You Can Be The Change

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.

Mentoring Drop In


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

Project Mali Manchester Community Assets Development

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 

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





Creating Resilient Communities

The Creating Resilient Communities Appreciative Leadership Course took place between the 7th-10th of September in the picturesque city of Athens Greece. As part of a national consortium The Ubele Initiative received funding from the Eramus + program to deliver a 12 month project which included two international training opportunities, this being the second.

Ubele is a inter generational  social enterprise which was founded in 2014 with a mission to contribute to the sustainability of the African Diaspora community in the UK. They aim to increase the communities capacity to lead and create innovative and entrepreneurial social responses to economical, political and social issues.  Click here to visit Ubele

The training program was facilitated by Fractality and was based on the Appreciative Inquiry model which promotes focus on solutions opposed to problems communities and grassroots organisations are faced with especially in these current times of austerity.The AI model aims to get the best out of people by honing in on potential and looking at what is working well. Themes such as envisioning, discovery, prioritizing, active listening and the art of questioning are found within its core principles. The group who were fortunate to travel to Athens consisted of creative, enthusiastic individuals from London and Manchester who are and have been implementing proactive, positive change in their communities.

Our days throughout the course consisted of short theoretical inputs, tasks, and group discussions which developed and reinforced initiatives. Possibilities were cultivated and nurtured allowing clarity to resonate among  those present. I believe all participants would agree that the material was delivered with passion and integrity whilst providing effective tools to enhance the notable work we do.We also had the chance to visit the Acropolis Museum one our final day in Athens which provided more insight into the culture and mythological history of the city .Overall the CRC Appreciative Leadership program was a excellent opportunity to internalize a wealth of collective knowledge, experiences and intelligence plus the weather wasn’t too bad either.

Seetec Employability Day Event

GIFT had the pleasure of being invited to Seetec’s Employability Day Event which took place on Friday 14th of July in Manchester city centre. Between 9:30 am and 1 pm GIFT, along with various other providers from across the city had the chance to let people from the wider community who are seeking employment know about accessing provisions they may be eligible for.

On the day GIFT partnered up with Highway Hope a community charity based in Levenshulme in order to provide a diverse range of valuable volunteering opportunities open to the public. Being able to speak to a wide range of people from various backgrounds who share a common objective in terms of accessing employment , improving their prospects of being hired and sustaining economic stability was simultaneously beneficial and rewarding. We was able to promote Talent Match for those aged between 18- 24 which is a Big Lottery funded program designed to help young people get into employment, education or training. Our supplementary school gained interest also as we came across a few individuals from teaching backgrounds who wanted to help assist children build foundation and study skills.

I believe all parties involved would deem the event productive and agree Seteec did a marvelous job hosting and organising it. We look forward to connecting with the individuals who found the services we offer appealing.


G.I.F.T A Student’s Perspective

Hello my name is Alysha; I’ve been a member of G.I.F.T Supplementary School for a number of years (“6 to be exact”).  I’ve been coming here since I was in year 4 and I’m currently ending year 10, as I’ve attended the Supplementary school it has made a resounding improvement to my grades at school. Within a year of coming to the Saturday School my grades improved dramatically in English and Maths I went from a level 4 to a level 5!

This academic year I have transitioned from KS3 to KS4 and along with that change come changes to my levels turning into GSCE grades. It took a while to get used to but at Saturday School they’ve helped me adjust by giving me work that challenges me as well as pushes me.

Attending Saturday School has helped me become an upstanding member of my school as skills I’ve attained whilst being at Saturday School have helped me flourish into a productive member of my class. In my school I am in set 1 for all core subjects (Maths, English and Science). I genuinely believe that the extra tuition I’ve received here has made me the student I’ve become. Without the teachers at Saturday School to help me, I probably would’ve been in set 2 or 3, but my teachers at Saturday school have helped me and they have reinforced my knowledge and made me  gain more useful knowledge that has vastly helped me in school.

During my time here I’ve been greeted every Saturday with kindness and understanding. The staff and teachers at Saturday School have helped me develop and progress throughout primary school and as I’m entering my final year of high school I intend to stay at the Saturday School as the professionalism and assertiveness shown by the teachers will surely see me pass my GCSE’s. I encourage parents and eager students willing to learn and who want to improve academically should come to G.I.F.T as it has helped me monumentally.

I would highly recommend you attend G.I.F.T’s open day on the 2nd of September 2017 from 10am – 1pm





Tech2Gether came to a close on the first of July after a day of discussions, critical thinking and applying newly learnt skills. The workshops was created to promote community cohesion by bringing young people of different faiths together and equipping them with skills for the ICT and Media Sector . They were provided with the opportunity to learn basic coding, app creation, developing websites, filming, editing and script writing. The youth involved aged between 10 to 16 years old displayed excellent teamwork,decision making and commitment as they tackled issues that are relevant among their peers such as image, popularity and bullying. Once the ICT and Media was complete there was the option to participate in a skincare beauty workshop which highlighted self acceptance or fitness activities which promoted physical well being.

