I have recently been lucky enough to join Manchester Cares and I thought I'd take a moment to introduce myself and give you an insight into why I am so passionate and excited for my new adventure with Manchester Cares and more specifically Love Your Neighbour.
I grew up in a tiny village, where saying hello or having a cuppa with a neighbour is second nature. However, as I moved around I quickly realised that this isn’t second nature everywhere –and after several ignored greetings and strange looks, I slowly but surely started to follow suit.
That was until 2012 when I started working for a social integration charity. For the first time in a long time I felt empowered and inspired and now, reflecting back, I realise what I'd been missing: a sense of community.
At the time a colleague introduced me to Simon Sinek’s Ted Talk, ‘Start with Why’, and in turn to the power of ‘why’ and the ability it has to inspire change – something which has stayed with me to this day. Ever since, I have honed my personal motivations: my ‘why’ has to be something special.
There is an abundance of research showing how our surrounding systems impact on our wellbeing. However, the largest system – the place where I believe we have the most to gain, our communities – often gets forgotten. Relationships have the power to make you feel happy or sad, lonely or connected, valued or forgotten – all feelings I have felt.
Moving to a new city is hard. I know this firsthand having recently moved to Manchester myself, but it is even harder when you don’t know anyone. That’s why I think Manchester Cares' Love Your Neighbour programme is unique. There is so much to gain for both our younger and older neighbours through sharing experiences and laughter – and ultimately friendship.
I've always wanted to move to Manchester. The passion, the creativity, the history – it all draws me in. And now I'm finally here, a uniquely Mancunian sense of pride has come over me, triggered by magical stories of Chorlton and Rusholme in days gone by from older neighbours Tony and Imelda, and excitement from soon to be matched volunteer Mads.
I may not be a Mancunian by birth but I am certainly becoming one by heart.
So ‘why’ do I believe in Manchester Cares? It’s simple: Manchester Cares is different. Our amazing city and its people have so much to be proud of – and I can’t wait to help people share those stories through new friendships between the Mancunians who created our city and those who continue to build it today.
Manchester won’t ever be a tiny village like the one I grew up in. But through Love Your Neighbour we can bring big relationships to its heart.
Posted by Vicky Harrold on Thursday 10th May 2018
Vicky is Manchester Cares' Project Officer managing our Love Your Neighbour programme.