Burton Road Community Events: what, where and WHY….

Burton Road Event - 10.11.2022

All along Burton Road, I run community events to help people create connections from within Didsbury and beyond. Why? Well, in part, it helps to support our amazing independently owned businesses and ensures that we’re all making the most of them. I think everyone was a little shaken by the closures at the start of this year and it’s never been more important to support our local entrepreneurs.

It’s more than that though! If you watch the news, it can feel like we’re living in an increasingly divided world – but it doesn’t have to be that way. I firmly believe in the value of community connection and that we all have far more in common than can ever drive us apart.

The first event I started was a networking series that aimed to connect and support local entrepreneurs in the aftermath of lockdown. That’s gone from strength to strength as there are SO many talented people living locally. Walking the road is impressive, but there’s also an incredible number of businesses you don’t see. People with online businesses, people who work freelance, come to you, sell things at the makers market…

The aim of the network is to help connect people – both for collaborations but also to ensure business owners have a support group. I’m now fully self employed myself and it’s more important than I can say to create a team of people around you, both to cheer you on and be a sounding board for ideas.

One of my mad ideas was to expand out from the network and try to connect locals through events that were built around the idea of community. This is how the single’s nights and the socials were born! There are now a whole bunch of events in the social series: speed – friending nights, supper clubs, themed parties etc. If you have an idea for something you’d like to see then I’d absolutely love to hear from you! I’m always open to new ideas and expanding what I do.

When it comes to the single’s nights, I do everything I can to make them inclusive and safe spaces for people to meet someone special. I’ve started getting requests for speed- dating, so that’s something that I’ll try soon but traditionally they’ve been designed to facilitate more in-depth conversations and (hopefully!) connections. Think: a quiz, riddles, games… They’re run in different age brackets too (25 – 40, 35 – 50 and 45 – 60); as well as the queer single’s nights and socials.

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A recent addition is a bit of a personal indulgence. I love creative writing, used to work as a Literacy Specialist and read obsessively… so it seemed a natural fit to add in Creative Writing and Guided Journaling events into the schedule. I’ve been thrilled that other people seem to love them as much as I do (they’re one of my favourite events to run!) and they’re now a permanent fixture in the calendar.

I am massively grateful to everyone who’s come to an event so far! This is my dream job and the fact that I get to spend my days planning new ways for people to meet is incredible to me. Every time someone buys a ticket, it pops up as an email on my phone and I do a little happy dance. When you buy from a small business, you really are making someone’s day. It means the world to us, keeps us in business and allows people to follow their passions.

Believe me when I say that almost no one who is self employed is very well paid (that’s a personal choice we make!) We make it because we believe in what we do and want the freedom to bring our vision to reality. For me, that vision is to create community spaces. Sometimes in unexpected ways! Every couple that gets together through a single’s night is a joy to see – but sometimes it’s more subtle than that. A group of women also met at one of my single’s nights and now go on holiday together. They all had high-flying jobs and were struggling to find the time for socialising, but now have a group to travel with. It’s such a privilege to be able to create opportunities like these!

I lived in Didsbury as a child (between the ages of 3 and 8.) My mum’s job meant we moved around a lot through my childhood but somehow, I always thought of Didsbury as home. As soon as I graduated, I moved straight back! It took a few years before this events business was born but it brings me joy to have returned to the place that meant so much to me as a child. I hope that I too can now contribute to making this such a special place to live.

 

You can learn more about what’s coming up HERE!