“I understand how to code in Java script.”

” I learnt how to be gentle with my skin when using product and colour matching techniques.”

“I have learnt how to increase my heart rate.”

“This programme will really help with integration in this area. We all want to learn new skills and we have so many other things in common. There is really no need for conflict between us.”

The project was funded by Near Neighbours and was delivered in collaboration with G.I.F.T, Salaam Community Association, Strengthening Faith Institutions and The SALAM Project and took place on 1st April 2017, 6th May, and 1st July 2017.   The sessions were attended by up to 22 young people mainly from Christian and Muslim faiths.

CALM-A community sharing its expertise

CALM-A community sharing its expertise

GIFT was successful in seeking funding to help a community sharing its expertise.The Community Action Leadership Mentoring  (CALM) project had its launch event on the 7th of April 2017.  They hosted community experts, professional businesses in various disciplines including Arts and Media, Business and Leadership, Health, and a lot more…

The aim of this project is to set up a Community Action, Leadership and Mentoring Scheme (CALM). This will enable participants to be trained as Community Coach and Mentors to support young adults specifically women to be proactively involved in developing activities that will increase their employability and become more active community citizens. The Community Coaches and Mentors will develop programmes to help increase their participation in positive and motivational aspirations, and engaging them to develop entrepreneurial activities, increase their social capital.

The personal development workshops were co-designed, developed and managed collaboratively between young people and local community business owners that will pass on valuable skills and knowledge to make impacting change.

A key workshop was delivered by Tiki Black.   Tiki enthralled her audience with a taste of her musical compositions mixed with her passion for Arts and Technology.

Arts and Media are more than entertainment, they are a way to empower people. As a music professional, I create, perform and release songs, broadcast music and publish articles as motivational and inspirational tools. My workshops provide an insight into music and the music business for aspiring professionals and music lovers alike. ( As a digital consultant, I harness the rise of the digital to support the personal and professional development of the next generations. The government needs about a million more digital professionals by 2023! Becoming one or even acquiring digital skills gives a noticeable edge and transferable skills. My workshops help to become the difference in the digital world.

The workshops and activities aimed to help participants to pool their resources, skills and experience to become more proactive active citizens and community leaders to address issues affecting their community/neighborhoods.

There will be further workshops delivered during the summer.

Trinity Church Amani Centre Ladies Group

Eccle Bourne

I travelled from Jamaica, St Marys in 1962 aged 31years old. I first arrived in Aylesbury. I came to Manchester in February and moved to Darcy Street, Moss Side to Iive with a friend. I went back home to Jamaica in 1963 for 16 months to look after my Auntie who was ill.The things I missed most from back home was my relatives and friends, I still travel back home and also round the world. Ilived on Darcy Street until I got married on May 29th, two days after my Birthday, we then moved to Duke Street. From 1972 to 1976 I lived in John Nash Crescent, Hulme, I still remember the number, 525. I remember the shops on Clopton Walk, Mr Young’s Hardware shop, I still have some pots from there! ‘Did you know about Alexandra Road? It was beautiful, full of shops.Moss Side has changed, things, time and people change. I have been part of the Baptist Church from 1962.

Claris Small

I was born in St Catherine, Jamaica. I married my Husband Llewellyn in Jamaica and then came to England on 29 October 1959. Llewellyn came four months after to join me.It was cold and dark.It was hard at first adjusting to the new areas.The biggest things I missed about home was Family and the ‘Freedom’

Just going out in the fields, but the good things were meeting new people and making new friends.
Moss Side has changed, before we would know everyone. You would go shopping in the market and we would chat for so long!

I had all my four children over here and they went to Webster Primary School in Moss Side. I have been with Trinity Church since 1966.

I told my children, I will take you home to where I am from, to see your family. When I took my daughter when she was 12, she went back again when she was 22 and took her child. My Grandson is proud of his family in Jamaica

Icylyn Burke

I was born in St Catherine, Jamaica 27th May 1927, and came to England 2nd May 1962 aged 34years young!! My Husband was here already and sent for me. I had to leave my little children back home; I missed them, but was so happy when they came here to be with me. I had six children and was married to Jocelyn on 8th October 1950. I would keep in touch with back home by letter. When we come here first it was difficult getting around, finding places even travelling to work. The good things about coming to England was that, we have things here that we didn’t in Jamaica, back home we would have to pay for such things as going to see the Doctor. Here we had lots of opportunities. Before I come to England, I was speaking to the Deacon back home, he said ‘When you go England you will be at College’ and he was right, I was learning and seeing things I had never seen before!

