In May 2019, Adam took part in a charity awareness campaign, #ForHappyDays, by wearing the Captain Manchester costume for an afternoon and doing good deeds.
In 2013, the Captain Manchester campaign was a viral sensation managed by Tunafish Media, reaching over 10 million people and making the press in over 40 countries. The campaign involved a man dressing as a self-styled ‘superhero’ taking to the streets of Manchester to spread love and good deeds throughout the city. The character was presented as a real person with his adventures documented on Twitter. A month later, the campaign was announced as a stunt for Forever Manchester which led to a spike in donations, volunteers and brand awareness.
Fast forward to 2019 and a new campaign sees 50 Manchester businesses take over the character for half a day each. Taking it in turns to head to the streets, they are completing good deeds and spreading love across the city.
The team at Adam got together to come up with a list of ways Captain Manchester could put a smile on the faces of Manchester residents and saw an opportunity to make a genuine difference to some of the areas’ most vulnerable children.
Blessed with a beautiful spring day, we travelled out of the city centre to a residential school for children with complex needs and, armed with plenty of water pistols, play doh and balloons, took Captain Manchester to relieve staff for a few hours and entertain the students.
Using Peter Baker’s unique skills, we turned Captain Manchester into a children’s entertainer – juggling whilst riding a unicycle and making balloon animals! We asked the team to describe the experience in their own words.
It was a pleasure to volunteer at Seashell Trust this week and explore sensory activities with the young people there. Many of them have complex and severe learning difficulties, so being able to spend time with both the children and staff was extremely rewarding, knowing we were making a real difference to their days.
It’s given me such a wider appreciation for the level of hard work that goes on behind the scenes at Seashell to ensure the well being of the students, and it’s so clear to see the children and young people are at the heart of everything they do.
Genuinely felt I made a difference to their day, and slightly overcome with emotion on a few occasions that I certainly didn’t expect. Teaching for 5 years and also teaching for 4 months in a special needs school, I didn’t think it would affect me as much as it did. I was slightly out of touch with the Uni-cycle and juggling having not done it for years, but I will be practising a little more as I will be returning to help out when I can with the Seashell Trust. Incredible place and amazing people who work there.
I genuinely had no idea what to expect and was floored by how rewarding and emotional I found the whole experience. Bringing joy to these children and teenagers with complex needs went far beyond just doing a good deed in my eyes. Getting to know some big personalities was amazing! But underneath all that was the incredible dedication of the teachers we met, who are with their students at all times during the school day … I was in awe of what they do for a living. It can be a tough job at times, but the highs obviously far outweigh that.
Seeing the ‘behind the scenes’ as it were, understanding how the residential element to the school works, and hearing the stories of the parents who travel half way across the country every day to take their children back home overnight, that was when I got a real appreciation for how much support is required. Now I know how we can make a difference, I’m so excited to return to the school and brighten the day of both the kids and the staff!
The biggest positive for me was realising how much a couple of hours of our personal time can make such a positive impact on the impact of everyone’s day, quite literally seeing the amount of smiles completely made my day. We are all totally inspired return and do more.
You can join in with Forever Manchester’s latest campaign by doing random acts of kindness for others and posting on twitter with the hashtag #ForHappyDays. To find out more about Forever Manchester, check out their website here.
With thanks to the Seashell Trust.