To celebrate Christmas we held a community event for young people, comprising fun games and activities, a Christmas dinner, carol singing and the opportunity to discuss and reflect on the potential and gifts of young people, encouraging them to live out their gifts positively to shape their community and the world. The event allowed young people from across the neighbouring areas we work in (Grove Village, Coverdale and Brunswick) to familiarise themselves as young pople in the community linked through M13, creating positive relationships.
The M13 Staff also partnered with Grove Village to take a group of children from the community to Winter Funland, near the Trafford Centre. The children had a great time enjoying Christmas-themed games and activities, fairground rides and ice-skating.
During the Autumn, we met a group of lads during detached work in Coverdale who were keen to get involved in a social action project around homelessness. Through conversation, it became clear this would be a gradual process as they needed to learn to take action for themselves before having the confidence to do it for others. They were interested in learning how to keep fit and to eat healthily and this developed into them taking part in weekly circuit training sessions and learning how to cook healthy meals, with the help of a nutritionist. They also organised a bowling and Nandos trip. As their confidence has grown so has their participation in community activities - some now regularly attend M13's weekly basketball sessions, three spoke at M13’s AGM about what they've been doing and they participated in M13's community Christmas party, where they collected donations for the homeless. They continue to meet with M13 workers and are currently planning their social action project. The boys have said of the project; ‘I like coming here, it gets me out the house, otherwise there’s nothing to do’, ‘It reduces stress from school and exams’ (This project work was funded by Groundwork).
Over the summer we ran two, 6-week, Fun Science Clubs in Brunswick and Grove Village for children aged 6-11yrs. The children took part in lots of activities, themed around science, with fun games and experiments and enjoyed a day out at the Eureka! Science Museum in Halifax. Over 50 children attended the two clubs, which were funded by BBC Children in Need and Wellcome Trust.
Our annual Multi-sports sessions took place again throughout the school holidays with fun games and sports activities, such as stick cricket, dodge ball, parachute games, rounders. Twice weekly sessions were held at Gartside Gardens, Brunswick, Wonderland Park, Coverdale and the Winterford Blue Sports Cage in Grove Village. The amazing summer weather meant our sessions were more popular than ever with 140 local children participating!
In the Spring, we ran a 6-week dance project during which girls worked with a professional dance coach to learn the art of street dance. Not only did this give the girls an opportunity to gain body confidence and keep fit, it also gave them space to have conversations with M13 workers to help them manage and work through pressures at school and friendship troubles. At the end of the project one girl said ‘I learnt how to build my confidence while dancing.’
(This project was partly funded by the Diane Modahl Sports Foundation)
In February we remembered Hate Crime Awareness Week by running sessions in our four weekly drop-ins and then holding a Joint Event to celebrate the wonderful diversity of our fantastic young people across Ardwick. We were able to explore what hate crime is with young people, which led to some great conversations about young people’s experiences and reflections on how we can support each other and combat hateful actions.
At the event we identified the different types of hate crime and then used participatory role play to explore various scenarios and think through what we could do in each setting to help combat and report hate crime. We all took part in a collective ‘symbolic activity’: taking a photo of ourselves on our own or with friends, with a #westandtogether sign or in a pose, labelling it with a word of importance and then sticking these together onto a board we specially created for event. This is now displayed in Brunswick Parish Church Centre. In total, 45 young people took part in M13’s Hate Crime Awareness activities. These activities were supported with a grant from Manchester City Council.
M13 teamed up with Manchester Histories on a project called ‘Hidden Histories, Hidden Historians’ to produce an exhibition on M13’s history.
We worked with a group of young people to explore when M13 was founded, the values on which it is based and how our ethos drives the work we do. The group then explored past work produced by young people and M13: from large projects, trips, young person to worker transitions and detached work to the everyday laughs during drop in sessions. The group decided it wanted to use M13’s ethos as a theme to showcase the work done and how it fits in with M13’s values and beliefs.
Using pictures taken over 21 years of M13, the group decided which projects, activities and trips best fitted each word from our ethos love, think, create, reflect, enjoy, achieve, make a difference - producing slide shows of each and a short commentary.
As part of the project the group was invited as V.I.P members on a tour of Manchester Central Library which involved visiting the archives section and an opportunity to look at books dating back to the 15th and 16th century.
The exhibition is being shown at Archives+ at Manchester central library for 3 months between November 17 – January 18.
