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Withington Golf Club and Back on Track enjoy a record breaking year

A year ago we were thrilled when we found out that we’d been chosen by Withington Golf Club as their charity of the year.

This week we found out that they raised almost £9,000 for us over the year. Phenomenal! We’ve had great fun at lots of their events in 2018, including a successful attempt to break the record for the fastest ever round of golf. The amount they raised also our breaks our own record for the most in a year.

Siobhan, our CEO (left) is pictured with Martin, the Captain, and Carol, the Lady Captain. Huge thanks to them both and to everyone at the club who donated.

Whichever charity is chosen as their next charity of the year is very lucky indeed.

Talking is important!

“Talking is important!” says Kate Hardy, our Wellbeing Coordinator. “Not just on World Mental Health Day – at Back on Track we provide a wide range of courses to help people build their skills and confidence, but it also helps to provide people with a safe environment where people can build coping strategies when life isn’t going so well and feel like they can talk to someone if they are struggling”.

Kate is currently running a weekly session called ‘Having a Voice’, where people can develop their communication skills and increase their confidence to speak out about things that are important to them. It’s part of a year round programme of activities that help people to improve their wellbeing, as Kate expalins;

“We try and incorporate the 5 Ways to Wellbeing into our work; Connect, Take Notice, Give, Keep Learning and Be Active; from volunteering, learning a new skill, trying mindfulness, or visiting a local tourist attraction – sometimes simple things can help when things get too overwhelming”.

Wellbeing display at Back on Track

This isn’t just Kates advice. Talking about your feelings is also the number 1 piece of advice on looking after your mental health according to The Mental Health Foundation website, where you can find loads more advice about achieving and maintaining good mental health. It’s worth a look anytime, not just on World Mental Health day.

John’s making changes about homelessness.

“Word of Mouth” is a brilliant concept. Thanks to Kate Hardy I joined a homelessness steering committee now called ‘Vox Pop’ and one of its leaders gave me the info about the Museum of Homelessness Catalyst Project.

What is it? Well, basically, people with homeless experience, and an interest in art have a chance to exhibit their art, challenge the pre-conceptions about homelessness, and try to change the way people perceive homelessness.

I attended a meet and greet in London and was accepted for phase 1 of the project. This consists of attending an 8 day course in London and receiving tuition and support on our art projects.

We received talks from 10 guest speakers and learned about protest (passive and activist), the history of homelessness, and the visit to the museum of London’s Suffragette exhibition was fascinating.

The journalism speaker supports our up-coming pitches, greatly helping to polish the project pitch.

Charlie Craggs talk inspired passive protest & using our talents; a truly amazing person.

Here’s a photo of me with my certificate for completing phase 1;


and some photos of the art I’ve created for the project – using whats gone before to make changes;

So now I wait for news as to if I’m on phase 2 – will find out 1st week in November – watch this space!


P.S. In between, I’m involved in ‘Objectified’ – an event at Manchester Art Gallery. Please attend if you can.


Stop Press!

I’m invited to a MOH representation dinner at the House of Lords in January!

And today 3/10/18 I’ve been told I’ve been nominated as volunteer of the year in the Be Proud Manchester awards for my volunteering work at Manchester International Festival and the National Football Museum.

I can honestly say I just try to turn negativity to positivity, bad to good, and I want to inspire others to achieve at back on track.


John Priestley


Congratulations Shaun!

Great News! One of our volunteers Shaun recently secured a post as admin apprentice here at Back on Track!

It’s doubly good because not only has he made an important and well deserved step into employment, but it also means that he’s not leaving us!

“Back on Track has really helped me to progress personally and professionally.” Said Shaun, “Perseverance truly pays off, I believe.”

Well done Shaun – and keep up the good work!

Maryam is our new Senior Education Coordinator


Maryam Ali started work at the start of our new term, and it’s really great to have her here. It’s a busy time for her, but she made time to chat with me and answer a few questions about her new job, work background and some random stuff I decided to ask her, just for the heck of it.

Read on to find out more!

HI Maryam, it’s great to have you here! I hope you’re settling in well?

Thanks, it’s great to be here! It’s getting really busy, but I’m enjoying it.

Good. I’m gonna jump right in. Why did you want to work at back on Track?

I wanted to work at Back on Track as I wanted a new challenge. I really respect and connect with the ethos of Back on Track – A charity focusing on making a positive change to the lives of disadvantaged adults. It felt like something that I’d love to be a part of.

What did you do before?

I’ve previously worked within the justice sector as the Curriculum Team Leader for Functional Skills. It meant that I gained a lot of experience of helping people to learn basic skills, as well as working with offenders and the prison system. It’s very different here, but some of that experience will come in handy.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I enjoy spending quality time with my friends and family; cinemas, theatres, bowling and shopping. I really enjoy comedy too and enjoy going to the comedy store to check out the latest talent in laughs!

Have you ever been on stage, or famous for something?

I’m not sure if it makes me famous, but I did have a variety of poems published in books when I was younger. They focused around friendship and school – I still have the copies of the books now…I felt famous at the time!

Thanks Maryam, you’re a star!

Best of luck in your new challenge!