Amelia, Sally, Myrtle and Mary make up the committee for Empowerment People, established in 2013. They run a number of projects working with girls and young women, and are primarily based at the Joyce Layland LGBT Centre in Manchester.
One project, Womens’ Adventure, is a social group where women meet monthly and do physical or outdoors activities together, such as cycling maintenance and road safety skills. Another project, Young Womens’ Club, helps individuals to tackle difficult issues they might be facing whilst learning new skills and working towards achieving a badge which recognises the skills they have learnt.
The current focus for Empowerment People is Sapphormation Festival, a festival which celebrates women who love women in Manchester. A team of Empowerment People volunteers come together to create a day-long festival with great activities like arts and crafts, magazine making, stone masonry, lamp post climbing, walks, taster sports, live performances and workshops.
Sapphormation is about providing an event for lesbian and bisexual women, but not exclusively. It’s there for any women who feel like they love women, which is where the feminist identity unifies people. Sapphormation offers a space that does lots of different events for all types of women.
Each year is based around a theme and “Against the Grain” is the theme for this year. The theme will be looking at a range of related topics such as food, cost of living and politics that are affecting womens’ lives. It’s an environment where all women should feel included regardless of background, ethnicity or age.
Myrtle says: ‘‘One of the strengths of Sapphormation is it’s really intergenerational and diverse compared to other spaces that are aimed at lesbian and bisexual women. For us, Sapphormation is for women who love women that aren’t being reached. So that’s one of the things that we really pride ourselves on.’’
The festival is primarily based at the Joyce Layland LGBT Centre in Manchester, however there will be other events on around Manchester – including a Ceilídh at Tribeca.
Written by Tanya Atkinson and Jennifer Lutton
Forever Manchester have teamed up with the sponsors of our Community Pages, Express Solicitors, who will be sending members of their team out to meet with, and compile stories about, the amazing projects that have been supported by Forever Manchester.