By Helen Walker, Policy & Influence Worker, Macc
Gorton and Levenshulme highlights the need for a radical approach to building resilient communities that can transform people’s lives
Representatives of voluntary sector organisations and local groups in Gorton and Levenshulme have shared their experiences and views of working at a neighbourhood level during the Covid-19 crisis in a new Manchester Community Central (Macc) report that was published on Monday March 8th, 2021. Macc is the organisation that supports the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector in the city of Manchester.
Entitled, No Going Back: Gorton and Levenshulme, the publication gives a platform to 16 local organisations to highlight some of the local voices in a city neighbourhood that don’t often get a hearing. The collection of inspirational stories and quotes focuses on Gorton and Levenshulme, a community area that has faced its fair share of challenges during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We wanted to explore the experience and views of community organisations working in neighbourhoods during the Covid crisis,” said Mike Wild, Macc’s Chief Executive. “The Gorton and Levenshulme organisations we feature in No Going Back show local communities getting together to organise vital support during the pandemic.”
In total, 16 organisations contributed to the report including two community associations, a bowling club, an organisation that teaches circus skills (yes, and you may be surprised why that matters!), a youth service, and an organisation that runs classes to reduce stress. The stories feature work with young people, South Asian women, refugees, migrants, people with dementia and older neighbours. The insight they share covers topics from how to make a new home to how to address health inequalities, how to set up a rapid volunteering scheme, how to organise food banks and why we shouldn’t need them.
“The experiences of the local voluntary organisations featured in No Going Back – Gorton and Levenshulme offer a glimpse of how communities can come together to tackle the health and social care crisis in Manchester, a crisis that has been building over the last 20 years and worsened by many years of austerity,” said Mike Wild, “It is time to take a truly radical approach, one based in a practical and realistic idea of community, the kind of approach illustrated in every story that is highlighted in this publication,” he said.
Mike continued: “It is time to stop remaking the same old solutions in the hope that perhaps they will work this time. The response to the pandemic shows that there are other ways of organising help, support and care in communities: look at the diversity of organisations, of people and approaches in this report. There is an opportunity and an appetite to transform the way that statutory services operate in neighbourhoods so they are able to work alongside local VCSE organisations, faith organisations and businesses and make the best use of the talents, skills and assets of all.”
The report is available on Macc’s website. You can follow updates on Twitter using the hashtag #NoGoingBackMcr.