying to cut down on your meat consumption – it’s definitely worth giving this one a go.
Feature image – The Manc Eats
Meet the couple who quit their jobs to sell sandwiches from their Northern Quarter flat
If you’re a fan of things in bread (and honestly, who isn’t) then there’s a new Italian sandwich dealer in town that you absolutely need to get down your neck.
Serving up some of the best butties we’ve had in a long time, it’s called Ad Maiora and is being run by a couple who are making absolutely everything out of a kitchen in their little Manchester flat.
Collected from a nondescript door on a Norther Quarter back street, we’re talking giant focaccia-style loaves generously stuffed with premium ingredients like ‘nduja, spicy Tuscan sausage, smoked scamorza, mortadella, burrata and red pesto.
The brainchild of Sardinian couple Daniela Steri and Enrico Pinna, all of their sandwiches are made using only top quality Italian ingredients with a total of nine different options to choose from.
From the vegan-friendly La Nonna (Italian hummus, roasted aubergine, olives, sundried tomatoes and rocket) to a huge array of different cheesy and meaty delights, fillings include parma ham, gorgonzola DOP, truffled brie, Milano salami and crumbled pistachios.
Their bread is baked freshly by hand each morning using a tiny domestic oven, and they’re already baking up to 60 loaves of schiacciata (a traditional Tuscan flatbread) a day to keep up with the demand – putting just four in the oven at a time, over and over again.
On our visit, the pair tell us that they moved over from Sardinia to the UK six years ago and first tried living in London for a year (they say they hated it) before making the move up to Manchester.
In that time, they say they’ve fallen in love with the city of Manchester and with the Northern Quarter in particular.
Inspired by the brilliant food scene in their area, two months ago they both decided to pack in their jobs and pursue their own business instead – and haven’t looked back since.
Previously, Daniela tells us she’d worked at hotel Dakota in housekeeping for three years whilst her partner, Enrico, had been employed at Ezra and Gil. Despite their hospitality experience, though, neither of them had made bread before.
That doesn’t seem to be holding them back, though, and demand for their sandwiches is rocketing as word spreads about the new homemade Italian butties for sale on a Manchester backstreet.