About our community partnerships

Between January 2023 and January 2024, Factory International piloted, 12-month Community Partnership agreements, with four charities and non-profit organisations in Greater Manchester. Our goal was to explore how to make a bigger difference together in local areas. Offering £10,000 to each organisation and capacity building support, we spent 12 months spending time and learning alongside our community partners in their local areas. This programme is supported by Esmée Fairbairn Foundation.

After 12 months of partnership we are now evaluating our pilot programme and committing to ways we can embed our current partners as critical friends and form part of a wider network of organisations, who all share our ambition of making Manchester a greater place to live, as well as a leading creative and cultural hub; where we invent tomorrow, together. In 2024, we will ensure legacy and continued relationships with our pilot partners, CDM UK, REELMCR, Thrive Manchester and Patricroft CIC, whilst recruiting 2 new Community Partners later in the year.

With this programme we work with each organisation to improve our knowledge and understanding of their communities, opening up a direct and honest dialogue with local people and community leaders so the range of voices from across the region are heard and reflected across our wider programme and our offers and commissions feel more accessible and relevant to community need. Our Community Partnerships Programme aims to create more equitable relationships and meaningful collaboration between community groups and Factory International and to reduce inequality of access to arts and culture. Our Community Partners have received free and discounted tickets to share with their community, lifelong learning workshops developed to meet local need in each area and linked to Factory International Productions, capacity building support and more and in return we have had the privilege of spending time meeting local people, listening to their needs and interests, gaining brilliant knowledge of hyper local engagement and genuine commitment to support people in need and to be of service to your community, demonstrated by 4 organisations who are a credit to their local areas in Ardwick, Blackley, Wythenshawe and Patricroft.

This programme is part of a wider Creative Engagement Programme that aims to work with Manchester’s communities at a critical time and to reach many who face inequality of access to high quality artistic experiences – groups whose voices are not heard, nor their lives reflected, within mainstream cultural venues, productions and programmes.

You can find out more about our four pilot organisations below.

Contact creativeengagement@factoryinternational.org with any questions.

Our community partnerships recruitment is now closed.

Supported by

Esmée Fairburn


Our community partners 2023


Numan and Taslima work with sustainable materials to support refugee, displaced and vulnerable people in Ardwick to learn creative skills and develop employment opportunities. CDM also offer mental health and holistic support to a range of global majority communities who rely on their community support on a daily basis. From weekly meetings and workshops, to flexible drop ins, Numan and Taslima offer a safe space for people in the heart of the community. They offer a judgement free approach and work collaboratively with other organisations with a key focus on partnership. Affectionately known as the 'United Nations' because of the diverse group of people they bring together, CDM UK are very passionate about their community and bringing people together in Manchester via the medium of hand craft, stich and use of sustainable materials.


Taslima from CDM UK holds up a piece of fabric with a black and white print of Salford and Manchester
A crowd of people in the Social watching a film on stage


REEL Mcr are a community film organisation who have over 20 years of experience of working with working class residents across different communities in the North. REEL believe in sharing power and resources across Manchester’s most vulnerable communities. They produce high quality productions to tell stories about key issues affecting residents across Greater Manchester (GM) and to share stories of the people they work with and meet along the way. They have strong connections with local residents and various partners across sectors in GM. Jacqui and Terry are passionate about ensuring Northern stories are collected and told by local people, in their voices, after being used to seeing the North portrayed through a Southern Gaze. REEL are experts in community based drama, participant-led documentary films and 'living memory' social history recording and archiving.


Patricroft Community Group CIC

Patricroft Community Group CIC run The Castle Youth and Community Centre in Eccles. They support a range of activities supporting local families, young people and vulnerable people. PCIC host partners in the office space in the Castle to deliver community services and key support activities to local people from Eccles Youth Service to other youth-led organisations. They are very embedded in their community and work closely with their neighbours to support local people who are facing the ever growing challenges in the cost of living crisis, from food and fuel scarcity to access to child care and holistic support. They are looking to offer more opportunities for people in Patricroft and Eccles to experience arts and culture.

Run by five volunteer directors who have all moved to the area to truly embed themselves in the community, the Castle is in the heart of an area of Salford that is often forgotten or limited in terms of opportunity, the directors are such advocates for not only their work but for the wider area and that passion is contagious. As they border on Trafford, they also have strong connections across Trafford as well as Eccles and across the whole of Salford.


Three people smiling outside in front of a decorated wall
Two people smiling in front of a sign that reads 'Thrive MCR'

Thrive Manchester

Thrive are passionate about improving local residents mental and physical health in South Manchester. They have a home at Benchill Community Centre, but work in partnership with various organisations, including NHS stakeholders to deliver workshops and programmes of work across different venues in South Manchester. Thrive are very experienced in working collaboratively and are keen to utilise art as a vehicle for health and wellbeing.

Thrive deliver trauma informed workshops to empower more people to understand the potential impact trauma can have on people in the workplace and day to day life, and are experts at leading workshops and training through accessible and holistic practice. They also have programmes of work that centre around physical health from local walks to holistic workshops and facilitating access to green spaces and work out spaces that feel safe and accessible.

A thoughtful and creative organisation who are equitable in their approach and community building, with strong ties across communities and sectors, Thrive are a hidden gem in South Manchester.


Working together

What we're committed to:

-Supporting local communities at a time of need

-Building trust, sharing skills and open dialogue with community organisations

-Opening doors to share opportunities, to create work and be involved in Factory International, employment, training and more

-Increasing access to art and culture and provide opportunities for local people to participate, create and collaborate, with us, in engaging ways that are responsive to community need

-Raising awareness of Factory International and MIF, and ensuring community voice is heard and reflected in our programmes and commissions

Seven people smiling in a workshop
A lady flying a kite

What we're doing:

-Factory International will offer financial support of £10,000 paid via 4 instalments over 12 months

-Co-design a contract with the community organisations, tailored to their needs

-Offer capacity-building support agreed upon in the co-design process

-Genuinely listen to feedback and reflect this back in our programmes of work

-Ask for honest discourse around Factory International from communities and local people

-Work with communities in their spaces to increase opportunities and arts provision locally

-Actively seek ways that we can support communities in line with local needs

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