Our follow up session at the Manchester Foyer took place a couple weeks ago, this time around Beauty & Skin care was on the agenda.
My colleague Satisha facilitated the workshop as this is an area she specializes in with a wealth of experience behind her. Once the girls got acquainted with one another and the introductions had finished they were ready to soak up the content on offer at this interactive workshop.
First the group were taught the basics about skin and how to develop a simple healthy skin care regime. It turned out some of the girls already had some sort of routine in place and for others this was new territory. It wasn’t long before everyone in the group was joyfully examining their reflections in the mirrors provided and identifying their skin types.
Satisha went on to discuss the principles of skin nutrition which happens to be the master key to maintaining healthy skin. The group was given an overview of a variety of skincare products in the market along with recommendations on how to treat your skin throughout the seasonal changes, which they appreciated.
Of course the session couldn’t come to a close without touching on easy natural D.I.Y solution tips the girls could implement into their personal regime that were cost effective. Overall the girls who took time out to attend the workshop really enjoyed the session and expressed an interest in coming to upcoming workshops we have in store.
Now I’m no expert in this area but Id like to make a proclamation; make sure you drink plenty of water and make sure you get enough sleep. I couldn’t resist throwing in my two pence.
Last week I had the pleasure of running a fitness circuit session at the Manchester Foyer. For those that aren’t familiar with the Manchester Foyer allow me to expand. It is a supported accommodation service for young people aged between 16-25 in need of housing who are actively engaged in education. Residents have access to in house key workers which assist them along their journey to independence. They achieve this through working on their personal development and social emotional well being. Majority of the young people living at the Foyer have faced or are currently facing challenges whether that be with family, relationships, self confidence etc.
So it made sense that we reach out to the Foyer and offer our services. After liaising and building a good working relationship with a member of staff there, we arranged an informal session with a few of the residents. The idea was to discuss what issues they think are most relevant to themselves and their peers in a informal relaxed environment accompanied with appetizing hot pizza’s that went down a treat.
Fitness / Self defense was one of the issues brought up by both male and female members of the group. They expressed how they would enjoy having the chance to learn how to defend themselves whilst simultaneously improving their health and fitness levels. I myself just happen to be a qualified fitness coach so it was a no brainier to supply the demand demonstrated. We arranged a suitable day and time for a pilot fitness circuit session to run within the Foyer which already has an area with some appropriate equipment.
The session was based around High Intensity Interval Training. You exercise at a station for a designated amount of time, have a short rest period and then move on to the next station until you have completed all stations. The stations varied from shuttle runs, kettle bells swings, boxing pad work, burpees etc. This type of training is excellent for raising the heart rate, burning fat, boosting metabolism, strengthening the anaerobic and aerobic systems whilst offering a mixed variety of various exercises.
Those that engaged in the session enjoyed the challenge and a few residents also came down to briefly observe what was happening as word of mouth spread throughout the living quarters. Using fitness as a tool to engage young people can be extremely beneficial as exercising is known to release endorphin’s within the body which are chemical hormones that give you a good feeling. It can help to reduce stress and its fair to say making the transition from your teens to early twenties can be a immensely stressful phase of life at times. Engaging in regular exercise provides a opportunity to socialize with other therefore combating isolation and improving interpersonal skills. Exercise can also improve your self esteem as over time physical changes to your body become more visible.
Overall the fitness session was a success and we plan making it a regular thing at the Foyer. Myself and colleague also plan to facilitate a number of different sessions over the up upcoming months there and elsewhere. They will focus on a wide range of social and personal matters young people would like to see change which fall under are project ‘You Can Be The Change’. For more info regarding my fitness training sessions check out the Champion In Action Fitness page on Facebook and Instagram.
“Health Is Wealth”
For some time now myself and colleges have frequently discussed that there needs to be a change in the community. A change that will allow local youth to develop into the highest versions of themselves. There is so much potential, gifts and talents within our youth that just needs to be guided out.
A lot of youth end up being misunderstood and frustrated which leads to being labeled and stigmatized. This along with distorted attitudes, lack of opportunities, limited youth services, being excluded from the education system and trying to survive in low social economical environments can all contribute towards pushing them down the path of antisocial behaviour.
With the current media attention on the knife situation in London that has tragically claimed so many young lives and injured or traumatized numerous others the question has to be asked. What change needs to be implemented to challenge the mentality that is fueling youth violence?
Obviously this change won’t happen overnight but rather through a long term strategical process. GIFT desires to contribute to early intervention that could possibly save lives through promoting personal development that will inspire a new generation of young leaders that will rise up from among the local community. A holistic approach is needed to cultivate these young leaders and we believe it needs to driven by the voice of the youth. Their voice is crucial in order for us to collectively advance towards solutions. As adults sometimes we have to admit we don’t always have the answers so we must listen to the youth as they are the ones dealing with all kind of complex issues that has lead us into the ugly predicament we currently face. Combative systems must be established and fortified throughout communities nation wide that risk losing their youth to senseless violence or the criminal justice system.
This holistic approach we have in mind will roll out under our new campaign of You Can Be The Change. You Can Be The Change will revolve around equipping our youth with transferable skills from problem solving to leadership to communication that will assist them to deal with local issues they want to change. Through the process they will raise their educational, career or enterprise aspirations whilst enhancing their physical and mental heath. The project also hopes to help our youth become ambassadors for their peers.
We look forward to developing our new project and hope to collaborate with local youth, parents, organisations, schools and colleges in order to achieve this positive change.
