Happy New Year. Even in the strangest of times, we’re here to support your business.

Happy New Year to our Manchester network, though we wish that things were slightly more normal. As we work our way through another lockdown, we want to make sure that members are fully aware that the CityCo team is always here to help.

Throughout 2020 we continued working, supporting businesses and our stakeholders across the city centre to minimise the damage caused by the impact of the virus and to help ensure a safe and secure city centre. As always, we had the latest information and advice at our fingertips, and so worked with hundreds of businesses on issues from rough sleeping to grant applications, as they tried to navigate an ever-changing situation. We hope you found our communications, online briefings, security guidance and operational assistance helpful.

As we progress through the 2021 lockdown, we will continue to work with Manchester City Council, Greater Manchester Police, Transport for Greater Manchester, Marketing Manchester, Manchester Homelessness Partnership, and other bodies, to ensure business interests are represented in city response and planning, and relevant intelligence is shared.

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you need anything. Our virtual concierge service continues for members, and we’re still the best-placed organisation to find out whatever it is you need to know, and to help you plan for the future.

Vaughan Allen
CityCo Chief Exec

Delivering for CityCo members in 2020.

We continued to grow our membership throughout lockdown, supporting our position as Manchester city centre’s leading business network.


We ran 20+ online Zoom briefings covering the initial stages of the Covid crisis and lockdowns. Guidance covered security planning for closed premises, GMP/TfGM advice, 121s with Sir Richard Leese and Lucy Powell MP, short and long-term highways plans, retail reopening preparations, and discussions to help with navigating the complexities of the varying Tier restrictions and support grants available.

We worked one-to-one with huge numbers of businesses, holding their hands through the grant process and working on their behalf with our city partners to ensure funding was available.


We supported businesses and found operational solutions to street concerns such as closing premises, repair and maintenance issues, commercial waste removal and anti-social behaviour. We worked as part of the city’s Water Safety Partnership. And we continued to share CityCo’s urban resilience, emergency planning and counter-terrorism guidance.

We worked with businesses through each wave of re-opening, helping manage arriving customers and ensuring that the city centre looked its best. This included helping to design outdoor areas for the licensed trade and working to get them approved.


We supported members through CityCo’s Business Crime Unit by continuing to liaise with GMP, MCC Licensing and ASB teams to report business crime and operate the Manchester city centre’s StoreNet and NiteNet security radio networks.


We acted as a key board member of the city’s Homelessness Partnership, to support consistent work that aims to help Manchester’s most vulnerable, including rough sleepers. This included sharing homelessness support guidance, helping to fulfil charity-asks, promoting the BigChangeMCR alternative giving campaign and Christmas fundraising.


We shared a whole range of campaigns, and positive messages, as they arose. This included turning Manchester buildings blue in support of #LightItBlue for the NHS, Eat Out to Help Out, Marketing Manchester’s #FindYourSpace and Christmas campaigns on visitmanchester.com, Welcome Back city dressing and digital activity. We also promoted our own Business Improvement District Halloween event, with the return of the joyful #MCRMonsters to spread some much-needed cheer.


On your behalf, CityCo will continue to:

  • Act as a trusted source of Covid business guidance by sharing intelligence and the latest information from public authorities
  • Bring together public partners and stakeholder speakers to deliver online business briefings and consultations as needed
  • Bring together our members in sector and geographic networks to support each other and the re-opening of the city centre
  • Share financial support grants information and application processes as they get confirmed
  • Prepare for business re-opening, and work with the private sector to ensure a safe and welcoming return to work
  • Find solutions for businesses’ operational and security concerns
  • Ensure business voices are being heard in any key political lobbying
  • Provide intelligence on the continuing performance of the city centre
  • Promote the positives to help attract back customers, workers and visitors; working with corporate colleagues and Marketing Manchester on digital activity, campaigns, events and PR, as the city opens up
  • Stage and promote our own Manchester BID public events, including a spring/summer festival, Halloween, Christmas, and Chinese New Year
  • Share all via our website cityco.com, Twitter and LinkedIn. Please do follow for the latest updates.

And above all, answer your emails, calls, requests and queries as issues, problems and opportunities arise.

Supporting your business in the coming months.

We are on the end of the phone and/or online, and look forward to working with you again this year.

For general membership enquiries, email members@cityco.com

For operational/public realm support, email alex.king@cityco.com
07917 058 412

For queries related to the Business Improvement District, email phil.schulze@cityco.com
07764 977556

For Business Crime Unit support, email rob.dyson@cityco.com
07545 438 214

Useful Links

OPEN Retail in Manchester BID District

Gov.uk/National Lockdown ‘Stay at Home’ guidance




Local Restriction Support Grants (LRSG)

Additional Restriction Grants (ARG)

Second Round Arts Council Culture Grants