Open Culture Project is a social voluntary organisation based in Cheetham Hill, in north Manchester. It delivers variety of services including Polish library and community hub, arts and crafts, ESOL classes, advice and support and a number of cultural events for both children and adults to assist with integration. The services provided are offered to multicultural community of Cheetham Hill area. It is a new migrant-led service which confronts many of the distressing challenges including social and economic exclusion, lack of support, discrimination and the social consequences of being isolated in a big city.
Open Culture Project is both distinct but complementary to existing service provision. It has a small pool of skilled practitioners in the field of interpreting and translating, counselling, citizen advice practitioner, psychological support and community development. All of them have previously worked for or with specialist agencies such as Locality, Wai Yin or as members of multi-disciplinary teams, including the NHS, UK advocacy and legal networks, and European police teams.
Open Culture Project and its services are flexible and pragmatic – it is designed to be shaped and modified by feedback from young EEA nationals as well as our partners.
Our staff and volunteers:
Board members : Anna Jarawka, Elzbieta Wiecek, Marcin Karpuk
Bozena Czerwinska – Psychotherapy and counselling, Yoga, Kids Dance Classes
Elzbieta Wiecek – Mother and Toddler group, events and library management
Malgorzata Amankowicz – Digital Content and Communications Manager
Anna Jarawka– Senior Community Organiser, Fundraising Officer and events’ organiser, author of this blog
Hay Habitat is a social enterprise and a Community Benefit Society based in Cheatham Hill, Manchester. Open Culture Project supported group Hay Habitat in developing the idea of sustainable living and incorporate. Open Culture Project approached officials in Manchester City Council and secured funding from Community Organisers Ltd, Nationwide Foundation and Locality to support early stages of developing the group and project idea.
Hay Habitat’s aim is to find a site where we can operate from, and to achieve our vision, which is to create a small community of sustainable homes, centred on a community hub, which will provide services and support to the whole, wider community in which we will be a part.
We want to build these using straw bale building techniques, with a strong element of self- and volunteer building, with opportunities for local people to get involved, get training and construction experience, and contribute to their community.
The Community hub will then be a center of learning, around one-planet. Low impact living; it will provide social support to the local community, building on a lot of our existing experience with the Open Culture Project (www.opencultureproject.wordpress.com) but broadening this to embrace local people and especially the vulnerable, from all local creeds and colors, and encouraging principles of self-help, learning, and mutual support.
The homes created will be highly sustainable, mixed tenure and will be open to local people.
Together with Jimm from COHO ltd we prepared a proposal to Manchester City Council, in order to identify a suitable site for the potential Community Asset Transfer to the Hay Habitat Group, for the purposes of creating a mixed tenure and culturally open & diverse community of 10-15 dwellings and community facility, and an ongoing social enterprise seeking to engage and support cohesion and social benefits within the community, and to promote and inform on the benefits of “Low Impact” “One Planet” living and sustainable development.