A New Chapter for The Manchester Youth Zone


Photo: Jake Lindley

The Manchester Youth Zone provides a unique, safe place for young people aged 6 -19, up to 25 with additional needs, from across Manchester. The organisation does amazing work to help and support young people in North Manchester by increasing their confidence and building positive relationships to improve their lives now and their future aspirations.

They have a huge range of incredible facilities from a full-size sports hall, to a dance studio, to an arts room, to a sensory room and everything in-between.

As a founding partner, ANS has been working closely with the organisation for over 6 years now. Previously under the name ‘The Factory Youth Zone’ everyone at The Factory decided it was time for a change so, on Monday 2nd July, they rebranded to become ‘The Manchester Youth Zone’. Some of our staff from ANS went down to the relaunch party to help celebrate the start of a new chapter.

The night was filled with fun and games from dodgeball, to football, to wall climbing, with our staff getting just as involved as the kids. For some of our staff it was their first time at the centre. They commented on how important the organisation’s work is and how fantastic the facilities and support network are. Sheryl Godwin-Jones, our Employee Relations Manager, remarked:

“I had never been to the centre before, it was so good to attend not only to support MYZ on their relaunch but also to get to see the kids, volunteer staff and centre that ANS supports.

We had a session with one of the volunteer leaders and he covered some hard-hitting case studies. It’s upsetting to hear but it’s happening and it’s important that businesses, society, general public acknowledge and support as much as they can to make changes and help change lives, especially when it comes to children and the people that will shape our future.

Part of the relaunch was to get the business supporters involved in set activities I ‘volunteered’ to climb the wall – one of the members, a girl aged around 6/7 years old, helped me (I really did need the help) and shared some tips to help me reach the top. At the end she gave me a hug goodbye… that made my night! Seeing children in a safe, fun environment makes the support we provide SO worthwhile!”

Not only that, our staff said how fantastic the atmosphere on the night was, Lewis Massey, our Operations Assistant, commented:

“There were so many activities going on in the centre but at the same time, it just felt like such a comfortable place to be. It was so nice to see the kids getting involved in hands on games like dodgeball and football and there were stalls offering ice-cream and burgers for everyone - the whole scene was just happy.

When we got inside and they did the speech showing us the changes they have made, the vibe in the room went mad, we loved it and the kids loved it too.”

Richard Marsh, CEO at The Manchester Youth Zone, hopes the rebranding will help “young people to realise that they are a part of the city and help to raise their aspirations as well as encouraging the city of Manchester to embrace Harpurhey to continue the work we are doing.” Catherine Astles, Senior Assistant Management Accountant and leader of CSR at ANS, echoed this message:

“I have been working closely with ‘The Factory’ for over 2 years now and I wholeheartedly support their decision to rebrand to ‘The Manchester Youth Zone’. Every inch of The MYZ is dedicated to improving the lives of local children, enhancing their future prospects, and widening their horizons. This change in name is the perfect step forward at this time to help bridge the gap between Harpurhey and the rest of Manchester; to help reinforce the culture that Manchester, and all its opportunities, is not a world away but is in fact just on the doorstep.

ANS has a long-established relationship with The Manchester Youth Zone and it is important to us that we engage with what our partner charities are doing and we find ways to get involved wherever we can. We are part of, not separate to, society and believe that working towards social improvement provides a myriad of benefits for our community.

Hannah Wright, Head of Development at MYZ said, “It means so much to us that long term patrons ANS were able to come along on the day and share the celebration of a new chapter with us. We are consistently overwhelmed by the support of the organisation, and are delighted that the CSR team continue to be so passionate about what we do. It was fantastic to see them getting involved with the young people – from dodgeball to wall climbing (and fitting in an ice cream too!).”

Follow this link to see a video about the organisation’s relaunch.

To see more work from the re-launch event by Jake Lindley, Young Leader at MYZ, then please click here.

If you would like more information about the work The Manchester Youth Zone do, or you would like to get involved, please click here.

Posted by Kate Auchterlonie