Sunday, January 20, 2013

Save The Baths - Meeting Report

Because I am a bad Levenshulmian I couldn't make the meeting on Friday to discuss the future of the Baths and Library. Thankfully, I have ears everywhere and, in this case, the lovely Susan Mcpherson took some notes and has kindly provided me with the following report:

105 people braced the cold to attend the meeting. Save Levy Baths briefly summed up the history of the campaign and Cllr Julie Reid (Gorton South) summed up her opposition to the culling of the baths. What followed was a wide-ranging and often emotional discussion not just about the baths, but also about the devastation caused by these cuts. Residents called on the Labour Council to not put through the budget. It was also proposed that the campaign to save the baths links in fully with other groups, via the central Manchester Coalition Against the cuts, and call a Manchester Demo with one message: Councillors – vote against the budget. Let the Tories/Lib Dems do their own dirty work. This was welcomed and agreed. 

The campaign will thus attend the MCAC meeting next Tuesday (22cnd). Save Withington Baths also attended the meeting and asked for support from Levenshulme. Sir Gerald Kaufman MP offered his support to the campaign and also said that anti-cuts groups are an important part of resistance. Cllrs were also asked to not vote for the budget should these cuts go through. Cllr Reid (Gorton South) and Cllr Ahmed (Levenshulme) agreed. Lib Dem Cllr Hennigan will vote against the budget as is usual for the opposition; they will propose their own round of cuts.

Events agreed:

  • Thursday 24th January, 7.00pm-8.00pm at Inspire – Planning meeting. Followed by free soup at the Bluebell.
  • Saturday 26th January, march and demo – meet at Tesco at 12.00pm, bring books, banners, noise
  • Black Ribbon event: black ribbon will be distributed to folks at the Thursday meeting to cover any services lost or soon to be lost in Levenshulme. 

Fliers will be done for next week and 20 people have volunteered thus far to distribute to schools, family, shops, friends, groups.

Matthew Duggan/More Talk are sponsoring a text message service so residents can get event/meetings alerts to their mobile phones. Please sign up for text message "stopthecuts" to 01618505333. 

A Facebook group is also available so please join to make sure you keep up to date on the information available.

One other important thing to note: the report above, the meeting and the activities described are being organised jointly by Levenshulme Community Association and the Save the Baths group, who have jointly put a great deal of work into organising the action so far.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Levenshulme Baths and Library - The Current Situation

Many of you woke up this morning to hear the news that, in the light of major cuts to Manchester City Council's funding from central government, MCC have recommended in their proposed budget for 2013/14 that Levenshulme Baths and Library be shut as soon as possible this year. Sense of deja vu, anyone?

As you may recall (I recall it, I went on the radio! I had to get up at 6!), the last time this was threatened the people of Levenshulme banded together and protested with all their might (led by a fantastic group of community organisers) and got the decision overturned with the intention that both would stay open until a new "Joint Service Centre" could be developed to provide the services currently housed in the baths and the library (you may have seen the consultation surveys about this online over the last year or so).

The new recommendations are as follows:

To invest and provide a new Levenshulme Leisure Centre (which will include a library offer) to replace the existing Levenshulme pools which are no longer considered fit for purpose.

This will be funded from the Council’s Capital Programme and from savings made from closing the current centre in 2013. It is proposed that the new facility is provided within the District Centre. Detailed plans will be brought back to a future meeting of the Executive as soon as possible. It is intended that the new facility will be operational by spring 2015.

Service users from Levenshulme will temporarily be facilitated to utilise the Manchester Aquatics Centre and Wright Robinson until the new centre is developed.

It is proposed to introduce a City wide library strategy to be delivered from the refurbished Central Library and 13 neighbourhood libraries. The remaining 6 libraries (Burnage, Fallowfield, Levenshulme, Miles Platting, New Moston , Northenden) would be decommissioned with revenue funding withdrawn and the service with outreach libraries or community book collections established in line with the successful models developed at Clayton and Rackhouse.


