We asked Michelle to give us a glimpse of the work she is involved in with local young people.
“I work with every team in One Manchester and it all depends what the young people need. If they’re struggling with their mental health then I’ll talk to the Health and Wellbeing team. If they’re struggling with money then I’ll talk to the One Money team to help them find a solution. If people want jobs and placements, then we’ll link up with the One Future team.
“We have loads of different projects on the go for young people in different stages of life; for example our programme for young mums. We work with them to offer tools and tips for being a young mum, like cooking on a budget and advice on saving money. They make friends who are in the same situation that they can share advice with.
“Then, we also have the photography club with five-year olds. They’ll go into the community gardens and take pictures of plants and spiders and all sorts. It’s amazing the things they capture. Seeing the gardens through their eyes shows you how creative they can be.”
“We deliver a programme called ‘Girl Talk’ and ‘Boy Talk’ in schools. It’s about learning to love yourself, learning how to understand your feelings, as well as other people’s feelings. They write down a day in their life and share this information. They learn things about each other that can open their eyes to issues that they might be dealing with.
“Young people that have been through the programme already are training to run the sessions. So, the peer mentors, who are over 16 gain experience in leading sessions to go on their CVs. We have loads of young people who want to do this over the summer.”
“The feedback we get is great! The children all enjoy the sessions we provide, and they all say they can’t wait to come back. I went on maternity leave and when I came back it only took about 45 minutes for the word to spread. The kids were coming into the office to find out how I was and to see what I’d got lined up for them.
“I take pride in knowing that the parents trust me and trust my judgement. If I phone them up and let them know about an opportunity, then the parents know I’ve got the kid’s best interests at heart. For me that is really, really important.”
“For me, One Manchester isn’t about the staff, it’s about the community and making sure the children feel like this housing association is theirs. So, I’ll knock on doors, hand out flyers in the street and go into schools to let everybody know about the opportunities. If there’s something going on for the children that they wouldn’t normally get to do, then I want them to know about it. I always say that I’ll open the door for the kids, but it’s up to them to walk through it.”
To find out about what’s going on for young people, call Michelle on 07940 758168 or email michelle.wright@ onemanchester.co.uk