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ConnectIn Events was honoured to showcase our event management talents at the inaugural I Love Manchester awards in November 2023. Planning a community awards show on such a vast scale gave us the chance to deliver a night to remember for the city we’re proud to call home. Our brief covered everything from venue-finding to spectacular entertainment, with Mancunians at the heart of the celebrations.

It was a chance to get the creative juices flowing and put on the kind of show that would stay with guests long after the music faded out. Here’s how we did it. 

What Are the I Love Manchester Awards?

One of the things Mancunians are known for is our resilience. A proud Northern hotbed that has played a major part in shaping the modern world, setbacks are met with humour, creativity, and innovation. This restless, can-do spirit was the spark that started the 10+ year journey towards the inaugural I Love Manchester Awards.     

When rioting disrupted the city back in 2011, ‘I Love MCR’ became the response. Starting on social media, the movement intended to display a true sense of civic pride, champion the local community, and kickstart a more inclusive future for its residents. Over a decade later, the now-global brand continues to boost the region’s profile, generate funds, and work towards fairer lives for everyone who lives here.

The natural next step for everyone at I Love MCR was a civic awards show. The plan was to stage the biggest community awards the city had ever seen, with proceeds going to the I Love MCR Foundation. All the organisers needed was an events company with the skill, contacts, creativity, and coordination to pull it off.

Always up for a challenge, the team at ConnectIn Events was honoured to be selected for this massive occasion. We couldn’t wait to get started!

Immerse yourself in the magic and relive the moments

ConnectIn’s Brief For the Ultimate Civic Awards Show

Our brief was to come up with a community awards show with a difference. Playing it safe just wasn’t an option! We wanted everything from the venue to the menu to be completely fresh, innovative, exciting and true to the mancunian motto, “We do things differently here”.

The plan was for a civic awards show on a grand scale. We’re pleased to report that the show was completely sold out — a great achievement for an inaugural occasion. Finding the right venue is always massively important for an event, but the scale of the I Love Manchester Awards meant that this one really needed to be special. The venue we ultimately chose was DieCast, a restored Victorian factory with a whopping 250,000 sq ft of space to play with.

The plans were so ambitious that we got to seriously stretch our creative muscles and get involved with every aspect of the event. We delivered management of production and sponsors, creative theme building, talent and entertainment sourcing, script writing, AV and lighting, menu designs and creation, and lots more. 

From the micro to the macro, we handled every element. Our services included:

  • Venue Finding: Finding the right location was all-important.
  • Venue Liaison: Attending site visits pre-event and liaising with the venue team to ensure that everything worked without a hitch.
  • Nomination Management: Management of all award nominations
  • Website Consultation: Giving advice and guidance about the ‘I Love Manchester Awards’ website.
  • Vote Management: Managing the judging and voting process. This involved collating around 100,000 votes.
  • Key Speaker Sourcing: Finding and liaising with judges, hosts, and sponsors.
  • VIP Sourcing: Sourcing red carpet, VIP, and other high profile guests.
  • Budget Management: Taking care of event budgeting and planning.
  • Delegate Management: Managing guest names, dietary requirements, seating arrangements, etc.
  • Marketing: Promotion of the event and lead generation.
  • Menu Creation: Developing and brandinging menus.
  • Peripherals: Producing table plans, certificates, award trophies, award brochures, table numbers, and all print materials.
  • Venue Design: This involved using our event design skills to transform the huge empty warehouse space into something remarkable.
  • On-the Day Tasks: These ranged from delegate management to event support.
  • Content Creation: From photography and videography, to post-event content creation, we covered all bases.
  • Follow Up: Post-event communication with winners and guests.
  • AV/Production Support: From the incredible stage and set design to lighting and audio, there was a full range of AV wizardry on show.

The I Love Manchester Awards was the culmination of everything we do well, on a huge canvas. And, while we took immense pride in our achievements, the most satisfying part was seeing how much guests enjoyed the occasion.

The Result? An “Absolutely Spectacular” Civic Awards Show!

