The last few months have seen changes in how most people work. Whilst we've managed to keep our online mailing list up to date with what we have been up to with our Covid-19 response, we quickly realised that a lot of people do not have access to smart devices or the internet. Our team has been working hard to rectify that problem and get news to as many people in Stretford as possible in the form of a new occasional printed newsletter entitled 'The Civic', which has been funded by Trafford Council.
The aim of 'The Civic' is to bring good news and useful information to the Streets of Stretford. You may have had one through your door, but if not you can read it by clicking here
We're looking for more good news stories for our next edition- if you have a story you would like featured, please contact Jess at [email protected]
A personal message from Dan Williamson, Chair of FoSPH
I sincerely hope you are all keeping well and safe in these most unusual and difficult of circumstances. The global impact COVID-19 pandemic is unprecedented and the economic and social impact on our lives are felt by us all and of course at Stretford Public Hall too. Our primary concern is the health of our staff, members, board, volunteers, friends, and indeed the whole of our local community in Stretford, Trafford and beyond.
Please ensure you follow government guidelines during this period of lockdown; Stay at Home, only go outside for food, health reasons or work (if you can not work from home). If you go out, stay 2m from other people and wash your hands as soon as you are home. Do not meet friends or family. Remember you can spread the virus even if you don't have symptoms. Save Lives, Protect our NHS.
The situation has been changing extremely fast and we have had to adapt our operations and outlook to keep in line with national guidance and local needs. It has always been our intention that our operations are able to adapt to the needs of the local community. It is part of our mission to provide ‘activities that meet Stretford’s needs’ and ‘improve the lives of residents’. When these were written and agreed we never envisioned we would be implementing them in quite the way we are now, but this crisis now cemements them as fundamental cornerstones of why we exist.
According to the United Nations, there are four key qualities that we should reach for in times of crisis: kindness, generosity, empathy, and solidarity. So keeping that in mind, I would like to update you on the measures we are putting in place in this crisis.
What FoSPH are doing
- Stretford Community Response Hub We are proud to be working collaboratively with our partners across Trafford to serve as one of five community response hubs. These hubs are resourced with expertise including our staff and volunteers to offer frontline services to those who are self-isolating or who are at risk. Over the past week, we have set up a new online call handling system and have trained a team of volunteers to staff our community response phone line.
The Hall is being used as a preparation space for food parcels to be packaged up and distributed to those that are vulnerable or self isolating, as well as serving as a distribution point for FoodBank parcels. We are also operating a ‘wellbeing check-in’ service, offering regular phone calls to those needing assistance or a friendly chat from time to time, and helping to collect and deliver prescriptions to those in need.
If you live alone, are struggling to make ends meet, are self-isolating or generally in need of advice or support please contact 0300 330 9073 (8.30am to 5.30pm, Monday to Friday).
- Stretford Mutual Aid Network We have started to map all the very local and informal community aid groups in Stretford. It is amazing to see how many kind and compassionate people there are in the community and how everyone is pulling together to support their neighbors in their time of need. People have been leafleting their streets to provide a contact people can turn to for help. We have collated all these onto a map so that people can see who to contact for local support and friendship in their area at this time and friends and relatives of those that need support can find someone local to help. It has been amazing to see the map grow over the last two weeks. To join the network on social media please use this Facebook link or you can go straight to the website and map here:
- Business continuity / financial position. The Hall is now of course closed to the public, usual activities and bookings canceled for the next few months. Where possible staff are working from home. The loss of income from our events, activities, hires, co-working space and artists studios is of course having a monumental impact on our finances and we are monitoring this carefully including re-forcasting our budgets to fully understand the situation and plan accordingly. We are fortunate to be in a good financial position and are able to continue to pay staff as we have adequate reserves. We are looking at the Government measures and support available to businesses and other sources of funding and support. We’ve been speaking to our existing funders, lenders and suppliers to ask for flexibility in the current situation. We are a Charitable Community Benefit Society and are always open to new members, donations and regular giving. We recognise it is a challenging and uncertain time for everyone financially, but if you are able and willing to donate, this can be done through our website here. https://www.stretfordpublichall.org.uk/donate
Any support is greatly appreciated.
- Staff team, ways of working - We are incredibly fortunate during this time to have such a dedicated, hardworking and loyal staff team and we appreciate the commitment that they are all giving to ensure work gets done. Our amazing staff team have been working long hours and have adjusted to more flexible and remote working. I found it truly inspirational that at moments notice our staff team have agreed to largely change their job descriptions to respond to the help required in the community and become key workers. We wanted to publicly thank you all - we are lucky to work with such a great group of people so passionate about our organisation and community. I would also like to thank our board members for being so proactive, amenable and adaptable to our response on top of their work commitments. We have now increased our board meetings from monthly to weekly to keep on top of this fast moving situation. Our fantastic team of volunteers, without whom this would project would not be possible, have also stepped up to help with our response. Massive thanks to you.
