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Manchester's young performers use talents to celebrate city

PASSION, ENERGY AND TALENT: Manchester’s young dancers entertained the audience, as well as musicians and gymnasts

A COLLABORATION WITH JD Sports enabled the youth of Manchester to showcase their talent at an exclusive event bringing together music, sports and art with headline VIPs.

The recent event concluded a citywide search by Young Manchester for talented young people, which launched in April.

Partnering with JD Sports, the group aimed to celebrate youth in the city and create an opportunity for people aged 16 to 19 to showcase their individual talents.

Stephen White, group marketing director for JD Sports, said: “Manchester is special to us; it’s where the JD story began so it was important for us to give something back.

“It was great to see talented young people come together in one place and enjoy the experience of being involved with such a unique event.”

Young Manchester is a charity established to support youth and play services throughout the city. Its mandate is to make Manchester a world-class city for children – where they can be happy, safe, realise their full potential and prosper from the city’s economic growth.

The charity is also celebrating its first anniversary.

Director Justin Watson said: “The event was a great experience, and one we are really proud to have created in partnership with a world-famous youth brand like JD. We are delighted to have had the opportunity to give young people in the city the chance to showcase their talents in front of their peers, and to have celebrated the passion, energy and talent of this wonderful city.”

CELEBRATION: Samuel Akinwale (project assistant at Young Manchester), Sarah Burns (young acrobat), Justin Watson (director at Young Manchester) and Luthfur Rahman (executive member for school, culture and leisure at Manchester City Council)

The talent search was open to all 16- to 19-year-olds and those with a disability up to the age of 25 who wanted to give back to their community – from singers, dancers and artists, to entrepreneurs, gardeners and sports talents.

All applicants were invited to attend the event, with a selected few chosen by the Young Manchester team to perform on the night, including a mix of dancers, singers, rappers, musicians, gymnasts and spoken word poets.

Local pastoral manager Kemoy Walker, who co-hosted on the night, said the event was a huge success, made even more poignant because his group of dancers, KYSO (Keem Youth Shout Out), performed.

“It was an amazing night celebrating the talent across the city of Manchester,” he said.

Young Manchester has commissioned more than 50 organisations to deliver youth and play work in Manchester.

As part of the legacy of the JD Sports and Young Manchester collaboration, the charity will be piloting a talent fund small grants programme, which will allow the entrants of the talent search to apply for funding to further their passions.

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