Manchester has one of the highest rates of child poverty in the country, and 42% of families struggle to provide what most others take for granted. More specifically, the Income Deprivation Affecting Children Index ranks Ardwick within the 2% most deprived in England.
We hear from Manchester Vineyard about how they are pouring themselves into their local community.
“Ardwick is an area defined by low educational attainment, unemployment, broken relationships and poor health. We long to rewrite this story.
We are in the process of negotiating a Community Asset Transfer with Manchester City Council in order to reopen 422 Stockport Road (formerly known as the Longsight Youth Centre) for the benefit of local people who need support, training and a place to belong.
422 has stood empty since 2011. It is a grand Victorian building on the busy A6 with a bus stop right outside the front doors. It’s highly accessible: around 80,000 residents in the local area are able to get to it by foot or bus within 15 minutes.
This is not about having a home for us as a church, but it’s about creating a living room for the city.
On Sundays, we haven’t been able to meet in person for services, but we have been able to invite people in our community to volunteer their time and efforts to restore the building. This hasn’t just been people who are already a part of Manchester Vineyard, but it’s also given us the opportunity to invite people who served in Foodbank or came to Online Alpha to come and be part of the story that’s unfolding among us.
We deliberately meet at a time that clashes with our online church stream as many people we are reaching don’t have cooking facilities or heating, let alone internet access, a device to watch the service or even speak English. We wanted to invite people into a time and space that is part of our natural rhythm as a church.
We recognise that despite this unusual and unsettling lockdown season, we have a moment to invite people to see and understand who we are. We have an opportunity to build relationships and partnerships on a scale like never before. We know this moment won’t last forever and so we want to maximise the opportunity to love and serve our city in a way that has always been on our hearts.