Helen, our Community Builder for Alt and St James, is taking strength-based approaches to working in communities into her own neighbourhood in Salford.
Helen has utilised a Facebook group, where 300 people from her area share anything and everything about what’s going on in the community, to make connections.
As the dark winter nights set in last year Helen posted a message asking if any women wanted to run together to stay safe and a group of them now pound the streets a couple of nights a week. She then hosted a few ladies nights at her house where women came round to have a drink, a chat and a giggle.
Helen’s nights were so successful that she now regularly hosts “Stitch and Bitch” – a get-together where neighbours sew, knit, crochet and do other crafts while having a natter and a drink. This has extended into skill-sharing as some of the women have taught the others to crochet and use sewing machines. She even had two men join the group last week.
Helen says, “It’s lovely because my partner and I didn’t know anyone when we moved in. My work at Forever Manchester has made me think differently about how I view my neighbours. I’ve made some good friends and we watch out for each other’s properties, look after each other’s cats and share and lend stuff all the time. It’s a great little community.”
A few weeks ago Helen was home alone and saw an intruder climbing onto the roof terrace. She immediately posted a message in the Facebook group to let people know and a few residents came over to check the area. This neighbourly spirit of looking after each other and keeping the area safe is testament to the success of Helen’s community building.