Our Charity Spotlight series gives us an inside insight into the day to day happenings of the incredible charities that we work with. For the first post in the series, we chatted to Alex, the Development Officer at Manchester Cares.
Hi Alex, tell us a little bit about yourself and the charity you work for.
I’m Alex and I’m the Development Officer at Manchester Cares. Manchester Cares is a community network of young professionals and older neighbours hanging out and helping each other in our rapidly changing city. We are tackling loneliness in some of the most affected groups in the UK (people aged 65+, 21-25 and 26-35) by bringing communities together to share stories, laughter and to create lasting friendships.
As Development Officer I’m responsible for creating partnerships with local businesses and organisations in Manchester and securing funding so that we can continue our mission to tackle loneliness and isolation. I work with our team of volunteer fundraisers to run exciting events from bake sales and quizzes to marathons and 5k’s. I spend a lot of time talking about the different projects we run and the amazing people we work with.
What is a day in the life like as a Development Officer at Manchester Cares?
A typical day at Manchester Cares is – busy! I am always trying to expand our network of businesses and organisations and researching foundations so that we can expand our projects and continue our exciting and unique programmes. I meet with volunteer fundraisers and keep the website updated with opportunities for fundraising as well as planning internal fundraising events and I sometimes have lunch(!)
Alexandra (26) and Mags (67) strutting their stuff at the monthly Desert Island Discs night
What is your personal motivation for working at Manchester Cares? What inspires you?
My personal motivation for working at Manchester Cares is that every day I can make a difference to my local community. I’m inspired by hearing the stories from older and younger neighbours alike who say that being part of our social clubs has filled them with an energy and purpose that they thought they’d lost. I’m passionate about bringing communities together, looking at what unites us rather than what divides us.
Can you tell me about someone who has benefitted from your work?
As part of our proactive outreach we met Jim (89). Jim didn’t get out very often and hadn’t got on a bus in 6 years. Through coming to our social clubs and meeting his other neighbours from around Manchester, he built up enough confidence to join us for a business visit. The business visit was held at The Sharp Project, home to digital entrepreneurs and production companies specialising in digital content production, digital media and TV and film production. This was especially exciting for Jim who used to specialise in photography and used an old method of painting the colour onto the frames he was working with. Jim got to see how much his industry had changed and connect with a younger generation carrying on his work. He said, “It was definitely worth getting the bus for!” This epitomises Manchester Cares’ community network, bringing people together and creating opportunities to learn new skills and explore our rapidly changing city.
Mary (70) and Stacy (39) sharing laughs and an ice cream at film club
What is something that might surprise someone about your charity or the people you support?
Something that might surprise people is that we are absolutely not a service for older people, everything we do at Manchester Cares is mutually beneficial for those involved. Our programmes are an energising space where people can listen, be listened to, gain perspective and feel a sense of purpose. Younger and older people benefit equally from this shared time, connection and friendship.
What’s your favourite thing about working for Manchester Cares?
My favourite thing about working for Manchester Cares is constantly being surprised by the people that we meet. I feel lucky to work with such vibrant and interesting people and enjoy hearing all the different stories they have to share. Whether at a social club or a volunteer induction, our neighbours are full of energy and purpose and I find that really exciting.
How can people get involved with Manchester Cares?
It’s so easy! Head to manchestercares.org.uk to learn more and get involved with our Social Clubs programme and our Love Your Neighbour programme. Or get in touch with me on email@example.com and join our team of fundraisers!
Know a great organisation or cause? We’d love to see them on Buengo! Suggest an organisation to us and we’ll sort the rest.