“It’s beautiful to watch people develop.”

continued from “My welcome was like a big warm hug.”

The National Lottery is funding Forever Manchester’s work in the Ardwick ward and, when the pandemic took hold, suggested the project might be put on hold. By then Lisa had already made significant connections with the community and wanted to keep the momentum going.

“No one else was stopping serving their community,” she recalls, “indeed there was a greater sense of drive and purpose.”

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“My welcome was like a big warm hug.”

Lisa from Forever Manchester has been working in the Ardwick ward for over two years now. Her community building work will continue until December but, as this blog is drawing to a close, here’s a review of what she’s been up to.

We’re in the meeting room at Forever Manchester’s city centre offices and I start by asking Lisa what she was doing before working in Ardwick.

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My experience in the UK has taught me a lot.

Having been in the UK for only three years; what I have done feels massive. The first three months were so difficult because I had no relatives or friends. I felt lonely and uncertain. Things got worse for me because I was not eligible to join colleges or courses funded by the government. That made me feel excluded and marginalised.

I started looking for chances to improve myself. Meeting Lisa from Forever Manchester was a significant incident in my journey. Forever Manchester funded me and my friends to make the Syrian Cuisine Group which had a great impact on improving our cooking and socialising skills.

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A Brighter Future

Back in May last year I reported on a new community initiative that had just been set up by a group of local woman.

The Dynamic Engagement Project (DEP), I was told, was a way of sharing the group members’ knowledge and skills with others in the community. It sounded like a great idea with lots of potential.

Today I’m on a Zoom call with Mo and Alison, a couple of its founding members, to see if everything has gone to plan.

“Yes,” says Alison, “we’ve put on lots of activities since then and have really put ourselves out there. We’ve had a lot of fun and, I know, helped a lot of people.”

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