A new community hub for Longsight

Sue and Phil are busy in the bright, sunny kitchen of 422’s café. I’m told it’s Phil’s first day and already this morning they’ve prepared homemade celery soup. “I like cooking,” he says with a big smile, “and helping out.”

422 is a new community hub on Stockport Road, in an historic building previously home to Longsight Youth Centre. Over the last eighteen months it’s been renovated by Manchester Vinyard to provide a whole range of opportunities for local residents.

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Serving the community with passion and joy

Its ten years since Ehinor Otaigbe-Amedu and other women set up Wonderfully Made Woman in her living room. Since then the group has worked hard to promote healthy marriages and confidence building, and to raise awareness of the effect that domestic abuse and violence has on women and their children in the community. Ehinor tells Hand & Heart how her inspiration to help other women started back in Nigeria:

When I was growing up, domestic abuse was experienced by many women, and in most cases their children would witness the abuse, unable to intervene. Domestic abuse was the norm really.

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Been there. Done it. Pass it on.

“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.

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A passion for fashion

Growing up near Maine Road football ground in the 70s Colin and his mates always tried to look different. Even then his sewing skills were in high demand. Len Grant spoke to the local fashion designer about his life long passion.

“My dad had a butcher’s shop near the ground and, as teenagers, me and my brother would work there, cleaning up after a day’s work,” says Colin Simmonds.

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What is Black Lives Matter?

When her 10-year old daughter asked what Black Lives Matter meant, Jade was stumped. “At first, I didn’t have any answers,” she says. “You don’t want to say anything that might make them dislike others, or feel victimised.”

As a children’s author and illustrator, Jade Calder’s solution was to write a book, with her daughter Dior as the central character. “Explaining a complex issue through a story was, for me, the best way of putting the message out there in a positive way,” she says.

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