The Northern Soul Christmas Charity Appeal

Christmas is a wonderful time of year. What with those snow bells ring ting tingling and the lords a-leaping, it’s Northern Soul’s favourite festive holiday. But it’s also a time when we think about others, particularly those facing difficulties and challenges that we can hardly begin to imagine. With this in mind, Northern Soul is running its 2019 Christmas Charity Appeal in aid of two amazing charities. Below we tell you about our chosen beneficiaries. Then, if you scroll further down, you’ll see details of our online auction, running until December 15, 2019. We think the prizes are pretty special, and we hope you’ll agree. The link to the online auction itself is at the foot of this page (see the BID NOW link).

Helen Nugent, Editor of Northern Soul

Alzheimer’s Society

Alzheimer's Society Dementia is the UK’s biggest killer. Someone develops it every three minutes and there is currently no cure. The impact on the sufferers of this disease is devastating, as is the effect on family and friends. The Alzheimer’s Society is the largest dementia charity in the UK – its goal is to ensure that no one faces dementia alone. The charity’s support services improve sufferers’ confidence and motivation, provide reassurance, and allow people affected by dementia to get advice and information from its experienced staff.

To find out more about its incredible work, click here

Alzheimer’s Research UK

Alzheimer's Research UKAlzheimer’s Research UK is the country’s leading dementia research charity, dedicated to causes, diagnosis, prevention, treatment and cure. Backed by passionate scientists and supporters, the charity is challenging the way people think about dementia, uniting the big thinkers in the field and funding the innovative science that will deliver a cure. Its mission is to bring about the first life-changing dementia treatment by 2025. 

To find out more about its life-changing work, click here.



Right, this is how it works. We have lots of amazing ‘you-can’t-get-them-anywhere-else’ prizes to auction off to lucky bidders. They are being offered by members of the Northern Soul team and some of our brilliant contacts and colleagues. Take a look at what’s on offer, choose something that takes your fancy, and have a wee think about how much you want to bid. Every single penny will be divided between our two charities. 

The minimum bid is £5 – but there’s no maximum! All bids are made via the BID NOW link button at the bottom of this page. The closing date for all bids is December 15, 2019. Winners will be notified immediately and will be required to pay for their prize by December 17, 2019. If your bid is unsuccessful, there will be no money to pay – although you can, of course, make a voluntary contribution. If you have any questions about the auction, please email the Editor at

So, what you are waiting for? Spoil yourself or someone you love this Christmas.


** Lunch with the Editor of Northern Soul, Helen Nugent, at a proper posh restaurant in Manchester (venue TBC)

Helen NugentWhether you’re keen to get the inside scoop on Northern Soul, want to know what it takes to be an Editor, are interested in writing or looking to break into the world of journalism (or just want to meet the Editor), this is for you. A quick glance at Helen’s CV reveals a darned interesting career, from her ten years at The Times as, among other things, a lobby journalist in the House of Commons, a Crime Reporter and a News Editor to her work for The Guardian, The Observer, The Mail on Sunday and, oh pretty much every national newspaper in the country, to her time as a broadcaster for BBC 5 live and numerous other radio and TV stations. Needless to say, lunch with Helen promises to be an anecdote-filled event. One of her multiple current roles is teaching Music Journalism at Salford University.


** Lunch with the Deputy Editor and Literary Editor of Northern Soul, Emma Yates-Badley (proper lovely venue in Manchester TBC)

Emma YBEmma Yates-Badley is Northern Soul’s Deputy Editor and Literary Editor. A lunch with Emma promises to be absolutely lovely and you can ask her anything you want, whether that’s how to break into arts writing, what it’s like to be a Literary Editor, or what life is like as a Deputy Editor. She can talk about editing, how to review books, and how to craft must-read editorials. 




**£100 Bettys vouchers courtesy of Branksome Partners

Ah, Bettys. If you haven’t been to this Northern institution and experienced its afternoon tea, you haven’t lived. Established in 1919, Bettys is synonymous with Harrogate and York (and other Yorkshire venues including Ilkley and Northallerton). Yorkshire-based Branksome Partners Ltd, which is offering this prize, provides communications advisory services to individuals, businesses and organisations. Founding director Bernard Ginns has an impressive black book with extensive networks in business, politics, finance and media.

Branksome Partners pledges £100 of Bettys vouchers. 


** A year’s WordPress hosting with 34SP (with SSL certificate) from Simply Better IT

Simon BeltSimon Belt is Northern Soul‘s IT Consultant. He is the coordinator of Manchester Salon, a forum that engages individuals through discussion and debate, using web and social media techniques to reach audiences in innovative ways. In addition, Simon helps businesses make better use of technology through his company Simply Better IT

Simon is offering a lucky reader the chance to have a WordPress website (with SSL certificate) hosted for a full year. This prize is worth a sizeable amount.


