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Cheryl's getting creative with community inclusion

Great Places GMHF Worker Cheryl Marney blogs about the creative and community work she has facilitated to help encourage people on the pilot integrate and participate into the community.

Heading into year four of the GM Housing First Project, an emphasis on grasping the need for the people on the project to express, develop and share their skills and creative talents felt necessary.

The integration into community projects I felt was an important part of empowering independence and also promoting a connection outside of a person’s home environment.

As I have a background in community arts and therapies, the years of cultivating connections within various community projects, I felt this was something I could bring to the GM Housing First project with confidence.

The idea came to mind of putting together creative arts sessions, but also being mindful that this was something to develop organically and autonomously from the people on the GMHF project. I decided to call it Doodle Brew, leaving it open to arts, doodling, conversation and of course a brew and biscuits.

The first session brought about conversation, ideas and helped release the skills and talents of people, not only to myself but also themselves. To be able to outlet your creative talent to others and then have some feedback is an essential part of validation and moving positively towards self-growth and self-esteem.

On the development of the allotment, my thoughts were that this needed to be something that was more than a community allotment and that integration would be accepted without judgement for the people on Housing First.

Through my connections, I approached Mark from Growing Togetherness at Buile Hill Park in Seedley, Salford.

The project is already growing within the community, it is run by volunteers and there are many opportunities to get involved with training, volunteering and lots more.

Mark’s idea of the project runs in line with community inclusion, where everyone is welcome. This shines out when you meet the project and the people involved. A lot of the community there are also Great Places customers and helps to create a friendly vibe.

This was part of the reason for selecting this specific project that would enable people from GM Housing First to have a good inclusive community platform to independently engage with.

The injection of starting these projects has encouraged other GM Housing First workers to access other local community groups as part of our role in engaging the people on the pilot in other possibilities within their own community, which in effect will hopefully encourage peer support.


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