RECLAIM - North Manchester Girls

In October 2009, RECLAIM started a North Manchester Girls project. Adults in the area thought their area had been neglected during the successful regeneration of central and south Manchester and more work needed to be done to support the young people in the north of the city. They felt the young women needed higher aspirations and more activities to get involved in. North Manchester is often stigmatised due to high levels of teenage pregnancy and low levels of academic achievement.

The girls attended a four-day conference at Urbis in October 2009 where they met inspirational role models (such as Helen Newlove, recently selected to enter the House of Lords) and were challenged to improve their behaviour, build their levels of self esteem and make a positive change in their community.
As a result young women from this project have spoken at Police events and attended mock job interviews with top businesses in Manchester. 10 girls from this project also worked on an offshoot project, 'Northern Stars'. These girls worked for two months to raise money for orphaned children labelled at 'witches' in West Africa by organising events and learning about the charity supporting these children, Stepping Stones. The work the achieved was recognised by the Baroness Kinnock, Minister of State, who sent the girls a letter to congratulate them on their efforts.

Working with the girls in North Manchester was a real challenge in that it took Reclaim into a new area of the city of which we had no knowledge. The positive reaction of the girls, their families, their teachers and mentors have indicated to us all that the problems in all parts of the city are similar and the young people require matching levels of support and intervention to reach their potential.

"The best thing about the RECLAIM conference was meeting everyone and finding that our aim was to become strong and confident women"

ChiChi, mentee

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