Earlier this week I put together an article about a little hidden bridal gem I found over at The Message Enterprise Centre, and promised a follow up piece about The MEC in a little more detail.
I visited the centre – based in South Manchester- during a mid week day, mainly after falling in love with it’s initiative and message. Also, because I’m a bride-to-be, I’m enjoying sharing alternative and more under-the-radar wedding venues and bridal related ‘findings’ to others out there.
So, let’s take a further look at this place:
What exactly is The Message Enterprise Centre?
After over 15 years of working in prisons across the North West, The MEC recognised the need to address re-offending – which was robbing so many people of their potential. This is what prompted The MEC to ‘be born’ – a centre to give opportunities to those who wanted to rebuild their life and gain valuable skills within working trades.
The MEC provides ex-offenders -or those at risk of offending- with full-time employment, accredited training, secure housing, and the Christian support they need as they look to turn their lives around. After getting on board with this helpful initiative, the model has proven itself to work time and time again, and is transforming lives across the nation and beyond.
My first stop had been at The Wedding Angels, the beautiful bridal boutique selling donated wedding dresses from designers and stores around the area and beyond. As I mentioned in my review of this shop, these aren’t second hand, worn dresses. These are dresses which have once retailed around £7k (not all of them, as there is a huuuuuge range) and have been given to The Wedding Angels from store owners.
The Mess Cafe
My second stop was to enjoy a spot of lunch at The Mess Cafe. It’s a bright, cheery cafe with an extensive menu of all your fave breakfast, brunch and lunch classics, and a coffee menu to satisfy the die-hard coffee connoisseurs. It’s a fabulous space for freelancers, catching up with friends, weekend brunches or even a nice friendly space for Mothers to out for lunch and bring babies with them.
The Mess Cafe are proud to support local businesses who share their vision for home-made, fresh, organic produce, and partner with many Cheshire and North Manchester micro-roasters, bakers and mills for their coffee, food and interiors.
I genuinley love how they are a registered charity with a vision to help vulnerable people rebuild their lives through socially responsible business. They have teams working across a number of prisons and young offender institutions across the North West of England, along with holding strong partnerships with local homelessness and rehabilitation charities.
It’s due to these relationships and iniativies that allows them to be able to train, house and mentor vulnerable people who are passionate about making a fresh start.
With that in mind, every purchase you make in The Mess Café helps them to reduce re-offending in our city. Now that’s something I like to know while I’m sipping my black coffee!
Plus, in 2018 they were named as the UK’s Best Not-For-Profit to Work For by the Sunday Times.
As you can see from the above photos, the food is beautifully presented, with immaculate layout. Defintiley instagram-worthy food if you ask me! I opted for the smashed avocado with poached eggs on Sourdough with a side of a beetroot puree. Absolutely delicious!
Prices are reasonable, the menu holds soooooo much choice, there’s cakes and freshly baked treats, and an all round laid back, happy vibe.
Adjacent to The Mess Cafe is Shine, the on site hair salon which also takes on ex-offenders, training them up to work on their hairdressing skills.
Because of this, you’ll find a professional and expert ran salon, offering hair colouring and cut services at a fraction of the usual price.
The MEC For Weddings and Events
OK, so I thought I’d save the best until last. If you’re looking to get more out of your wedding budget, then it’s worth checking out The MEC as a potential wedding venue…
Partnered with The Wedding Angels charity, The MEC help to create memorable weddings, working in partnership with wedding industry professionals. The MEC help to organise and create weddings without the hefty price tag rhat most places have. Stick ;wedding’ infront of anything and you’re potentially paying double the price.
With over ten years experience in the wedding industry, both The Wedding Angels and Message Events can create a luxury experience, without over overboard. Just look at some of the images below (some show ‘before’ and others ‘after’ the event has been dressed for a wedding) – you’ll see it captures that magical and spacious vibe that most Brides want from their venue.
It made more sense to take the below information from their website to show you exactly that the event space can do when hosting a wedding:
With a capacity of up to 200, the event space offers:
- Professional and friendly service
- Sophisticated and customisable décor
- Experienced events staff and wedding planners on hand to help
- Dedicated events manager
- A range of events and wedding packages available
- Catering services available as part of bookings
- Professional PA system and lighting
- A Licensed Bar
- Chiavari wedding chairs and tables included within price
You can check out the weddings aspect of the venue in more detail here, including the option to request a 2020 wedding price list.
A huge thank you to Ellie, the Events and Marketing Manager, for taking me round and showing me the amazing cafe, The Wedding Angels shop, the salon and the event space itself. It’s great to be made aware of these places which have a fabulous message.
More people need to be aware of the initiative behind The MEC, and how with each little step, they prevent re-offending in our city of Manchester.