Moss Side has historically been a neighbourhood grappling with challenges and adversity, however, a community centre at its heart is hoping to change perceptions of the place.
That place is the Moss Side Millennium Powerhouse.
The Moss Side Millennium Powerhouse
At its helm is Lisa Davenport, the Chief Executive, whose unwavering commitment to change has breathed new life into this vibrant community centre.
She reflects on the neighbourhood’s history, acknowledging that Moss Side has grappled with its reputation, especially during the challenging times of the 1980s.
The community, however, has evolved, and its current reality is much different.
Speaking to I Love Manchester, Lisa said: “The children in this area are truly remarkable.
“They have so much going for them, it’s our job to build their confidence because they face a lot of challenges.
“Our job is to try and level that playing field, as they often encounter a cultural disadvantage due to the unequal opportunities available to them.”
One of the Powerhouse’s key strengths lies in its ability to nurture the potential of the community’s youth.
Moss Side is home to incredibly talented young individuals, but they often face significant disadvantages, whether due to their backgrounds or cultural diversity.
There are over 90 different languages spoken by service users at the Millenium Powerhouse, with 100s of young people coming through its doors every week.
The Millennium Moss Side Powerhouse boasts an impressive array of facilities that cater to a wide range of interests and needs within the community.
Among these, the sports hall provides a dynamic space for physical activities and sports events, promoting a healthy lifestyle.
The dance studio offers a platform for budding dancers and performers to express themselves creatively.
For aspiring musicians and producers, the music studio is equipped with the tools to nurture musical talent.
The art studio provides a haven for artistic expression and creative exploration, and the youth zone is a dedicated space where young individuals can gather, socialise, and engage in various activities.
The courtyard garden offers a tranquil outdoor space for relaxation and reflection.
Additionally, their incredible outdoor sports pitch which was provided by JD and is made of reused trainers, provides opportunities for outdoor games and sports activities.
Finally, the library serves as a valuable resource for individuals of all ages, offering a diverse range of programs and educational materials – best still, it caters for everyone from pensioners to young kids.
These facilities together contribute to the Powerhouse’s mission of providing inclusive opportunities for the Moss Side community.
Lisa and her team aim to level the playing field, providing a safe space where these young people can explore their creativity, build confidence, and aspire to be their best selves.
When asked about her vision for the Powerhouse, Lisa’s passion shines through.
She said: “Despite problems raised by the pandemic, in many ways it allowed us to build up funds and come out of it stronger.
“We remained open to support the community, gaining trust and recognition as a vital hub.
“Now we’re looking to expand by employing more youth workers, intensifying outreach efforts, and doubling the number of youth sessions per week.
“The goal is to offer inclusive opportunities that cater to the diverse needs of the community.”
When Lisa took over the role nearly five years ago, she admits the centre was limping along, providing the bare bones of whatever they could deliver because of scant resources.
Despite this, they have an amazing set of facilities.
They now partner with loads of incredible organisations across Greater Manchester, that provide a range of services.
The list is exhaustive.
The Millennium Moss Side Powerhouse is not only a vibrant community centre but also a hub for several essential organisations that work together to address various community needs.
Among the organisations based at the Powerhouse, Career Connect offers valuable career guidance and support to individuals.
NHS Emerge and NHS Thrive in Schools collaborate to enhance the well-being and mental health of the community, while NHS Social Communication Pathway focuses on providing communication support.
ODD Arts brings the transformative power of arts to the community, fostering creativity and self-expression.
The House Project is dedicated to supporting care-experienced young people as they transition into adulthood.
Isaan Supplementary School and Food Bank contribute to educational and food assistance efforts.
MCC Libraries provide access to educational resources and programs. FS Training offers skill development and training opportunities, and the Bahai Institute is involved in community enrichment initiatives.
Together, these organisations play a pivotal role in shaping the Powerhouse’s mission of community empowerment and inclusivity.
One step inside reveals a bustling hub of activity that caters to a diverse spectrum of needs.
For the energetic youth, the Powerhouse offers a kaleidoscope of Extra Activities, infusing learning with fun.
The Care Leavers Support program extends a nurturing hand to those transitioning into adulthood without familial support, creating a safety net of guidance and care.
In a world that often greets asylum seekers with closed doors, the Asylum Seekers Youth Club flings those doors open wide, offering a haven where newcomers can find camaraderie and build a sense of belonging.
Mental health takes centre stage too, as the Powerhouse collaborates with the NHS to provide crucial mental health appointments and assessments, ensuring the well-being of the community in more ways than one.
However, it’s not just essentials that the Powerhouse provides; it’s a lifeline of joy.
The CO-OP food drop and Hungry Cupboard initiatives tackle food insecurity head-on.
As seasons change, the Holiday Activity Fund Playschemes for Easter and Summer inject the breaks with excitement and learning.
Wheels turn, quite literally, with British Cycling’s Bike Fix It sessions and Engage bike maintenance courses, promoting both health and eco-consciousness.
The Remedy-Reparation service fosters a sense of communal responsibility, while the Free Clothes event and Coffee Morning on the first Friday of each month bring people together, dissolving barriers over a cup of coffee and a shared smile.
Even the art of stitching stitches bonds through the Moss Side Social Stitching Group, a testament to the Powerhouse’s commitment to holistic well-being.
Education blooms anew with the Homeschool Group, exemplifying the Powerhouse’s adaptability in addressing evolving needs.
As Lisa looks toward the future, she envisions more high-quality youth work and increased support for families.
Care-experienced young people, often overlooked by society, hold a special place in her heart.
She believes that by providing opportunities and support, these young individuals can overcome their challenges and build better futures.
The Powerhouse’s impact extends beyond its walls.
A documentary project called “Support Not Sympathy” sheds light on the challenges young carers face and won a prestigious culture award.
Lisa passionately advocates for increased awareness about young carers, encouraging everyone to adapt their services to better support them.
Looking ahead, Lisa acknowledges the challenge of sustaining the Powerhouse’s vital work.
With limited funding and resources, there is a need for continued support from both local authorities and the wider public. However, her resolve remains unshaken.
She said: “We should strive for complete inclusivity, ensuring that we offer something for everyone.
“If we currently don’t, our goal should be to actively move in that direction. As we stand at a critical juncture, there’s a sense that people have placed their trust in us.
“We’re at an important moment, and looking ahead, I believe that building on this trust is essential for the future.”
“People can help by donating via our website, or by donating gifts at Christmas for disadvantaged children.
“Come to our Christmas fair on the first Saturday in December. Follow us on our social media.
“We are also looking for sponsors and donors.
“If you would like to help us support young people to fulfil their potential, please get in touch.”
Also, if you’re looking to rent office space, you can enquire by emailing [email protected]
They also have hirable meeting space, for training, sports and conferences too.
The Powerhouse is on a trajectory of growth, determined to shatter old perceptions and create a brighter future for Moss Side.