When it comes to planning live events, mastering the little details tends to yield big results. Plus, we think that anyone who’s prepared to brave our famous rain deserves a proper reward at the end of it. With that in mind, we delivered a true celebration of music, fun, food, drinks, and most importantly, the people of our fine city.  

Here’s just a sample of what guests at this unique community awards show experienced:

The Entertainment

Starting as we meant to go on, the RNCM Orchestra played a host of Manchester classics to welcome guests into the room. They also popped up with stunning performances and award stings throughout the night. We’re pleased to report that there wasn’t a pre-record in sight!

When everybody had taken their seats, they sat back and enjoyed the opening mirror ball act. After the awards, there was an afterparty with surprise creative dancers on a vertical platform floating stage. Minds were blown!

The Food and Drink

The drinks reception took place in LENO Bar, one of the trendiest ‘neighbourhoods’ in DieCast. LENO also happens to offer the biggest selection of frozen daiquiris in all of Manchester. Is there a better way to welcome the pride of the city than red and white branded daiquiris, complete with I Love MCR straws? We don’t think so!

For food, every palette and dietary requirement was taken care of with a three course sharing-style feasting menu. Let’s just say, this was not the standard chicken and veg you might find elsewhere. 

The Awards and Prizes

The evening began with a welcome from celebrity hosts, Gemma Atkinson and Will Mellor. Gemma and Will weren’t the only famous faces, we were also treated to the company of Yasmine Dar, Lord Mayor of the City of Manchester, and Andy Burnham, Manchester’s Mayor and ‘King of the North’. 

The evening’s centrepiece civic awards show began with a speech from I Love Manchester Awards’ CEO, Chris Greenhalgh. This was followed by a raffle and auction that raised over £8,000 for the I Love MCR Foundation.

There were also surprise prizes (surprizes?!) for the five people in the room whose dessert had red ice cream instead of white.

Most importantly, 21 awards were handed out to richly-deserving communities, individuals, and businesses from the city. It was a stunning experience but, you know, we would say that, being a bit biased! Maybe feedback would be best coming from the guests?

The Feedback

The team at ConnectIn Events were honoured to be able to showcase the skills that have made us the leading events management company in Manchester. Equally satisfying was the hugely positive response to the results of our hard work. Here’s what a few of our guests had to say:

“I wanted to give my heartfelt gratitude for an absolutely spectacular evening. The event was simply fantastic! The music was extraordinary, the food delicious, and the speech was inspiring. Thank you for such an incredible experience.”  Yasmine Dar, Lord Mayor of the City of Manchester

“Must be the best awards event I’ve been to – and I’ve been to a few. Congratulations for putting smiles on so many faces.” Chris Marsh, MD at Agents Of.

“Unreal. The whole experience was unique. It was BIG with a LOT of people but felt small in a way. Intimate and the whole thing was very well organised. Thank you so much. Congratulations.” Nelson Beaumont Laurencia, Beaumont Organic.

We had such an amazing night! The event was fantastic, so well organised and the atmosphere was brilliant. We are still on cloud nine. This year has been rather awful for us — but last night changed everything. When hearing the speech I couldn’t agree more. Manchester is a very special place. So thank you again!” Julie Payton, attendee.

Choose ConnectIn Events For Your Next Occasion

Planning a live event is a complex and lengthy process that requires organisation, teamwork, talent, and creativity. The bigger the experience, the more moving parts. The more moving parts, the greater the stakes. For something as unique as the I Love Manchester Awards, ConnectIn Events needed every ounce of our experience to make it such a resounding success.

One of the leading event planners in the UK, we’ve helped our clients to deliver everything from conferences and product launches to corporate events and team parties. We’ve worked with groups both big and small from all manner of different sectors. Our versatility makes us the go-to name for anyone who wants to get the most out of their budget and wow their guests.

Our friendly team offers an end-to-end service that can take care of every detail. If you need event production, event design, entertainment, or anything else, we can help. We even offer a free venue-finding service to help locate the perfect place for your plans.

To find out more, get in touch with a member of the team today.