Christmas 2020 – the 0161 Community united
How to make this interesting without just turning it into a list of thank yous to everyone involved in 0161 Community’s Christmas projects? We’ll try and list everyone who supported us later on, but first, here’s a brief summary of what was achieved during
It Began with Bread
A whole truck full. Not just a small truck- an artic lorry’s worth of frozen bread sent by Dnata and gratefully received into Curzon Ashton Football Club’s stadium. With frozen pastries, barms and pretzals aplenty, volunteers spent a couple of days unloading and distributing tonnes of bread to organisations and people across Manchester. The less said about this, the more time we have to focus on other activities- there’s so much more…
Next up Nappies
Thousands of them. Ferried direct from the Pampers factory into Curzon Ashton Football Club’s Stadium, organised into sizes and redistributed to organisations and people across the region. Where we didn’t have the types or size that a person needed, we used some of the money donated by people through the 0161 Fundraiser to make sure people got what they deserved.
Then Came the Breakfasts
1200 of them. Apples, bananas, oranges, croissants, brioche, yoghurts and more packed into paper bags and delivered. Jonathan and the team at Makro in Eccles went above and beyond to source these for very particular days and gave us some discounts so the funds could stretch further. Once again, these were delivered over to… you guessed it, Curzon Ashton, where volunteers could bag and ship 100s of breakfasts out.
Steaming in after that- Hot Meals
Nutritious, filling, varied- using some food donated by hospitality and Curzon Ashton as well as some food bought in specially using funds from members of the public who donated. There were kofta kebabs and rice, beans and sausages, homemade vegetable curry, pasta and cheese sauce and loads of other incredible meals cooked fresh by Dave at the Veterans Food Company and delivered by volunteers to families across the area. Each one had at least 2 portions of veg and the feedback was superb.
But wait, what about Santa?
Of course Santa knows about 0161 Community, and he insisted that though he couldn’t do his traditional indoor grotto, he wanted to do a roving one around Greater Manchester instead. So we got on the phone to Salford Van Hire, borrowed some immense decorations from Boxhaus, engaged the elves and got to work. The elves boxed and wrapped special presents funded by The People* including a unique Christmas 0161 Community colouring and fitness book, a smart skipping rope, chocolates, candy canes and more. Finally, on the Saturday before Christmas, Santa took his place on his armchair on the back of a truck and he was off… trundling round Salford and Oldham.
At one point, slightly overwhelmed by the amount of children out to great him, he stopped in a car park at Langworthy Cornerstone to make sure people got some pictures and the presents they deserved.
One of the elves overheard one Mum say “this is the best thing that’s happened round here in year”; another man declared how important this was to meet more of his neighbours; and the smiles on children’s faces as they realised Santa rode a truck round Manchester and Salford are unforgettable.
*and as we know, the people save the people.
Good question. So what? So thousands of people got some essential supplies during the worst pandemic and economic hardship in living memory. So some magic was brought into children’s lives during an immensely painful and hard year for many. So the community of Manchester was brought closer together by some small acts of kindness. So people realised that, in a year where government has refused meals to children; demolished trust in leadership from London; and continued to vastly increase the gap between rich and poor – there is trust, care and faith in the working class. The people still save the people, and the more we help each other out- the stronger we become.
Without struggle, there is no strength. And with the struggles that our class has faced in 2020, we are stronger than ever.
Alright then, now we get to the thank you’s.
When organisations say “there are too many to list”, they are sometimes being facetious – not so here. There *are* too many to list here so we’ve put them in groups. You know who you are. Thank you.
Volunteers – Old and new. The true backbone of 0161 Community. Without volunteers, nothing would get done. Industrious, patient and flexible. Everyone put in pure effort during the festive period where most people (deservedly) want rest and reflection – on Christmas eve, Boxing day, New Years Eve, New Years Day, weekends, evenings, mornings and into the night. Without asking for anything back, volunteers gave it everything they have. Nice one everyone.
Donators – The lifeblood. No matter how small your donation, you made a difference in 2020. It may have been diesel to power Santa’s sleigh for a mile down the road, or it may have been a healthy tea to a kid who usually gets them at school. 0161 Community considered every single penny spent and was grateful for it. Thanks. Special shout outs to Joe Solo and We Shall Overcome.
Distributors – Our friends on the estates who went out and distributed meals and breakfasts to their neighbours. You lot do this discreetly and without recognition a lot of the time. We salute you.
Suppliers- Makro, Salford Van Hire
Other community organisations – For supporting 0161 Community with your own networks, people, kindness and support. Infinity Initiatives, Langworthy Cornerstone, Fitton Hill Youth Club.
Curzon Ashton – For giving us full access to your fridges, freezers, community room, bar space and car park. These lot deserve a special mention. They put up with us and we’re sure they’ll help us again.
Here’s to an 0161 Christmas and 2021!