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
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.
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.
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 Amy@reachhealth.org.uk 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.
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.
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?
‘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.
You may have noticed that Govanhill.info has had a bit of a makeover. This site has been revamped so that news and events are brought to the forefront to make it easier to share the latest news and information about what is going on in Govanhill and the surrounding area, in order to keep it as up-to-date as possible.
As part of this revamp Govanhill Community Development Trust is looking for volunteer Community Reporters to cover local events for the site.
If you have skills in writing, photography, proof-reading, WordPress editing or social media, and are interested in keeping the community informed about local news and events, we want to hear from you. We are also looking for anyone wishing to gain experience or develop skills in these areas. This opportunity might suit someone interested in a career in journalism or a communications role. Reasonable expenses will be paid and all volunteers will receive mentoring and support from the GCDT Media Worker.
If you are interested in this opportunity, please send a short email to Liz at Lely@govanhillha.org with your contact details and why you are interested in the role. Experience is not necessary as volunteers will be supported, but anything you can tell us about your current skills and experience is helpful.
These volunteer positions are open to all but preference will be given to people who live in the Govanhill area.
We met with Felix Slavin, one half of Music Broth, Govanhill’s brand-new instrument-lending library, who told us about their new social enterprise operating from Unit 7 in Victoria Court.
Felix is surrounded by instruments; there are a large number of guitars, although the library has other instruments too, including a djembe, pianos and even a trombone.
Music Broth was founded in 2017. The idea was conceived as a way to make use of a number of musical instruments Felix had inherited from his late uncle. The aim of the project is to improve access to musical instruments, which are often expensive, to ensure that the widest possible range of people can enjoy the pleasure of making music.
In June 2018 Music Broth secured space at the Victoria Court Workspaces large enough to safely store their many instruments.
Memberships are open to organisations and individuals. If you wish to find out more information or join the lending library, you can contact Music Broth at email@example.com or through social media on Facebook @MusicbrothGlasgow or Twitter @musicbroth.
If you have an instrument at home which is gathering dust and would make a useful addition to the library, Music Broth are also interested in hearing from you.
Music Broth rent space from the Govanhill Community Development Trust. If you are interested in renting one of these work spaces, please contact Dave Zabiega at Dzabiega[@]govanhillha.org.
The Southside of Glasgow is blessed with a number of wonderful green spaces, the most well-known of these is undoubtedly Queens Park at the top of Victoria Road. Govanhill Park, where the Govanhill Festival Parade began, is also popular and well-used.
The Parks and Ride tour aimed to introduce people to the lesser-known green spaces in the area, such as Brennan Square, the Croft and Riccarton Park.
Our first stop was a tour of the South Seeds Croft with Lisa. Half of the community croft is used by Locavore and the other half is filled with raised beds for use by the community.
After a brief stop off at the Westmoreland Street Gardens, the tour continued to the Allison Street Community Garden, where we learned about how local young people have been involved in transforming the area.
After this the walk moved on to Brennan Square, a little-known spot surrounded by postwar housing, much loved by those who live around it.
Next to the square one resident has placed a sign with directions detailing the various waves of immigration to Govanhill.
From Brennan Square followed a brief journey to Riccarton Park. Riccarton Park was created in 1994 as a collaborative project between the Glasgow Development Agency in association with Scottish Enterprise and Glasgow City Council.
This local park offers visitors two synthetic surfaced games courts – one equipped for basketball/netball and the other for five-a-side football. There is also a children’s play area equipped to cater for all age ranges and with ample seating. This park is one of 27 in Glasgow protected in law through a Fields in Trust initiative, meaning they can only be used for recreational purposes.
The penultimate stop on the tour was the Govanhill Housing Association’s own community garden. The garden itself was closed at the time of the tour as works are taking place to improve the space and make it accessible for disabled people, with the intention to creative a fully accessible space for people with all kinds of physical and sensory disabilities. Participants were able to sneak a look inside and get an update on the works taking place.
The last stop took us out of Govanhill to one of the better-known local spots, the Hidden Gardens. Development worker Wing met us with an array of information about how to make the most of their beautiful space.
The route followed by the tour is detailed below. Govanhill Community Development Trust hope to run this again in the future in order to introduce people to overlooked local spots. In one case, a participant had lived in the area for over 30 years, but was introduced to several new spots through the tour.