The Creative Communities Group is known as the CCG for short. Do not, however, get these guys confused with the Clinical Commissioning Group – or the Classic Car Club.
This CCG is an international organisation consisting of an independent, autonomous network of local branches. Preston’s branch is located within the depths the University of Central Lancashire’s (UCLan) Business School & is run by Co-founder, UCLan Honorary Fellow & Community Ambassador Russell Hogarth & his colleague Nigel Farnworth (CCG Manager). 2017 has been a busy year for these boys;so we’d like to provide a roundup of (some of) the excellent work they’ve achieved within the community!
Here’s to a better tomorrow…
2016 ended strongly for the CCG as they chaired & organised UCLan’s annual Equality & Diversity Conference. Nigel was the main organiser; determined to have a strong community element within the delegates & guest speakers.
Over 80 delegates attended the ‘Towards a Better Tomorrow’ Conference. Designed to inspire visitors, it promoted & celebrated people who are successful despite perceived obstacles such as disability, mental health issues, poverty, gender, race & sexual discrimination.
We were in attendance ourselves and must say it was an exceptional success – with guest speakers’ ranging from serving RAF pilot Roger Cruickshank to award-winning performer Juliette Burton. A particular highlight was guest speaker Paul Walmsley, who was once Britain’s most wanted man before turning his life around. The speakers & workshop presenters were exceptional; the overall quality, depth & warmth of the day was something very special to encounter.
Russell told Podio,
“It’s the third year that I’ve had the pleasure of chairing the annual UCLan Diversity Conference. Each time, we build on the success of the previous.’
“I’m continually amazed by the genuine warmth & honesty that permeates through the room during these conferences.’
Sir Tom Finney – a Celebration
In February 2017, the CCG held two successful events as UCLan Honorary Fellow Malcolm Rae approached them to help organize a night to celebrate the life of Preston North End football Legend Sir Tom Finney.
On the evening, Sir Tom’s teammates & close friends Eric Jones & Peter Higham led tributes & shared their own personal stories at UCLan’s Mitchell & Kenyon Theatre. At the time, Eric commented, “It was an honour & privilege to play & train alongside Sir Tom during the 1950s era.’ This event is an example of how the CCG can work with other organizations & provide facilities within the University.
Standing together against racism
The CCG went through to March and, for the second year in a row, organized & facilitated Preston’s Stand Together Against Racism (STAR) event in conjunction with Preston City Council. Held in UCLan’s Venue 53, the evening and the STAR Choir featured students from Ashton Community Science College & Fulwood Academy. Over 250 people attended the event in support so make sure you attend this years event taking place on the 16th March 2018.
Members of the UK Youth Parliament spoke at the event: ChengkaiXie spoke about Preston’s harmonious & diverse community that work together to promote fairness, justice & equality for all. Ammaarah James spoke about the negativity of racism & the need for tolerance in society.
Russell adds, “I had the honour & pleasure of welcoming the audience & Nigel did a fabulous job on the night as MC, helping the event to run smoothly. CCG members also very kindly volunteered their services to support.”
Mr Makhlisur Rahman JP, Chair of Preston & Western Lancashire Racial Equality & Diversity Council, said, ‘I firmly believe that Preston is a model city of good community relations and I’m delighted to promote a message of One Community – One Preston.”
One Billion Rising
An event that the CCG supports annually; the One Billion Rising event takes place on the same day every year in countries around the world. It brings people together to dance & demand an end to violence against women & children. Held at UCLan’s Sir Tom Finney Sports Centre, the dance was coordinated by instructor & World Salsa Dance champion Phil Kaila from Salsa Northwest.
This event focuses on the exploitation of women & girls and highlights the shocking statistic that one in three women will be beaten or raped in their lifetime.
Preston Health Mela
The CCG moved through to April in style as they brought the annual Preston Health Mela back to UCLan where more than 1,500 Prestonians received a health check MOT (done in partnership with the National Forum for Health & Wellbeing).
Visitors to the 70-plus health related stalls were given free health checks & advice from a variety of healthcare professionals while younger attendees enjoyed themselves with a visit to the Teddy Bear Clinic & testing out the smoothie making bike. The event complements the education, research, innovation & enterprise provided at the University.
In June, the CCG took Preston Soup 2 out into the community by working with the Intact Community Centre in Ingol. For a small donation, attendees received a bowl of soup & a chance to vote on the community initiative they believed the city would benefit from the most.
A local children’s choir called Community Voices won the £150 prize money. Other initiatives that pitched at Preston Soup were local cancer support group CancerHelp, Farringdon Park Community Centre & Art Therapist Marian Vickers.
“I would like to thank Nigel for his support, as well as all the organisations that helped to make this event possible. Especially, Recycling Lives, UCLan Catering, GuideDotYou Change Solutions, Business in the Community, the Prince’s Responsible Business Network & Intact Community Centre.”
Global Amigos offered all participants free cover in any future edition of our seasonal city centre publication, Podio Magazine; an offer which CancerHelp snapped up (a full page ad for their Cross Bay Walk featured in our Summer Edition)
After Hate UK
More recently the CCG have supported the ‘After Hate’ campaign led by Andy Neale. Russell & Nigel have agreed to be non-exec trustees for the project & will hopefully bring a wealth of knowledge & expertise to help After Hate develop into a charity. This coincides with the CCG working with Disability Equality North West to help mark the tenth anniversary of a young Goth who was beaten to death (Sophie Lancaster) for being different.
Sophie’s mother Sylvia came to UCLan to spread her message as the BBC film about Sophie’s death was shown to staff, students & community members.
“It’s really important that students take on the messages in the film, as these are the people who can make positive changes against hate crime in their future careers.’
Nigel told Podio,
‘it was a privilege for the CCG to bring this event to UCLan. The film about Sophie’s life was very powerful & meeting her mother, Sylvia was an honour. The fascinating question & answer session at the end left me & other members of the audience inspired to help spread the message that hate crime of any kind is unacceptable.’
Read this article in full, and all others that have featured in previous editions, at podiomagazine.com/articles.
Let’s see what Russell, Nigel and the CCG gets up to in 2018 and as Emma says above follow them on Twitter.