As of now there are two events planned as I know of, I will update this post with other information about any formal working groups or similar formed.

  • Protest - Today (16th January), 5.30pm, Levenshulme Baths
  • Public Meeting - Friday (18th January), 5.30pm, Levenshulme Inspire.

Tracey Browne's Sunday Songwriter Sessions

The lovely Tracey's afternoons of chilled out music are back with tunes to cure your hangover and touch your soul...

The first gig of 2013 will be happening on Sunday 27th January at the Klondyke, from 2.00-5.00pm, with guaranteed quality acoustic/chillout acts, to soothe your aching head after the Saturday night before.

Tracey Browne (Manchester, UK) - this gig will form part of Tracey's European 'Rivers' tour.

Raevennan Husbandes (Lowestoft, UK)

Rae is a gorgeously talented singer-songwriter, who has worked on professional commercial projects with The Unthanks, and recently won Norwich's 'Next Big Thing' contest with her blend of stunning vocals and classical guitar training. A truly special start to the 2013 programme...

£4 on the door/£2 kids (noisy ones can play outside)

Monday, January 14, 2013

BINS! (and other animals)

Bins bins bins bins bins.

Confession: until relatively recently I didn't know that bins weren't supposed to live in the ginnel. That's probably because I'm from the south where, instead of bins, we have gigantic refuge housings made out of ivory carved by virgin maidens but still, my point is this - I'm supposed to be a community minded sort and there are a lot of us about in Levy and yet we still have problems with BINS.

Thankfully, though, the waste team at Manchester City council are onto people like me and have been in touch asking me to publicise some of the ways that they can help residents combat waste problems and explore other ways to improve our environment. (Bin) guilt and exhaustion are a heady combination and, as such, I am reproducing the text they have provided below about the different options but the most important thing to note is that they are dead keen for residents to get in touch, so if you have a problem that is waste related or an idea about how the area can be improved from an environmental perspective then get in touch with Johnson Liu, the Customer and Community Engagement Lead - Education and Campaigns in Neighbourhood Services - 0161 274 6221,

And, without further ado, this is what Johnson had to say about the resources available:

We like to work directly with community groups and residents and work out how we can improve their highlighted area of interest/concern on a individually basis.  The following web links for additional information that might of use to you -

The Community Guardian Scheme - working directly with Manchester City Council, residents are provided with training to enable them to be more environmentally-active in their chosen area of interest.  Such training includes first aid, waste and recycling and an educational visit to see how rubbish collected at the kerbside is recycled in Manchester.  As a Community Guardian, residents can contribute in a number of ways: making environmental improvements to their area, running a community group or club, acting as a local tree warden, providing information for members of the community, reporting local issues and becoming an inspiration to other residents.  This scheme is ideal for residents to join and to seek the support needed from the Customer and Community Engagement Team.

Waste and recycling information - The weblink below should provide all the information needed on the service.  If local residents require further information, then please ask them to contact me directly and I will assist them with their ideas and enquiries.  Such support i can offer include waste and recycling presentations on how to use the service, engage with residents, reporting waste problems and access to communication materials.

Manchester City Council's Environmental Services - The weblink below takes you to our landing page on all issues relating to the local environment.  The information here should provide you with a summary on the services we provide and how residents can report problems such as fly-tipping, noise pollution, dog fouling, etc.  Alternatively, residents can sign up to the 'MyAccount' website, where they can track and see feedback from any problems they have reported.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Levenshulme District Centre/Town Team Partnership

Would you flipping believe it, if you make enough fuss about something eventually people take notice. Not that I claim too much credit - since I, being a big fusser, make a big fuss about a lot of things it was inevitable that coincidence would hit sooner or later. Obtruse-ness (it's a word) aside, I am pleased to say that there is now a MEETING to discuss the Town Team Partnership and Levenshulme District Centre and the plans for spending the funding allocated to it. I know! Who'd of thunk it, eh?! Consulting with the people who actually live here, it's a SHOCKER*.

