Slickly organised, nice live music, decent veggie option and some genuinely awe-inspiring citizens of Manchester. The Manchester Be Proud awards could dent your cynicism if you let it.
Manchester Town Hall was filled last night with people in their glad rags, come to see who had won this year’s City Council “Be Proud Awards.”
After a drinks reception with music from the Encompass Jazz Trio (hat-tip to RNCM) we got the obligatory Lord Mayor’s Welcome, followed by a three course dinner (hat-tip to t’cooks and silver-service waiters). A short and heartfelt speech by the Deputy Leader of the Council, Bernard Priest, followed. He congratulated everyone who’d been nominated and identified a couple of trouble-makers and offered them holidays at a special Caribbean facility run by the Council’s current security providers, G4S (1).
Then it was on with the awards. The judges must surely occasionally have resorted to tossing coins, since there was a very high quality in the various categories. And the winners are (opens envelope)
Creativity in the Community Winner – Leah Cavanagh (other finalists: Jessica Loveday, The Community Leadership Programme )
Unsung Hero Winner – Kirsty Taylor (other finalists: James field, Joanne Kelly)
Neighbour of the Year Winner – Patricia Lesley (other finalists: Emma Armitage, Maria Carabini)
Volunteer of the Year Winner – Roger Smith (other finalists: Kathryn Harrison, Steve Buckley)
Special Achievement Award Winner – Betty Kay
Pride of Manchester Community Diamond Award – Upping It! Steering Group
The event, while very glitzy, had clearly been run on the back of some hard-work/arm-twisting to get such broad sponsorship. It’s worth shouting out those sponsors, since there is no way on God’s green earth – or Manchester’s “clean city” for that matter – that this event can happen again without ’em (have you seen the budget cuts the ConDems are forcing on local authorities?) And the sponsors are – Manchester Evening News, The co-operative Bam, Rowlinson, Redgate, Tony Lloyd Police & Crime Commissioner, Manchester Arndale, Helping Hand, Laing O’Rourke, the Sweet Shop, Southway Housing Trust, Wythenshawe Community Housing Group, Keep Britain Tidy, 1 team, Eastlands Homes
What could have been done better?
Hmm, this is a tricky one. It’s a Friday night, people have come for an enjoyable dinner and an awards ceremony (which they got). You can’t very well run novice lines, or run pre- or post- event workshops or get people in pairs to walk around putting ideas on flipcharts.
Also, you have no money.
HOWEVER, you want to a) try to leverage some help for the existing groups and b) get them interacting with each other a bit more.
So – why not ask each of the short-listed groups to provide a single side of A4 that says
- what has gone well in the last year
- what hasn’t gone well
- what they hope to start doing differently next year
- what specific skills/knowledge they need to do things bigger/better/more
Together with a map of Manchester showing where these short-listed individuals and groups are active, all put together in a simple booklet would make a very handy tool for people who perhaps had skills or time to offer to some of the groups. #enablingstate and all that….
If you really wanted to push the boat out, why not offer to make a two-minute film about each of the short-listed groups, based around video-footage on the evening and some still photos they’ve provided and the last answer on the sheet above. These could then be an online advert for the group (though clearly, many individuals and groups operate in places where internet access is patchy at best)
Additional, um, “nuance” may have been added for dramatic/comedic effect. Always read the label. And G4S have now given up on providing janitorial services at Gitmo. But #neverletthefactsgetinthewayofagoodstory etc
There will be much more to say about just how badly and cynically and opaquely this 14.5 million pound disaster has been run, but not here.