When I first got involved with the Riot Clean Up in Manchester I never thought that it would take off the way it did. A joint facebook and twitter campaign with over 15,000 people signed up and showing their support, led to over 1000 people turning out on Wednesday morning to assist with the cleanup. Business donated food, drinks, brushes, gloves and staff. The world’s media decided to attend, as did Ed Miliband. The sheer generosity of people astounded me. The fact you all turned up on a typically wet summer’s morning to help ,driven by nothing more than a mutual love of Manchester and a sense of moral correctness, incredible.
I remember turning up at Piccadilly Gardens, brush in hand at 7:30 in the morning and thinking ‘I hope people show up’. I met with the police who pointed out that the council had done a fantastic job overnight, and they had. At shortly after 8, a lady joined me, she was concerned that she’d be the only one to turn up. I explained that I hoped that maybe 100 would turn up. Then more people showed up, then even more. By 9am there were hundreds of you. All with brushes, gloves, dustpans, bin bags, it was unbelievable. Then the staff from Manchester City Council turned up and MP’s, councillors and the media. I struggled to get my head round it. Less than 12 hours beforehand there had been windows smashed and shops looted and yet here you all were.
The day went smoothly, face painters and a unified sense of community made for an overwhelmingly happy experience. I’ve yet to hear anything negative about the day outside of ‘I wish there was more to do’. Hardly something we can be unhappy about!
I’d read various media reports throughout the riots regarding the background of those who had done so and the subsequent speculation as to their reasons. I don’t know why they did it, I don’t think anyone really does. What I do know though, is that you all came out. All ages, all religions, a variety of ethnic groups from a variety of economic backgrounds showing the true spirit of a multi-cultural Manchester.
Everyone who came out to support or posted a message or a tweet. Everyone who donated an item or time. Everyone who’s sent me a photo or a video clip, Manchester thanks you. You’ve all done yourselves proud.
The continued support of the cleanup is still going on, I’m still getting offers of help and assistance. There’ll be an announcement of a charity auction over the next few days to help some community groups. I feel like I’ve not slept for 5 days, powered by the feeling that our community is pulling together. I’d happily feel like this for the next 5 years if it meant that we could all continue to pull in the same direction.
Please send all photos, videos or if you’re a business with an item to donate to the auction please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you again, Manchester.
Jeremy Myers aka @RiotCleanUpManc
Practical and Legal Information
There are lots of useful links and contacts in-regards to insurance and legal information here: http://www.london.gov.uk/priorities/public-order-disturbances please direct anyone requesting this information to this website.
The continued drive to help Silva on clarence road has been incredible, please visit: http://www.helpsiva.com/ for all information.
They are hosting a Tea Party on Clarence road on Monday 15th August at 5pm. Please come down and show your support. If you are looking to help with this, please meet at St Johns Church E5 at 4:30pm.
Rebuilding Help and Support
The fantastic team over at Riot Rebuild are co-ordinating tradespeople and volunteers to help with the practical rebuilding of many of the shops and business’s. Please contact them if you are in these fields and are willing to help. http://www.riotrebuild.co.uk or @riot_rebuild. We will endeavor to post all requests for help, but for up to date information and to register your desire to volunteer, please contact them :)
Breaking news: The @rebuildreeves pledge fund has just hit it’s target! All the info is over at http://www.pledgebank.com/rebuildreeves – congratulations and thank you for your donations.
As of the weekend the Croydon shelter was also full and not excepting donations today, until they process what they have. Will keep you updated if anything changes :)
There are pages and pages of advice for croydon residents over at http://www.croydon.gov.uk/advice/emergencies/civil-unrest/advice-residents-help – this should be your first port of call if you are croydon based for further advice/help.
Clapham Junction/ Battersea
The Doddington Estate Community Gardens clean up started well on Saturday, spirits were high and a lot of the ground work has been started. This project is on going and volunteers are requested on Wednesday between 4-8pm and Saturday between 10am and 1pm. Please meet in the square behind the Tesco on Battersea Park Rd (SW11 4LU)
There will be a meeting at the Clapham Grand, this tuesday at 7pm for anyone who wants to be involved in helping with the St John’s Hill Festival.
Please visit http://www.facebook.com/RiotRemedy or @riotremedy – as they are the point people in your borough.
Thanks to your generosity the Tottenham Shelter has hit capacity on its donations drive. They will continue to update us with any information they have over the next coming days and will strive to keep you posted.
The Saturday clean up, by all accounts went well, thank you to all who turned up!
The campaign to Keep Aaron Cutting has hit £35000 worth of donations and is now closed. This has been an example of incredible generosity. We will keep you informed with all that happens henceforth.
If you live in Tottenham and are after up to the minute information and help, your best point of call is http://cleantottenham.tumblr.com/ they are doing a sterling job of co-ordinating with all people in the community and updating regularly from the blog.