This International Men’s Day we are celebrating male role models within our communities.
We hear stories from Jimmy Parkinson (Multi- Skilled Joiner at MSV), Dave Newton (MSV customer and volunteer at You Can garden, Carrbrook) and Kemoy Walker (Teacher and Youth worker in Moss Side).
Volunteering to bring health services back to Haiti
Prior to joining MSV, Jimmy spent two years volunteering his services for MSF in Haiti following the 2010 earthquake. Jimmy not only used his joinery skills but became Site Engineer, managing 80 staff and navigating language barriers to deliver a brand new hospital which was desperately needed by the people of Haiti after many health facilities were destroyed.
Jimmy said: “The hospital we built was the first main hospital designed for cholera and essential for the people of Haiti. I have never felt so proud to help a country/ community of people in my life and I doubt nothing will ever top that. When a surgeon asks to shake your hand and tells you how much it means to them it is so emotional, even today I still tear up. Working in a third world country has taught me to be so grateful for everything I have, and I realised how lucky I am to be the person that I am, the experience also strengthened me to be able to help people.”
Inspiring young people to fulfil their dreams
Kemoy moved to Moss Side from Jamaica aged 11 and was determined to make a positive difference in his community from a young age. Work experience and voluntary work led to his roles as a teacher and youth worker, amongst many others, helping to give young people the best start in life. Kemoy has won countless awards including a Point of Light award for his achievements in helping young people and for his outstanding contribution to his local community.
Kemoy spoke about what led him to this work in MSV’s latest podcast, Home Truths:
“I always say it’s key when you’ve got a role model that’s there for you and, for me, it was attending youth club in Moss Side for years as a young person. I had a youth worker that I looked up to, that I really wanted to be like. I thought, I need to be like that for other young people as well. “
Listen to more of Kemoy’s story on our podcast, Home Truths here
Bringing a community together during challenging times.
MSV customer, Dave, has been volunteering at the You Can garden in Carrbrook for the past three years and has dedicated so much of his time to transforming the garden and turning it into a hub for the local community.
Dave is Chairman of the You Can garden and has been working alongside volunteers Terry Drabble, Diane Shepley-Newton, Angela Taylor and Linda McLarnon along with residents in the local community to completely transform this space.
Dave spent two years on groundworks alone at the site, a challenge during the pandemic, when only one person was present on site at a time. Dave worked on moving the porta-cabin and created a huge furnished decking area which gave residents a safe place to sit and socialise when Carrbrook Hub was closed due to the restrictions brought by the pandemic.
Dave has also been working on a hedgehog sanctuary and bee and butterfly area in the garden as well as a fruit and vegetable area to benefit the local community. Local children have been involved in all the planting.
With Dave and the other volunteers’ sheer determination and continual efforts, the You Can garden has really flourished and has become a focal point of the community. During the summer of 2021, Dave helped host a hugely popular ‘Best Garden’ event, along with many other events that could not take place indoors throughout the pandemic.
The You Can garden has allowed residents to cultivate social support and emotional well-being. Dave said: ‘the garden has brought the community together, with some local residents getting very emotional when they saw it’.