So, the meeting is next Tuesday - 15th January and will be held at St. Mary's Parochial Centre, Elbow Street, from 6pm - 8pm.

BUT hoooooooooooooold your horses, there soldier - you didn't think it would be that easy, did you? No. So - the meeting, like the Town Team, is open to anyone who represents a "residents group, community group or is a trader" but they would like as many people as possible to be involved and I'm sure that I don't have to remind you that the money allocated to spend on the high street is for Levenshulme High Street. Which is where you live and I KNOW a lot of you have opinions on how it could be improved? So if you're reeeeeeally keen to be a part of deciding how this money is spent, well...I'm sure you'll find a way...

Make of that what you will.


** Unless you are one of the people on the council who I need to keep sweet and on side at the moment, in which case: yes, I understand why it's take a while to sort and yes, you are massively under resourced in trying to do really important work but I am massively under resourced in trying to make this stuff readable so forgive me a little dramatic licence for the sake of getting people to read beyond the first paragraph? Cheers.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Levy Jamboree - The Second Coming!

Did you go to the last Levy Jamboree? Did you? Well if you didn't (and even if you did) FEAR NOT! Below the fold is a collection of all the videos, photos and other excitements I've managed to gather about it so you can relive the wonder as if you were there! But really this is all a prelude to the main event which is to announce that the 2nd Jamboree is now in the offing! Hurrah!!

The event will take place at the Klondyke again (love those guys) on Friday 8th February and will kick off at 8.00pm with an absolutely stellar line up, featuring:

Lou and the Llamas - the orginal Levenshulme Supergroup
Monkeys in Love - another great Levenshulme band, best known for the ASTOUNDING Gininacan
Phil Davies and the ninjasmokebombs - cinematic space reggae, just what your Friday night needs!

Tickets are £5.00 in advance or £6.00 on the door and info about where to buy advance tickets coming very soon - to keep in the loop and see which other people-as-awesome-as-you are attending, join the Facebook event.

The last Levy Jamboree - well, it should be pretty clear that I thought it was awesome - but don't just take my word for it - watch the videos, view the pictures, RELIVE THE NIGHT OF YOUR LIFE:

Share photos on twitter with Twitpic

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Copesetic Sound System - 26th January

Following on from their wildly successful gig during the festival, Copesetic Sound System are lugging their vintage style JA sound system boxes back up the stairs of M19 for another night of ska, reggae, rocksteady and RnB on Saturday 26th January, from 8.00pm - 1.00am.

Just like the first one, the event promises to have a warm musical vibe, playing sweet sounds of Jamaica, what better way to take your mind off the January blues? All the info can be found on their new website - - and on Twitter and Facebook. Tickets are £3.00 on the door.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Community First - Grants Available for Levenshulme

More Levy money - and this time it's for community, cultural and employment and environmental projects - via the government-funded initiative Community First.

Levenshulme has been allocated £33,910 for distribution to local groups over the next 3 years. The local panel has already been able to distribute £5,607 to 7 local groups and now has a further £8,489 to give to local groups who want to make a difference to their community.

If you want to organise local cultural events, support environmental projects, do something to help improve employment opportunities or respond to the needs of local young people or older people please email for more details.

There will also be a meeting on Wednesday 16th January at the Klondyke from 7.00pm to explain how the community projects will feed into our local plan and give more details on how to apply. No need to book in advance - just show up!

