Exclusive: Rashford feeds Wythenshawe kids with a donation to the local takeaway

And the rest of our Monday briefing

Good morning - welcome to this week’s Mill briefing.

Our weekend story was Mollie Simpson’s great report into how students secured a £4 million rent rebate from the University of Manchester. If you missed it, you can read it here.

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News briefing

Rashford | Sir Alex Ferguson swung in behind Marcus Rashford’s food poverty campaign this weekend, pledging to The Times that he (and his friend Sir Michael Moritz) will match up to £2 million on donations to FairShare. That’s the charity the United striker has been supporting in his very public campaign for children on free school meals. But not everything Rashford has done has been in the public eye.

The Mill has been told that Rashford recently made a private donation to Rockies, a takeaway chicken and burger joint right opposite the house where he grew up, so they could feed local kids for free. Two weeks ago, word spread among school children on the Northern Moor estate that they could come and pick up a meal from Rockies in the afternoon, and crowds of them did just that - lining up at 3 pm day after day. It’s characteristic of Rashford that despite using his social media to highlight the generosity of hundreds of local cafes and restaurants across the country who have donated food, he has made no mention of his own donation in Wythenshawe.

Rashford poses outside his old house in Wythenshawe for GQ magazine.


Tier 3 | The national lockdown ends on Wednesday and Greater Manchester goes into Tier 3 local restrictions again, albeit stricter ones than we had in October. These are the three most important rules, as per the government website, which has all the other details too (including the continued closure of museums, galleries, theatres and concert halls):

You must not meet socially indoors or in most outdoor places with anybody you do not live with, or who is not in your support bubble, this includes in any private garden or at most outdoor venues

You must not socialise in a group of more than 6 in some other outdoor public spaces, including parks, beaches, countryside accessible to the public, a public garden, grounds of a heritage site or castle, or a sports facility – this is called the ‘rule of 6’

Hospitality settings, such as bars (including shisha venues), pubs, cafes and restaurants are closed – they are permitted to continue sales by takeaway, click-and-collect, drive-through or delivery services.

Covid data | Nine of Greater Manchester’s ten boroughs still have Covid case rates above the national average (all except Trafford, and Stockport is very close). GM’s overall rate of new cases per 100,000 residents is just under 220, whereas the national average is around 170 - with both heading down. The most recent hospital data we have is a week old now, but it shows reductions in all the key numbers, including 139 Covid patients in critical beds (down 13%) and 1036 in non-critical beds (down 12%). Covid deaths in GM hospitals are now below 25 per day (in the week ending Thursday), the lowest they have been since later October. How long will we be in Tier 3? There’s a review of which areas should be in each tier in mid-December.

Chief of staff | Boris Johnson has appointed Mancunian Dan Rosenfield as his new chief of staff. Rosenfield is a United fan, attended Manchester Grammar School from 1988 to 1995 and currently works for Hakluyt, a strategic advisory firm, having made his name as a Treasury advisor. "He’s definitely not part of the old chumocracy,” one associate told The FT. “Dan began his Jewish journey at north Manchester’s Sha’are Shalom Reform synagogue,” a profile in the Jewish Telegraph last year wrote. “He described it as his ‘second home’, attending sleepovers and sessions organised by RSY-Netzer youth movement. His Judaism was ‘pretty central’ to his life.”

Homelessness | Andy Burnham announced £300,000 new funding for his A Bed Every Night initiative to combat homelessness on Friday. The mayor released numbers showing that the number of people sleeping rough in GM has fallen for three years since 2017 (see the chart below). The Mill asked Burnham about the suggestion in a recent BBC documentary series that homeless people are being forced out of the redeveloping core of Manchester and Salford. "I think the programme Manctopia had a bit of an agenda to portray things in a certain way,” he said. “Actually we've been opening many more places in and around the city centre."

Worth a read: This long-form piece about Friedrich Engels has some great details about his life of “epicurean hedonism” in Manchester. “Among other things, he particularly enjoyed fox hunting, poetry, cricket, and long evenings spent at the bar of his exclusive Manchester club,” it says.

Worth a look: Mill reader and part-time photographer Nathan Whittaker posts some great shots around Manchester on his Instagram and Twitter accounts - both as @manc_wanderer. Last week he captured a BBC crew filming on Tib Street for a show set in 1960s London.

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Things to do this week

Music | One of the jewels in Manchester’s cultural crown comes out of deep storage this week when the Hallé starts its nine concert Winter season, which is being broadcast online. Thursday’s opener starts with a celebratory Fanfare for the Hallé specially composed for the occasion by Huw Watkins and continues with Wagner’s Die Meistersinger: Suite and Symphony No.1 by Brahms. You can either pay for one concert or the whole season.

Charity | Four local charities will pitch for your support at Manchester Soup tonight, as the event goes online. There is a suggested minimum entry contribution of £5 and the charity with the most votes at the end gets the funding pot (although obviously, you can independently donate to the others). Get your ticket here.

Exhibit | “A Grand Life, Heard” is a fascinating new project recording the life stories of a selection of older residents from Salford and Manchester, which is supposed to open at Media City’s Box on the Docks this week. The exhibit is produced by Heard Storytelling, which runs popular events where people stand up and tell stories about their lives. Keep an eye on Heard’s Twitter account to see when the exhibit is allowed to open. If it isn’t, they will make the stories available online.

One of the interviewees in “A Grand Life, Heard”.

Radio | Clubbing might not be back yet, but Manchester radio legend David Dunne (Triple Dee) has continued his weekly show through the pandemic. This Friday at 10 pm he has Greg Wilson as a guest, on a show which airs on Gaydio and is syndicated to 30 other stations around the world.


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