Our popular women’s event, Forever Manchester Women returns on 20th April at Slater and Gordon’s offices in Manchester.

So far the Forever Manchester Women events have raised over £6,500 to support female-led community activity across Greater Manchester.

2016’s instalments of the event will be kindly sponsored by local law firm, Slater and Gordon and they are kindly hosting the first one of the year at their offices on Mosley Street.

Anna Chopping and Zoe Taylor will be speaking alongside AJ Read at our upcoming event. Together, Anna and Zoe created Two by Two Sale, which is a community organisation committed to creating more opportunities for accessible community art events to promote and inspire talent within the thriving Sale arts scene.

We had a chat with them both about their up and coming speech at Forever Manchester Women.

What attracted you to Forever Manchester and Forever Manchester Women?

When we started our Community Group in Sale, Forever Manchester was one of the first funding opportunities we were advised to look at by Thrive [a Social Enterprise based in Trafford, which helps community projects to find volunteers and funding]. We understood that FM were keen to support groups of people like us, looking to organise positive activities for the community in Greater Manchester. We really like the FM approach to funding provision; everything about Forever Manchester (even the application form) seems to encourage that positivity that has to be behind everything you do as a voluntary group.

Forever Manchester awarded us with the first funding we had ever received. With the Cash 4 Graft award we had [a £250 award given to local people wanting to make a difference in their community] we were able to establish ourselves practically (covering set-up costs etc.) and we ran our first community arts event as part of Sale Arts Trail; the ‘Penguin Parade’!

We are proud to be a part of the FM Women event as we are really keen to promote the recognition, and support of valuable working women in our communities. FM Women provides a forum that enables active support of one another through shared experience, connections and resources, and we are really thrilled to be part of something that promotes all of these positive outcomes.

What do you love about Manchester?

There is so much to love about Manchester right now, and top of the list for us is the raw graft and energy about the place, it feels exciting being in the city, being a part of what is happening now in Manchester; a thriving creative industry and a strong energetic identity that is rock solid and pure northern. Manchester feels like it embraces its suburbs, determined, proud people and groups that thrive beyond the city. Families, students, independent businesses, schools etc., all building communities that make people its focus and success.

What’s one thing you’ve struggled with/has surprised you/you’ve enjoyed the most along your journey with Two by Two?

Something we’ve struggled with is managing to retain control of the ‘office’ side of things, when you really want to be getting out there and DOING the work. Being a community group is definitely about getting more people involved and on board and everyone helping that growth happen, but it’s a juggling act requiring lots of organising and a fairly punishing number of hours towards delivering the work we really want to happen!

We have been pleasantly surprised by the huge amount of support, help and advice that we have been offered and had access to – so many third sector support agencies that make us part of their mission, and that has led to us gaining so many positive opportunities and developing our skills.

Reading people’s positive feedback after an event, or workshop, seeing photographs of the work we’ve managed to achieve with children/adults we’re working with, and seeing participants enjoying what they’re doing and creating, is hugely rewarding and definitely inspires us to want to do more!

What’s strong and good in your community at the moment?

There feels to be a really strong and growing volunteer culture in our community, rooted in the shared desire to build and improve things in our community that we know many will benefit from.

We feel regularly inspired by other voluntary groups and organisations in our area; Sale Arts Trail has been a big support, and has carved out a really successful annual event that helps to build the creative culture of our area, helping local artists and businesses support one another, whilst delivering a really engaging exciting event for a weekend in the Summer.

Gorgeous Gorse Hill continue to deliver inspiring ideas with relatively small amounts of money, but bags of energy, talent and inspired thinking!


If you’d like to hear Anna and Zoe’s inspiring story, head to Forever Manchester Women, which is taking place on:

Wednesday 20th April

Slater and Gordon Offices
58 Mosley Street
M2 3HZ

Tickets are priced at just £20, which includes a welcome drink and canapes and can be purchased by using the ticketing form below or alternatively, if you wish to be invoiced you can do so by emailing cheryl@forevermanchester.com.