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About us

Our story

Back in early-nineties Manchester, people living in the inner-city communities of Hulme and Moss Side were fed up waiting for public services to support them, and started to develop their own solutions – needle exchange, family support, play schemes and self-help groups.

This is where we started. We recognised that people often faced a variety of difficulties, but they also had strengths and things to give. They were people, not problems. By working together to set up services, Big Life benefited from their strengths and the insight of their life experience.

At the time, services for poor people had the longest waiting lists, the worst quality buildings and the least care. We decided Big Life would be different; we would give people first class support, tailored to what they really wanted.

It wasn’t easy, and many of the people we worked with had already been turned away from traditional services because they were too difficult, or had tried to change and not succeeded. But we believe that everyone has the capacity to change and we resolved to never give up, and keep offering opportunities for people to change their lives.

Over time, we grew, working in more communities, in more towns and cities, offering more services, but still with the same mission to change the world and turn it upside down. We’ve not stopped growing, and have never been afraid to tread new ground and respond to new and bigger challenges.

We know we can’t do everything, and over the years we have benefitted from being able to work in partnership with other great organisations, including public services, private businesses and voluntary and community groups.

This is our story. It’s how we work. It’s The Big Life Way.

Our services

The services we offer, and the events, activities and courses we run, change regularly. To browse our services and see what’s on, search our service directory. To see evaluations of many of the services we’ve delivered in the past, visit our document library.

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Coronavirus update

In light of the current situation, we are making changes to the way we deliver services at the moment. One-to-one appointments that would normally be delivered face-to-face will now take place over the phone or through video call. There is no need to call us to confirm – your regular point of contact will call you at the time your appointment was scheduled.

We are also no longer holding groups inside. We’re currently arranging alternatives where possible through considering walking or virtual groups. Please contact your group facilitator, or the centre where the group runs from, for more information.

If you’re worried, think you may have symptoms of Coronavirus or want further information, see the latest advice from Public Health England.

Finally, if you’re struggling through self-isolation, please don’t feel alone. There are local community groups being created all over the country, which you can find here. Alternatively, you can call our community centres in your local area, which you can find here.