With a focus on training, advice centres, drama and recreation and interestingly conflict resolution the Millennium Powerhouse is a one-stop shop for young people. The facility includes accommodation for visiting sports teams and international exchange students and in turn became the first Youth Charter Social Centre of Excellence which is being adapted and replicated nationally and internationally.
The strategic framework of the Moss Side Millennium Powerhouse includes a structured framework of Statutory & voluntary agencies Community organisations Young People
A targeted social programme provides pathways into training, employment and enterprise through disaffection, ethnicity and empowerment. Synergy and linkages are developed from a raft of additional programmes, which are not youth - specific but include a provision for young people.
Youth programmes were developed with the aim of providing: Diversionary activities Tackling educational disaffection & raising attainment and skills o Skills, training and employment progressions o Sports opportunities, progression and training
Fig. 4.1 The historic ‘Spirit of Hulme and Moss Side Group of L.A’ pictured at their pre-tour retreat
Involvement in housing regeneration Meeting health needs Enhanced facilities for the next millennium Empowerment
Following the successful opening of the Moss Side Millennium Powerhouse, the following achievements were realised:
The hosting of 17 youth group delegations from Europe
The hosting of communities and organisations from the U.K.
Youth vocation and skills awards where over 70 award recipients represented at least 40 countries
Hosted and provided social master classes through soccer, basketball, martial arts, rugby, netball, hockey
The facility was also visited by a number of leading sportsmen, women, politicians and dignitaries
Hosting of the Connecting Communities weekend which marked the tenth anniversary weekend of activities of the Youth Charter.
Fig. 4.2 Rt. Hon. DonMcKinnon, Secretary general of the Commonwealth and Mrs McKinnon meet community members of the Moss Side Millenium Powerhouse during the Manchester 2002 Commonwealth Games
Personal, Social, Health and Education through Multi Agency Working The Moss Side Youth College is a network of high schools, colleges, support services and local voluntary agencies. The purpose of the college is to meet the educational and training needs of disaffected and under achieving young people in the Moss side and Hulme areas. The five key themes of the college are:
1. A partnership-driven schools and community vehicle for education improvement and change 2. Co-ordinated provision for excluded, non-attending and off-roll pupils (13-16 year olds) 3. Tackling disaffection in 7 high schools (poor attendance, under achievement) 4. Facilitating mentoring business links work experience and vocational training (pre & post 16) 5. Targeting needs of Afro-Caribbean pupils including personal identity and cultural issues
Southern Cross is a school providing for up to 45 pupils with emotional, social and behavioural difficulties (ESBD)*, all of whom come from the central and southern parts of Manchester. At the time of the inspection, there were 41 pupils on roll including two female pupils. Each of the pupils has a Statement of Special Educational Need. Eighty three per cent of the pupils are entitled to free school meals and there are no pupils for whom English is an additional language.
The school operates on two sites; the Key Stage 3 pupils and a few Key Stage 4 pupils are based at the main site, while the remainder of the Key Stage 4 pupils are based at the Moss Side Millennium Powerhouse, ‘out of school’ and alternative curriculum support. The school has been part of a federation of three special schools in Manchester providing for pupils with similar emotional, social and behavioural needs since February 2004. The Moss Side Millennium Powerhouse’s overall mission and aim was to provide social, emotional and cultural support through the activities of sport, arts and technology with vocation, training, employment and enterprise developed as part of a wider multi agency and community support network. The state of the art facility was opened in 1999 to much acclaim.
Youth Centre under threat Ian Craig
THE future of a popular Manchester youth centre is threatened by a government agency meant to help young people, say Tories.
The Powerhouse in Moss Side provides a library; arts rooms, music studio and sports for people aged 11-25.
But, says MP Charles Hendry, it is under the shadow of the government agency Connexions which provides careers advice and support to 13 to 19 year-olds and is based in the Powerhouse building in Raby Street.
Mr Hendry recently visited the Powerhouse and says it should be a perfect youth centre, but Connexions has made it a building site.
The Moss Side Millennium Powerhouse was remodelled in 2002 to become the first integrated Connexions centre in Manchester, but instead of enhancing the facility this heralded the decline in the fortunes of the centre. A managers meeting held in July 2004 banned bikes in the Powerhouse due to riding inside, bikes left in front of doorways, and the theft of parts. The Peace Area, a garden and communal area which symbolised and promoted peace, reconciliation and understanding between communities, cultures and rival gangs was desecrated with the Globe of Hands, which was designed by young people from the Thorn Cross Young Offenders Institution to mark the lives lost over the last decade, being removed from public view. These two very important symbols of peace, along with the focus on the facility being up to eighteen years old in its provision saw, with the removal of the women’s netball programme a vital link broken in the behavioural relationships that had been developed between the senior female members of the team and coaching staff. Gang members became angry and frustrated at the situation as they saw the Powerhouse as their symbol of hope.
Fig. 4.3 Extract from MEN
The youth representation on the Moss Side Millennium Powerhouse board was weakened in its influence with the Youth Empowerment Group (established to reflect youth views, ideas and contributions to the overall management and future development of the Powerhouse) disbanded as a result of the non consultation.
Since that time, the Moss Side Millennium Powerhouse’s fortunes have declined with the overall spirit and legacy of the 1994 Tour Group now seeing a return to the anti social behaviour and gang related activity within the facility.
Front door supervision was implemented with two members of staff positioned to challenge young people as to their purpose before signing in and being reported to the agencies they had come to see. Anyone without a clear purpose was banned from entry. One consequence of this was high anxiety amongst staff which in turn led to the installation of a double door system to protect staff from the outside; a space between doors provided a holding zone whilst the intention of any visitor was clarified.
Changes to the Powerhouse made by management prompted several written responses including: “We... feel the accommodation suite is a vital part of the club”
“We don’t understand why people plan to bring in new facilities that don’t benefit the young people and none of the young people can use it. Like it says - the Millennium Powerhouse is a youth centre so if any thing is to be changed, change it for the young people”
“We as [young adults] Powerhouse team are very disappointed that we [were] not included within the discussion about the benefits of the Powerhouse being changed into offices”
“The Powerhouse was erected from the voice of young people for young people… this magnificent building… has lost its philosophy”
The Manchester Evening News captured the plight of the Moss Side Millennium Powerhouse late last year.
He claims: Bedrooms intended for young people on foreign exchanges have been turned into Connexions offices. The car mechanics workshop has become the gym so Connexions can use the gym for storage space.
The cloth on the pool table is torn - but it is claimed there is no money to repair it, even though there is more than £1,000 in Connexions budget to buy new leather chairs for the offices.
"All over the country money is being poured into Connexions, while youth clubs and the voluntary sector are struggling."
MEN Article from 30th November 2004
*Refer reference pages 45 - 46
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