To discuss holding your wedding or any event at The Monastery, contact Kate or Fran to arrange a personal welcome tour.

Call 0161 223 3211 or email Kate or Fran now.

We would love you to visit us at The Monastery! You’ll be sure of a warm welcome, and we know you’ll enjoy the time you spend with us.

For more information, click here.

Keep up to date with the amazing array of events we hold all year around.

**The Monastery is open 10am-4pm, Sun-Thu each week, with free entry, parking, café, gift shop & healing garden. All welcome!**

Music Matters | BBC Radio 3 interviews Manchester Camerata & Elaine Griffiths

BBC Radio 3’s Music Matters have broadcasted a beautiful feature all about Manchester Camerata’s move to The Monastery and how they are making a difference to our local community of Gorton.

Tom Service speaks to local Councillor Julie ReidHideOut youth zone’s CEO Adam Farricker, and Elaine Griffiths, OBE, chief executive of The Monastery about the positive change we are making to the community.

He also interviews Camerata musicians Ryan Breen, Kate Pearson and Dave Tollington about Manchester Camerata’s free weekly Music Café for people living with dementia and their life-changing Music in Mind work.

Tom also speaks to the orchestra’s CEO, Bob Riley, about our plan for the future as well as our Classical Futures Digital Communicator, Reeco Liburd, about how we are inspiring the next generation of local people.

“The power of the collective spirit.” – Bob Riley, CEO

Listen back to the BBC Radio 3 interview here.

*Read the original article here on Manchester Camerata’s website.

NEW Self-Help Group for Mothers | Mama Tribe

Launching at 12.30 on Monday 22 November is a NEW service for mothers and their early years children. It’s a FREE service for the Manchester community.

Run by Annabel Newfield, the group will offer a supportive, nurturing, and empowering community for women.

Who is the group for?

This group is for mothers who live in Manchester and their early years children (4 years and under).

Raising children and coming into motherhood during lockdowns has been isolating for many. Mothers learn so much from each other – find a community of other mothers here. Lockdown mamas, more than ever, need to feel connected with other mums.

Mama Tribe at the Snactuary of Peace & Healing Manchester

What help can I expect?

The sessions will include Developmental Movement PlayBaby Boogie. This supports children’s physical, emotional and social development. And it’s fun. A massive boost for mental health!

After the play part of the session, is time for the mothers. Annabel will share useful parenting support, self-care, and nurture skills – that will help you.

Be seen and heard – with your struggles, joys, and questions about motherhood. This is a safe and confidential space.

Self-care and nurture skills – including mindfulness, breathing and meditation, dance, stretching, and relaxation. These skills are for you, but they also work for your children.

Connect with your body and find acceptance and love for it – it’s been through many changes.

More about Annabel

Annabel is an experienced teacher of developmental movement play and somatic bodywork. She works with a large variety of women’s groups. She has supported women in prison, runs local support groups, teaches on retreats, and has a one-to-one therapy practice. Her focus is to help women achieve positive body image, mindfulness, and self-care.

Annabel is all too aware of the challenges facing mothers, especially those with fragmented communities and families. As a single mother, she’s been through her own burnout journey. In her words, she ‘scraped herself off the floor and learnt how to ask for support and resource herself as a woman and mother’. Her lived experience fuels her passion to support mothers – especially now when many mums are navigating the isolation of parenting through lockdowns.

Mama Tribe at the Sanctuary of Peace & Healing Manchester

How do I join the group?

Be Well Manchester will refer mums to this self-help group. If you live in Manchester and think these sessions are what you need, either contact Annabel directly at or contact Beylai at Be Well Manchester. Come and meet Beylai in the Sanctuary on Monday between 12 and 3pm or email her at

The sessions will start at 12.30 (and finish at 2pm) on Monday 22 November. Then they will run on Monday 22 November, 29 November, 13 December, 20 December.

Please share this information with anyone you think it might help.

Related services @ The Sanctuary

The Sanctuary also offers a domestic violence support group for women on Tuesdays from 12.15 to 2pm. You can find out more here.

We also offer free counselling via our listening service from Sunday to Thursday each week. You can find out more here.

Where can I find more information about the Sanctuary of Peace and Healing?

You can check out their website right here.

Admission is free and so is parking.

Manchester History & Heritage: A Remembrance Story of Friendship and Ice Cream

The Story of Charles Sellars and Emmanuel Sivori

Author | Graham North  Editor | Dr. Caroline Paige

A young recruit

With the onset of the First World War, in July 1914, twenty-two-year-old Charles Sellars enlisted in the Royal Flying Corps. He had a wife, Sarah, and a thirteen-month-old daughter called Phyllis, who was to become my mother. They lived in a small back-to-back terraced house (3 Ajax Street) off Oldham Road in Miles Platting to the east of Manchester.

Charles was a printer by trade. He had a printing shop on Bradford Road near the colliery, which he ran with his brother Joseph and their cousin James Packer. Trade was falling in the run up to the war. The Royal Flying Corps offered a regular income – and it was only going to take a few months to defeat the Germans and he would be back home and life would resume as normal. Sarah pregnant, but Charles expected to be home before the baby was due.

As we know, the war didn’t go quite as planned and the soldiers had to prepare for a long haul. Charles went off to fight, but before long he was injured and brought back to England to recuperate. When Charles recovered, he was deemed as not fit enough to resume service in the Royal Flying Corps. He returned to France, but this time as an infantryman in the Army.

Manchester history Manchester
Charles Sellars stands on the right proudly wearing his Royal Flying Corps uniform

A Little Italy in Manchester

Between Miles Platting, where the Sellars family lived, and the city centre is an area called Ancoats. Due to the large number of Italian immigrants in this area it was known locally as Little Italy and it was home to many ice cream makers.