We will be starting a new weekly Mentoring drop in service which will commence on Monday the 5th of March. This will be a a two day drop in, Mondays for 16-21 year olds and Wednesdays for 11- 15 year olds from 3 pm to 6 pm. Our objective is to provide a safe environment where we can offer advice and guidance to youth within the local and wider community.
Opening up to mentoring could potentially be one of the most rewarding processes you can experience. Let me briefly delve into to the essence of mentoring. Essentially buried within its core you’ll find relationship. Relationships are very valuable on multiple levels. They allow us as human being to connect, to share, to learn and so on so forth. Relationships form links that forge common ground for us to stand on.
In terms of mentoring the common ground in my opinion is help. The mentor wants to help and the mentee can benefit immensely from the help received in the long run. The transition between Childhood to Adulthood is a vital stage of development, even more so in this day and age as society races rapidly into the not so distant digital future. I’m pretty sure we have all heard the phrase “The youth are the future of tomorrow”. With that being said is it not the responsibility of us as adults who have already made it through the sticky transition to collectively attempt to shape our future? We shouldn’t leave it to celebrities, music stars and social media trends that intentionally or unintentionally have a huge influence over the youth. Sadly a lot of youth are so bombarded with constant visuals of a certain lifestyle. This Lifestyle is often perceived as perfection or success; you know, the material possessions, German cars, designer bags, the luxurious holidays, the waist trainers, bleached white teeth, the perfect body. Now don’t get me wrong there is nothing wrong with having nice things, travelling the world and taking pride in your appearance but this becomes dangerous when youth swallow the misconception that the latter equates validation and if they don’t have these things then something is wrong with them.
This then can cause our youth as well as adults to throw away morals, risk their freedom and damage their mental health in order to attain the illusion. Now mentors having had a head start in the game of life and acquired the valuable experiences it brings can utilize this to guide the next generation through the maze. This doesn’t mean we approach the task with a prideful autocratic demeanor where if the mentee doesn’t follow every thing we suggest then their doomed. Rather we approach our role with humility mixed with the desire to aspire the youth to become the best version of themselves. We shouldn’t be quick to judge mentees decisions we disagree with but willing to challenge attitudes and offer correction. This can be achieved through numerous different ways. Some mentees may need to hear that something the’re engaged in is wrong e.g. if your running down a path that is littered with traps that I can see but you can’t, I’d be wrong for not telling you. Others simply just need someone to actively listen to how their day went and what current issues they are dealing with, while others may need motivation to ignite the dormant possibilities that sleep within them. I believe Mentors should be trying to help the mentees become the best version of themselves opposed to trying to recreate someone in their own identical image.
I suppose at times we all act as mentors to our family, friends and colleagues without even really considering the role we are playing. However not everyone is fortunate enough to have those kind of relationships or positive figures in their lives leaving them feeling alone, isolated and not sure what steps to take that will help them progress. Mentors can definitely help bridge the gap of where the mentee is to where they could go, hence why we are running the drop in sessions.
“Iron sharpens iron; so a man sharpen the countenance of his friend” -Proverbs 27:17
On Sunday the 26th of November Project Mali Manchester hosted by T.A.P ( The African Pot) held a insightful event at Hulme Centre in Hulme Manchester which raised awareness to what the Local Authorities have been devising behind the scenes with regards to the landscape of the Moss Side community which sadly doesn’t seem to have the benefits of the people from the community in mind.
If there is no form of resistance to plans that are already in motion then the community will witness changes that won’t help support and feed the real needs of the people. Manchester’s Devolution agreement was established three years ago in which certain powers and responsibilities were transferred from national government to the region. Greater Manchester Combined Authority (G.M.C.A) was formed which brought the regions ten councils together to work in partnership with the GM Mayor with the objective of meeting the needs of the people who live and work in Greater Manchester. This translates to improving transport, employment, work related training, housing and investing into infrastructure. Most of us from Manchester would find it hard not to notice the large scale construction taking place around the city. Every other week there seems to be imposing cranes populating the skyline. I think it is safe to say we all want to see the region to continue to develop but the event highlighted the extent in which certain individuals,private contractors and construction companies are reaping the lions share of profits from all the development. Those who attended the event participated in dialogue of identifying community assets and discovering some of the rights they may have not known they have.
Unfortunately it was made clear we’re at risk of losing a large proportion of community assets which are buildings or land owned by a community if no one says otherwise. A clear example of this kind of behaviour was demonstrated with the removal of the Withworth Art Gallery from Moss Side which now lies within the Ardwick ward. The gallery received a £15 million make over and then vacated Moss Sides’s ward due to the new ward boundaries. Now was this just a big coincident or was it maybe a more calculated move? This is why it is vital that people from the community come together and organise our thoughts and efforts in a structured way and then present this to the Local Authorities regarding what we would like to see in the area. Elsewhere in the city communities have been able to attain ownership or long term leases of certain community assets so there is no reason more of the latter couldn’t happen in Moss Side. For example rather than see particular buildings get demolished then replaced with new apartments that are simply financially out of reach for a large majority of people within the area, why not transform them into accessible hubs that are desperately required. This could be in the shape of youth services, facilities for our elderly or wealth creation / social enterprise learning centers etc. Basically more services that will boost the social, economic and cultural landscape within the Moss Side community. This ideal could actually be achieved through utilizing certain community rights such as right to bid, right to build, right to challenge and right to reclaim land which came into effect through the Localism Act 2011. For more information on this matter click http://mycommunity.org.uk
The event held by Project Mali Manchester enabled like minded individuals to conceptualise how collectively we could have positive influence to internally strengthen and develop the Moss Side community, but this can only come into fruition through unity.
Further information regarding Project Mali http://ubele.org/mali/