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Hear how other local people stay active across Manchester and be inspired to join in or find your own way.

'In Focus' is our monthly feature introduced to shine a spotlight on a local group or individual who are delivering necessary, interesting or impressive work in the community or across our city that is making a difference, helping our city move more and our residents to lead healthier and happier lives.
We’re always on the look out for our next feature – if you are or know of a group, individual, coach, community leader, talented youngster, supporting mentor or similar that’s making a difference, we’d love to be able to help provide some additional focus and raise awareness of all their great work. Get in touch with us at


As part of the GM Walking Festival 2024, were focusing on walking for this month, check out some walking stories below!

Manchester Active Walking Officer Laurel joined the Ardwick Climate Action (ACA) group for their GM Walking Festival walk.

The group was established to protect and enhance the local environment and mitigate the effects of localised pollution in the area, through community action. The walk highlighted the many green spaces in the Ardwick area that have been enhanced by the group. 

The work of Ardwick Climate Action includes planting and re-wilding of often-forgotten green spaces to improve the environment and attract nature.  Their projects includes hedging on high traffic routes to combat pollution and reduce noise for residents. 

They have also produced a Green Route project community map (with QR codes) showing the green spaces in Ardwick and quieter, less polluted routes that local residents can take, including children on their journey to school.  View this here
The group’s work and the awareness-raising walks put on as part of the GM Walking Festival highlight that there can be many green spaces in urban areas that can be brought to life and bring joy through community action.  The work of the volunteers enables local residents to walk in a more pleasant and less polluted environment, encouraging and enabling more movement; benefitting both physical and mental health.
We would like to say thanks to Gordon, one of the ACA founding members for a really interesting tour.
The group are running two more walks during the GM Walking Festival.  To find out more and join a walk click here to see the Ardwick Climate Action Green Routes and Spaces walks.

To find out more, and get involved in Ardwick Climate Action click here

As part of the GM Walking Festival 2024, Better UK  have been delivering walks from community leisure centres across the city.  

The walks enable local residents to get to know where they can walk in their areas and to meet the leisure centre teams. 

North City Family and Fitness Centre led a walk to Boggart Hole Clough and Belle Vue leisure Centre led a social walk for their staff and local residents.

Upcoming walks include:

‘El Camino’ tour of the Eastlands facilities – a great opportunity to see inside the iconic National Cycling Centre; National Squash Centre and Manchester Tennis and Football centre and find out about their community offers. 

The Manchester Aquatics Centre walk will take you to student areas of central Manchester on a City Clean-up walk

The Hough End walk will take you round the picturesque Chorlton Water Park.

The leisure centre teams are on hand to have a chat about their centre’s offers, with some centres planning ongoing walking activity to compliment their swim, gym and class offers.

Quote from Leila at Better UK:
"I'm very keen to meet more local residents, engage them in our community offers, and promote the benefits of walking to health & wellbeing"

Quote from Better UK staff member:
"It was great to get outdoors and walk and chat and I felt better for it"
Find a GLL walk by searching for GLL or the leisure centre name at Festival Walks 2024

Discover the Better UK Manchester sites here

Medicare Foundation put on a walk at Boggart Hole Clough as part of the GM Walking Festival.  The walk was to promote movement and health awareness in the community; in particular to raise awareness of Sickle Cell and the importance of blood donations.   
Over 90 people attended the walk which was aimed mainly at women and girls aged 18-30.  Walkers came from diverse ethnic, cultural and social backgrounds.  The 5 mile walk ended in celebratory refreshments and socialising and there was a great atmosphere.  
Health information was shared by an NHS nurse and Medicare Foundation members, who educated individuals on how exercising, being active and healthy eating reduces the risk of Obesity, Angina, Hypertensive disorders, High cholesterol, and Mental Health disorders.  
Individuals were encouraged to adopt healthy lifestyles which will promote their overall health and wellbeing.  There were also information leaflets and souvenirs to create awareness and educate the public on Sickle Cell and Blood Donation. 

