New Friday Volunteering Drop in on Allison Street

Govanhill Community Development Trust will be holding a drop in where local people will be able to meet local organisations and connect with opportunities in the area. This will take place every Friday from 10am-1pm.

The drop in will be an ideal time to find out more about what local organisations have to offer, and how you can boost your employability, make friends and give something back through volunteering locally.

Organisations who have already signed up include the Hidden Gardens, Big Noise, Bike for Good, YSCA the South East Food Bank, Govanhill Community Garden and Cross Reach/Daisy Chain.

So if you are looking for a new opportunity, or more information, drop in to our centre at 192 Allison street or phone 0141 423 8883

Govanhill Showcases a Universe of Verse

On the 30th of January, in the brightly coloured studio space on top of the Gallery of Modern Art Glaswegians from across the world performed poems and songs to a full crowd.

The majority of performers were either from or had a strong connection with Govanhill and for some, it was the first time that they had performed in public. The poetry and songs explored a variety of topics – everything from love, loss, homesickness and heartbreak to belonging, Scottish rain and a child’s love of scooters!

Performances were in 13 different languages, including Bengali, Czech, Arabic, English, Romani, Polish, Somalian and others. And it turned out 29 languages in total were spoken by the members of the audience – still fewer than the number of languages spoken in Govanhill, the most diverse district in Scotland. 

The Verse Universe event, organised as part of Thriving Places programme by Govanhill Community Development Trust, gave Glaswegians the opportunity to come together and appreciate each other’s cultural heritage and languages spoken across the city.

The event was initially planned to be held among Karen Gordon’s Everyday Racism photography exhibition, however having outgrown that venue, it was moved to a larger space. 

The night was hosted by radio broadcaster John Cavanagh and Marzanna Antoniak, who introduced the performers and gave a brief outline of the subjects of each of the poems. 

Event organiser, Marzanna – Community Connector for Thriving Place Govanhill, who is originally from Poland says

‘At a time when Britain is disconnecting from the rest of Europe, when wars are looming over Yemen, Somalia and Syria, when there is turbulence in Iran, Iraq and Lebanon, it was beautiful to see Glaswegians from around the world come together to connect in Verse Universe – a multilingual celebration of spoken word and music. 

The performances in Hungarian, Romani, French, Arabic, Bengali, Persian and other tongues proved that it is possible to be moved by a message without understanding every word. Such is the universal power of connection that art and music have. ‘

If you live in Govanhill or have a strong connection with the neighbourhood and would like to share a piece of your cultural heritage via poetry or song, please contact Marzanna at mantoniak@govanhillha.org to be added to her Verse Universe mailing list. 

Photography by Karen Gordon. You can find more of Karen’s work, including Everyday Racism here.

Sun shines on Govanhill gardens’ fundraiser

By Jessica Reid

At time of going to press, the Govanhill Community and Remembrance Garden Fun Day Fundraiser has raised a whopping £1226 – a figure expected to go up.

Tables were stowed out with home-baking and prizes for the tombola – all donated by local people, a sign that the gardens here on Coplaw Street nurture not only brassicas and beetroots, but also a sense of community.

Graham Steel has been volunteering here since 2018 and now runs the gardens’ social media. He’s keen to encourage more people to visit and get involved so that the gardens continue to thrive. ‘Some folk come to garden, some for the company and some for the peace and quiet,’ he says.

It’s clear just how much the gardens mean to the local people here. Mary visits her wee sister and brother in the remembrance garden on a weekly basis. ‘It’s my peace,’ she says, ‘it’s solace to me.’ And Liz agrees, ‘It’s a lovely community.’

The gardening group meets every Wednesday from 2-4pm. A recently installed ramp means the gardens are now fully wheelchair accessible. You can find the community garden and the remembrance garden on Facebook.

South Seeds Gardening Sessions are Growing at the Govanhill Community Garden

Every Saturday from 10:00 to 12:00 South Seeds run educational gardening sessions in the Govanhill Community Garden next to Samaritan House. These sessions are free, run on a drop in basis and are open to all. They will be running until October so there is still plenty of time to get involved.

