Speaking truth to power: on Monday 1st May, 30 Citywise mentors, supporters and young people took part in an historic event with the main candidates vying to become Mayor of Greater Manchester.
We joined with over 40 organisations from across Greater Manchester for an assembly of music, drama, testimony and true politics: ordinary people coming together to ask those in power how they will serve our communities if elected on 4th May. We had previously voted on four core areas we wanted to ask the mayoral candidates their stance on:
- Health & social care
- Housing & homelessness
- Living wage
- Hate crime
All four of these issues impact on the children and families Citywise works with. If families cannot receive the care they need or earn enough to live, have precarious or unsuitable housing situations, or face intimidation within their communities, the effects will be seen in the young people attending our projects. We wanted the new Mayor to recognise the needs of ordinary people and take action to bring about positive change. It was great to hear from all three candidates – Andy Burnham (Labour) , Jane Brophy (Liberal Democrats) and Sean Anstee (Conservative) – a resounding ‘Yes’ when asked if they would work with us! But there was a clear favourite with the audience: Andy Burnham’s policies on transport and education were a big hit among the young people in the room.
Making a positive contribution to society
We will be continuing to work with Greater Manchester Citizens beyond the election date, and will be helping the young people in our projects to pilot local initiatives tackling issues that matter to them. A core part of our work is to help young people develop a sense of consideration for the needs of others. Even from a very young age, children can become active members of society and help build towards the common good.
For example, this week in one of our primary schools, the children on the Citywise project have been weeding and re-planting flowerbeds around the playground. Our mentoring has not only helped their personal character development, but has also given them a desire to help others and to improve their environment. #thecityneedsheroes and you can start being one at any age!