Stronger Communities Fund: Manchester Street Poem
Manchester Street Poem (MSP) are a Community Interest Organisation based in Manchester City Centre that offer workshops for marginalised people across the city, often having experienced homelessness and other marginalising experiences.
MSP produce large-scale participatory installations that highlight the voices of these marginalised communities by providing a platform for them to tell their stories, most prominently these have been seen in their ongoing relationship with Manchester International Festival.
The year-round workshops where these artworks are born provide tons of benefits to their service users, with them seeing improvements in their wellbeing and using their experiences with MSP to support them moving into improved situations in work, education and secure housing.
We funded MSP in October 2020 from this fund for one of these workshop programmes, see their YouTube video below for a glimpse into the results.
What are we funding?
This time they approached us to support the “A.L.O.T.” (Artistic Leaders Of Tomorrow) project, starting January 2022. They plan to offer leadership workshops to members of their core group, that they’ve worked with since 2017, in order to develop their ability to facilitate workshops of their own. This fits with their vision for their participants to become leaders, so they can grow activities with lived experience at the core.
The programme includes a series of twelve 3 hour workshops for their core group of 10-15 people, focusing on the values and the skills required to run creative projects of the sort MSP have been running since they started. During this they’ll support the group to develop a taster day around their activities aiming to encourage up to 50 more people to take part.
Their core group consists of mixed ages and backgrounds, including people recovering from alcohol and substance dependencies, experiences of custodial sentences, street homelessness, but the thread that connects them all is the overwhelmingly positive effect being part of the MSP “family” has had on them in their struggles to improve their circumstances.
We funded the project with an award of £4,950 which went to costs for art materials, facilitators, travel and food expenses for the entirety of the 12 week project.
Listen to Simon from MSP as he tells us what they hope to see from this amazing project:
We’re delighted to have supported Manchester Street Poem with this grant, which supports the combatting loneliness and social exclusion theme from our Stronger Communities Fund.