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running for manchester youth zone

Recently, we visited Manchester Youth Zone (MYZ) in Harpurhey to catch up with the team and to see the latest projects they’ve been busy organising for the many young people that are disadvantaged by poverty and under-represented in the local community.

In just two weeks, a team of Alliance runners will take part in the AJ Bell Manchester 10km, raising money for MYZ as part of our ongoing commitment to one of our chosen charities.

Seeing the centre first hand, it’s easy to remember why we chose to support MYZ in the first place over eight years ago.

What does MYZ do?

“Talent is everywhere, but opportunity is not” – Hilary Clinton

Manchester Youth Zone is a safe place for young people – juniors up to 19 years (and 25 years with special needs) – to socialise, eat, make childhood memories and, vitally, unlock new skills for future employment.

Harpurhey is the second worst ward in England for the effect of long-term deprivation on children. Many young people in the area do not have access to tools, experiences and opportunities they need for everyday life, for factors simply out of their control. As a consequence, they typically fall into antisocial behaviour or offending behaviour with very little prospect of a bright future.

Manchester Youth Zone has been set up to help create a healthier and happier generation, and to nurture the talent and skills of young people in these deprived areas, so they have the confidence and equal opportunity to whatever job and industry they could excel in.

A lot of planning and fundraising is undertaken to create the facilities and support for the community. Some key events include the GHYLL Head Outdoor Challenge, Birthday Carnival, MCR Ball, Christmas activities, and of course, the AJ Bell Manchester 10km. 

The MYZ Centre

The wealth of opportunities on offer to young people at Manchester Youth Zone is clear to see. There is an immediate sense of inclusion and a buzz of excitement amongst the volunteers, staff and young people using the space. The building is open every day of the year, welcoming between 150 to 200 members in a single evening session. There is a hive of activity from baking to dancing, to hair braiding and costume design, to wall climbing and fitness, as well as the essential employability and mentoring workshops.

Equally, the facilities available are endless. From studio spaces, to creative workspace, to gym and boxing ring, as well as sensory and sacred quiet rooms, there is something for everyone. The latest instalment, a 3G football pitch outside, is already attracting members in their droves.

“Every member will enjoy a hot meal each session that they come along to, with many getting involved in cooking and smoothie making themselves.

“We listen to our members - they are our key stakeholders – so we can provide the activities and projects that matter to them. A few weeks ago, we had everything from barbers, to makeup artists and evening dress donations set up to prepare some of our members going to their school proms. All the donations and volunteers came together to make it an incredible experience, it was so much fun. For many of our members’ families, the cost of prom outfits was simply not financially viable, so it was amazing to see them “go to the ball.”

At last count, there were 3,000 active members of Manchester Youth Zone, with 48,000 free meals served to young people in the last 12 months.

Our MYZ partnership

Alliance has been involved with MYZ to support the older members getting ready for employment, making sure the incredible talent and new skills learnt by underprivileged young adults are not left out of the competition.

Over the years we have been involved in various fundraising events for MYZ, providing prizes, event spaces and general fundraising advice. Most notably, we helped promote their tenth anniversary campaign, shining a spotlight on some of the centre’s members on our AXIS tower’s screen, and generating media publicity for the charity in 2022.

Our partnerships director, Victoria Russell, was invited to sit on the Fundraising Board two years ago, and continues to be our lead contact for the charity.

This year, as part of our fundraising commitment to MYZ, a group of runners at Alliance will take on the Manchester 10km on 26th May, joining a team from MYZ to help raise funds for the ongoing refurbishment and new facility projects in planning at the centre. It is vital to provide the most up-to-date equipment to ensure members can perform to the best of their abilities.

How we can support them

This year, MYZ is aiming to raise £30,000 through the Manchester 10km event.

Now in its 12th year and welcoming new CEO, Heather Etheridge, MYZ is undergoing significant facility upgrades so it can continue to grow its activity provision and opportunities to young people.

In the last couple of months, a brand-new sports hall opened, and offers basketball coaching, wall climbing, badminton, trampolining and more.

Over the coming months, a girls’ only gym will be opened, as well as upgrades to the dance studio which is growing in popularity.

All the facilities are rented out to local organisations – schools, churches, businesses – that can benefit from using the spaces themselves whilst promoting what they do to the young members and the opportunities they can provide for them.  

There are many ways to get involved in volunteering at the centre, helping with scheduled events and sessions, but also being able to use the facilities for our own corporate uses. Find out more here.

How our 10km donations will help

The building at Harpurhey is constantly evolving and over the coming months, it will undergo some key internal transformations that will allow the members to try new activities and expand their skills and opportunities even further.

Young people have requested various arts and technology facilities, including graffiti workspace, a podcast studio, improved music studio and a coding lab. The members have some budding broadcasters and the new facilities will engage and nurture talent in very current industries, ultimately widening their prospects in future careers.

Donate now

Now you know more about this great charity, we’d love you to get involved in any way you can.

Here’s all the details on how to sponsor your fellow colleagues running in May.

Just Giving Page -