My first year as the Manchester Community Coordinator - James Badrock
Breaking Boundaries is a three-year programme (2018 –2021) funded by Spirit of 2012, supported by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and The Institute of Community Cohesion (Icoco).
Manchester Community Champion, James Badrock was keen to tell us about his first year working on the Breaking Boundaries programme.
- How did your journey with Breaking Boundaries begin and what attracted you to get involved with this role? Having started the role as Breaking Boundaries Coordinator in the first lockdown, it has been an interesting start. Unfortunately, we have not been able to deliver on the activation grants, but I am hopeful we can make up for this next year. Having played cricket, the majority of my life, I was keen to get involved with Breaking Boundaries as I am fully aware of the impact a project like this can have on clubs and communities.
- What have been your highlights for this year on the Breaking Boundaries programme?
My main highlight so far, was being able to visit Moss Side Powerhouse and watch the work that the Diane Modahl Foundation were doing with the young people. It was great to see the impact of the project, especially during the pandemic we find ourselves in.
- With the Covid-19 pandemic what kind of new challenges did you face in your role as part of the Breaking Boundaries programme?
The main challenge was figuring out how we could engage the communities of Moss Side and Whalley Range without being able to deliver anything in person. As such we hosted an online Cricket Fit Zumba class which had 10 minutes at the end of each session for the members of community organisations to talk about their experience during lockdown.
- What new innovative ways did you adopt to ensure social connectedness during the pandemic? We introduced online Cricket Fit Zumba sessions to ensure physical activity was being delivered and the participants were interacting. Furthermore, we also asked all community organisations to share the work they had been doing during lockdown. We were then able to promote this on the Breaking Boundaries social media pages, with the aim of keeping the other community organisations informed of how other groups were assisting their community during lockdown.
- Which social media or digital campaign did you feel was the most impactful and successful during the Covid-19 pandemic?
One of the more interesting marketing campaigns I saw was the Lego Movie video which created a song about how to stop the spread of the virus and specifically targeted children.
- What were your overall highlights for this year of project delivery for Breaking Boundaries?
As well as being able to visit the Diane Modahl foundation at the Powerhouse in Moss Side and the online Cricket Fit Zumba sessions, the highlight was being able to see all the organisations promote the values of the Breaking Boundaries project by supporting those in and around their community.
- What were the biggest challenges for you this year as a city coordinator for Breaking Boundaries?
For me personally it was having to try and build relationships with the different community organisations without being able to meet them in person. As such we have had to use video calling which is the next best thing…
- What were your biggest successes this year as city coordinator for Breaking Boundaries?
My biggest success was being able to deliver outdoor activity just after the first lockdown in summer. We delivered Active Parks within Alexandra Park and had a great success with families from all over the community taking part and interacting with one another. For many this was their first opportunity to socialise with others from outside their own household.
- How did you work to support your city in becoming more cohesive and socially connected this year?
Through engaging with the city's cohesion coordinator and neighbourhoods' team, we were able to align the project outcomes into the city's 'Our Manchester' strategy. With there being two lockdowns, it has allowed us to develop contacts and think more strategically about the project and the impact we have.
- If you were to summarise your experience of Breaking Boundaries this year in three words what would they be?
Connected, Challenging, Creative
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