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:

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


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

Reach offer tailored dementia support for Glasgow’s ethnic minorities

Jessica Reid

REACH Community Health Project have established an ethnic-minority dementia-friendly group (EM DFG). The fortnightly event offers the chance to have a cup of coffee and a chat and to take part in fun activities.

All of this is supported by trained dementia support workers from both genders. Staff come from diverse ethnic minority communities, understand the clients’ cultural sensitivities and are able to communicate in specific languages.

If you are interested in attending the group, please email or call Amy on 0141 423 0522. Space is limited and it is not a drop-in service.

REACH Community Health Project are a Govanhill-based organisation originally set up in the year 2000 with the goal of promoting health within ethnic minority communities. The project has gone from strength to strength, with achievements including the establishment of a culturally sensitive mini-gym and the production of community-based research. Find out more here.

New website makes getting involved with the local community easier than ever

Keep in the loop with community work from Govanhill to the Gorbals, Castlemilk to Pollokshields.

The South East Integration Network (SEIN) have launched their new website, where you can keep up with local goings-on and find out about community organisations in Govanhill and across the south east.

SEIN is a network of community organisations in the south east of Glasgow with the aim of promoting diversity and supporting community integration. Its members include Govanhill Housing AssociationThe Dixon Community and Romano Lav and it funds projects such as Daisy Chain Early Years Project and The Well Multicultural Resource Centre.

You can keep up-to-date on the news and blog pages, Facebook and Twitter, and by signing up to the newsletter. If you would like to contribute to any of these, please get in touch with SEIN.

The new website includes free downloads and links pages, as well as info on SEIN’s library. A small selection of books and other resources are available to borrow from the office at 77 Torrisdale Street. You’re very welcome to visit, just get in touch to check that someone is in.

And if all this inspires you to get more involved with your local community, head to the website to find out about the latest job and volunteering opportunities at SEIN member organisations.

SEIN are keen to know if you have any feedback about their new website. Is anything not working properly? Have we missed something that you feel should be included? If you use a screenreader or have other accessibility requirements, how well does it meet these?

Contact Ruth: / 07749902684

By Jessica Reid

Govanhill bookshop launches new poetry by Harry Josephine Giles

By Jessica Reid

‘Poetry is not a luxury’ reads the sticker on the poetry shelf in Category Is Books. Tonight they’re launching new poetry collection The Games by Harry Josephine Giles. So if poetry isn’t a luxury, what is it?

Giles opens with ‘Thing-Prayer’, in which they repeat the word ‘thing’ so many times it starts sounding more like a strange noise than a word – to deliciously hypnotising effect. This is the pleasure of Giles’ poetry; they make the familiar unfamiliar with their sideways look at the world.

The Games, explains Giles, is so-called because that is what it contains – games, spells and plays. Yet this is play with a purpose – to imagine a fairer future. Giles expresses regret that they are good at writing poetry as opposed to organising revolutions. In Abolish the Police they reflect that, ‘The poem is only a world:/here it is, I only pass you the world/without police.’ It may or may not be about to start a revolution but Giles’ poetry does provide us with the space to imagine alternative worlds.

Another definition of poetry comes from the support act, Etzali Hernández, whose impassioned yet precise ten-minute set includes two poems in their first language of Spanish. Etzali explains that initially they wondered if performing in their own language would be self-indulgent, before deciding that, ‘It isn’t self-indulgent to be myself.’

So what is poetry? Poetry is play, poetry is imagining new worlds and poetry is the freedom to be yourself.

The Games by Harry Josephine Giles is available for £8.99 from Category Is Books at 34 Allison Street, Glasgow, G42 8NN.

Photo Credit Category IS Bookshop. 

Fun For all the Family at GCDT Halloween Party

Lots of fun was had at GCDT Family learning party, held by Esol/family learning tutor Loraine McHendry  with support from Noreen Campbell at Glasgow Life.

The was held at Daisy Street neighbourhood centre on Monday 29th October, and over 20 children dressed in Halloween costumes took part in the festivities.

Children Working hard to create their own scary monsters!

There was a Spooky interactive story, after which the children created their own scary monster! Parents took part in a face painting workshop and the children in game of bobbin apples.

Face-paint Fun

The event finished with a huge treasure hunt for sweets and treats around the neighbourhood centre garden.

The party was just part of our wider community events program, which is in place all year round.

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