Grants can be applied from £250.00 to £1000.00 per group and have to be matched by volunteer time or other contributions. The closing date for applications will be Friday 15th February 2013.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

New Year's Eve in Levy - Leve Nights

We are going to gloss over the whole Leve/Levy controversy - it's Christmas and no time for ALL OUT WAR ON THE INCORRECT (ahem) and move on to the detail - vis: Leve Nights are holding a New Year's Eve party and I thought it might be nice to do a bit of a run down of your New Year's Eve options in general in Levenshulme to save you all from the hell that is waiting in the freezing rain for a taxi that never comes - why bother when there's so much on your doorstep (you may have gathered by now that one of the main motivators behind my Levenshulme love is sheer laziness and a reluctance to travel to experience mediocre social situations - I'm not ashamed). All of which is an expensive way of saying - if you know of a New Year's gathering happening in Levenshulme's pubs or similar then let me know and I'll list it on here - I'm good like that.

On to the detail about Leve Nights which, if you didn't know, is a monthly club night at the Klondyke which doesn't liked to be pinned down to one genre of music - oh no - their Facebook page lists Soul, Ska, Motown, Reggae, Soukous, Jit, Salsa, Jazz, Blues, Rock and Roll, Country, 50's R & B, Punk/New wave, 60's and 70's pop and rock hits as their music as choice.

For the New Year's Eve do they are adding "making merry" to their roster of attractions AND you get a free glass of fizzy with your ticket, which are £5 for adults, £3 for teens and FREE for the under 10s. They are asking guests to bring a little something to contribute to a buffet and the fun kicks off at 9.00pm. If you'd like more details or want to buy a ticket (which must be done in advance) you can PM from their Facebook page or email

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Levenshulme Film Club - Call For Ideas

And just like that, the festivities are over and thoughts turn to the next year...

Well, fear not, January doesn't have to be all brutal exercise regimes and punishing diets (in fact it shouldn't be either of those things - love yourself the way you are, Levy!) - Levenshulme Film Club are thinking about the new year in a much more fun way and are looking at their programme of films for 2013 and would like your ideas. Have you got a film you'd like to see in local surrounding? Get in touch via the Levenshulme Film Club Facebook page or by email to

For those that don't know, film showings are on the second Thursday or Friday of every month at Inspire, with their cafe open from 7.00pm and the showings from 7.30pm. Films are shown with a high definition projector and surround sound for a high quality cinematic experience for a fraction of the cost of seeing a movie at the multiplex and much more atmosphere!

Monday, December 24, 2012

New Documentary Project in Levy - Netto Ghetto

Another little bit of Levenshulme love for the festive season  for a resident doing great work(feeling overwhelmed by my appreciation for all things Levy? The clue is in the name, guys) - this time for documentary photographer Ciara Leeming, who produced the wonderful Elvira and Me book earlier in the year as part of her independent documentary project about Roma migration and integration into British society - The Roma Project - and has recently started another project about Levenshulme - Netto Ghetto.

I asked her to write a bit for me about the project and her work and, like all my favourite people, she delivered:

As a documentary photographer my camera serves several purposes: it’s my licence to be nosy and to engage with people I find interesting, and it’s the tool by which I learn and remember. After a period working for newspapers and searching for the sensational or the exotic – often abroad – my thinking has come a full circle and I now look for stories in my own metaphorical back yard. Much of my work is quite challenging to develop – some of it even takes place in this very neighbourhood – but I now want to carve the space to celebrate other characters, be they ‘ordinary’ or ‘unusual’ (meaningless words in themselves, since everybody has a story). 

As a Levy resident of eight years, I’ve recently felt compelled to start marking in a humble way some of the folks who make up this warm and vibrant neighbourhood – the first place I’ve lived where I’ve genuinely felt part of a community. It’s nothing fancy but I’ve started a slow-burning, meandering and open-ended project called Netto Ghetto ( on whose website I’m posting portraits of other Levy residents, bits of their writing and any other bits or encounters which spring to mind. I am looking for people to sit for portraits in the New Year so if you are interested or would like to suggest someone please email me at Otherwise please keep an eye on the site.  

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Levenshulme Youth Project

Another fantastic outcome of the Levenshulme Community Association meeting last week for me was learning about the Levenshulme Youth Project and the fantastic work they are doing to help the young people of the area.

