We've been having a sunny spell in Manchester this week, and it's spilling into peoples moods. That and good news. One of the men I told me about the relief of being housed in temporary accommodation, a roof over his head after 2 years rough sleeping. Another man proudly shared the number of weeks he had been off the class A's.
Lawrence, Garry and I went for a walk from the Booth, circling Strangeways, massage parlours, the canal, car parks, busy roads, looking for rusty metal- for printing onto fabric and paper. In the sun, and with good company even the not-so-pretty side of Manchester looked ok. Then a reminder of how fragile life is on the streets, under a road bridge a shrine to a women who had died.
In the afternoon, everyone was engaged in conversation, poetry and making art. The staff, routine, the ethos of the Booth Centre generates an environment where people can feel safe and secure to try something new, to stretch themselves. Included in our afternoon group was one member who explained to me that they couldn't read or write, who went onto write a deep felt, moving poem and create an text/artwork- this was achieved simply with someone to sit with them to scribe their words.
safe in the house not safe in the street
heavy in a safe building
building heavy caged in
caged in the box room
room careful who you’re in the room with
with been used
used scared on the street
street make sure their safe
The Armour project is particularly targeting people who have served in the Armed Forces, people like Peter.
safety in numbers link on link
link with friends hard and light
light from the chains and shields
shields protection and noisy
noisy shouts and clanging screams
screams of people pain and grief
grief of friends as fallen flow
flow of rivers of missing foe
foe that's banished to wide open spaces
spaces spaces it’s what we fought for
for spaces to share with friends
friends friends linked linked together hand
hands safe safe
11th May 2017
|Lawrence working on Armour design.|
Throughout this at sometime emotionally raw day, somehow we are still smiling, there is room for laughter. The group is upbeat supportive, positive, kind. I feel privileged to be part of it.
Thanks to poet Roger Butts for the poetry inspiration, and everyone who shared their day with me.