Who's the bloke in the middle?!

ICM Forum – Adventures at the Bridgewater Hall

I wanted to write a blog about our service user night out with the ICM Service User Forum.  It was arranged by our delivery partner Back on Track who were given some free tickets from the Bridgewater Hall for an orchestral piece called ‘Wall of Water’.

We had 6 tickets so myself, Carl Turner (Engagement Worker), Peter McMahon (Peer Mentor and new GROW Trainee), Lawrence McGill (ICM Service User Forum Member), Vinny Debotte (ICM Service User Forum Member) and Darren Scholes (ICM Service User Forum Member, and has just completed peer mentor training) all attended.

We were a motley crew of ‘high brow’ individuals who knew the value of connecting to the arts and culture of the city.  This is something that those who are faced with multiple and complex needs should have access to. We are keen to spread the message that the arts, music and other creative pursuits of the city are not the domain of the privileged and those that can afford it.

Here we come!

Here we come!

It is easy to forget that those who are living at the sharp end in Manchester may have interests and talents in arts and culture.  We can tend to look solely at their issues which can then lead to the belief that this makes up the whole of their character and personality.

This is why we are passionate about working more flexibly, together with our service users, peers and professionals to connect with all the great things that happen in our culturally diverse city.

So we met at the ICM hub where we feasted on pizza and prepared for our evening ahead

Lawrence looking sharp :)

Lawrence looking sharp 🙂

We arrived at the Bridgewater Hall and it’s probably fair to say that we stood out like cats at Crufts (apart from Lawrence of course, who looked the part).

To say we stood out is probably an indicator of how the cultural pursuits of this city tend to be closed off to a large section of Manchester’s population. As I read on the blackboard wall at the ICM Hub ‘art is a right’.  These kind of events should be accessible to all of Manchester’s community. We didn’t care though and we made ourselves comfortable.

The evening began with an introduction to the music we would be listening to by the composers, musicians and conductor.

The music itself was really beautiful and enjoyed by us all.  It also helped to take us away from our day to day issues and challenges for a while.  NEWSFLASH – people that have lived at the sharp end of our society can connect with the high arts!  🙂

We had a great night together and it was a pleasure to work in a more flexible, person centred way, and to focus on having some fun.

We look like a band

We look like a band

We managed to leave without getting thrown out :)

…and we managed to leave without getting thrown out 🙂


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