Home / Project / Manchester Athena

Supporting brighter futures across Greater Manchester by improving skills, employment, health, and wellbeing

Formed as a separate company in 2013 by 16 GMHP members, the Manchester Athena partnership is GMHP’s ‘delivery arm’ for skills, training and employment-related initiatives across Greater Manchester.

Through shared values of collaboration, integrity and innovation, Athena members work together to tackle poverty and inequality and make a positive difference to people’s lives, creating opportunities in partnership with our communities throughout the city region.

Athena co-ordinates services and support to residents across GMHP members though several projects and commissioned programmes:

  • Motiv8 supports people aged 25+ get their lives back on track, helping them tackle issues such ill-health, addiction, domestic violence, debt, or homelessness. that Motiv8 is funded by The National Lottery Community Fund and the European Social Fund
  • Skills for Employment works with unemployed adults, to developing personalised training and support plans to help people improve skills and find sustainable employment. Athena provides accredited learning, work preparation and work experience opportunities across Greater Manchester.
  • Kickstart creates new job placements for 16-24-year-olds on Universal Credit who are at risk of long-term unemployment, helping them overcome the challenges and barriers that they face to fulfil their full potential.
  • Skills Support for Growth equips people aged 15-24 with the confidence, skills, and tools to ensure they have the best chance at finding and maintaining employment. The project is funded by the European Social Fund and the Education and Skills Funding Agency.
  • Smarterbuys offers tenants a route to purchase essential goods and furniture through affordable weekly plans, utilising a local investment model to support responsible and affordable borrowing.

Manchester Athena in numbers.


people have accessed the Smarterbuys facility


people gained a qualification via the Skills Support programme


ESF and Big Lottery funding secured to set up Motiv8


people supported through the Motiv8 programme since 2017

The Skills for Employment programme helped me work on myself more than anything else, building my confidence up and giving me a sense of purpose. Previously I was very anxious and finding it hard to find a job, but the fact I was given a chance to work for ForHousing was like putting my foot in the door to a brighter future.