Manchester City Council

Guest blog

Hi – no, I am not a hacker – I’m Sara and I do Communications, ICT and Customer Services with my team here at the Council. Richard’s taking a few days off and he has asked me to do a guest blog. I hope he is having better weather than we are! However, the rain can’t dampen the Manchester spirit and this summer we have so much to celebrate.

Last weekend hundreds of street parties took place in the city and thousands of you got together with friends and neighbours to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee.

My events team are currently finalising the preparations for  Manchester day -

this Sunday, when the city centre plays host to more than 90 community groups, over 2,500 participants and, we hope, a record crowd of spectators (over 50,000 please!) to help us celebrate all that's great about Manchester and its people. It is an event that is made by Manchester for Manchester, so do come along and join us and watch the hours of craft and toil stream through the streets in colourful glory. If you've never been, you've missed a spectacular event; if you've been before, then no doubt you will be joining us again, but don't forget your camera as you never know - your photo might be the image we use next year in the marketing for this event. See this workshop video to get a sneak preview of the Parade being created and please blog and let me know if you enjoy the event.

The party doesn't stop this weekend - there's the Torch Relay in Manchester on 23 and 24 June, as well as the Olympic celebrations later in the summer (lots of luck to all those Mancunian competitors and those we have adopted because they trained in Manchester). The Stone Roses concert in Heaton Park is among the many musical highlights this summer, and then there are the Pride celebrations and local events and carnivals such as the Wythenshawe Games, Caribbean Carnival and the Mega Mela. Don't miss any events by signing up to our e-bulletins, which will keep you up to date with all that's going on across the city.

Moving from helping Manchester celebrate, to helping Manchester get digital, which is another area I work on.

Sadly, 25% of Manchester homes can't go online and read blogs, and we are working with the Government to resolve this by providing fibre in the ground and wireless networks that help us connect. As you are reading this blog, I don't need to preach to you about the importance of digital, but the explosion of digital media (including the importance of digital in our regeneration strategies and education and skills agenda) is a priority for us to help this city continue to grow and maintain its competitive position in the world. I am sure Richard will keep you posted on this as the strategy is ambitious, and in Richard's words 'this is a game-changer for Manchester'.

Here are some facts that keep me focused on why we need to improve Manchester's digital position - hopefully, some of these may stimulate some debate or blogs...

Why is digital important to Manchester?

The internet contributed more than £120billion to the overall UK economy in 2010 - more than 8% of GDP.

Only 14% of SMEs sell products and services online and approximately half a million SMEs feel the lack of digital skills is slowing the growth of their business. (Lloyds Banking Group/BDRC, April 2012)

Small businesses that go online grow twice as fast as their competitors. (McKinsey, 2011)

You are £365 per year better off if you shop and transact online - so if around 80% of the 67,778 people in Manchester who are currently offline go online, the total annual benefit would be £19.8million.

Thanks for reading and sorry for going on a little too long, but I am in communications! Hope it was a useful guest blog - normal service will resume next week!


There are 3 responses to “Guest blog”

  1. J Says:

    In my opinion when it comes to communicating, less is more. However, picking up the point about being £365 better off for shopping online....I thought we are trying to encourage people to save our high streets along with walking more etc? Digital is undoubtedly important but as always there must be a balance to strike.

  2. Camille Says:

    Hi Sara,

    Could the council set up Twitter accounts for the different parts of Manchester?

    It would be quite useful to get more local updates about events and funding etc.

    You could have a south Manchester feed or Wythenshawe or wherever. I'm not sure how difficult that would be to do, but imho it would be useful!

  3. Sara Says:

    J@ Agree there is a balance and local businesses need to get online too as the world is our high street.

    Camile@ Thanks for this and yes absolutely there is a plan to do more local twitter feeds and we are currently developing the 'my area' pages of the web to provide more info about what's on your door step.



The blog of the leader of Manchester City Council, Councillor Richard Leese.

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