2022 Our Year has been introduced to create a legacy for children and young people living in Manchester and to help bring UNICEF’s Child Friendly City recognition for the city.


Young Mancunians are set to benefit from new experiences, opportunities, events, and support through 2022, to help them reclaim their futures after well over a year spent in lockdown or in restricted measures due to COVID-19.


Danny Middleton, Service Development Officer for Libraries, Galleries and Culture at Manchester City Council, explains what they are doing to support 2022 Our Year. “As a service, Libraries are working with Stories of Care, a Manchester organisation set up by comedian Sophie Willan (writer of BBC’s Alma’s Not Normal) to support care-experienced young people. This year they are publishing two books, their new Anthology and a book by their Lead Artist Oliver Sykes called ‘Alfie’s First Fight’.


“As part of 2022 Our Year, we’re going to be buying 1,000 copies of the Anthology and 1,000 of ‘Alfie’s First Fight’ to gift to targeted charities, sports venues, community groups, and schools. The books will be published April/May this year, and Libraries will be having a book launch at Central Library in May.


“It’s really important that children and young people who are care-experienced or come from low-income or non-traditional family units see positive role models in books they can identify with. That is why the work that Stories of Care is doing is so vital. We are excited to be working with them to get their brilliant new books into the hands of children across Manchester.


“Oliver Sykes also has a one-person stage play of his book, and he will be giving ten performances of this in Manchester libraries across the city in June and July.”


Ruth Denton, a Youth Play Participation Manager, said: “A key theme of 2022 Our Year is around health and wellbeing. We know that reading can significantly reduce feelings of stress and anxiety, so it really is fantastic that we are able to partner with Libraries and provide books for young people.”