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Sunday, April 14, 2024


United Estates of Wythenshawe, the UK’s first Inner City Culture Centre, has appointed the Owl Redmond Partnership on an initial five-month contact to focus on its welfare and social priorities and gather funding for longer-lead activities.

The North West based agency will help drive engagement across local, regional and national media to encourage national brands to fulfil their community ambitions by supporting one of the charities worst hit by the pandemic.

They will also focus on maverick founder and leader Greg Davis, a highly respected and well-liked local figure who has driven through the barriers and politics of ghetto culture to build solutions to inner city problems.

United Estates of Wythenshawe is based at its own centre in the heart of Wythenshawe, one of the largest and most deprived council housing estates in Europe, right on the doorstep of affluent Manchester Airport.

In 2000 Wythenshawe was the single most deprived council estate in the county.

Almost 36 per cent of children live under the poverty line and of this 60% come from working families (Manchester Family Poverty Strategy). It’s estimated by 2030 more than 92% of the entire UK population will live in areas like Wythenshawe.

So Greg and his team set out to ‘mend’ the broken inner city values by enlisting people in the know, local residents and street leaders, bringing them together to find a solution and move away from the gang culture.

“We took the most troublesome kids from the estate, working in partnership with recognised street leaders, together began to develop one of the biggest community enterprises in the North West”.

They have achieved their first goal of providing a Social Cultural Centre for local people,

designed, built, driven and managed by local people. It respects the cultural language of local people and provides facilities that are wanted, useful, necessary and relevant.

It has helped them address local problems such as anti-social behaviour and youth nuisance using the mediums of music, fitness and dance to bring people together.

“The United Estates has successfully developed and grown using the ‘Hacienda Principle’, exploiting the idea of ‘Creative Vandalism’.  We use the potentially negative energy of street gang culture and create pockets of positive community enterprise, owned, led and managed by local people . By uncovering cultural comfort zones to create and develop relevant reference points.”

The centre offers a fully fitted gym and fitness centre with personal training and classes, a dance and performing arts studio and full recording studio, as well as a drop-in centre, café bar and Mums Mart community food facility. As a Christian based organisation it also shares the site with Brownley Green Methodist Church.

Mums Mart is a group of local parents who provide free food to local families sourced from local supermarkets. They also organise fact finding trips to South Africa and Kenya and run a saving scheme to fund family holidays away.

At weekends they run low cost food stalls, hot food, tea and coffee, plus craft stalls, unique gifts, sweets and jewellery with 100% of the profits going towards the holiday fund.

They also established a no-questions-asked food bank during the pandemic as the cost of living crisis hit places like Wythenshawe really hard. People are welcomed through the doors to just help themselves to the produce to feed themselves and their families.

The pandemic took its toll in other ways with a lot of funding just disappearing. Their immediate focus now is to fund a complete and much needed renovation and modernisation of the kitchen – including fridges and freezers to keep donated food fresh – and add new and important equipment to the gym, recording studio and dance studio.

They also intend to plant a Peace Garden, orchard and allotments where local people can relax, reflect and grow their own fruit and vegetables.

Sue Redmond, Owl Redmond PR said: “This is an interesting and different project for us to be involved it and we relish the challenge of bringing companies and partners together to help tackle all the financial and social issues left behind by the pandemic. It’s a time for re-birth and re-growth, getting financial and practical help while respecting the integrity and values of United Estates of Wythenshawe.”

Sam Allcock
Sam Allcock
With over 20 years of experience in the field SEO and digital marketing, Sam Allcock is a highly regarded entrepreneur. He is based in Cheshire but has an interest in all things going on in the North West and enjoys contributing local news to the site.
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