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.