Now-Forever Heritage CIC, a social enterprise joined CVS Cheshire East 12 months ago and its founder Stephen Evans has just been nominated for 2 awards.  The first is the inaugural Manchester People’s Culture Award, the second the Be Proud Manchester Award for Culture and Heritage.

How did you get nominated?

My nominations were a complete surprise, totally out of the blue! We’re a small non-profit, founded April 2017 but it’s achieved a lot in that time, including managing a local WW1 heritage project, organising guided walks, running creative writing and wellbeing courses, art courses, a community cinema and podcasting local history. 

We run most of the activities in Wythenshawe, South Manchester. They’re a means of bringing diverse groups and individuals together, people who wouldn’t normally mix and building strong bonds in the community through these collaborative activities.  They generate social capital, encouraging more diversity and inclusion, and challenging stereotypes.

How did you feel to be recognised for that work?

I feel honoured and proud to be nominated but I’m more delighted for our directors and volunteers because it recognises their hard work in making Now Forever Heritage successful.

Will you be attending the ceremonies in November?

Yes!  I’ll be going.  The first is at the Etihad stadium and the People’s Award is at the Midland Hotel.  There are some seriously big hitters nominated, especially the People’s Award so to be nominated from 300 groups and people is amazing.  I have no expectation of winning but I’m enjoying the experience.  However, if you would like to vote for me for the People’s Award, please visit the Manchester Evening News website where you’ll find the online voting form – it takes a second to vote.

Did joining CVS Cheshire East help the social enterprise and your work in Cheshire and South Manchester?

Absolutely, without any doubt.  It’s no coincidence that our success has paralleled our joining 12-months-ago.  Being a new CIC [Community Interest Company] we’ve received support and valuable information.  We’ve attended lots of courses run or organised by CVS Cheshire East and gained advice on bidding, project management, the changes to the data handling law – I even trained on an emergency first aid course which was great although I hope I never have to use it!  The monthly bulletins are great with updates on funding opportunities.

There is a volunteer coordinator network I regularly attend and special mention to Mark Smith who has helped me develop in my role – always approachable and patient when I ask him a thousand questions!  For any organisation its great to know there is a team of friendly, experienced experts to offer guidance. 



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