** A film reviewing mentoring session with Northern Soul’s Film Editor, Andy Murray

Andy MurrayDo you love cinema? Do you wish you could write about movies? Then look no further. Andy Murray (no, not the Scottish tennis guy) has been working as a freelance writer since 1999, and is Northern Soul‘s Film Editor. Easily one of the best writers, oh, ever, Andy has many strings to his writing bow including the late, lamented CityLife magazine and more recently The Big Issue in the North, among others. His CV also includes books on Russell T Davies. Andy teaches Film Journalism at the University of Salford. Take a look at Andy’s articles for Northern Soul here


**A framed artwork from artist Nancy Collantine

Nancy Nancy Collantine is a Manchester-based painter and printmaker who responds to themes of empathy and environment and works in mixed media figuration and abstraction. Nancy was a finalist in the 2018 Waterside Open and has exhibited in group shows in London, Sheffield and at Victoria Baths in Manchester and Islington Mill in Salford.

The winner of this auction will be able to choose an original collage artwork at Nancy’s studio in Stockport. To learn more about her work, visit her website here.


**Proofreading for two hours from Northern Soul’s Helen Carter

Helen CarterHelen Carter is an award-winning journalist who was The Guardians correspondent in the North for almost 15 years, covering everything from serial killings to a man who turned his canal boat into a German U-boat. Helen has worked in regional papers since finishing sixth form college in 1989 and, among others, she has worked for the BBC and The Independent. She is now UK and World Content Editor at the Manchester Evening News

Helen pledges two hours of copyediting and/or proofreading (around 2,000 words) free of charge. For businesses, students, academics, cultural organisations, community groups and creative writers, she can check and edit reports, theses, funding applications, research proposals, and advertising copy.


**Half a day of copywriting mentoring from Northern Soul’s Jack Stocker

Jack StockerJack Stocker is a copywriter and enthusiasm enthusiast based in Manchester. He has been writing creatively since age 12, and coherently since the age of 15. His hobbies include video games, fruitlessly learning the guitar, and trying to remember why he came upstairs.

Bid for this prize and you’ll receive half a day (approximately four hours) of copywriting mentoring. This would be perfect for a business owner looking to spruce up online content or a budding writer who wants to sharpen their skills. 


**A meal for two people at Northern Soul Grilled Cheese’s new restaurant on Tib Street in Manchester’s Northern Quarter 

Northern Soul Grilled CheeseNorthern Soul Grilled Cheese is the UK’s first gourmet grilled cheese restaurant, serving pimped up grilled cheese sandwiches, mac ‘n’ cheese and shakes. 

Northern Soul Grilled Cheese is offering a meal for two people at its new restaurant on Tib Street in Manchester’s Northern Quarter with the value up to £50.




**A framed A2 print of Manchester in the Rain from Not Quite Light – as seen in The Observer

Not Quite LightNot Quite Light is a project which explores the places in which we exist, inspired by the half light of dawn and dusk, helping us visit those ideas and images which sit on the fringes of our consciousness. It began as a photographic project but now has evolved into performance and a festival based in Salford. The creator is artist Simon Buckley, who proudly lives in Salford. You can see the project at and on Twitter / Instagram @NotQuiteLight.

Simon is kindly offering a framed A2 copy of the photo below (which was recently featured in The Observer). 

Manchester in the Rain


** Dinner and tickets to a show at the Royal Northern College of Music

The Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester is one of the world’s leading conservatoires with a rich and distinguished history. It is also renowned for producing a year-round programme of incredible shows and events. Most recently, it has benefited from a £7 million state-of-the-art renovation.

The lucky winner of this prize will receive tickets to an RNCM-promoted event of their choice in the Spring season, as well as a pre-concert dinner in its Brodsky restaurant.


** An Old Lag’s Street of Shame with Daily Telegraph journalist, Richard Dixon

richard-dixonIt is one of the most famous streets in the world. Over the years, London’s Fleet Street has been witness to all sorts of shenanigans and scandals.

Join Richard Dixon, 35 years a national newspaper subeditor with more stories about the Street of Shame than you can possibly imagine, while he takes you on a loosely guided wander for two hours or so, channelling his years in the early 1980s in the dying days of hot metal when he was shifting at The Sun, The News of the World, the Daily Express and The Daily Telegraph. An anecdote or two, and a pint or two, will be included. Having worked with him at The Times for a number of years, the Editor of Northern Soul can say with good authority that this will be an afternoon to remember.


**Introductory Flying Lesson from N Brown Group


NBrown Interim Logo_RGB (1)N Brown Group is offering an Introductory Flying Lesson for one lucky winner (via Virgin Experience Days). Yes, a flying lesson! What are you waiting for? You could soon be taking to the skies with a Civil Aviation Authority licensed instructor and will spend up to 30 minutes in the air. There more than 25 locations across the country so lots of choice. 

N Brown Group is a top ten UK clothing and footwear digital retailer. It is size inclusive, focusing on the needs of the underserved customer groups – size 20+ and age 50+. It offers an extensive range of products, predominantly clothing, footwear and homeware. Headquartered in Manchester where it designs, sources and creates its product offer, the company employs more than 2,400 people across the UK. 


