On Friday 31st January our Community Building Team took the next step in moving our innovative Women in Neighbourhoods (WiN) initiative forward.

With the help of some of the women active in neighbourhoods across Greater Manchester, we want to celebrate their contribution by building an initiative that will have more impact and involve even more people in their communities.

As a direct result of our launch event in January 2013, the Great Lever (Bolton) WiN network has been established and is going from strength to strength connecting women from across Great Lever by utilising their skills, gifts and assets to make a difference to their own lives and to where they live. This success demonstrated that there was an opportunity to grow the WiN network across Greater Manchester.

We invited 20 women from neighbourhoods in Oldham, Trafford and Bolton to attend an ‘Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) and Innovation’ workshop to share ideas and help to shape the future of WiN. We used the day to launch our WiN Awards programme which will allow 25 groups of 4 or more women to come together to carry out new projects in their neighbourhoods throughout International Women’s Week 3rd-9th March.

At the workshop we introduced the group to the concept of WiN following an inspirational talk by Gulnaz Parveen who is leading the way with WiN in Bolton. We invited the women to share stories about their work within their communities. The women then set about designing and planning activities using their skills and the skills of people they know that could be implemented in their neighbourhoods.

Gary Loftus, Head of Community Building at Forever Manchester says, “I was impressed by the women who attended and we see this network as a catalyst for our fresh approach to ABCD in the UK. The workshop demonstrated that getting women together in the right environment sparks some very real and positive community action. We will be calling on their skills again to form a steering group and plan a strategy to grow WiN even further.”