Five M13 girls took part in the "Because I'm a Girl" campaign with girl's rights' charity Plan International UK. It provided a platform for the girls to share their experience as girls living in the UK and shed light on the issues that they face. The girls explored social media, accessing sexual health education and the stigma around periods.
The Telegraph ran an article on the subject of being more open about periods featuring the interview with one of our girls, Jessica (17) http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/life/half-girls-embarrassed-talk-periods/
Jessica says, "It shouldn't make people feel awkward talking about something that everybody goes through and if people spoke about periods more, it could help a lot of people."
The interview with another of our girls, A'isha, appears on the Plan International UK website https://plan-uk.org/act-for-girls/girls-rights-in-the-uk/reclaiming-the-internet-for-girls
M13's boys boxing project saw us run 8 weeks of boxing training sessions, partnering with Team Greaves Amateur Boxing Club. The boys were put through their paces, learning boxing techniques and skills and doing boxing-specific circuit training. Workers supported the boys in "pushing their limits" and focusing on self-discipline to prepare nutritionally before sessions and in encouraging mental strength not to quit during workouts. At the end of the project, one of the boys said "My confidence has increased because of boxing and I am more confident in completing tasks that I begin".
Throughout the Summer holidays, M13 ran free, twice-weekly Sports and Games sessions in each of Brunswick, Grove Village and Coverdale, for local children aged between 6-12 years. These followed the success of the sessions held during the May half term holiday. Despite mixed weather during both holidays, the children (and workers!) all had lots of fun together.
Throughout the Summer, M13 also ran a weekly holiday club at St Luke's Church for children aged 6-11 years, providing free, fun activities including: cooking, arts and crafts, sports, puzzles, board games and sing-a-longs, culminating in a trip to Gulliver's World. Everyone who came along really enjoyed themselves and can't wait for next year!
Over four Fridays in February four M13 girls took part in Aerial Circus Skills training at 'The Circus House', Longsight. During the training, they learned how to use the trapeze, hoop apparatus and silk ropes. The girls showed real growth in their skills and confidence during the course and have been invited to join with other young people to continue their training with a view to participating in a performance.
M13 was 21 last year! Thanks to funding from the Seedbed Fund, John Grant Davies Trust and Big Lottery Celebrate Fund we were able to run a project, in conjunction with local young people, to capture some of the history of the Project and the difference it has made in the lives of past and present local young people. This culminated in a fantastic Community Celebration on Saturday 3 December with current and past Project participants, staff, friends, supporters and community members enjoying a host of fun activities, Caribbean food, an exhibition of photos and a video of current and past participant's thoughts about M13, all rounded off with a stunning firework display. Check out our MThirteen Youthproject facebook page to see what we got up to.
On 7th September 2016 some of our young people and workers were invited to be audience members for the filming, by The One Show, of a discussion by Akala, the social activist, rapper, poet and writer, on social-political issues that affect the world and to be part of a tribute performance to a very important (and at the time secret!) gospel artist who has a historical link to Manchester. This turned out to be the wonderful Sister Rosetta Tharpe, who, along with legends like Muddy Waters, played a memorable gig at 'Chortonville Station' in Manchester in 1964.
Over the summer, we planned 2 picnics with young people, which we held in Wonderland Park - involving lots of food, games and races. We had over 40 chidlren and adults attending these.
At the beginning of the summer holidays, Brunswick Girls' Group went on a residential trip to the fantastic Shining Cliff Wood. We stayed in the old Youth Hostel, a 10 minute trek into the Wood from the end of the track where we parked. We cooked for ourselves (apart from a meal out together at an Indian Restaurant on the first night), spent a day in the wood learning bushcraft; how to build fires and whilttle wood with our great forest guide, Ian Creswell. That evening we built our own campfire, toasted marhsmallows and sang. The following day, we headed off to the Hollowford Centre for a great day of activities: archery, challenge course and zip wire, and we stopped off on the way home for an obligatory ice cream! Great trip!
Our workers are supporting a number of young people, through Grove Vilage Drop-In, in their aim to achieve the Bronze Duke of Edinburgh Award. As part of this they will be volunteering at M13's Summer Clubs and have been undergoing youth work training in preparation. The Award also requires them to learn or make improvements in a skill, for which they have learned how to computer code, and to take up or improve in a physical activity.