Since re-opening in May last year, it's all go at the Aquarius Centre in Hulme!
It has welcomed lots of different community groups through its doors to use the space as a home for drop-ins, classes and now even a brand-new Community Grocer.
Local residents flocked to the re-opening to see the newly renovated centre, and it was packed out once again in February for the red ribbon cutting event which marked the official opening of the Hulme Community Grocer.
This new service for the area will allow local people to sign up to the Community Grocer scheme, allowing them access to the converted shipping container which now acts as a shop. For just £2.50, members can get groceries worth up to £12, and other Community Grocers across different areas of Manchester have already made a huge difference to the lives of many people.
Speaking at the opening day of the new shop was Rich Browning, Chief Executive of Healthy Me Healthy Communities:
“It’s a great reward to see these projects growing, we know the strength of these Grocers, it brings people in to a space in which we can then offer them access to activities, services and volunteer opportunities which will allow them to address some of the issues that are going on in their lives.
“We’ve got shops in Gorton, Fallowfield, Miles Platting… and the main strengths in these are the volunteer team. They’re more than volunteers they are the actual managers. They’re local people, running a local provision and they know what matters in their own neighbourhoods.
“We want to be able to link the people who come here to shop on a regular basis into health and employment services which often they don’t think are for them but are often the people who most need them”.
One of the other brilliant ways the space at the Aquarius Centre is being used is in the clubs that meet there. One such club is an art group that meet every Tuesday from 11am-2pm.
Sally, one of the longest serving member of the group told us how she got involved with the art sessions:
“There’s a mobility group which also operates here, and after people wanted to start new, different classes this was one of the sessions that we set up.
“Slowly over the years we’ve developed into a really good art class. I couldn’t draw a circle when I started, but nearly five years down the line I’m still here and I find it very therapeutic. Our aim is to encourage more people to come along, it’s a lovely place to meet people, have nice chats and make wonderful friendships”.
As well as all this the Aquarius has lots more going on. A new Sewing Club now meet in the community space, where members get together to chat and improve their sewing skills. The group meet on Tuesday from 1.30 -3.30 and anyone is welcome.
There is also a group who meet to learn the absolute basics of computer and digital skills. The first set of classes have been a great help for people who want to improve their IT skills. If anybody is interested in taking part they should get in touch with Wendy at email@example.com.
For more information about activities at The Aquarius Centre, contact Lesley Brereton at firstname.lastname@example.org