Celebrating International Women's Day with an inspiring interview with our lovely resident Dorothy

As we celebrate International Women’s Day today, there is no better time to reflect on our inspiring resident, Dorothy Ennis-Hand of Moss Side, who has worked tirelessly in the community over many decades.

In 2004 Dorothy became a member of the Pankhurst Centre in Manchester supporting the Centre’s mission to convey the powerful stories of women.  Dorothy’s talents as a self taught photographer enabled her to display her own photographs of women at exhibitions across Greater Manchester including the Pankhurst Centre and Manchester Town Hall.

Dorothy’s interests span a wide breadth of social issues and she has taken hundreds of thousands of photographs across the last few decades which depict not only women but stories of local communities, and have been displayed in over 25 exhibitions across Greater Manchester. 

Dorothy’s enthusiasm for her community has never dampened and she has been a member of many local groups over the years.  She was a member of the Moss Side Housing Resident’s Association for many years and also held a position on the Mosscare St Vincent’s tenants’ panel.  During that time Dorothy worked with other members to provide solutions to local issues and was also involved in organising community events and outings for children. Patricia Carmody, Customer Communications Manager at MSV, spoke of Dorothy being a voice for the Moss Side area:  ‘It was always a pleasure to meet Dorothy at the Mosscare Housing Annual Tenant’s Meeting, I have lovely memories of her getting stuck into the activities and laughing along with her friends. Dorothy has always taken an active interest in the arts activities we run and is supportive of the talents of local young people.”

Dorothy has been a champion in encouraging youth involvement in her community and a key member of her local over 55’s club where she plays a vital role in encouraging and helping to grow the membership as well as taking an active role in supporting the group’s events. 

Alongside this work, Dorothy had struggled with sleep for most of her life, and was eventually diagnosed with Narcolepsy.  At the time of diagnosis not much was known about this sleep disorder and Dorothy found herself very isolated.  Night time could be a terrifying experience and she wanted to set up a group to support others diagnosed with the same disorder.  Dorothy was told she had to prove a need to set up an official charity but her determination led her to approach the media, including Manchester Evening News, Radio 4 and the BBC, to raise awareness.  As a result of her local appearances and campaigning she was amazed to receive masses of letters from fellow sufferers.

Dorothy set up the first group in the country, the UK Association for Narcolepsy, in Manchester in 1981 (now known as Narcolepsy UK). She later went on to become the first president and lifetime member of the Association. 

Teyei Chollom, Community Project Officer, described Dorothy as: “a great role model in encouraging and supporting her neighbours and others who are vulnerable to get involved.  Dorothy will try anything once! From encouraging her peers to learn how to get online to taking part in the arts and celebrating the culture of this vibrant community, Dorothy is always a driving force.”

Even now, at the age of 80, Dorothy is still living independently, has recently trained to be a radio presenter and in recent weeks has started a media training course which she hopes to use to raise even more awareness of Narcolepsy in the future. “I’m open for more big adventures to come!”, said Dorothy



8th March 2018

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