Seven unemployed women who attend our Women and Family Centre, located in Ashton, visited the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester on Thursday 20 June to watch the play Hobson’s Choice. They also took part in a back stage tour as part of a 10 week employment and skills initiative. Six of them had never been to the theatre before.

The Neighbourhood Engagement Team and the Royal Exchange Theatre work in partnership to engage with 10 women and provide interactive workshops on team working and customer service. The women can secure an accredited qualification which can lead to working as front of house staff for a pop up theatre ‘The Den’, coming to Stalybridge Civic Hall in August.  This innovative learning opportunity will involve the participants in job shadowing and learning new skills with a customer-facing role.

Deborah Gail Leech a New Charter Homes tenant from Ashton under Lyne said: “I thought the theatre was for posh people who rock up in big cars but it’s totally not like that.  This theatre is wrapped around people and I don’t think people realise what theatre can do for mental health – you can watch something and get an escape for a little while. It’s beautiful.”

The visit was celebrated in The Guardian newspaper which you can read here.

This innovative project provides fantastic opportunities for Tameside residents to improve their wellbeing and mental health, employment prospects and learn new skills working alongside professional artists within the industry.  The projects delivered so far have had a positive impact on people’s lives, removing the barriers to isolation, improving people’s confidence and increasing self-esteem.  Pathways are in place for individuals and groups to gain greater understanding and appreciation of arts and culture and to see first-hand how this can take place in Tameside. They key focus will be on resident involvement using an asset-based community development approach.

For more info on this exciting project, please contact John McGlynn Neighbourhood Engagement Officer: John.McGlynn@jigsawhomes.org.uk

Find out more about the Tameside Women and their Families centre visit https://support.jigsawhomes.org.uk/information-article/women-and-their-families/