In 2014 Open Culture Project set up its office at Welcome Centre in Cheetham Hill where it holds regular events and activities. Open Culture Project runs Polish community library, community centre, information and citizen advice sessions, activities for the whole families and English and work skill courses. It targets better integration between neighbours from British and other ethnic backgrounds.
Open Culture Project delivers a variety of services including Drop in Service, Library, Arts and Crafts, music project, ESOL classes, volunteering opportunities and work skills sessions. OCP organises cultural and social events for both children and adults to assist with integration and living within the area. The services provided are not exclusively for Polish communities, but extended and offered to people of all backgrounds who reside in the local area and have been accessed by Pakistani, Indian, African Caribbean and White resident.
Open Culture Project is also set to become a strategic partner on the “Building a Stronger Britain Together” working with residents in North Manchester to build community cohesion and resilience.
We have been supported in the efforts to build inclusive community by:
Manchester City Council, Big Lottery, Aviva Community Fund, Postcode Lottery, GM Police and Crime Commissioner Fund, Our Place, Department for Communities and Local Government, Locality and Nationwide Foundation, Consulate General of the Republic of Poland.
Thank you for your continuous support.
For updates and weekly activities please check our fb: OpenCultureProject
The need for the project is driven by major population and recent legal changes in the UK. Since the Accession of eight nations from Central and Eastern Europe into the European Union (A8), there has been a huge rise in the numbers of European (EEA) nationals living in the UK and Greater Manchester. Their total number is estimated at over 60,000 (ONS revision), of whom 70% are Polish with significant clusters of Slovak, Czech, Lithuanian and Romanian nationalities, as well as Roma ethnicity in specific wards – eg Lower Broughton (Salford), Gorton (Manchester), Halliwell (Bolton).
There is no local European-led initiative to tackle the challenges faced by young European migrants unlike other ethnic communities with specific youth provision. The number one barrier to better community relations is the lack of options with respect to language provision and cultural understanding. Informal surveys by Open Culture has found that migrants who do not speak English well are the most vulnerable and socially isolated and least likely to approach mainstream agencies. Feedback from GMP Front-Line officers confirms how access to fluent European staff can reduce police misunderstandings and delays in tackling violent offenders and supporting victims effectively. We had run over 20 community events in Cheetham Hill and asked participants for feedback (questionnaires, wall stickers, wishing well and listenings). We became aware of insufficient provision of public services in the community.