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/