The Wythenshawe Forum Trust

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by The Wythenshawe Forum Trust's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from The Wythenshawe Forum Trust is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett, MP
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles, MP

Highlighting best practice
Eddie Flanagan CEO, speaking
at the Wythenshawe Means
Business event
Forum and Wythenshawe
town centre
Based in Wythenshawe, Manchester, the Forum Centre is
unique in its range of co-located services for community
and business. Customers can access employment and
training, library services, childcare, leisure, events, health and
wellbeing. There are also three retail outlets – a newsagent,
pharmacy and travel agent. CEO Eddie Flanagan explains how
the Wythenshawe Forum Trust manages the centre and works
closely with the public and private sector organisations on site
to ensure that services are fully integrated.
The most recent partnership on site is Forum Opportunities – a collaboration between
Job Centre Plus and Manchester Adult Education. Residents can take advantage
of training and employment opportunities that will ensure they are equipped with
relevant skills for employment and career progression. Programmes supported by
the Trust ensure that the Forum Centre meets the needs of a diverse community
– catering for different age groups, lifestyles and interests, or those with more
complex needs. Leisure and cultural provision contributes towards Manchester City
Council targets for improved health and wellbeing. Residents of all ages use Forum
Leisure for swimming, gym, exercise classes and activities in the sports hall.
Active community
More than 1,100 young people are enrolled on weekly swimming lessons. Dementia
Friendly swimming provides one-to-one support to boost confidence and help
patrons retain water skills and fitness. Wythenshawe Amateur Swimming Club meets
three times per week and has seen several members progress through to regional
»CEO of the Wythenshawe
Forum Trust: Eddie Flanagan
»Forum built in 1971
»Based in Manchester
»Wythenshawe Forum Trust
established in 2002
ȣ20 million refurbishment and
extension programme in 2003
»Co-located services:
Employment and training,
library, childcare, leisure,
events, health and retail
»No. of employees: 300 across
the different services on-site
»Forum Leisure receives almost
31,000 visits each month
»Forum Library receives almost
13,000 visits each month and
is the third most visited library
in the city of Manchester
The Wythenshawe
Forum Trust
competitive swimming. Forum services
are accredited by relevant organisations
such as Quest for the leisure sector, and
Ofsted for the nursery provision, rated
currently as “good”.
Improvements in the health and
wellbeing of the community are
enhanced through the on-site health
centre and pharmacy. Forum Leisure
offers referral programmes whereby
local health professionals, including the
two GP practices on site, can prescribe
exercise and activity classes suitable for
recovery or longer-term improved health.
The Trust also works with local area
partners to develop and accommodate
award-winning initiatives such as
the annual five-day Wythenshawe
Games, Wythenshawe Youth Alliance
and Summersonic – a free sports and
activities school holiday programme
for 6 to 19-year olds – which started
in Wythenshawe but now runs
throughout Manchester.
Approximately 1,400 young people
took part in Summersonic activities
during 2017, attending 8,654 sessions
during school holidays and at the
weekly Saturday Night Project held at
the Forum. Summersonic was voted
Best Youth & Community Programme
at the Manchester Sports Awards 2016.
The Wythenshawe Games, which is
held in the 280-acre Wythenshawe
Park, saw more than 18,000 people
take part in sport and physical activity
in 2017, with many more visiting the
site’s other attractions, such as the
health and under 5s activity zones.
The programme includes themed days
such as disability, girls and women and
The Saturday Night Project, provided
in conjunction with City in the
Community – Manchester City FC’s
community outreach programme
– is attended by more than 120
youngsters each week, who build
self-confidence while acquiring social
skills. More than 20 young people have
completed coaching qualifications and
four of them are now paid coaches
A flourishing LGBTQ group for those
aged 13-19 meets weekly to provide
emotional support, LGBT history,
creative activities and relationships
education. One of Manchester’s five
community sports activators is based
at the Forum and is responsible for co-
ordinating sport and physical activity
across Wythenshawe. The activator has
been instrumental in the development
of the Wythenshawe Sports Forum,
which enables local clubs to come
together to share best practice,
consolidate efforts to attract funding
and to encourage inactive residents to
adopt a more active lifestyle.
Pioneering approach
Wythenshawe Forum Trust took a
lead role in the development of a new
local rugby club in 2016, along with
Manchester City Council, the RFU,
and Manchester Enterprise Academy.
The club has more than 130 playing
members from age four, plus 24
volunteers including coaches, and was
the proud recipient of the Community
Club of the Year award at the
Manchester Sports Awards 2017. A jobs fair was held
as part of the Forum
Opportunities launch
Comic book artist
Nigel Parkinson
attended the first
Comic Con held at
the Forum
was voted Best
Youth &
Programme at
the Manchester
Sports Awards
Highlighting best practice
The club was also the recipient of the
Ian Sinclair Youth Trust Award for the
2016/17 season. This was chosen by
the management board of Lancashire
County RFU to reward the club they felt
had contributed most to youth rugby.
The Forum hosts a weekly programme
called Grand Day Out for residents over
the age of 55, supported by volunteers
from the Wythenshawe Housing
Group’s Real Neighbours scheme.
Participants enjoy the opportunity to
socialise and engage in activities such
as gentle exercise, dancing, IT, crafts,
board games and day trips. Grand Day
Out links with other groups as part of
Age Friendly Wythenshawe, to expand
the opportunities on offer.
Forum staff members have undergone
Visual Impairment Awareness Training
in support of the Henshaws Pathway
to Wellbeing programme which runs
each week at the centre. Henshaws is
a north of England charity that helps
people living with sight loss and other
disabilities, reducing social isolation
and increasing independence.
Embracing culture and
improving literacy
Forum Library was selected as one
of the Manchester Libraries cultural
hubs, and hosts a specific programme
of events alongside its regular library
provision. So far during 2018,
visitors have enjoyed an evening of
performance dance using various parts
of the library as its stage, and a one-day
festival-style event, This Vibrant Thing,
which attracted more than 600 visitors.
Through its partnership with
Manchester Libraries the Forum was
one of the host venues for the 2017
Read MCR BookBench trail as part of
the National Literacy Campaign. This
initiative was enhanced by additional
activities in Forum Library such as
the National Trust’s interactive family
The Worst Children’s
Jobs inHistory
, inspired by Sir Tony
Worst Jobs
series of books.
A book swap scheme was launched in
the café to encourage more members
of the community to read more often.
Versatile space
Of benefit to patrons is the range
of space available for events and
performances. The concourse is widely
used for business and community
events such as the Age Friendly network
launch, craft fairs, International
Women’s Day, fundraising stalls, pop-
up shops and recruitment fairs.
Forum Hall hosts regular concerts
and stage shows, dance and
sport competitions and business
conferences. The Trust makes the
facility available to community
organisations, such as the local
amateur boxing club, to give its boxers
the opportunity to participate in
competitive boxing with an audience.
Partners on site include Job Centre
Plus, Manchester Libraries, University of
Manchester NHS Foundation Trust, Co-
operative Childcare, Greenwich Leisure
which operates a city-wide leisure
contract for Manchester City Council,
Lloyds Pharmacy, an independent
travel agent and a newsagent.
Young members
training at
Community Rugby
Grand Day Out is a
weekly club for over 55s
Forum Library
was selected as
one of the
Libraries cultural
hubs, and hosts
a specific
programme of
events alongside
its regular library

