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Weaving, words and circus play

The Percival Suite at Manchester’s Cross Street Chapel came alive with creativity once again on Saturday 16th July as Afrocats held another session designed to unleash the imagination of the diverse young people we work with, thanks to the support of BBC Children In Need.

With arts practitioner Nayna, our 11-and-unders learned how to weave using a round weaving loom, hemp string, multicoloured ribbons, wool, and patterned tissue paper.

Our young Afrocats were soon stringing away, weaving ‘up and under’ to create their own unique designs that they took home to hang on their walls with pride.

Weaving has its roots all around the world - from India, to Africa, and even the Americas, and the textile arts help our young people feel mindful and inventive, plus it’s fantastic for developing their motor skills and their confidence levels, as well as refining their artistic eye.

Meanwhile, away from the busy arts and crafts session, there was inspiring poetry being crafted in the Kenworthy Room by the elder Afrocats. By making evocative acrostic poems on the theme of ‘identity’, our young people demonstrated striking originality and vision using just the letters of their names as inspiration.

Some of our Afrocats had never written acrostic poems, and they really got stuck in exploring their lives, people and things they love, as well as their innermost feelings in an accepting and encouraging atmosphere they don’t always find in a normal educational setting.

Creative facilitator and teacher Nefa reflected:

“There is such an obsession with spelling and grammar in schools, creativity gets totally forgotten.

“Their poems are powerful just as they are, and inspiration for creativity is everywhere – why wait?”

When you read their poems and see words like ‘extraordinary energy’ and ‘amazing ambitions,’ you just know our young people have the potential to make real impact, both for themselves and in the wider community.

And they had the following to say about their poetry session:

  • “I enjoyed being creative with our names and exploring what each word means to us.”

  • “I loved finding new words for each letter.”

Some more examples of Afrocats’ amazing acrostic poems below:

The group then shared their poetry aloud with each other, and a collection of their 11 poems will be made into a PDF to showcase their skills.

And here’s an acrostic poem about Afrocats:









Why not make your own acrostic poem and see where your imagination takes you?

Finally, it was time to start spinning plates and twirling ribbon sticks as Nefa introduced some entertaining circus play to finish with - a light-hearted way to end the afternoon!

Our Afrocats are a force to be reckoned with - so follow our blog to discover what we get up to as we help uplift and improve the lives of young people and families in Greater Manchester throughout the year.

Find out more about how to help Afrocats support young asylum seekers, refugees, and their families on our Support Us page.


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