Project members from Reform Radio's "The Gorton Takeover" project keep connected on a Zoom call

Taking part in creative activities and staying connected have become vital to support wellbeing as the country gets used to a new normal.

Reform Radio support local people to develop crucial digital creative skills to support them to achieve their goals. The Gorton Takeover project, funded by the Trust, supports people who are unemployed and have limited access to creative activities.

The project is shaped by its members and has included weekly digital skills sessions and hosting a monthly radio show. Parents are also supported to take part in creative sessions, focused on wellbeing, creativity and turning their craft into a business. Dance classes have also started at the request of members, which has supported children and parents.

Project members have reported that they feel more connected within their community, and have had the opportunity to form new friendships with other people as a result of taking part in this project.

Other members have been signposted to get support and have even decided to go back into education as a result of being involved.

With everyone working from home, Reform Radio’s first priority has been staying in contact with those they support, especially with those who are isolated and most at risk.

Rachel Roger, Director of Reform Radio, explained: “Our first response was making sure we supported anyone that needed it. We then started to look at how we could adapt online. We thought about sending out pre-recorded dance sessions but members overwhelmingly wanted live sessions to stay connected. It just reinforces that we are all in this together.”

Saving money from refreshments, the project has also been able to sign young people up to the Gorton Imagination Library so they all get a book each month to help them develop their reading skills and stay entertained.

Chloe, the lead facilitator, said: “It's been really important to keep in contact with the families during this time; the sessions have become part of a home-schooling routine for the children and helping the parents stay connected.

“I've found that the content of the dance sessions can easily be adapted for a screen and the children are engaging really well. It's actually made the sessions more creative, using everyday objects as props is keeping their imaginations active - towels have been turned into tractors that the children can be pulled around on in their living rooms! It's wonderful to see the families smiling and enjoying themselves whilst dancing together during this time.”

One project member added: "The girls are very happy that we can join dance class from home during this time. I love that every class has got special a theme and the girls are engaging and enjoying time we can spend together with their friends and their favourite teacher."

"It is very good as it can let the kids who can’t leave their house have something to expect every week, they can meet their friends. It’s very helpful in this special time."

Reform Radio were awarded £33,232 for ‘The Gorton Takeover' project, which is funded through the Trust’s Active Communities programme with money raised through Health Lottery North West.

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To read more news from the Trust, click here.

Support us, play The Health Lottery!