Co-op Foundation awards first Co-op Live seats to young person

27 October 2023

Binish Syed Qureshi sat on the first seats installed at Co-op Live. She's wearing a high-vis jacket and a hard hat that say Co-op Live on them.

The first seats have been installed at Co-op Live – the UK’s largest and most socially responsible live entertainment venue – marking a key milestone in the development for the arena ahead of its opening in April 2024. 

Co-op Live will be donating at least £1m to the Co-op Foundation to help us deliver on our new youth-led strategy to support future change makers. 

To celebrate the first seat installation, Co-op announced an initiative that perfectly captures the commitment between Co-op and the arena to support young people, by awarding these members of the community with exclusive access to seats for gigs throughout the year. 

As part of this initiative, Co-op will gift a pair of tickets for every show to us at the Co-op Foundation. We’ll award these tickets to young people driving social change through community programmes throughout Manchester and the UK. 

The first recipient of the tickets was Binish Syed Qureshi from Manchester. Binish was selected for her work with RECLAIM’s #OurSpace project, which supports working-class young people to create accessible public spaces in their local areas. The project is funded by Co-op Foundation’s #iwill Fund.  

The announcement forms part of the ‘Gigs that Give Back’ programme – which emphasises both Co-op Live and Co-op’s commitment to making a positive impact in the community, especially for young people.   

Binesh Syed Qureshi said:

“Through my work, I feel great that I am in a position to amplify the voices of those people in our community who don’t have one, particularly working-class young people, and create accessible spaces for everyone to enjoy.  I am thrilled that my commitment to driving social change has been recognised by Co-op and Co-op Foundation with tickets to a show next year.  I plan on making the most of this opportunity and taking my best friend to see Jonas Brothers!” 

Nick Crofts, CEO, Co-op Foundation said:

“Young people helped shape our vision for fairer future communities and this ticket initiative, plus the annual donation from Co-op Live, will help us bring that vision to life. Gigs at Co-op Live really are going to give back.” 

Amanda Jennings, Director of Marketing Communications, Co-op, said:

“This is an exciting moment to pause and celebrate a historic milestone in the development of Co-op Live and finally see the ‘Gigs that Give Back’ initiative brought to life with the seat gifting to young people in the community.   

“Co-op is working closely with the venue to create an experience with community at its core and we’re thrilled to be able to grant this special access to beneficiaries of the Co-op Foundation and our local community fund.” 

Gary Roden, Executive Director and General Manager, Co-op Live, added:

“Today embodies everything that this arena is about – fans, community and music. Going to gigs is such a special experience, and we are delighted to support Co-op with this initiative to make sure that as many young people as possible from the community get the opportunity to experience Co-op Live. 

“Seeing the first seats installed is an incredibly exciting milestone in the venue’s construction, and signals that we are getting closer to being able to welcome fans and artists to our amazing arena. Co-op Live is for everyone, and our partnership with Co-op is going to help us make that a reality.” 

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