Launched in 1970, MYL’s work was originally centred on the development and management of adventure playgrounds, which were built by local community groups and families in response to a lack of inner city play and leisure facilities in areas such as Ardwick, Moss Side, Hulme, and Wythenshawe.
These community groups joined together as Manchester Adventure Playground Association (MAPA) and supported the development of adventure playgrounds in additional areas of Manchester (such as Cheetham Hill, Turkey Lane, Newall Green and Harpurhey) in the 1970s. Although the number of playgrounds reduced due to lack of funding in the 1980s and 1990s, Play and Youth work continues to be an integral element to the provision provided by Manchester Young Lives today and adventure playgrounds are at the heart of our 3 centres in Wythenshawe, Ardwick and Moss Side.
The 1990s saw the origins of what is now our Independent School provision, with the establishment of the “Schools Otherwise” project in Ardwick and the further development of educational provision at other centres.
Since 2000, the organisation has evolved significantly. Rebranded as Manchester Young Lives in 2003, the organisation has continued to thrive and has successfully developed a number of youth work, education and training programmes – particularly targeted at children and young people at risk of social exclusion.
Our education project, established in 1999, realised its full potential in 2010 with MYL registering as an Independent School. Following this, the organisation has continued to expand to meet the needs of young people in Manchester, exemplified by the establishment of both our Youth Engagement and Youth Work Apprenticeship programmes in 2015. Investing in young people is the organisation’s raison d’être, which is highlighted by the launch of our Employability Programme in 2017.
How we got started
First adventure playground
Local groups come together
Manchester Adventure Playground Association formed
Six playgrounds closed
Additional capital funding secured
School Otherwise project setup
Manchester Children's Fund & Lottery support
Renamed Manchester Young Lives
Relocated to The Addy
Advances in Play & Youth and School provisions
Youth Engagement Programme launched
Expansion of Youth Engagement work
Annual Awards Event launched
Introduction of Employability Programme
First overseas residential expedition
Mangagement of Moss Side Powerhouse
MYL celebrates 50 years