For further information on Medicare’s Work and to find out about future walks CLICK HERE

Hear what participants had to say:

Participant 1 -
“The Medicare Foundation walk was fun, calm and bubbly with everyone there. The path was clear and allowed everyone to walk at their own pace. It was a nice, calm environment with a lake and lots of greenery".

Participant 2 - "Everyone could walk at their own pace which made me feel independent. Afterwards, we had some food and drinks and a health awareness talk and I found it interesting. Thank you”

Participant 3 - “The walk was interesting as haven’t done exercise like that for many years. Initially, l thought l cannot do the second lap for my age, but seeing other young ones, l was encouraged to do it especially the second lap".

Participant 4 -“Loved every bit of the walk. Ideal scenery, lovely people, great banter and bagged my 10,000 steps! What could be better? Looking forward to the next one!”

The Blue Peter Book Club Live launched at Manchester Central Library on Saturday 18 May!

This amazing free event for families with children promotes the love of reading in young people.
The event will also see the launch of the Blue Peter Book Club Live Badge Trail - taking children on a trail around the city to find 12 giant Blue Peter badges, each dedicated to one of the 12 Blue Peter Book Club books. Children locating all 12 (and a special bonus badge!) will also be in with a chance of winning a complete set of the 12 books, courtesy of Manchester Libraries.

Download the trail here

Ahead of International Women’s day we met with Courtney Kramoh, who had only recently accepted a position on the GB Taekwondo World Class Performance Programme. 
Courtney is the first truly local recruit from the surrounding area onto the programme, hailing from East Manchester and no doubt will be forging the path for many others to follow! We’re pleased that the access to programme and facilities in Manchester has allowed Courtney to realise her potential.

She has already made impressive TKD progress within her local club TKD Machine, who train out of the National Taekwondo Centre in Newton Heath, and within GB Taekwondo’s 13-18 Development programme and will now focus on female -67kgs as her Olympic weight category.
We were thrilled to spend time with this very passionate young woman and join in with welcoming her to World Class Performance Programme.
Best of luck from all at Manchester Active for what we’re sure will be a long and successful career.


For IWD2023, we spoke with Jo McDonald from local football club Manchester Laces for a look at the club, and first hand perspective of the changing representation in football, the barriers and obstacles still in place, and what the future holds.

