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Originating from work done with Valuing Older People in 2007/8 and funded variously over the last decade, during 2019/20 the Manchester Culture Champions was an Ambition for Ageing project, delivered by the Royal Exchange Theatre in partnership with Greater Manchester Ageing Hub, Manchester Age Friendly and funded by the National Lottery Community Fund.

During that time, both existing and new Culture Champions were encouraged to meet, socialise, be creative, learn more about the city’s cultural offer and were supported to initiate and lead their own new projects across the city.

‘When I think of the Champions, I think: dynamism, cultural commitment and social drive’ Jane Goetzee, Manchester Culture Champions Coordinator

Below, is a brief overview of the seven fantastic projects that were initiated, and the outreach work we undertook. To find out about the full programme of activity including how to get involved in the legacy projects, please download our summary report.

Culture Champions can contact Deborah Ward at Manchester Museum for updates regarding the future of the Manchester Culture Champions Project. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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No Experience Necessary Play-Readers Miles Platting
Led by Culture Champion Mike Bishop
An extension of East Manchester Theatre Trippers a new play-reading group has been established as a friendly introduction to drama through regular play-reading.
To get involved contact the St George’s Centre

Welcome Centre Music Sessions Cheetham Hill
Led by Culture Champion Andy Steele
Based within the Welcome Centre this is a drop-in music session for the people of Cheetham Hill.
To get involved contact the Welcome Centre

Brunswick Mill Studios Music Sessions Ancoats
Led by Culture Champion Glyn Treharne with Mike Rikard
Weekly sessions where people can learn to play guitar, ukulele, drums or keyboards with experienced and practicing musicians. Soon to include singing.
To get involved go to the Music Sessions at Brunswick Mill Facebook page

Cheetham Hill and Crumpsall Culture Creatures Woodville Centre, Crumpsall
Led by Culture Champion Ruqia Allana and local facilitators.
Based within North Manchester Black Health Forum this is a weekly creative group providing facilitated sessions for making lovely things
To get involved email Ruqia Allana: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

My Generation Club Nights Matt and Phred’s in the City-centre
Led by Culture Champion Joyce Gill
Initiated ten years ago, these 60s club nights for ‘baby boomers’ aim to combat loneliness in older people, offering a chance to go out in the city, see live acts, socialise, dance and enjoy themselves.
To find out about their latest events go to My Generation Club Nights Facebook page

World Music Bus Tour Manchester-wide
Led by Culture Champion Geli Berg
A bus tour around Manchester through Rusholme, Levenshulme, Moss Side and Cheetham Hill, taking passengers through places away from the city centre where our world music flourishes, with live performances along the way.

Burnage Buddies Community Food and Music Event Burnage
Led by Culture Champion Saira Qureshi
To celebrate seven years of Burnage Buddies community achievements, this feast of music and food brought together their volunteers and supporters and highlighted the work they have done in drawing older members of the community to social and cultural events. The local older generation male singing group Jazbaa (meaning ‘passion’) also performed.
To get involved contact Burnage Buddies

To contribute to the creative life of older people who live in retirement schemes and care homes, we led two projects called Recount Record to offer a supportive and ‘stay at home’ means of getting involved in theatre through drama and story-making. Theatre director Joe Gilmour Rees and writer Rebekah Harrison led weekly creative sessions in partnership with Sonder Radio. The Royal Exchange will continue to work in partnership with these settings into the future.

In response to the pandemic restrictions, the Culture Champions set up the Culture Champions United Whatsapp group which will continue to maintain the friendships that have flourished over the year. And an exhibition of photographs is open for viewing on the Culture Champions United blog.

If you would like to find out more about the Manchester Culture Champions 2019/2020 please email:
Royal Exchange Theatre, Elders Programme Manager This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.