“It’s about passing on our experience and what we’ve learnt to others in the community,” Mo tells me.
“I think it’s a brilliant idea,” I say. “But how did it all start?”
I’m in a Zoom meeting with the founding members of a new women’s group that call themselves the Dynamic Engagement Project. Even the title is exciting. One by one the women unmute themselves to tell me about their plans.
“It’s an offshoot of our regular women’s group that runs on Monday mornings,” says Mo who’s the Community Resource Manager at Brunswick Church. “A number of women from there have come together to start this new project.”
“We realised that, together, we have a lot of skills and knowledge that can benefit others,” explains Alison, “and that we, as members of our own community, are well-placed to pass that on to others in the community.”
“So it’s a kind of bottom-up approach?” I suggest. “Can you give me an example of what you’ll be doing.”
Jade unmutes herself. “I’ll be doing a session on making education fun,” she says, “teaching parents how they can support their children’s education through creative activities. So the kids learn while they’re enjoying themselves.”
I already know Jade. She’s appeared on these pages before. She’s written and illustrated a number of children’s books which are brilliant.
“Wow. I think that will be very popular,” I say. “I can imagine children who might be struggling with mainstream school for whatever reason would find that really useful. Not to mention their parents.”
Ijay tells me that each of the ‘courses’ will run over six Saturdays in community venues, starting in September at Brunswick Church. “We’ll start in our own community but are keen to offer them further afield as we get established.”
During our call I realise this intergenerational group of women – all mums – have busy lives. Some are working, others studying, some have demanding toddlers to look after. And yet, as a group, they are offering what spare time they have to others.
“It’s only what we might do for our own families,” says Jas. “It’s stuff that we know and are doing already, but we’re keen to pass on.”
I hear there will be sessions on encouraging young people to be more savvy with money; on caring for the environment and on personal health and wellbeing. “I’m a registered nurse,” says Tia, “and I’ve also set up a small community business making creams from scratch. I’m happy to share that knowledge with others.”
Funders Forever Manchester and Buzz Manchester Health and Wellbeing Service have already recognised the potential for this grass roots approach and are supporting the group to get established.
“We’ve all grown up in the inner city,” says Mo, “so we understand how our communities work. The Dynamic Engagement Project is about keeping it real because…”
“…. because you’ve all been there and done it.” I suggest.
“It’s great. I don’t know why it doesn’t happen more.”
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