The group holds drop-in sessions for young people every Tuesday from 6.30pm at Inspire, with table tennis, X-box, games, media, crafts and lots of other activities and a Youth Forum at the library every Wednesday from 5.30pm - supporting young people who want to get their voice heard or organise projects or events in the community. They have also recently started hosting meetings especially for young women, who often face particular pressures as they reach adulthood.

I'm sure you'll all agree this is a fantastic development for Levenshulme but it will work even better if as many young people as possible know about it as possible know about it and as many adults who are able to help out can volunteer so please get in touch with Sarah Riley on  0161 447 5120 if you'd like more information and visit the Facebook page for updates on new activity..

Friday, December 21, 2012

Radio Training at ALL FM

You know how ace ALL FM is, right? I thought I did - I thought I knew that they were a truly local radio station, championing local causes and helping our community in all sorts of ways but what I didn't know was that one of the key aspects of what they do is designed to make a real difference to the lives of unemployed people in Manchester, equipping them, not just with skills but also, crucially, confidence, but offering full training in all aspects of radio production and the opportunity to present their own show to up to 14,000 people.

Trainees are taught the skills that running a radio show requires, including working the mixing desk, conducting interviews, producing jingles/trailers and working with audio editing software. No previous experience is required - they focus on the technical, journalistic and production aspects of radio, offering a rounded experience to ensure that trainees are able to make the most of their time.

We also offer training to local small businesses and companies, and have a number of corporate training packages including creating your own advert, learning how to broadcast and team building activities.

For more information about volunteering with allfm, the training they offer and how you can get involved, contact Community Radio Trainer Jason Cooke on  0161 248 6888, or email

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Mark Dunn - The Pride of Levenshulme is the Pride of Manchester

A slightly belated bit of news here but I though it worth mentioning as a reminder to us all at Christmas how lucky we are here in Levenshulme to have some great people around us. In this particular case I'm pleased to be able to tell you that Mark Dunn, the manager of the fantastic Bluebell pub won the Unsung Hero and the overall Pride of Manchester Community Diamond Award at this year's Manchester City Council Be Proud Awards.

If you've not had the pleasure of meeting Mark please do make it a priority - he runs the Bluebell brilliantly - looking after his locals while encouraging new visitors but also works tirelessly to raise money for a range of charities - never making a fuss about it, just quietly getting on, and to top it all he's a top top lovely bloke.

Congratulations Mark - LoveLevenshulme is proud to have you as part of our community.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Levy Social Media Meet Up - A reminder

Just a quicky reminder that the Levy Social Media Meet Up is tonight at the Bluebell from 7.00pm - see below for details and see you there!

Right-oh - the votes are in, the results have been checked and verified (by me, which rather defeats the point) and I am pleased to announce that the social media masses of Levenshulme have arrange to meet and chat at 7.00pm on Tuesday 18th December at The Bluebell.

As those of you on Twitter may know we used to hold fairly regular "tweetups" for Levenshulme folk, at which some strong friendships were formed and there is now a very strong Twitter community in Levenshulme. In the last few years I've not had much time to set them up and in the mean time the Levy Massive Facebook Group has also grown into a bit of a community and there has been talk of a meetup on there so I thought, why not combine the two?!

The evening will be a relaxed affair, with a chance to put some faces to names and discuss your Levenshulme life, all over a beer or tipple of your choice. See you there!!

Levenshulme Community Website

As you may have read (don't worry, I don't flatter myself that you're all sat at home waiting with bated breath for my ever missive...*SOB*) I went to a meeting of the Levenshulme Community Association a few weeks back and I'm pleased to say that it was an interesting and lively meeting and it looks like there are changes afoot at the LCA which should see more opportunities for input from the whole community and improved communication in the New Year. In light of that, there's one major change that I'm sure you'll all be delighted to hear:

The LCA website is now live and at

There are all sorts of useful features, including a forum for your thoughts, a groups section that will shortly list the various organisations and groups in Levenshulme (get in touch with them if you'd like your group to be listed), a calendar of LCA and other community meetings and a form to fill in to get in touch with the LCA.

