Northern Soul and People’s Powerhouse are partnering to share good news stories about businesses, people and communities coming together in the North of England and showing us the best of humanity during the COVID-19 crisis. We’ve heard so many examples of people showing great kindness and compassion and we think that these stories deserve to be shared far and wide. Let’s bring a little sprinkle of joy to people’s news feed and show the world how great Northerners really are, especially in challenging times.

Communities united

The past few weeks have been incredibly difficult for communities across the world. During this trying time, some of our region’s local organisations and individuals have come up with brilliant ways to provide support to the most vulnerable members of society.

Activists from Manchester for Europe have organised a fundraiser for Manchester Central Foodbank in order to help those most affected by the economic impact of the pandemic. During this time of great uncertainty, there have been reports of drops in donations to food banks, so ensuring that they are able to provide for those most in need is vital. 

Open Kitchen MCRAnother organisation determined to help people struggling to feed themselves during the Coronavirus social distancing protocols is Open Kitchen MCR, a waste food not-for-profit, which has decided to prepare ‘home-cooked’ meals, portion them into microwavable containers, and deliver them and groceries to people who are in need. For more information on how to help fund this service, click here.

We love Manchester Charity has launched a COVID19 response fund to help charities in Manchester. The non-profit has made the decision to pledge £175,000 to help vulnerable people affected by coronavirus. The Covid-19 Community Response Fund will make awards of between £500 and £3,000 and will decide on an application within 24 hours.

And one story guaranteed to make even the stoniest of faces shed a tear or two: pupils at Silver Springs Academy in Tameside are singing for the residents of Kendal House, a care home opposite their school, because they want to cheer up the elderly residents who are self-isolating due to coronavirus.

Arts companies open their digital doors 

With doors currently closed due to coronavirus, the arts are employing innovative initiatives to keep people entertained during these strange days. The arts have always played a valuable role in people’s mental well-being and, at a time when social distancing might cause people to feel isolated, the arts are more important than ever.

Oldham ColiseumOldham Coliseum has created its first Mini-Podcast episode featuring 17 of the 100 Word Plays from well known writers alongside local emerging writers, performed by a cast of Greater Manchester based actors and edited by Grant Archer. A brilliant way to celebrate Oldham. You can listen to the first instalment here.

Meanwhile, Manchester arts venue HOME is spearheading a plan to take brand new live experiences from the homes of artists into the homes of audiences. Homemakers is a series of newly commissioned work which asks theatre and live art makers to create new works at home, for an audience who are also at home, challenging the definition of ‘live theatre’. Artists commissioned so far include Bryony Kimmings, Javaad Alipoor, Ad Infinitum and Plaster Cast Theatre. The final works could be live-streamed performance, video, audio, text, games or personal encounters and will be made available on HOME’s website on a pay-what-you-decide basis. It will be accessible to the widest possible audience through captioning, audio description and, where appropriate, relaxed versions.

The Lowry in Salford has also launched a new, free way for people to continue to enjoy the arts. Launching on The Lowry Blog, Love Lowry will be a daily service of creative activities and art experiences for people to enjoy from their homes. The programme will offer creative activities for children, adults and families, the opportunity to experience digital art designed to be experienced online, and the chance to ‘watch again’ art experiences that The Lowry has in its digital archive. Oh, and all the activities on offer are free of charge. Northern Ballet

While Northern Ballet is not performing live at this time, a selection of ballets from the company’s repertoire will be available to watch online or on television as part of the company’s Pay As You Feel Digital Season. Over the next few weeks, people will be able to tune into 1984, Little Red Riding Hood and Dracula from the comfort of their home. The company will also release a new dance film, Kenneth Tindall and Dan Lowenstein’s EGO, plus the extended highlights of their 50th Anniversary Celebration Gala which took place at Leeds Grand Theatre at the beginning of the year

Businesses supporting businesses

Small businesses are some of the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. Luckily, there are some fantastic firms who have created brilliant initiatives to support those who struggling at this difficult time.

In the North East, the Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland announced that Newcastle Building Society has become the first major donor to the Coronavirus Response and Recovery Fund. Newcastle Building Society committed £100,000 to get help quickly to local charities and community organisations that are supporting the most vulnerable people.

Manchester agency Roland Dransfield has teamed up with Greater Manchester’s Night Time Economy Adviser to launch a new scheme to help the city’s bars and restaurants in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. #PayItForward allows people to buy discounted gift vouchers that can be redeemed when social distancing measures are lifted and restaurants and bars can throw their doors open again. In addition, £1 from each discounted voucher will go to Hospitality Action, a charity which supports the mental health of staff across the hospitality industry. 

Meanwhile, Whaley Bridge’s Atkinson HR Consulting has offered free HR advice to small organisations who are worried about their staff and how to support them.


And businesses aren’t stopping there. They’re coming up with novel ways to do their bit during the crisis. For example, Burtonwood & Winwick Community Bus has been delivering medicines to residents all over Warrington, while HMG Paints has converted their alcohol stock into hand sanitiser.

By Emma Yates-Badley, Deputy Editor