Our History

Our rich past is reflected in our structures, programmes and the delivery of our services today, and will continue to inform the work we do in the years to come.

  • 1969: Manchester’s first adventure playground is set up in Moss Side by local families working with a Manchester youth work agency, the Youth Development Trust. The playground was built in the middle of the old Victorian streets, a few hundred yards from where our redeveloped adventure playground now stands.
  • 1970-72: As a response to a lack of inner city play and leisure facilities, other local groups in Hulme , Longsight and Wythenshawe come together to build the original adventure playgrounds. Improvised from wood and tyres, their unique and personal charm is still retained in their redeveloped form. Manchester City Council fund the the groups to employ playworkers.
  • 1973-75: These community groups from different areas join together as Manchester Adventure Playground Association (MAPA), a charity aiming to support the development of adventure play in Manchester. Local Groups across Manchester develop more adventure playgrounds in Cheetham Hill, Turkey Lane, Newall Green and Harpurhey.
  • 1982: Six adventure playgrounds close but four remain open – Moss Side, North Hulme, Wythenhsawe & Longsight.
  • 1984-1989: Additional capital funding secured to rebuild old playgrounds and develop purpose built centres. Over the next decade the new centres enable the development of a wide range of services including pre school and youth club facilities.
  • 1999: Working with local council agencies School Otherwise project is set up at the Longsight centre to provide education and support to local secondary school non-attenders. This leads to further development of educational provision at other centres.
  • 2002 onwards: Support from Manchester Children’s Fund and BIG Lottery enables MAPA to develop wider play provision in North Manchester including the Parktastic project offering outreach play provision in parks and open spaces across Manchester.
  • 2003: Reflecting the development of MAP’s remit and its extended reach to young people in the city, the organisation is renamed Manchester Young Lives (MYL).
  • 2005: With major support from Manchester City Council, Willow Park Housing Trust, Sport England and The National Lottery, the Benchill Addy relocates to Woodhouse Lane. A purpose built play, sport and education centre, the The Addy Young People’s Centre reflects the growing focus on youth provision within the organisation.
  • 2010: Support from the national Playbuilder funding enables the rebuilding of Longsight (A6) adventure playground and the extension of play services at other playgrounds.The education project realises its full potential, and Manchester Young Lives registers as an Independent School.
  • 2014: As MYL enters its fifth decade, its influence within communities in Manchester has never been stronger. With a renewed commitment to development and expansion, the organisation looks to build on its rich tradition of supporting those communities in need, and in the face of issues such as youth unemployment, poverty and crime, improve as many young lives as possible.