How did Manchester Laces form, and when?
Manchester Laces was founded by Helen Hardy who had previously played for South London Laces. Helen wanted to experience the same inclusive and welcoming Laces environment after the move to Manchester. With the support of our London sister clubs and Manchester based co-founders, Manchester Laces was launched in April 2021.
Tell us about your club ethos
Manchester Laces is the first inclusive space for women, non-binary and transgender people in Manchester. 
Our ethos is based on kindness, support, equality and respect. We provide a fun, friendly, safe environment for people of any ability and background to play football. 
What do you love about football?
It’s a truly inclusive sport, anyone can play, regardless of ability and background and it doesn’t feel like exercise!
Football brings so much joy and being part of the team boosts physical and mental health, increases confidence on and off the pitch and brings people together. 
How do you value inclusivity and how does that drive what you do?
We want to provide a truly inclusive space for our community.
Football is for all and we passionately believe anyone who wants to play football should have access to a safe and inclusive environment where they feel welcomed and supported. 
We want to give everybody the opportunity to share the joy of football.
What are some of the barriers to improving female and LGBTQ+ representation in football?
Lack of opportunities, lack of access to safe spaces, previous negative experiences, external attitudes and prejudices have an impact on participation in football. 
We welcome everyone from the women’s, non-binary and trans community into the Laces family, whether they’ve never kicked a ball before or they’re an experienced player. 
The Alternative Football League (AF League) also offers a safe and friendly environment for women, non-binary and transgender people to play football, whatever their ability. Details can be found on the AF League website 
Ball Together Now is an exciting trans inclusive weekend festival of football for women and non-binary people which will be held in Manchester in July. Details can be found here
How has women's football changed over recent years, and where do you see the game in 10 years' time?
England’s incredible victory in the Euros this summer has propelled women’s football into the media spotlight and there has been huge interest from people wanting to try football for the first time or returning to football after not playing since school or university. 
Professional players are now household names and using their platform to grow the game in a sustainable way calling for better facilities, coaching, training and for equal opportunities in school sports and at grassroots level. 
The World Cup taking place over the summer in Australia and New Zealand and has the potential to raise the profile of Women’s football even further. 
In 10 years’ time, I hope to see huge leaps in equality in both the professional and grassroots game. With the Lionesses success, we are already seeing change and players receiving recognition and respect for their achievements. 
The lionesses have become wonderful role models and as demand grows to participate in football, more clubs and opportunities will be created. 
I hope grassroots football will be fully inclusive for all who want to experience the joy of football. 
How do people in Manchester get involved with the Laces and/or football more generally?
Women’s football is more visible thanks to the inspirational Lionesses and this has led to the exponential growth of the club. Details of our sessions can be found on our website.
The AF League as detailed above.
Contact Manchester FA to find the nearest club to you. 
Where can we catch the Laces? (Location, game days, training etc)
Details of our sessions can be found on our website. Or you can email us for details at
We'd like to take this opportunity to thank Jo for taking the time to speak with us. Make sure to follow them on social media to find out more them;
Facebook Instagram Twitter



Ahead of the Manchester 2023 Para Swimming World Championships this July, we spoke with Ellie Challis.

Ellie is a World Champion British Paralympic swimmer who trains and lives in Manchester, and will be representing Great Britain at the Manchester 2023 Para Swimming World Championships. We discuss a range of topics from her journey, how it feels to be a world champion, what she loves about swimming and more. Read on to find out...

1. What made you choose swimming? /And what do you love about swimming?
"So I started swimming to learn to swim for when I went on holidays so I can be safe but I did one race and I absolutely loved it so just continued. One of the best parts about swimming is the racing and the people you meet".
2.What did it feel like to become world champion?
"Becoming world champion was such a surreal moment for me I never imagined I would get to race 50m Breaststroke in my classification (SB2) so to get that chance and make the most of it was definitely a moment I’ll never forget especially to have my family in the crowd".
3. What should we look out for at this year’s championships?

"At this year‘s world championships you should look out for some close racing, being one year away from Paris makes this world championship special. Everyone is trying to make big improvements going into the Paralympic year to put themselves in the best position for the Paralympics, it should make some interesting racing".
4. What are your thoughts on Manchester as a host city? And any local advice or tips on where to go / what to see for other competitors, families and friends?
"I am very happy to have Manchester as a host city as it’s where I live and train. Before I trained here I used to love competing in Manchester at the winter nationals, so I’m very excited to have a world championships in the pool".
5. Which events can people find you competing in this year?
"This year I will be racing 50m Breaststroke, 150m Individual Medley, 50m Backstroke, 50m Freestyle, 100m Freestyle and 200m Freestyle. It is the busiest race schedule I have ever done, I will be racing six days out of the seven! But I’m very excited about it".
6. How would you encourage more people to start swimming?
"I would encourage people just to have a go, Learning to swim is such an important life skill and it can save your life. And it’s such a fun way to stay fit and healthy!"

We'd like to thank Ellie for taking the time to speak with us. The Manchester 2023 Para Swimming World Championships are right around the corner and we couldn't be more excited! Check out this video of Ellie talking ahead of the event.

To catch Ellie in action, tickets are still available. Grab yours here.