Please start using this valuable resource - the LCA are really keen for as many residents as possible to feel like they have a stake in how their community is run and would welcome new members.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Levenshulme Food and Drink Festival!

Got your attention, didn't I? Well, unlike those adverts grabbing attention with false advertising of the old *whispered* S.E.X. this one is a plan that is very much in the offing!

The wonderful Jean Bernard, who many of you may know, has been gently formulating plans, looking at funding options and gathering ideas for a Food and Drink festival to happen in Levenshulme in early summer 2013. I KNOW! HOW EXCITING!

Having done great good work over the last few months getting ideas together Jean has now called a meeting of all interested parties to start thinking how they can be progressed in the new year - the meeting will take place on Thursday 20th December in the Bluebell at 7.00pm. Jean would be delighted to see as many people as possible so please click here to email her if you're planning on coming.


Ho ho ho ho ho ho ho! Etc etc etc etc!

Well Christmas is still a-coming (this is what happens when you start getting excited on 1st December) and Levenshulme is getting even more festive than usual with our final market of 2012 and the final market being run by Manchester Markets (but not the last market for Levenshulme...oh no...more soon!) on Saturday 22nd December. that's right, the last shopping Saturday before Christmas so why not support local independent traders by finishing your shopping here in Levenshulme? Quite apart from the excellent local crafts, food and plant-y gifts you can pick up, you can warm yourself with some local made mulled wine without the heaving crowds and public transport woes of going into town. And that's not all! to see out the year, the market is also hosting a number of treats and entertainments to give you just a flavour of the local fun that the ALL NEW MARKET (more news soon, more news soon) will have next year:

Saint Nick will be in his grotto and having his photo taken with kids young and old from 12.00noon - 2.00pm. There will be a small charge for this but Santa is a busy man and this is his second visit to Levenshulme this December (and he'll have to come back on the night of 24th too) so I'm sure you can understand.

Heritage Walks with The Levenshulme Players
Meeting at 11.30am at the TAG - Pass it On! stall, Peter O'Grady, renowned local historian, will lead a walk around Levenshulme, taking in some of the architectural, cultural and historical highlights of Levy, including The Street With No Name, the Library and Baths with talk of Levenshulme's most famous son, Sir Norman Foster. Along the way the Levenshulme Players will provide entertainment and the walk will finish at the old Town Hall. What better way to kick off a Levenshulme Christmas than a little local love!

Levenshulme Ukulele Orchestra - Christmas Sing-a-Long
The wonderful Ukulele Orchestra, last seen performing at the wonderful Levenshulme Jambouree during the festival have been diligently practising the cheesiest of Christmas songs along with a few carols and what you to join them at 2.00pm for a festive sing-a-long.

Plus, obviously, all the wonderful fare you've come to expect at the market and even more - jewellery, Christmas decorations, munchies, clothes, cup cakes and more - check the Levenshulme Market Facebook page for more details.

There are still a very few trader spots left too, so if you're interested email

See you there!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Trove 1st Birthday

Can you believe we've had Trove in our midst for a whole year? I'm fairly biased because they're just around the corner from our house and I am lazy so don't like to go too far for cake but I just love Trove and so I thought I'd write a little post, congratulating and thanking them for coming to Levenshulme and being such an active force in our community - I think if you'd asked anyone this time last year if they thought we'd have a tiny cafe in our midst that was capable of winning Gold accreditation by ‘Truly Good Food’ AND a Manchester Food and Drink Festival Award they would've had a little giggle. Katy and Marcus have done just that, and along the way produced some stonking good pizza nights, supported the market and brought new life to their end of the A6. Thank you and congratulations to them both.

Anyway, they will be celebrating their anniversary this Thursday (13th December) in the shop from 4.00pm with cake and mulled wine - if you, like me, *heart* Trove then come along and tell them so!