Greater Manchester night-time economy adviser Sacha Lord has today (4 May) invited businesses and individuals affected by Covid-19 shutdown to apply for additional funding from the region’s United We Stream relief fund.
Created by Lord, and Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham's Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) on 3 April, United We Stream has raised £260,000 for the city’s locked down night-time economy.
A UK first – and only the second such service in the world after Berlin’s launch – United We Stream showcases Greater Manchester’s best live DJ sets, singers, comedians, musicians, bands, poets, writers, presenters and actors from 7pm every night via live stream.
The free platform, which streams positive public service announcements and safety notices alongside a stacked weekly live entertainment schedule, encourages viewers to donate to Greater Manchester’s night-time industries via its relief fund.
Some 70% of all donations have been pledged to the city region’s night-time economy, including music venues, pubs, freelancers and cultural organisations who are unable to operate due to the ongoing pandemic.
At the time of writing, more than 4m viewers have tuned in to watch music acts such as Paul Oakenfold, and cookery features with Gary Usher and MasterChef winner Simon Wood.
What’s more, the platform’s all-day Hacienda HouseParty, which included sets beamed from the US, was watched by 1.5m alone, reaching viewers as far afield as California.
Helping venues stay alive
Applicants to the relief fund must be an individual or freelancer working in the cultural or night-time economy sector in Greater Manchester, or be applying on behalf of a local music venue, bar, restaurant or cultural organisation.
What’s more, the additional funds must be used to help them adapt to social distancing and lockdown measures related to Covid-19 and can be applied for via GMCA’s website.
“I am completely humbled by the amount of donations that have come in, which will help so many in need across Greater Manchester,” Lord commented.
“When United We Stream was launched, we weren’t sure anyone would watch it, let alone donate. Now we have had over 4m viewers staying in their homes, enjoying phenomenal live DJ sets, virtual festivals, cookery shows, live music and interviews.
“We have, once again, seen our city region show an example of resilience and resourcefulness. Many operators are adapting to try and survive through the crisis, by offering delivery services, meal prep, masterclasses, voucher incentives and online events, and we hope to help some of these businesses with the funding raised and ease some financial pressures.
“I’d like to thank all the artists who have performed to date and given their time completely free of charge, and all the people behind the scenes who have worked endless hours to pull this together.”
Mayor of Greater Manchester Burnham added: “We all love visiting our favourite music venues, bars and restaurants, and the money raised here will go some way to helping them stay alive and to be there when lockdown restrictions are lifted.
“I want to say a very heartfelt thank you to every single person that has donated; not just the generosity and spirit of Greater Mancunians, but the supporters from all around the world.”