We dropped in this Saturday to find out what is growing and asked South Seeds Gardener Joe for a quick tour of the beds.

Beetroot shoots beginning to show.
The strawberries are always very popular, but are not quite ripe yet…
Pyramids of peas (leaning towers of Peas?)
Mint – perfect for mint tea, or to add interest to a cold lemonade.
Borage; good for fertilizer and the bees love it.
Edible flowers to brighten the place up.

An Introduction to the Merge Group

By Amutazzehra

Govanhill Housing Association created this group around 15 years ago. The name of this group is an abbreviation of ”Minority Ethnic Resident Group Empowerment”’.I joined this group one year ago.I was new in Glasgow,I met The chairperson of this group Naureen in the library. We had a conversation about different things and she invited me to join this group. MERGE holds its monthly meeting at Samaritan House 79 Coplaw street. At every meeting I get the opportunity to meet different people from my area in a friendly environment. People feel free to discuss their different issues which they are facing.

Members of the MERGE Group committee after the 2018 AGM

Moreover this group arranged ”weekly coffee mornings’ which have been very successful. The first 6 sessions included art classes and next 6 sessions were about sewing.In both these classes there were two instructors whose support helped the ladies to improve their skills.

In the summer hoildays the MERGE group is arranging a family trip for members of the group. Last year the members of this group, along with their families and friends, enjoyed their visit to the Isle of Bute. The journey in the ferry and visit to the castle was a great inspiration for the children. The whole day was full of delight.

The MERGE group invites all minority ethnic residents of the Govanhill area to join. The MERGE group provides a platform for people with different languages, and cultures. to share their thoughts and work for the betterement of this area. To get involved phone Amra Nazim on 0141 636 3628 or come along to a meeting on the third Thursday of every month at 11am in the community hall at Samaritan House.

Woodwork course seeks new participants

By Jessica Reid

A weekly woodwork course held in the garden of Govanhill Community Development Trust is looking for new participants.

Join Jim, woodwork extraordinaire, to learn pro tricks, try out his collection of hand, power and antique tools, and hopefully start a project of your own. The goal is that by the end of the course you will have basic competence with tools and the confidence to tackle repair jobs on your own.

‘You find people have more skill than they think – they don’t realise they are already halfway there until they get started. It’s brilliant to see people realise what they can do.’

Now one participant is working on a picture frame, another making a chair. Jim himself is determined to build a bench using pallets. Most of their materials are scavenged, with Jim adding that, ‘If someone throws out a pallet, you can see it as dumping or as free wood.’

Find Jim and co in the Govanhill Community Development Trust garden on Thursdays at 1:30pm. The course is running for 12 weeks and began as part of International Men’s Day, although people of any gender are welcome.

Mezinárodní den Romů v Govanhillu

Kirsty McNeill

Mezinárodní den Romů je 8. dubna každý rok. Je to den, kdy oslavujeme romskou kulturu a zvyšujeme povědomí o problémech Romů.

Hitler označil Romy za „nepřátele státu založeného na rase“ a historici odhadují, že nacisté za druhé světové války zabili mezi 220 000 a 500 000 Romy, mezi 25% až více než 50% z 1 milionu Romů v Evropě. Romové se dnes potýkají s pronásledováním po celém světě, a to zejména tím, ze spolecne stoji a ziji jedna jako komunita. 

Oslava Mezinárodního dne Romů Govanhill se konala v sobotu 6. března, kterou organizovala organizace Romano Lav . Byly zde inspirativní projevy a průvody ulicemi Govanhillu s doprovodnou hudbou. Bylo zde take tradiční romske jídlo, po němž následovalo představení „The Acrobat“. Tato hra je oslavou mimořádného života Raymonda Gurêmeho, francouzského muže Manouche (Romů), který během druhé světové války unikl devětkrát z concentracnich táborů. 

International Roma Day in Govanhill

By Kirsty McNeill

International Roma Day is on 8th April every year. It’s a day to celebrate Roma culture and raise awareness of issues facing Roma people.