- Ballroom refurbishment / renovation. At the present time we are still planning to proceed with our planned renovations to the Ballroom over the coming months – we have ‘restricted’ funding allocated to this but we will need to monitor this carefully as it is fully dependent on achieving planning permission, being able to secure contractors and the ability for contractors to work on site safely. We would like to thank our architects Buttress for their advice, support and guidance navigating the implications for this project. We will do everything we can to try to keep to the schedule set out, but we also have contingency plans in place if the situation changes and factors out of our control mean that our timeline is no longer viable. We are extremely grateful to our funders, Power to Change, Architectural Heritage Fund, Viridor and the Co-op Foundation for being so flexible with their offers to us to support the continuation of this project and our work.
- Future opportunities, new ways of working – the cost of the hall closing can’t just be measured in financial terms and we appreciate the human and social impact as this is a place for social gathering and fun, wellbeing and creativity. We have moved some of our Wellbeing classes online so please check our Facebook and Youtube accounts to connect with these so you can keep working out at home. Our fantastic community choir Stretford Singers is now being delivered on Facebook Live. Please join the group here to request to take part. It is hard to predict how things will be on the other side of this crisis, but we will monitor the situation as it unfolds and continue to respond accordingly. However, we will use this time to plan and develop ideas for how our beautiful building can continue to contribute to supporting our community through the recovery period and into the future.
We recognise things are going to get more difficult before they improve, but I am humbled by the response from everyone involved in FoSPH pulling together to respond with such proactive positivity to this situation, let’s make sure we continue this incredible effort.
For now though, please stay home, stay safe and look after those around you.
Dan Willamson and all at Stretford Public Hall.
Chair, Friends of Stretford Public Hall
The Trafford Community Response to COVID 19 (Coronavirus) will help people in need in Stretford and in its surrounding areas.
As a result of COVID 19 do you need help with anything such as;
- Getting food
- Getting fuel (if you're on a pre-paid meter)
- Getting essential medication
- Looking after your pets
- Someone to talk to
Get help by calling 0808 278 7803
If you live alone, are struggling to make ends meet, are self-isolating or generally in need of advice or support, please contact:
0808 278 7803
(8.30am to 5.30pm Monday to Friday).
The advice line is for Stockport, Oldham, Rochdale and Trafford. Please Select option 4 for Trafford, then ignore the options for 'good and services' or 'pensions' - just hold the line and we will signpost you to one of the Trafford Community Response Hubs to access the support you need.
If you are able to volunteer in your community, or are a local business who can support with anything from supplies to logistics - please visit the Thrive Trafford Website: www.thrivetrafford.org.uk/covid-volunteer
(If you are part of a community group who are already offering support to your community – Trafford’s Community Response could help with supplies, training, environmental health and safeguarding support. Please email: [email protected]).
Also, if you are a local neighbourhood group who has established themselves to help those in need, as a result of Coronavirus, please see Stretford Mutual Aid on Facebook.
In light of the ongoing coronavirus situation and following new government advice asking people to avoid unnecessary social contact, we have reluctantly taken the decision to cancel activities at the Hall from today (17/03/2020), until further notice.
We are really sorry to have to do this as we know how important social activities and good health are at times like this. We're hoping to film many of our classes and we're looking at ways of making our classes available online over the coming weeks, so you can keep fit at home.
We're also considering ways that the Hall can provide support over the next few months, including supporting those who are self-isolating or who've been advised to stay at home. We'll be posting more about this in the coming days.
Although the government are advising social isolation, it's physical not social distance that is needed; social connections are more important than ever at times like this.
Keep an eye on our Facebook page for updates & stay safe Stretford.
As of Friday 13th March, all our upcoming activities and events are still scheduled to go ahead. In light of the covid-19 virus, we are monitoring and re-assessing our planned activities on a day-to-day basis in line with government and NHS advice. We will keep you posted if there are any changes, but in the meantime, please do not attend any event or activity if you have any of the symptoms associated with the virus (coughing /high temperature / fever). When you do attend events, please be sure to wash your hands before and after your activity. For up-to-date information about the virus, visit the government's website here
Your future, Your Stretford. 5pm - 7pm, Wednesday 25th March
Are you 16 - 21yrs? Come along to Stretford Public Hall on Wednesday 25th March to share your views on the future of Stretford town centre.