** A copy of Take Care, Son by award-winning cartoonist Tony Husband, with a personal note by the author

Tony Husband at WorkTony Husband has been a full-time cartoonist since 1984. His cartoons have appeared in many newspapers, magazines, books and websites. They include Private Eye, The Times, Punch, Playboy, Sunday Express, The Spectator and The Sun. He has won more than 15 major awards, including the Pont Award for depicting the British way of life. Yobs, which he draws for Private Eye, is one of the best-known comic-strips in Britain. To learn more about Take Care, Son please click here.



** Tickets to Strangers on a Train Set at Waterside, Sale

Waterside_blackWaterside is a vibrant arts venue in the heart of Sale in Trafford. Comprising a theatre, art galleries and studios, the centre is an important regional hub for both performance and visual art. It is a major touring venue for theatre productions, music groups, comedians and art exhibitions, while at the same time providing a vital resource for the local community. 

Waterside is offering a lucky winner a pair of tickets to see Strangers on a Train Set on January 31, 2020 at 7.30pm. For more information about the show, click here.






**One-year subscription to the PN Review 

PNR LogoFor more than four decades PN Review has been a place to discover new poems in English and in translation as well as interviews, news, essays, reviews and reports from around the world. Subscribers can access the complete, uniquely rich digital archive. Poet-subscribers can submit their work by e-mail.

The PN Review is offering a one-year subscription to its thought-provoking journal published by Carcanet Press


**A gift pack from Rare Mags

Rare Mags logoRare Mags is an independent magazine and book shop in Stockport owned by Holly Carter and Martin Wilson. 

Rare Mags is kindly offering one lucky winner a tote bag full of goodies. This would make an absolutely lovely Christmas present.


**Afternoon tea at the Titanic Hotel Liverpool

Titanic Hotel LiverpoolLocated on Stanley Dock Liverpool, minutes away from Liverpool city centre, Titanic Hotel Liverpool is history in the making. The 4-star hotel is set within a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the city’s most iconic areas, Stanley Dock. Titanic Hotel Liverpool has been a key piece in the restoration of the historic docks. The busy warehouse has now transformed into a hotel full of character, which preserves the charm of the original Victorian architecture combined with contemporary design. 

The Titanic Hotel Liverpool is offering afternoon tea in this historic building. 


** A signed copy of a record and two tickets to a PINS concert

Formed in 2011, all-girl band PINS have established themselves as one of the hottest acts in Manchester, a reputation sealed by successive collaborations with rock legend Iggy Pop. The new year sees them off on tour ahead of the release of their hotly-anticipated third album showcasing the group’s new ‘dark disco’ sound. In the North the girls will be visiting Hull, York, Sunderland, Stoke, Sheffield and Liverpool.
Bid now for concert tickets and an exclusive signed 12” of their single Bad Thing, including the Iggy-voiced tone poem, Aggrophobe



**A £30 gift card and cookbook from Rosa’s Thai Café

Rosa's Thai CafeHoused within a Grade I listed former warehouse, Rosa’s Thai Cafe is situated in Liverpool’s historical Royal Albert Dock. The design retains the original open brickwork of the building with huge arches looking out onto the docks, an open theatre kitchen and a mezzanine level perfect for events and private dining. Tate Modern Liverpool, Merseyside Maritime Museum, and The Beatles Story are all a quick walk away and with the Echo Arena right on the doorstep, you’ll have plenty of time to grab a Thai stir-fry or curry ahead of a show or during a break from museum visits.

The lucky winner of this prize will receive a £30 gift card and a lovely cookbook from the team at Rosa’s Thai Cafe. 


** A gift voucher for Baratxuri, Ramsbottom

BaraxturiIf you’ve never been to Baratxuri in Ramsbottom, you are seriously missing out. Head Chef Rachel Stockley won Best Chef of the Year at the 2018 Manchester Food & Drink Awards and both Baratxuri and its sister restaurant, Levanter, are multiple award-winners. Serving superlative Spanish tapas and Basque pintxos, a meal at Baratxuri is one you’ll never forget.

Baratxuri is offering a gift voucher for a sumptuous meal for two. To check out the restaurant’s website, click here.


**Four tickets to Photo North 2020

Photo North Festival, which takes place at Harrogate Convention Centre, brings world-class photography to the North of England. The festival is run by a small team of photography and curatorial professionals and brings together a sensational display of exhibitions, talks, workshops and portfolio reviews from highly respected and emerging artists.

This brilliant festival is offering the chance to win four tickets to Photo North 2020 – the tickets allow a full festival pass for all three days. 


**A pair of tickets to Manchester Camerata’s New Year’s Day performance at The Bridgewater Hall and a CD of their Mozart recordings

MC Logo RedManchester Camerata redefines what an orchestra can do. It pops up in all sorts of places, from concert halls to care homes, and collaborates with diverse artists, from classical superstars to iconic band, New Order. A registered charity, it pioneers research in music-led dementia therapy, and the Camerata in the Community programme uses music to help young and older people in the community to overcome barriers in their lives.

Jeni Bern will join Manchester Camerata to help blow away the cobwebs and start your New Year in the right way with its annual Viennese Gala on New Year’s Day. A lucky winner can be there, and also receive a CD of the Camerata’s Mozart recordings.