This article was sponsored by The Wythenshawe Forum Trust. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from The Rt Hon Theresa May MP.

The Rt Hon Theresa May MP's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By The Rt Hon Theresa May MP

This foreword from the then Prime Minister appeared in the 2018/19 Parliamentary Review.

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review. For Her Majesty’s Government, our task in the year ahead is clear: to achieve the best Brexit deal for Britain and to carry on our work to build a more prosperous and united country – one that truly works for everyone. 

The right Brexit deal will not be sufficient on its own to secure a more prosperous future for Britain. We also need to ensure that our economy is ready for what tomorrow will bring. Our Modern Industrial Strategy is our plan to do that. It means Government stepping up to secure the foundations of our productivity: providing an education system that delivers the skills our economy needs, improving school standards and transforming technical education; delivering infrastructure for growth; ensuring people have the homes they need in the places they want to live. It is all about taking action for the long-term that will pay dividends in the future.

But it also goes beyond that. Government, the private sector and academia working together as strategic partners achieve far more than we could separately. That is why we have set an ambitious goal of lifting UK public and private research and development investment to 2.4 per cent of GDP by 2027. It is why we are developing four Grand Challenges, the big drivers of social and economic change in the world today: harnessing artificial intelligence and the data revolution; leading in changes to the future of mobility; meeting the challenges of our ageing society; and driving ahead the revolution in clean growth. By focusing our efforts on making the most of these areas of enormous potential, we can develop new exports, grow new industries and create more good jobs in every part of our country.

Years of hard work and sacrifice from the British people have got our deficit down by over three quarters. We are building on this success by taking a balanced approach to public spending. We are continuing to deal with our debts, so that our economy can remain strong and we can protect people’s jobs, and at the same time we are investing in vital public services, like our NHS. We have set out plans to increase NHS funding annually by an average by 3.4 percent in real terms: that is £394 million a week more. In return, the NHS will produce a ten-year plan, led by doctors and nurses, to eliminate waste and improve patient care.

I believe that Britain can look to the future with confidence. We are leaving the EU and setting a new course for prosperity as a global trading nation. We have a Modern Industrial Strategy that is strengthening the foundations of our economy and helping us to seize the opportunities of the future. We are investing in the public services we all rely on and helping them to grow and improve. Building on our country’s great strengths – our world-class universities and researchers, our excellent services sector, our cutting edge manufacturers, our vibrant creative industries, our dedicated public servants – we can look towards a new decade that is ripe with possibility. The government I lead is doing all it can to make that brighter future a reality for everyone in our country. 

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review 
The Rt Hon Theresa May MP
Prime Minister