The 2023 British Championships will be held between 5 and 6 August at the Manchester Central Convention Centre. The event is sure to be action packed, featuring some of Britains best in weightlifting. Councillor John Hacking, Executive Member for Skills, Employment and Leisure, Manchester City Council said:

“It’s more than 21 years since Manchester Central first hosted weightlifting as part of the successful 2002 Commonwealth Games, so we’re thrilled to come full circle and once again demonstrate Manchester's support for weightlifting by hosting the British Championships 2023. More recently, Wythenshawe Forum has hosted the Para Powerlifting World Cup in 2020, 2021 and will do so again next year, reinforcing our strong partnership and commitment to the sport, one that will only enhance Manchester’s global reputation as a world-class city of sport.

It’s also great to see some locally born representation, like Commonwealth athlete Andy Griffiths, compete on home soil. We’ll be cheering him on, as well as extending a welcome from all of Manchester to the athletes who will compete and enjoy our city this summer.”

Read our interview with Andy below;

1. What made you choose weightlifting? And what do you love about it?
"I got into weightlifting through basketball, I was doing it to help develop power and I realised how much I loved it. I love how complex the sport is – so technically demanding yet relies a lot on strength and power too. Snatch is my favourite lift."
2. How did you feel after becoming British Champion in 2021?
"I knew the British Championships was a step in the right direction towards qualifying for Birmingham 2022 commonwealth games which was the big dream! Winning the champs was special as it it was my first British title but also gave me the push and belief that the games were possible."
3. What are your targets for this year’s championships? 
"I’ve just come back from competing at the Commonwealth Championships in India, just 2 weeks ago, which has been my main focus in training recently. I want to have fun at the British and put in a good performance in-front of a good, home crowd."
4. What are your thoughts on your hometown of Manchester as a BWL host city? 
"I think it’s exciting! There isn’t usually many competitions in the area especially National so it is good to be close to home and hopefully a good chance for more family to come and watch me lift!"
5. Which events can people find you competing in this year? And what else should we look out for?
"I’m not sure on what’s next this year, I will be putting my focus on qualifying for Internationals in 2024 so the rest of the year will be planned out around that".
6. How would you encourage more people to get into weightlifting?
"Try it! Contact your local club. I have my own club and Talent Academy, Pride Performance, in Warrington which is just outside of Manchester and would love to see people come down if they want to give it a go! You’ll never know until you give it a go, I started quite late for our sport but still competed at the Commonwealth Games! It’s possible for anyone".
7. If you could give one piece of advice (maybe something that helped you) to someone wanting to move more or be more active in their life, what would that be?

"Start small, get out and about and get moving. Find something you enjoy, and try something new too!" 

Don’t miss the chance to watch world class athletes competing for British Championship titles. Tickets and more information about the event is available here.



Group B matches of the #DavisCup group stages are being played in Manchester between 12-17 September at the AO Arena.

Group B features GB, Australia, Switzerland and France
As part of Manchester Active's on going 'In Focus' series, we sat down with GB star Jack Draper after his victory on the first day of matches, to discuss his win, Team GB and his experience of Manchester so far, in this special edition.

We'd like to thank Jack for taking the time to speak with us, and wish him all the best for the rest of the tournament.
We'll hopefully being seeing him and Team GB in the Davis Cup Final 8 in Malaga on 21-26 November 2023
#AliveWithSport #MCRactive



October is Black History Month
This month, Manchester Active are celebrating inspirational black people from Manchester. Over the past month we have sat down with a number of people from Manchester black community, to tell their story and share the wonderful work they do.

Check out each interview below;

Marcelina Stengert, founder of Newleaf Foundation

Marcelina is a local mental health counselor who set Newleaf Foundation, a Manchester based charity that supports people suffering with social isolation.
We discuss her background, why she set up Newleaf Foundation, social mobility and more.

