Community on Solid Ground (COSG) is a registered charity that has been running successful programmes for 12 years in South Manchester. Each week more than 400 people benefit from the activities of this well-loved local organisation. We have a unique relationship with the community and use sports, informal education, training, mentoring, and social activities, to empower people. Our programmes are purpose designed to focus on young people, to build a stronger, safer and coherent community. Young people joining in the projects experience an increase in personal confidence, motivation, skills and employability; all generations, families and neighbourhoods are healthily, happier and full of hope.
The charity is based in Whalley Range, South Manchester, and works in surrounding areas providing support for community members to participate in activities that develop increase integration, community cohesion and social inclusion. Many activities are offered directly to all sections of the community but there has always been a recognition that the health, welfare and positive futures of young people are key in building neighbourhoods that work across cultural differences and generations.
We get great results by using informal education opportunities to increase knowledge and awareness of crime and anti-social behaviour, the effects they have and the risks involved, so that young people can make informed decisions about their lifestyles enabling them to be more resilient, to achieve their full potential and positively contribute to the community as mature and responsible individuals, for the benefit of the whole community.
Our building-based youth projects offer sports and arts activities and events, but these are not remote and unconnected; young people welcome inspiring figures from the local area, enter competitions and attend events that bring them into contact with people from various backgrounds. Activities are inclusive and broad offering, for example, doorstep sport e.g. tennis, badminton, athletics, dodgeball (junior world 2016 champions!), and football, including a league level team. There are also girl-specific events, music opportunities, issue-based group-work (e.g. physical and mental wellbeing), games, individual support and guidance. The charity has a particular expertise in providing opportunities for young people by using sports activities for learning, fitness, and leisure/social and as a diversion.
Great relationships with famous local football clubs result in frequent appearances in the local press. Young people are part of the design and delivery of the programmes of change, working as volunteers and on advisory bodies. The work of Community on Solid Ground reflects the needs and desires of its local young people, and consultation and evaluation exercises also reel in the views of neighbours, residents, authorities and others. The local police, for example, are in touch with what is going on with Community on Solid Ground and provide positive input in places where young people could easily have developed antisocial attitudes.
We tackle the demanding challenges that the area presents with positivity. We bring people from this diverse multi-cultural area together to resolve issues and to contribute to a community to be thankful for.