Having worked with Gift Organisation in the past, we were pleased when Community Development worker and Co-Founder of Gift, Henry Ngawoofah, contacted the R2S team to say he had a group of young men interested in doing a local community project in Manchester. Henry had recently worked with a group to complete a young roots project funded by the Heritage Lottery which inspired four of the young men to form their own group called EMConnect and continue to make a difference to young people living in the Moss side area of Manchester.
These are the four young men that wanted the support of the R2S team to either do a Podcast for young people or run a series of creative workshops (e.g. poetry, music, writing, spoken word) which would culminate in a final creative arts performance. This new project idea would target local children with creative talents, giving them a platform to showcase their skills confidently.
They pitched their ideas to Collette Noel (R2S Local Development Officer), Jamie Rodney, Tony Henry and Valentine Ogunba (R2S role models) in July 2015. After speaking with the role models it was decided that the group needed to narrow down their ideas as they had too many creative ideas for one project.
The young men went away and undertook some research in their local area with young people to find out what the gap in the community was in reaching out to young people and helping them to keep focused. . They even used the local carnival to do some research.
In December we met with the group again who now had a clear idea of what project idea they wanted to execute. They planned to organise a creative arts project to support young musicians and performers. They would work with local schools in the area creating extra curricular workshops that would end in a showcase.
The group was advised to write letters contacting the schools and setting out clear guidelines for how the workshop would run. The letters were sent out in January 2016 for the new school term, unfortunately the response was not as expected and the group had to think of a plan B. After speaking with Henry, Director of GIFT, they decided that their alternative was to do the workshops in conjunction with supplementary schools as GIFT already had a big database of correspondence. They were able to make the links quickly and the project began to look very achievable.
On the 18th February the group did their project pitch to R2S staff via skype. The pitch was successful as the young people listened to all advice given by the role models.
They now plan to hold workshops over four weeks for twenty participants in March with a final concert on 2nd April 2016. (#EMFEST2016).