Learn more about Newleaf Foundation here
Peace Olanrewaju, Pelumi Fatayo & Mary Olanrewaju - Equal Education Chances
All three work for Equal Education Chances (EEC), a Manchester based charity that works closely with children, youth and families across Manchester to provide educational support and opportunities as well as creating space for community and inclusivity within Manchester. 
EEC also run workshops for women to empower them and gain new skills through practical training and skill development. 
They also work with young people to deliver creative and educational projects and events that strengthen their understanding about the world around them and create new networks of connections and opportunities.

Learn more about Equal Education Chances here
Allan Mandindi, founder of Malawi Heritage UK
Allan is an active Manchester Councillor, who came to Manchester as a young child from Malawi.
Since coming to the UK, Allan has served in the British Army, supported community programmes, and then set up Malawi Heritage UK to help people integrate in the society and promote community cohesion, not only to Malawians but to everyone.

To learn more about what Malawi Heritage UK, click here

Khadijat Idowu Morafa, Founder of Across Ummah CIC

Idowu is a local Mancunian who founded Across Ummah CIC, a charity organisation in Manchester who work to mitigate substance misuse, addiction, crises and domestic violence within the family and in the community.

Learn more about Across Ummah CIC here

#BlackHistoryMonth #MCRactive



Recently, staff from Manchester Active volunteered at the Caritas Lalley Centre Community Pantry and Allotment in North Manchester.
The Caritas Salford team supports people to improve their lives via a whole range of wrap around services, including food support, health and wellbeing support, social tariff access, Wood Street Mission referrals, Health Start referrals, utility support, accessing toys for Christmas and uniforms for the new school year, DWP (Department of Work and Pensions) benefits and housing.
Manchester Active Staff helped de-weed, re-compost and tidy up the allotment. Staff then also helped to unload food parcels for the Community Pantry located on site, and helped stock the shelves.
The day was thoroughly enjoyed by all staff who helped out, and we will certainly be back to help out in the future. Following the day, we caught up with Raddon Stephenson, one of the Centre Coordinators who supported us on the day.
Click here to read the full interview, to hear about him, the work he does in the local community, and how you can get involved!

Taekwondo Machine IS a Manchester Taekwondo Club based at Ten Acres Lane Sports Complex. We asked a range of questions to find out who they are, the work they do in the local area and how others can get involved. Read on to find out more..
Tell us a bit about your club. What do you offer and when?
"Taekwondo Machine offers Taekwondo for the Community. We train every weekday at the National Taekwondo Centre, Ten Acre Leisure Centre in Newtons Heath. The club has been operating for over 10 years, providing lessons to all ages and abilities. We offer members a free trial lesson, it is a great way for the whole family to stay active. Our club includes sessions for children, adults and women only".
How do you work with the local community?
"Taekwondo Machine suffered hugely from the covid 19 pandemic with people unable to come to the centre and train. We reached out the local community through local schools and engaged with children from the local area and we were able to bring our membership numbers near back to pre-pandemic levels. This is a fantastic result as it shows the local people that surround our facility are deeply passionate about their children and involving them in enriching activities. With affordable membership costs, especially during the cost of living situation we find ourselves in, Taekwondo Machine enables these families to give their children the opportunity to learn taekwondo and enjoy the sport as well as making new friends and keeping fit".
How do you value inclusivity and how does that drive what you do?
"Taekwondo Machine proudly boats a diverse membership base and offers classes reaching out to everyone aged 5+. We boast inclusivity in our club be that background, gender, race, sexuality, or age, our membership base includes people of colour. Our members come from all backgrounds including mixed or multiple ethnic groups, black, African, Caribbean or black British, Asian or Asian British and other ethnic groups. We are proud to include members of the LGBTQ+ community and have members with disabilities, visible and non-visible. Our doors are open to everyone as we believe everybody deserves a chance to engage in Taekwondo and we will accommodate where possible".
How does your club operate effectively?
"We have a club committee made up of volunteers, some who actively train with the club and others who are more support based. We regularly hold committee meeting where all members are proudly recognised for the commitment and efforts over the past months. Achievements are announced in our club sessions and committee members are congratulated accordingly. Our committee currently stands at 6 members and we ensure at least one committee member is present at each training session. The input from out committee is paramount to the successful running of our club. The committee members are all DBS checked and are approachable for any member be it child or adult with any question or issue. They are familiar faces within the club and offer help and advice where necessary".
What are your highlights in the next 12 months?
"Taekwondo Machine are fortunate of have some top athletes competing at the National Taekwondo Championships 2021 and more recently 2022 with gold, silver and bronze medals being won:
- Anthony Simpson (Gold) 
- Ali Asef (Gold)
- Courtney Karmoh (Gold) 
- Molly Udal-Willams (Silver)
- Isabella Longden (Bronze) 
- Sienna Longden (Bronze) 
Beginners and advanced athletes have competed in competitor taekwondo club competitions and won numerous medals, including achieving 3rd place at the Ultimate Taekwondo competition in August 2022. Our club has been successful in receiving funding from Sports England and Manchester Active in 2021. The funding has been valuable to our club in helping expand our sessions to include women only classes and enable us to grow our generic classes allowing some beginners to progress to advanced classes".