These were family-run businesses, with their own shops and ice cream carts. They sold penny licks – a little glass filled with ice cream from which a customer would lick out the ice cream and hand back the glass to the vendor, who would then wash the glass and refill it for the next customer.

Emmanuel Sivori started his family ice cream business in 1910, shortly after he came to England.

Charles and his wife had moved to 222 Oldham Road, a few doors away from the ice cream shop, and they became friends with the Sivori family. The Sivori family were patrons of the Monastery and made donations towards the upkeep of the church and supplied flowers for the May Queen celebrations.

Manchester history at Manchester Monastery

A lasting friendship

When Charles Sellars returned to active duty in France, the war had reached stalemate. He joined the troops in the trenches. For a second time he was injured and it was more serious this time, as he had been caught in a mustard gas attack.

When they brought Charles home, he was in very poor health and unable to go back to his printing business. He did manage to find work as a porter at Miles Platting Railway Station, which lasted for a few years. But his health gradually deteriorated until he was no longer able to work. His wife, Sarah, found part-time work cleaning carriages at the station, even though they now had four young daughters to look after.

Over time, Charles became bedridden and in constant pain. To help ease his pain Emmanuel Sivori’s son, Albert, visited every day after their ice cream shop closed, with bags of ice to lay upon Charles’s chest. He brought the ice every day until Charles died – leaving Sarah with four young girls and pregnant with another child.

Charles’s eldest daughter, Phyllis, had to leave school when she was 13 to earn some extra money for the household. Unfortunately, within two years, she became seriously ill with St Vitus Dance (Sydenham’s chorea) and had to spend eighteen months in the isolation ward at Monsal Hospital.

Manchester history at Manchester Monastery
Charles Sellars with his wife, Sarah, and their daughter, Phyllis.

A story preserved

Charles’s last surviving daughter, my Aunty Anne, told me this story when my wife and I visited her in 2003, not long before her death.

In October 2006, my good friend, the Monastery historian Tony Hurley, told me that a Mr Sivori and his daughter were visiting us. They were bringing a crucifix that had belonged to the Monastery. I told them this story, and he said it would have been his father that helped my grandfather all those years ago. I was extremely pleased to meet one of the sons of the man who was my grandfather’s friend and had done so much to ease his suffering in his final days.

I am sure I would not have had the pleasure of meeting Mr Sivori had it not been for our connection with Gorton Monastery.

Lest we forget

NEW @ The Sanctuary | Women’s Support Group: Freedom Programme

Domestic violence is a tragic fact of life and one that is often painful to acknowledge or seek help for when it happens. We’re very honoured to offer a space at the Monastery to a well-established support programme that offers help & support to victims and survivors.

Starting at 12.15pm on Tuesday, 16th November (term-time only) our new support session, which is free of charge, will be based in our newly launched Sanctuary.

What is the service & who is it for?

The Freedom Programme is a domestic violence programme which was created by Pat Craven and primarily designed for women, since research shows that although domestic abuse can strike in any relationship, the majority of cases of serious domestic abuse tend to be perpetrated against females.

Although this specific support group is for women, we offer help and assistance to the whole community with a range of issues via our listening service. If you are male or gender fluid and need help, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Find out how by clicking here.

How will the programme help me?

The Freedom Programme examines the roles played by attitudes and beliefs on the actions of abusive individuals and the responses of victims and survivors. The aim is to help survivors make sense of and understand what has happened to them. The Freedom Programme also describes in detail how children are affected by being exposed to this kind of abuse and very importantly how their lives are improved when the abuse is removed.

How long does the programme last?

The programme usually lasts for 11 or 12 weeks and is FREE. Each session lasts 90 minutes. This is a rolling program and women are able to join at any point in the 12 weeks with 2 exceptions. Please get in touch with the facilitator for more information. 

Who is facilitating the Freedom Programme?

Sanam Iqbal will be facilitating the freedom program under her non profit community organisation, The Art Of Joy Project. Sanam founded her organisation to support those affected by domestic abuse after surviving abuse herself. Sanam completed the freedom program – as a service user – almost 10 years ago. She vowed that one day she would go on to become a facilitator of the program and offer the invaluable support she had received to others. After many years of training, now is that time. In short, anyone participating in the Freedom Programme can be sure that Sanam will hear and understand what you’re going through, every step of the way.

It’s said that empathy itself is a powerful medicine. We at the Monastery wholeheartedly support Sanam’s passion and dedication to help others, along with the life experience she brings to her sessions. 

What happens after I’ve completed the programme?

You won’t be alone. The aim of this support group is to create a community of survivors, ready to help, support and empathise with one another. Surviving in isolation is possible. But thriving, not just surviving, with a community of people who understand your situation, is possible with the right support. In Sanam’s own words:

“If I can end domestic abuse in my life, anyone can with the right support and information.’

The message to domestic abuse survivors is clear. Please don’t suffer alone. Don’t suffer in silence. We’re here for you, please reach out.

If you know someone who is living with domestic abuse, please share this information.

If you need urgent help, The National Domestic Violence 24 hour helpline number is 0808 2000 247

Related Services @ The Sanctuary

Don’t forget that The Sanctuary at Manchester Monastery also offers a daily silent meditation, Sunday-Thursday, from 12-1pm, which you can find out more about by clicking here.

We offer free counselling via our listening service from Sunday-Thursday each week which you can find out more about by clicking here.

We offer an advice and support drop-in service from 12-3pm each Monday with Be Well. You can find out more about it by clicking here.

Admission is free and so is parking. We’re here for you so please don’t be shy. We’re a friendly, helpful bunch and warmly invite you to become a part of our growing, mutually supportive community.