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Spirit of Manchester Story Week 2018 - Day 1

Spirit of Manchester Story - Businesses have an obligation to the communities they live and work in

Jessica volunteers as a governor at a secondary school in Manchester, with Governors for Schools, and this is her story:

“Manchester’s got some challenging environments, but what I see from my experience of being a school governor is how resilient and motivated the kids are. They might have come from difficult backgrounds but they’ve got masses of aspiration and ideas, and get up and go.

A lot of young people I meet don’t have the natural networks many children of professionals do - they have to make their own. Businesses have a role to play in helping them access ideas, opportunities and jobs. I think we have an obligation to the communities we live and work in to provide that.

I was at a point in my life and my career where I was doing well and I wanted to give something practical back to the community that I was part of. I lived next to a secondary school that needed school governors with connections to the city and it felt like a good was to support young people.”

Jessica Bowles, Director of Strategy, Bruntwood and Chair of Governors.

Governors for Schools exists to improve educational standards so that children and young people have the chance to realise their full potential. They believe the key to improving school performance is effective governance. By finding, nurturing and supporting a committed network of governors, they help drive systematic change in how schools operate and since 1999, they have been connecting schools across England with skilled and committed volunteers.




Spirit of Manchester Story - Vital for us all to work together in support of carers

Today saw the relaunch of Himmat, a support centre for Asian Parent Carers. It was recognised that culturally-specific services were needed and Himmat began providing these in 1995.

They are part of the Manchester Carers Network, which is made up of 21 organisations and is a project managed by the Gaddum Centre. Today’s event was all about bringing network partners together to share good practice and to learn about other organisations. It’s the first event like this but it’s hoped that today’s success will mean the event can be repeated with other organisations in the future to build wider connections. This is about opening up networks and empowering carers (and those cared for) to learn about the support that’s available.

Staff, eight volunteers and over 30 people were at the event, which was particularly aimed at promoting Himmat and working with Talbot House to promote the support available to the majority of Himmat’s carers who are Asian. The wider benefits from today are massive - bringing the community together, demonstrating good practice, learning from each other and learning to be resourceful, sharing within the network, working in partnership and giving people a voice.

The benefits for those who use Himmat include shared experiences, feeling less isolated, new friends, support, learning, problem solving, and finding out what works for others. Regular activities include walks, sewing sessions and coffee mornings.

One participant today, Neesa, said "It is vital for us all to work together in support of carers and supporting services around Manchester"