A key part of our approach is recognising that the solution to a problem is not always about throwing money at it. We don’t just think about what we could do with more; we look at the talent and skills that already exist in our communities and often we can find the right mix of know-how and experience from existing people, community groups and social enterprises - and that can have a much bigger and longer lasting impact. This approach is something we call ‘social innovation.’
We believe in helping up, not handing out; inspiring and empowering individuals to get involved and stay involved. By encouraging people to take ownership of different projects we can ensure their long-term commitment to the community cause, for weeks, months and years to come.
We know there are people bursting with good ideas to make things better and there are organisations with the means to make them happen. We want to make connections in our community between people, groups and organisations who can work together, sharing any available money, skills and resources to help neighbourhoods thrive.
With a little imagination and a lot of hard work, we're able to make a bigger difference in more lives and that’s what makes our model as successful as it is.
Social innovation is the very fabric of our organisation and includes:
Examples of how this approach can succeed are in abundance at One Manchester. With our Literacy Beacons Project for instance, we support those who have difficulty with reading and writing by linking them up with One Manchester customers and staff who act as ‘literacy champions’, helping to improve their literacy capabilities at a pace which suits their needs.
We were proud to open an age-friendly development in Openshaw which was designed specifically to be suitable for people with cognitive conditions. The South Gate development in Openshaw is a flagship development of 27 houses incorporating one and two-bedroom affordable rented bungalows for older people developing or living with cognitive conditions, alongside two- and three-bedroom houses which will provide affordable home ownership, including shared ownership for first time buyers and families in the area.
Other successes using this approach are the Anson community shop in Rusholme which relies on volunteers and donations to provide affordable goods for people on lower incomes. Or our collaboration with the pop-up business school, which is equipping One Manchester customers with the knowledge and know-how to start a business and make money from doing something they love.
Where we are accountable for distributing funding, we invite our customers to have a say in how the money is best spent. Our Community Soups for example, bring our customers and local people together to pitch or hear ideas for social enterprises and then decide how our community funds should be spent in their area.
Click below to find out more about the successful projects we have been involved with.