A new campaign to unite Greater Manchester has been launched today (Tuesday 27 October) called oneGM.

oneGM has brought together the public, private, charity, social enterprise, faith, sport and cultural sectors, in support of people and businesses facing a challenging time as a result of the Covid restrictions. It aims to provide help that goes beyond the package of support being offered by the Government, particularly over the winter months, in recognition of the hardship some people will be facing.

The Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, hosted the launch event of oneGM and was joined by leaders in their field: Chris Oglesby, CEO of Bruntwood, former Manchester United footballer and businessman, Gary Neville, award-winning actor, Julie Hesmondhalgh, Right Reverend Dr David Walker, Bishop of Manchester, Lucy Danger, CEO of EMERGE which runs FareShare Greater Manchester, Olympian Diane Modahl, Chair of the Greater Manchester Young Person’s Task Force and Trustee of the Greater Manchester Mayor’s Charity, Karina Jadhav, Founder and Owner, Menagerie bar and restaurant and Liz Taylor, CEO of corporate events company TLC Ltd.

The Mayor re-stated his commitment to those whose livelihoods are directly affected by the Tier 3 restrictions and that he committed to help the lowest paid workers whose businesses have been forced to close as well as support for the self-employed/freelancers. Bringing together the public money from the public sector, private business and charity donations the aim is to provide a package of support for those most in need.

People can donate to local charities and voluntary organisations and through the oneGM campaign hosted on the Mayor of Greater Manchester’s Charity website (LINK). The oneGM campaign brings together all parts of the GM family to work together during this difficult time and further detailsll be announced in the coming days.

He also confirmed that Greater Manchester is likely to receive at least £65m from the Government which will include backdating of financial support for businesses when the city-region was effectively in Tier 2 from the end of July. This is in addition to the £22m from Government for local test and trace and enforcement.

Mayor Andy Burnham said: “A lot has been asked of the people of Greater Manchester from lockdown in March to effectively living in Tier 2 restrictions since the end of July and then Tier 3 restrictions since last Friday. While we didn’t get all the support from Government we asked for, I want to reassure everyone that I will do everything I can to help those suffering from hardship so people can live their lives with as much dignity and comfort they deserve.

“However, I can’t do this all on my own; it’s a partnership across our sectors in Greater Manchester. I’m humbled to see so many people come together under the oneGM campaign to unite the city-region and provide whatever support people need. We are all committed to making sure our economy and people come out of this pandemic ready to thrive and I hope others will join us too.”

Gary Neville, Founder and director Relentless Group, owner of Hotel Football and Stock Exchange Hotel, Salford City FC and UA92 said: “Through the most challenging times clear and concise leadership is required. We are a lot more knowledgeable today than we were 10 months ago about this pandemic and the impact on health and people’s lives. Greater Manchester, along with every other community in this country, requires an approach that trusts businesses who have invested heavily in COVID19 secure protocols.

“We also have a population that has adapted and become accustomed to these processes. We cannot continue with inconsistent and reactive direction. It’s draining the confidence of many and causing great distress. The business community in Greater Manchester is working closely together to establish a sustainable way forward. Standing still is not an option!”

Chris Oglesby, CEO of Bruntwood added: “A defining feature of Greater Manchester is the way that we work together as partners – especially when times are tough. Businesses in Greater Manchester have spent millions in adapting to deal with Covid and, as responsible business leaders, we are focusing on three areas: getting financial support to those in need, providing clarity of message to the public to help more business to trade safely and sustainably, and developing a roadmap out of restrictions by building the evidence base to show how little transmission there is in Covid-safe establishments and workplaces. In doing this we aim to limit the pain of the restrictions to the people of Greater Manchester and get us out of them as quickly as reasonably and safely possible.”

Also backing oneGM, Co-Chair of the Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), Lou Cordwell, said: “Many businesses have suffered because of the impact of Covid and if we want our city-region to make a successful economic recovery, we need to provide a lifeline to people and businesses facing the worst effects. This requires a partnership across all sectors in Greater Manchester to support those who need it now so we can build back better.”

Today also saw the Greater Manchester Mayor’s Charity launch a new donation page on its website in support of oneGM – https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/oneGM. Any monies raised will go to the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector to help those who are struggling during the pandemic.

Chair of the Mayor’s Charity, Tim Heatley said: “As a charity, we are backing oneGM as it’s right all sectors come together and do whatever we can to help those who need it most. Our new fundraising drive aims to get local support to those hardest hit by the economic impact of Covid by tackling food poverty, supporting those experiencing or at risk of homelessness to providing mental health support. I would urge anyone who wants to help to donate whatever they can and be part of the oneGM campaign.”