In 2020 the Stockport based charity the Together Trust is celebrating 150 years of supporting children, adults and families in the North West of England. With services across the region, the Trust accepts referrals not only from the North West but from all over the UK. 

The charity, which was first established in Manchester in 1870, supports more than 2,700 children, adults and families each year, providing a fostering service, short breaks and community services, residential homes, schools, special education services and family support.

Mark Lee, Chief Executive at the Together Trust, said:

“We’ve come a long way since 1870 when Leonard Shaw and Richard Taylor founded a ‘Night Refuge for Homeless boys’ on Quay Street in Manchester.

“As demand and needs have changed, we’ve adapted and evolved to meet the needs of families as well as public sector expectations on providers today.

“Our team of nearly 900 colleagues, at dozens of sites, work flat out to champion the rights, needs and ambitions of the people we support. The help, support and generosity of our corporate partners and donors is a vital factor in the ongoing provision of our services. We’re incredibly thankful to all our existing partners and we welcome interest from potential partners and supporters who wish to help us continue our work.

“The work of our founders continues to inspire our modern-day values – our commitment to the people we support never falters because they are at the heart of everything we do.

“We’re immensely proud of the fact that we’ve been doing this for a century and a half.”

Street children in Victorian Manchester

Activities are set to take place throughout the year to celebrate the Together Trust’s birthday. Julie Isted Director of External Affairs and Governance said: “The anniversary is a very important milestone for us and we’re really excited about the year ahead.

“In fact, we began our anniversary activities back in November when 14 specially selected local artists, funded by the Arts Council, began running bespoke workshops in our schools, colleges and out in our local communities, creating work using mediums such as music, movement and dance, painting, clay, photography and other forms of craft.

“Some of that work will be on display, alongside materials telling the story of the Together Trust, at an exhibition that will be running between 2 February and 24 May at the Lowry. We will then hold an exhibition of archives at Central Library in Manchester between 7 September and 18 December.

“Also in 2020 we’ll be unveiling a blue plaque on Sunlight House in Manchester to mark the site of our original building, and a book telling the story of the Together Trust titled ‘The Ever Open Door’ is being published.

“We are grateful to the National Lottery who has agreed to fund the exploration and celebration of our project ‘The Ever Open Door – 150 years of Together Trust’. Their grant will enable the project to be led by young people from across our services. They will help open up our history to the local community and beyond.”

“In addition to all of this we’ll also be marking our 150 anniversary in lots of innovative and creative ways in our schools and in the many events we run throughout the year, such as the Together Trust Music Festival, our memory collecting events, our Join Together Festival and our Christmas carol concert.

“We’ve made sure that we’re placing the people we support at the heart of all of the anniversary celebrations and everyone at the Trust is really looking forward to 2020, which looks like it’s going to be an exciting and memorable year!”

To find out more about the Together Trust and to learn more about its history and the events planned to mark the 150 anniversary go to www.togethertrust.org.uk.