In February 2009 RECLAIM Gorton project began with thirty boys from the area. The young people from Gorton felt their area is often ignored and invisible in Manchester. The young men wanted to have the opportunity to shape the future of where they live and go to school. Since RECLAIM began, the boys have become activists in their area and are now campaigning to build a new youth centre. The boys met with their local MP Sir Gerald Kaufman, who was so impressed he has promised to support them in all of their future quests and to spread the word about their project. Their opinions were also the focal point for a funding application for £475,000 to central government for the Inspiring Communities programme. Gorton was successfully chosen as one of only 15 neighbourhoods nationally to receive this money, designed to raise levels of achievement and aspiration in young people locally. The project is an ambitious programme of activities designed to connect the whole community and to encourage young and old to feel pride in their area and to make a contribution to the neighbourhood in which they live.
Reclaim Gorton boys project was a real blueprint for how a successful youth project can run. The boys were keen and demonstrated a real commitment to each other, their mentors and their area. The local mentors illustrated that there are many fine male role models in the area who are keen to come out and actively support teenagers in positive ways. We had fantastic parental and school support and Gorton became a hidden gem of an area with a vibrant community support networks, excellent neighbourhood policing teams and many clear examples of how a community can work alongside local agencies to support itself.
Callum (13), mentee