We want to find out what you think of the Council's future plans for the town centre. Join us at this special event for young people to talk about Stretford.
Everyone who takes part will get a £20 high street shopping voucher, and there will be free pizza & refreshments too.
Your views on the future plans will be shared with the council and with Stretford Mall.
It's free to attend but places are limited so please register for a free place to let us know if you'd like to come along.
If you've got any questions about the meeting, email [email protected] or call/text/whatsapp on 07926 686224.
Frock off to binning old clothes, and hello to swapping them!
Stretford Public Hall's fabulous Clothes Swap is on Sunday 1st March 2.00 pm to 4.00 pm
( doors open at 1.30 pm)
It works by you bringing along your old but clean and in good condition clothes and taking away some lovely different ones. Just drop off your old clothes at the Hall between 9am and 5pm this week, Tuesday to Friday (just ring the reception buzzer on Dorset St) and then come back on Sunday 1st March!
At our amazing Clothes Swap there wont be a token system so please don't get carried away - if you need a wheelbarrow to carry your stash home, we might ask you to put a few things back for others.
Please see our websites Events page for more details or contact us at [email protected] if you have any questions.
We are delighted to invite you to Journeys Into Film, a film festival, led by Journeys Festival International Manchester, exploring stories of belonging, migration, education and women’s empowerment. The programme of films highlights global issues of displacement and refuge in non-traditional cinema venues around Manchester.
The films have been selected in partnership with a number of community groups and venues in the city. Screenings will be followed by Q&A’s, talks and discussions where the audience can discuss the issues raised in the films in a relaxed and sociable setting. We look forward to welcoming to you this inspiring and inclusive series of events.
HE NAMED ME MALALA (PG)
Monday 24th February, 6.30 pm, Longsight Library, 519 Stockport Rd, M12 4NE
The story of activist Malala; following her survival of an attempted assassination. A testament to family, freedom, and education.
WE ARE NOT PRINCESSES (12TBC)
Friday 6th March, 7.30 pm, Stretford Public Hall, Chester Rd, M32 0LG
A group of women find a sense of empowerment and belonging whilst preparing for a theatre performance in a refugee camp in Lebanon
BHAJI ON THE BEACH (15)
Saturday 7th March, 2pm, Longsight Library, 519 Stockport Rd, M12 4NE
On the road, headed for Blackpool, a group of women are seeking escape and a good time. A ‘90s comedy classic From director Gurinder Chadha (Bend it like Beckham)
KIRIKOU AND THE SORCERESS (U)
13th March, 12.30 pm, Revive Centre, 1 Northallerton Rd, M7 3TP
Born walking and talking, Kirikou is not your average baby! Setting out on an adventure to destroy the evil sorceress to bring peace to his home. (Family Friendly)
DESERT DANCER (15)
20th March, 7.30 pm, Nexus Art Cafe, 2 Dale St, M1 1JW
Based on a true story charting a childhood discovery of Dirty Dancing an opening a dance company at university; all whilst dancing is forbidden in Iran.
Saturday 28th March, 6.30 pm, Stretford Public Hall, Chester Rd, M32 0LG
This Oscar nominated feature tells the tale of 12-year-old Zain who attempts to sue his parents for giving birth to him.
All screenings are offered on a ‘Pay What You Can’ basis. People seeking asylum can attend for free and travel expenses can be covered. Please contact [email protected] to make arrangements.
Please find more details for each event and register your place here: http://journeysfestivalint.eventbrite.com/
You can find all the events listed on our Facebook Page here:
All films will be screened in English language with English Subtitles.
With thanks to our partners; Manchester Libraries, MAC Fest, Stretford Public Hall, Screen 32, Manchester City of Sanctuary, Revive, Rethink Rebuild Society.
With thanks to our funders; Film Hub North, BFI Film Audience Network, supported by The National Lottery.
This International Women's Day we are delighted to be screening We Are Not Princesses, a moving documentary which tells the story of empowerment through art. This documentary follows a group of Syrian women living as refugees in Beirut, who come together to tell their stories of love, loss, pain and hope through the ancient Greek play, Antigone.
With intimate footage and stunning animation, this film focuses on the strong, resilient, and often hilarious Syrian women who are moving forward in spite of the ever-worsening situation back home.
The screening is a collaboration between the Muslim Arts and Culture Festival MACFEST, Journeys Festival International, and Screen32, Stretford's community cinema. It is supported by Film Hub North, proud to be part of the BFI Film Audience Network.
Please register your place online and Pay What You Can on the door.
Doors open at 7.30pm. Film starts 8.00pm.