Charity Champion - John Alexander

Like many Castlefield co-owners, John Alexander is a proud charitable campaigner outside of his ‘day job’. In this piece, he explains a little about Forever Manchester, the charity closest to his heart, and his involvement as one of the charity’s ambassadors.




“This badge? This badge is my badge…

If you look at the logo, it is two hearts inside an infinity symbol. It represents philanthropy which is a very Dickensian word but which at its roots is a love for one another, a love for mankind, a love for Manc-kind!”

These are the words of Forever Manchester’s Chief Exec, Nick Massey who goes on to say “if you share a love for Manchester…if you were born here, if you were drawn here, if you live here, love here, make your living here or if you just came to party and never left? Then this badge should be your badge too!”


I first got involved with Forever Manchester (FM) about 5 years ago. Having lived in Manchester all my life (although having never yet been on a Manchester tram!), I met people from the charity at various networking events and gradually got to know the team and the charity’s purpose. I started to attend FM fundraising events and started to spread the word. I then became an Ambassador which is a voluntary role charged with opening-up opportunities for the team at Forever Manchester to meet new people, new businesses and hopefully unearth new opportunities.

After a couple of year of being an Ambassador I was invited to be one of five Vice Presidents of the charity and this also brings a mentoring element to the ambassadorial role to help younger ambassadors build their own networks and share the great work that Forever Manchester does.

But what do they do John? I’m still a bit confused.

Good question.

I actually think the charity shares a similar ethos to Castlefield as they too gather assets to do good (in their case donations from like-minded people and businesses). They seek out good people with good ideas who can act on initiatives and they raise money to support grass roots community activity across the ten boroughs of Greater Manchester.

If you live in Greater Manchester, they will have funded a community group within 1 mile of where you live, work and play. Groups who work with dementia sufferers, youth football teams and sports groups, cancer support groups, the elderly, or perhaps people who are lonely and need somewhere to go simply for a brew and a chat. In fact, too many things to mention.

Despite being involved with the charity for a few years it was only in March of this year when fellow Castlefield Co-owner Bill Thomson and I attended the FM Birthday Party bash (thanks John E/Castlefield for sponsoring two tables) that I finally ‘got it’. I met Bartlomej and Dianne from Stockport User Friendly Fellowship (STUFF) which is a micro charity providing support to those suffering with mental health related issues made worse by the pandemic. I asked them where they got their funding from to do their great work and to help people in need? They answered “Forever Manchester”. Eureka, I finally got a real, grass roots, sense of the massive, Mancunian difference that Forever Manchester makes.   

At its’ heart Forever Manchester believes everyone has the right to be happy – which is quite an altruistic nay hippy-ish view of life – but who can argue with the fact that we’re only here for a short time and as such we should all try and enjoy as much of life as we can?

Be kind to each other, be supportive, grow together, gather assets to do good - together, give people a hand-up not a handout, so much of what I love about Forever Manchester is also what I love about Castlefield.

Forever Manchester is charity the Mancunian Way!

…I just wish we could win in their bloomin’ Tombola!!!"

Forever Manchester was established in 1989 and is the only charity that raises money to fund and support community activity across Greater Manchester. To date, it has delivered over £57 million into local communities, benefiting 1.2 million people. To find out more about Forever Manchester please go to:


Written by John Alexander