December/January 2019

First Friday Connectworking

Spread over either side of City Centre Manchester, October and November saw First Friday Connectworking take place at two brand new venues.

The October event was hosted by Grand Pacific situated on Spring Gardens, who welcomed everyone with Gin on arrival then food. For November we moved to All Star Lanes in the Great Northern building – taking over their private party room know as Jungle Room, complete with private bowling lanes. They laid on some amazing food and hospitality. This event was also made more special as Steve Frehley and Mike Robinson – owners of Jeffrey’s Tonic – set up their pop-up bar and gave away free Gin and Organic Tonic syrup especially for the event. You can see more at

Over recent years Forever Manchester Charity, which is 29 years old, have promoted regular monthly business networking  – First Friday – taking place between 4-6pm on the First Friday of every month. This was always a great way to end the week. Based in iconic venues across the City Centre, the event was always a laid-back approach to networking.

L-R Paul Mirage, Matthew Lewis

This was aimed at businesses and supporters that were strong on the idea of community, and very proud to wear their own CSR credentials, happy and confident to meet up with like-minded people in business. This always struck a chord with GM Business Connect, who as a magazine not just covered the events editorially, but fully supported business engagement. Connecting businesses was and still is our prime concern.

L-R Paul Mirage, Dan Shidlow

As a charity Forever Manchester are constantly looking for new methods of getting their important message out to the business community, and when First Fridays took a back seat to the many fantastic activities that the charity have been championing, GM Business Connect wasted no time in suggesting we take over the event – this time with the added support of our extensive business network.

L-R Steve Frehley and Mike Robinson from Jeffrey’s Tonics
Kyle Blythe

There have had to be a few changes. We now charge £15 entry. This goes to providing the very best in hospitality for those attending, as well as the purchase of a Forever Manchester tombola ticket on entry which features some great prizes including overseas holiday breaks. The next Tombola draw in December even features a 4 day trip to New York for two as a main prize.

Our ethos is still the same – to attract businesses people to network on a regular basis in Manchester City Centre. There are no long speeches or talks. The event is two hours of pure business networking, with a short break for a business card draw and a few words about Forever Manchester.

We are very clear that the emphasis is on networking, and making great connections to help you, also raising the profile of Forever Manchester as Greater Manchester’s premier vehicle for a very Mancunian approach to CSR. So, October and November’s events followed the winning Connectworking formula – Free Gin and Tonic, food and plenty of chat. Up for grabs in the business card prize draws were bottles of quality wine, Drinks, Bowling and a Burger at All Star Lanes (won at both events), a presentation box of Jeffrey’s Tonic, and a free session for two people at Zero Gravity’s Float Spa in Altrincham