On 5-6 November, the 2022 WDSF European Breaking Championships take place at Belle Vue Sports Village.  Ahead of the competition, we spoke with Anton Phung. Anton, also known as bboy LB representing SMAC 19 is a national and international champion during his 20-year career as a breaker. He was the first North West Breaking Athlete to represent Manchester at the WDFS South Korea Olympics qualifier last week and will be seen competing at the WDSF European Championships in Manchester, Nov 5-6. Anton leads the breakdancing programme at the Manchester Youth Zone. Anton shared some insights on the new Olympic sport, how he got involved and how new people can get started. Read on to learn more!
What or who inspired you to get into breaking?
"The first time I saw Breaking was on MTV on TV in 1998 when I was still living in London, the track was Run DMC vs Jason Nevins- It's like that. Being a 9 year old kid, I was drawn to it but had no idea what they were doing or what it was. It quickly became my favourite music video and song for a long time. Fast forward 5 years, I now lived in Sheffield. A first generation breaker names MC Nige from Sheffield taught a short course of breaking at an after school club which I randomly attended. This lead to continuing it with Mc Nige outside of school at a youth organisation project at the Leadmill. Mc Nige was my biggest inspiration for a long time!"
Who are your favourite breakers (past or present)?
"Most influential breakers was inspired my journey in the past were; Physicx, Hong 10, Born, Remind, Cloud, Flea Rock, Luigi, Roxrite, Dyzee, Abstrak, Kerim Barouche, Maurizio, Poe One, Ken Swift. They are people who inspired me in the past and present".
What do you love most about breaking?
"The ability to travel doing something unique and connect with people who dont speak the same language but speak the same movement language as you".
Now an official Olympic sport for 2024, how do you account for the increase in recognition of breaking?
"It is a huge opportunity for Breaking to be highlighted on such a prostegious platform and to be recognised to the wider audience. I hope this will inspire the generations to come to be indulge in such an amazing dance/ sport!"
What advice would you give to someone new to the sport, and how’s the best way for them to get involved?
"Actively search for breakers in your local city, reach out to the community of breakers in UK and be ready to learn something special".
For someone new to breaking, describe the local / Manchester breaking community?
"The Manchester breaking community is very welcoming, always willing to help and a real sense of community. There are also classes where you can easily pick up breaking at all levels".
What does the future hold for breaking, where do you see the sport going, especially now it’s a recognised Olympic sport?
"I think Breaking will be the 'new' cool thing to the mainstream audience. Big brands such as Nike, Adidas, Puma and even Lacoste have already begun sponsoring athletes. It is going to be massive!"
Ahead of the European Championships, Anton and fellow B-Boy Kid Karam performed and taught local young people their skills at Manchester Youth Zone! Check out the highlights here!