It was a sunny August afternoon in 2017 when my daughter, who was studying photography at the time, asked me if fancied ‘nipping’ over to York so she could take some photos of ‘nice buildings’. It had been a long week and so, in an attempt to avert a long, hot, and laborious drive, I curtly replied that, since we lived in Oldham (over 50 miles away), it wasn’t exactly ‘nipping’…
Three hours later, sharing lunch in a quintessential York pub, having captured some of the spectacular city sights, I remarked to my daughter that I wondered if people who lived and worked in York realised how fortunate they were.
At the time, I had absolutely no idea that by October of the same year, I would be working in York myself, as a Community Catalyst, about to start supporting what would eventually total 74 micro-enterprises who would, between them, create 105 employment or volunteering opportunities and serve close to 500 people. That was two years ago, and we are now approaching the end of what has been quite an adventure.
I’ve had the privilege of meeting and supporting a great many inspiring people during the course of the project: people like Jasmine, who has just started a small service called Motive Movers, which offers dance classes to people with learning disabilities and older people.
When I first met Jasmine, she was right at the beginning of her journey, and I’m pleased to say that, after much planning and deliberation, Jasmine is now running a series of weekly classes throughout October at the Askham Bar Tesco Community Room.
It’s a fantastic feeling to know that this is something I’ve finally got off the ground – and a massive thank you to Mark at Community Catalysts for helping me to make this happen, it is greatly appreciated. The aim of Motive Movers is to bring the community together, in a friendly environment, through movement. It is also beneficial for the well-being of participants as it helps people to build confidence, improve skills, set goals, and release energy, while channelling all of this into forming new friendships and relationships.
Jasmine Ahmed, Motive Movers
I’m very pleased I was able to help Jasmine in the latter stages of the project, and I wish her every success with her new venture.
York, like any city, has its share of social challenges: but its citizens are not complacent in addressing such issues. Not only are there a wide range of initiatives underway by independent organisations, there’s also a strong commitment by the City of York Council to ‘join the dots’, to connect the plethora of proactive individuals, small initiatives and organisations doing great work to improve people’s lives in a variety of ways. This reflects York’s People Helping People social action strategy and spirit of cross sector collaboration. I am grateful to have been a part of that work through the Community Catalysts project, and offer warm thanks to all who have made me feel so welcome in York.
Looking back to that sunny day in August 2017, in answer to my own question, having worked in York for the past two years, I can wholeheartedly assert that – while I can only speak for myself – I feel very fortunate indeed to have worked in York, and very much look forward to ‘nipping’ back at every given opportunity.