Hitler named Romani people ‘enemies of the race based state’, and historians estimate that between 220,000 and 500,000 Romani were killed by the Nazis during the Second World War, between 25% to over 50% of the 1 million or so Roma in Europe at the time. Roma people still face persecution across the world today, in particular far right protests in Italy make it all the more important to stand together as a community.

Govanhill’s International Roma Day celebrations took place on Saturday 6th March, organised by Romano Lav. There were inspiring speeches and a procession through the streets of Govanhill with accompanying music. Afterwards, there was a community meal with traditional Roma food, followed by a performance of ‘The Acrobat’. This play is a celebration of the extraordinary life of Raymond Gurême, a French Manouche (Roma) man who escaped nine times from internment camps during the Second World War.

If you couldn’t make the celebrations for International Roma Day, Romano Lav will be putting on another event later in the year for Southside Film Festival. ‘Black Cat, White Cat’ will be screening and there will be traditional Roma food and live music. Details: facebook.com/events/258719141670397

Food, fun and learning on the menu at Govanhill’s Family Café

By Jessica Reid

It’s Saturday morning at Govanhill Neighbourhood Centre and a wide range of families are arriving for this week’s Family Café. Breakfast consists of Danish pastries, fruit salad and tea and coffee – it’s vital to stock up on energy for the day of activities ahead.

          Family Café is a weekly event aimed at creating opportunities for families to spend time together over food, fun and learning. Family learning sessions are a joint project between Govanhill Community Development Trust and Glasgow Life; the project is still in the pilot stages, but things are going well so far. The last two Saturdays have both seen around 100 people attending and there’s been lots of positive feedback.

          A day at the Family Café looks something like this: family breakfast, then Bookbug reading sessions and play-along maths, followed by lunchtime, and finally games and ESOL classes.

          As the early birds finish their breakfast, I get chatting to Riz, a local mum-of-three who’s recently moved back to Glasgow. When I ask what she makes of Family Café, she tells me about the sense of security that comes with seeing familiar faces. And her daughter really enjoys it here – so much so that when they get home she’s so knackered that she’s snoring away in no time.

         Riz’s four-year-old is preparing to go to big school this autumn. When asked by one of the Glasgow Life workers if she ever gets a bit nervous, the answer is a resounding, “Nah!” Riz’s wee one is on the cusp of independence. But she still likes to be near Mum, who jokes that her umbilical cord was never cut. That’s what’s so great about Family Café. It’s an opportunity for families to learn, problem solve and play as a unit. And as evidence repeatedly shows the difference parents’ involvement in kids’ education makes, it’s giving Govanhill’s kids a real advantage. Some of the feedback given to Glasgow Life and GCDT backs this up

“Coming to the Café each week has been great for me and my girls this feels like part of our family now”

“My confidence and my children’s confidence has improved as we have learned so many new things.  We just love coming every week”

“We are closer as a family as we eat together, play and learn and meet other families within our community”.

The last family learning session for this term will take place on Saturday the 30th of March. More information about the future of this project will be available from this site.

Employment Support available with GCDT for residents of South West Govanhill

Govanhill Community Development Trust Employability Service provides employability support to individuals residing in South West Govanhill who are looking for information, advice, guidance and support to help them progress, develop their skills and increase their employability options.

Support includes:

  • Help identifying career/job options
  • Job search assistance – online job search and completing job applications, CV preparation, interview techniques
  • Assistance identifying and applying to a range of personal and professional development offered through colleges, training providers and volunteer opportunities.
  • Ongoing support throughout

Anyone interested in using the service or finding out more, please contact Jacqui Bond, Employability Officer via the contact details below:

Contact Us!

Address: Govanhill Community Development Trust, Samaritan House, 79 Coplaw Street, Glasgow G42 7JG

Tel.: 0141-636-3664

Mob.: 07741-893-008

Email: jbond@govanhillha.org

Working hours: Mon 13:00 – 16:30 hours; and Tue, Wed, Thu 09:30 – 16:30 hours

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