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A LOVE LETTER: to and from Manchester


To And From Manchester

Whilst we  all cooled down on a hot 2023 and prepared for a bit of time off over Christmas, I took a moment to reflect on a remarkable year.

Manchester is going through a cultural rebirth right now. And since the last time I said this, the city has made a few more marks in history. A real renaissance and a year to remember.

Manchester has stepped onto the international stage more than once in 2023.

The city is absolutely buzzing and throughout the year Manchester has further galvanised its position as a cultural and creative world-class city which can proudly take its place on the global stage alongside New York, Paris, Rome, Milan…  

The CHANEL event for example – I mean the fact that they chose Manchester to host and invested in our city – won’t just put the international spotlight on us but will boost the city’s economy for years to come. It feels a bit emotional at this point because this is just one example of how the city is capturing attention and accolades from around the world. It came in the same week that English National Opera announced plans to relocate to our city and in the wake of Hamilton – the spectacular, most talked about smash hit theatre production in the world – landing in Manchester among many other great shows this year

This was all in the wake of the opening of the new ‘world-leading venue’, Aviva Studios, the official new home of Factory International with Danny Boyle’s Free Your Mind and You, Me and the Balloons

Earlier this year we saw ‘blockbusting’ queues at the reopening of Manchester Museum.  

Manchester knocked it out of the park as a sporting city too, hosting matches in the World Cup of tennis, the Davis Cup and other international events such as cycling’s Tour of Britain, netball and Taekwondo. We are now also the home of the only two football teams in the country to win the treble, and it’s been announced we will host games in Euro 2028. 

It’s no wonder international publications such as Time OutLonely Planet and National Geographic named Manchester among their top places to visit in 2023.   

And this year promises to be just as exciting.

For starters, we have the opening of another top class venue in Co-op Live poised to ‘put Manchester back as a global entertainment powerhouse’, the city making its way to become the European Capital of Cycling, Manchester’s historic Midland Hotel will host the Michelin ceremony announcing their stars for 2024 and the reopening of the jewel in the city’s crown, the Manchester Town Hall (oh wait, that’s been delayed – but you get the picture).  

We finally launched the inaugural I Love MCR Awards show and ceremony to champion community heroes from across Greater Manchester in a live event. Officially the biggest Manchester awards ceremony the city has ever seen, the project was a great success. The operation was smooth, it went viral on social media, and people are still talking about it now weeks later. It really brought the brand values to life and we can’t wait to do it again in 2024!

These are not just sources of Mancunian pride and bragging rights, these accolades reflect the public image and reputation of the city, support jobs and help attract further investment.

Taking over from Sir Richard Leese this year, the new Leader of Manchester City CouncilBev Craig, sent us this message: 

“As a city we know how to have fun but we won’t get distracted by the glitz. We know that there’s still a lot to do to ensure the benefits of the city’s growth are more inclusive and that’s what our economic strategy and other plans are all focused on: Making sure everyone in the city can share in its success. “But as 2023 drew to an end, our city is brimming with the pride and can-do attitude for which we are renowned.”

Enjoying a fair slice of the city’s success, I Love Manchester has had one of its best years ever. 

Our purpose driven city brand was conceived in desperation – as an independent and incorruptible new ambassador to divert people’s attention to a new positive understanding of the city during dark times in 2011 – and we’ve been relied upon to respond to adversity more than once.

But while I Love MCR positively reacts to and promotes city wide events, the multi-platform is also a meaningful source of joy that champions community spirit and makes a difference to the lives and prospects of people. 

This year, like every year, we’ve looked back on our purpose driven brand’s origin story to double check that the company’s current status has stayed true to its original mission and we’ve stood by our core brand values.

We continue to document life and projects across Greater Manchester and we reach an average of more than 6 million people every month (and growing) with placeshuman stories, and a colourful events calendar filled with what’s on in Manchester. What’s more, as a symbol of civic pride wherever you are in the world, we also continue to post charitable merchandise all over the world via our shop.

Here’s to an even better 2024!

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