On Friday 10th February at our annual Birthday Party we were pleased to announce the winner of the Inspirational Community Group award, sponsored by CDL: Moving On With Café Central!



The award was in recognition of the community groups or projects that have created a greater sense of purpose within their community, and have shown to us that they have consistently been moving forward with their group and further strengthening the bonds they have made. The award was presented by Tom Hogg of CDL (pictured, right).

Forever Manchester Birthday, The Principal Hotel

The overall aim of Moving On With Café Central is to contribute to stronger and safer communities by enhancing the social, physical and mental wellbeing of ex-offenders, their families and those vulnerable to offending. Funded by Forever Manchester for a café that is ran by ex-offenders themselves, they train up recently released ex-offenders to give them experience, skills training and confidence.

The group behind the project, GMCC, run a number of peer support projects to recognise the assets of ex-offenders and build on these through training and mentoring. They break down the barriers to employment by using the understanding and experience of peers to make qualifications highly accessible. By providing the ex-offenders with peers that are ex-offenders themselves, GMCC believes that they have the people that are best placed to understand their needs, helping ex-offenders through the often chaotic and traumatic transition from prison to the community, into a positive state of mind where they believe there is hope and therefore that employment will be possible.

At GMCC they work 1:1 with the learner to understand their needs and agree an individual support plan, bringing in other volunteers as and when is appropriate. This ensures that the learners immediate needs (such as accommodation) and wider needs (substance dependency, for example) are met in order to make learning possible.

Congratulations, Moving On With Café Central – you are truly an inspirational community group!

Check out the highlights from the Birthday Party here.