I brought my children up in Moss Side; we had everything here, Church, School, and Shops we didn’t have to go to Town. I have been part of the Church since 1962 through thick and thin and I’m still here.

Moss Side has changed, we could leave doors open and the children would go and play, in and out, fear of nothing.We grown-ups would talk over the back fence, one time we were talking so much I burnt my pot!

It is important to pass on our stories from when we came over from Jamaica. Getting stories now, they know what it was really like.

Dawn Marie Graham

I came here from Jamaica as a little girl. I was 7yrs old and came with Mother to be with Father. I missed selling ‘Bulla Cake’ it was our family business back home. I really missed my friend Teddy, he would give me piggy back rides!

My first job was in Insurance, typing, I loved it.

What life was like when I came up from Jamaica. I was seven years old when I came to England.We lived in Wolverhampton.Life was very hard to live but everyone was nice to one another. People had to live in one room even families and I had even had to make up coal fire! Everyone was so good with one another and friendly. It was hard to live then, I had a dog called Sally, it was a very playful dog and made me happy. After about two years we came to live in Manchester. All the neighbours were very nice and loving. All the neighbours were like family. In Moss Side everyone was nice. I knew lots of brothers and sisters; people would meet one another and have a little chat. Now everyone has changed. My life feels completely different, living alone and seeing other people.

Vashti Taylor

I come from Smail Field in Jamaica and arrived in England on 13thMarch 1965 aged 26yrs old. I joined my partner Lynvale who I then married and we had our children. When I first came over Lynvale was late meting me at Manchester Airport so I got a taxi to Preston! As I was travelling there I was looking at all the factories and asked the driver ‘where are the houses?’ He said that is the houses!! We first came to Preston, which is where I had my first job at a Brewery. Later on we moved to Manchester. My jobs in Manchester would be working at the Co-Op and then in Park Hospital on maternity. I never really had a hard finding work time, in one of my jobs I got promoted within 7 months. The only bad thing that I remember was a lady touching my stroking my arm and saying ‘oh isn’t your skin so soft, I thought it would be tough and feeling my hair and shocked that it want wiry! Adjusting to the cold weather was hard, a new set of clothes to wear. In my case when I was coming over I packed silk, cotton, taffeta, we didn’t really have clothes for the cold weather. Though in Jamaica there is a place where they use fireplaces like over here. It’s where the soldiers are stationed, Newcastle. The good thing about coming to England was that we had new opportunities.
Moss Side has changed completely. Most of the community has split and moved away.

Miriam ‘Gloria’ Gaynor

I was born in Jamaica, Bull Bay, 7 miles from Kingston. I came to Britain in 1957. Jamaica was British, we were British, anyone my age must know that. We would cultivate green bananas, yam and sweet potatoes; the trucks would take them to the Wharf. A lot of people would come to England to work then some would go back home. When I packed my case I only had West Indies clothes to pack! When we came, we all wanted to go back, if you ask people my age that’s what they say. I missed everything – picking up fruit from the tree. My first job was sewing; when we first came to England they would give us the worst jobs. I came in ‘57’ you couldn’t get a job, worst, you couldn’t get a room! You would see them peeping through the window when you would knock on the door. One time a friend of mine was in Hospital and the Nurse was looking under my friend’s nightdress, my friend asked what she was doing, she said she was looking for a tail!

When you did rent a room, sometimes you would rent from someone who bought a house, they would rent your room out while you were at work, getting two rents. Them days you could buy a house cheap £200 – £300.

We would use a coal fire to dry your clothes.
We went through a lot you know.

Church of God of Prophecy Esmerelda Whittingham

Esmerelda Whittingham

I was born in Labour Hall St Catherine Parish, Jamaica. I came to England on 5th June 1962 for new opportunities. When I was back home I would sew children’s clothes and take them to Sugar Foot Mountain Market, King Street. I said I was going to get a stall, you had to pay for the stall. A woman I know said ‘take your money and go England. I came first to Leeds, then to Manchester. I didn’t really think anything much when I came. The first houses we came to had ‘No Vacancies’ for Black People. Some work places would not employ us either. Burtons Tailoring would take people on, it was a big factory owned by Jewish people. We would make suits. The wages were 2 shillings & 6 pence an hour. We would start at 8.00am and finish at 5.00pm

At first when we came over there were no provisions really, you were given a little money until you found work.

I would rent a room in a big house, everybody did. There was only one kitchen and one bathroom.

On Saturdays we would go market and buy a big fish – a haddock for 2 shillings and a chicken. You would go home clean up the fish and cook it, fry it and put it away for the week. The chicken was for Sunday.

I have five sons, three were here and two in Jamaica. I joined the Church of God of Prophecy in 1966; I’m here all the time!

When we first came, we would worship in Daddy Simpson’s cellar on Acomb Street and would go to the house for prayer meetings. My work in the church has been Auxiliary and Ministry Group Leader.