The third workshop – Happy Monday group Inspired People Manchester

Happy Monday group – Inspired people

This workshop was the last of three before we run a showcase for each group in October.  On Monday 24th July we wondered with anticipation what the Happy Monday group would bring and share. Would we discover a common theme with this workshop and the other two? 

Both Rachel and I have worked independently with the Happy Monday group before, we knew they were going to be a lively jokey over 50’s group and usually very vocal.

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Some of the group members during the workshop, with Sam checking stories have recorded.

For myself the workshop brought a first time up close and personal experience of the strength and power ‘smell’ has on the senses! It rather took me by surprise.

Among the many stories shared one woman Janet, who had brought her Mothers face powder compact, explained it was treasured as when she opened the compact the smell reminded her of her Mum. While listening I had a quick sniff and POW…there was my grandma almost with me, a very strong sensation of her presence, brought tears to my eyes. It was totally unexpected but also very nice to be strongly reminded of my grandmother.

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The face powder compact – beautiful smell

This was a similar experience for some of the others in the room, one woman explained how her mother’s compact, also precious to her, had unfortunately become ‘buried treasure’ by a grandchild and once dug up, smelled of earth. (For those in the group, if I have miss remembered the details, please do let me know) Another women told of the special ‘talc’ belonging to her Mum, which she had kept and periodically used, reminding her of her Mum, and wishing it had not eventually run out.

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First handmade gift from a son, amazing beaded dragonfly

The group is an over 50’s group with the average being 60+. A lot of the people who came talked of stories and memories of loved ones and brought treasures that held that memory close and dear.

Rachel and Sam along with Christopher (who is supporting the project with marketing and came along to help) recorded the stories, and although I haven’t heard them all as yet, the couple I did hear were very moving and brave for people to so honestly share them with us.

Before Rachel and I run this workshop we had wondered would there be a common theme between all three groups. There did appear to be one between the first two groups, which was despite their different situations, was a strong resilience to continue through tough difficulties, with a large dose of living in the moment and having a joke and a laugh. It seems that this very much applies to the Happy Monday’s having to deal with sad life changes when they lost loved ones, developing strategies to continue with life whilst remembering those they had lost. And without a doubt having a shared laugh and jokes, over cups of tea, coffee and biscuits!


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