May 2022 was Mental Health and Wellbeing Month for Cheetham and Crumpsall with Abraham Moss Library and Winning Hearts and Minds bringing together organisations and communities to collaborate on a packed programme of events designed to promote the mental and physical wellbeing of all members in our community. The pandemic has had an adverse effect on our residents and health outcomes have sadly worsened over this time. Funding for the programme was provided by Winning Hearts and Minds with in-kind contributions from Manchester Libraries. For Library manager Fozia Pasha and our North Manchester Libraries staff, this was an ideal opportunity to work with Parveen Akhtar and her team to deliver activities of our choice at our venues with our targeted audience to promote and celebrate the wellbeing of our community.

First up was a lovely Age Friendly Pamper Day on 10 May for girls and ladies. This brought our Abraham Moss Library girls group and the WomenZone social group together with the Grand Day Out seniors group from Harpurhey for a full morning of health treatments. Hand massages were led by Parveen & Poppy Soldatos, our local Tesco’s community champion for Cheetham Hill and an Armchair Yoga class was led by library assistant & yoga teacher Angela . This was followed by a light lunch with tea, coffee and cream and jam scones offered by library staff Tracy and Julie. Everyone loved this busy feel-good day immensely with most participants rating it as 10/10, describing it as “relaxing”, “friendly” “enjoyable meeting new people”. Some ladies said how helpful it was to learn breathing and exercises which are easy to do at home and which can help with asthma conditions.

Highlight of the programme was our Bollywood Music and Dance Evening with Abraham Moss Library for ladies of the Cheetham & Crumpsall communities. We know that improving the health and wellbeing of women and mothers also helps improve health outcomes for families and local residents of all ages as women are the heroines who keep everyone going.

Amongst those joining us were lovely mums and staff from Oasis Academy Temple Primary School with whom we enjoy a rewarding partnership benefiting local families. Abraham Moss Community School kindly lent the use of the Theatre space for the evening and we planned to dance the night away to help us exercise and feel good with Shamime Jan and her ladies from Bollyfit Active. Shamime is very experienced at teaching Bollywood dance moves and positively encouraging everyone, regardless of their culture or age, to dance freely without self-consciousness. This was a joyous evening with everyone in their party finery dancing to Bollywood classics and South Asian pop – we made lovely new friends, had a great work-out and learnt some terrific new dance moves. A refreshment break enabled everyone to catch their breath and tuck into delicious and healthy samosas, salad and yogurt dip, before we continued dancing again. It was a thoroughly enjoyable evening – a real chance for the ladies of Cheetham and Crumpsall to take a well-earned break with a great night of dance exercise and social activity offering brilliant mental and physical well being benefits for a community with a generous and welcoming heart.