Manningham Housing Association (MHA) is stepping up its work to engage with Bradford residents during lockdown by “significantly” expanding its programme of community projects.
MHA has launched a new ‘Menu of Choice’, which includes almost 50 different initiatives to encourage local people of all ages to gain different skills, get active, be entertained, and meet new friends.
All activities are online and range from sharing tips on healthy eating, fitness classes such as yoga and chair-based exercise, music therapy, virtual coffee mornings, financial advice workshops, and interactive sessions on improving mental wellbeing and developing resilience.
The schedule builds on ‘Building Bridges Bradford’, a series of mental health, social cohesion, employment, and digital inclusion schemes launched by MHA last year with funding from the Ministry of Housing, Communities, and Local Government (MHCLG).
Thanks to additional financial support from the National Lottery Community Fund, a new MHA health and wellbeing project known as ‘Fighting Fit’ has been added to help people struggling with mobility issues and mental challenges, alongside ‘Let’s Get On’, to offer Bradford residents the chance to enjoy arts and crafts, learn about computers, and improve their communication skills.
‘BAME Ladies Smashing Boundaries,’ a Sport England-backed project piloted last June by MHA to encourage BAME female participation in sports including cricket, boxercise, and Zumba will also form part of its ‘Menu of Choice’.
All activities are free of charge and open to everyone in Bradford.
Nasir Hussain, MHA Community Partnerships and Investment manager, said: “We are excited to be pressing on with our tailored offering to the community which the team has worked so hard to put together.
“The past 12 months have been challenging for everyone but we have remained determined to step forward and support local people. Creativity, ambition, innovation and positivity are the threads that knit the programme of activities together in the ‘Menu of Choice’.
“Whilst everything has to be online for now, we hope to continue many of these projects after lockdown and build on the remarkable Bradford community spirit.”
Lee Bloomfield, MHA chief executive, said: “I am incredibly proud of Nasir and his colleagues in our Community Investment and Partnership Team.
“We were making excellent progress in delivering our three-year Community Investment Strategy and there was a risk of this being blown off course when the pandemic took hold last March.
“However, thanks to the tenacity, invention, and energy of MHA staff – coupled with the valued support of the Ministry of Housing, Communities, and Local Government, the National Lottery Community Fund and Sport England – we have been able to help large numbers of people cope with the challenges of lockdown.
“Difficult months still lie ahead, and I would urge individuals and families keen to be part of what we’re doing to get in touch.”
Barrington Billings, MHA chair, said: “Manningham Housing Association is an organisation with high aspirations for the people and places we serve.
“The past 12 months have been almost unimaginably tough for neighbourhoods with large numbers of BAME residents where COVID-19 infection rates have been disproportionately high, lockdowns have been longest, and levels of deprivation deepest.
“I am thrilled but not surprised that MHA staff have risen to the challenge and demonstrated the foresight and endeavour to put together such an impressive schedule of events, surpassing all our expectations.
“There will be further mountains to climb after lockdown, but the Bradford community can be assured that we will continue to be there for them.”
Main image: (L-R) MHA chief executive Lee Bloomfield and MHA Community Partnerships and Investment manager Nasir Hussain (taken before social distancing guidelines)
Are you a social housing professional? Sign up for a FREE MEMBERSHIP to upload news stories, post job vacancies, and connect with colleagues on our secure social feed.