Our History and where we came from
The first annual report for Woodhouse Park Family Centre (WHPFC) was written in 1996 and denoted the transition from the organisation being overseen by a steering group which was to emerge as a Management Committee.

Prior to this time, the politics of the day had meant that there was no support for parents and families and vulnerable groups of people. There was no Homestart, Sure Start, Tree of Life, Youth Trust or Mobile Creche. So it was that a group of people, an eclectic collection as it happens, helped by the influence of the then Minister, the Rev. Bob Day decided that they could do some work to fill this gap and cater for the needs of people in the community who hitherto had felt isolated and unsupported.
One individual who was asked to make a contribution to the inception of what was to become WHPFC was someone who had used the church space to teach dance to young people and was involved in the Credit Union and was cajoled by the Minister to become more involved, both as a volunteer and as a Management Committee member. It was individuals such as this who became the original Steering Group. It was a diverse group with no experience and they had to attempt to manage change in a way that they were to find difficult.  In 1992 a Manager was employed; perfectly competent but being steered by a group who weren’t able to guide effectively and the lone worker couldn’t cope with the isolation.
With help and advice from Voluntary Action Manchester, a new Manager, Kate Fitzhugh, was appointed and the Family Centre began to evolve. When next we sought a Manager our Family Support Worker, Liz Boulter, filled the post and on her departure, Martina Street, was the successful candidate.
Clare North, our present Manager, had been the Play Co-ordinator before taking over in 2006, a decade after our first AGM.
It has not been plain sailing. 2010 sees us constantly fighting for funding. It sees workers unsure how long their contracts are viable. It sees redundancies and people leaving to ensure that they will remain employed. Contrast this to 1996 when the Family Centre was in receipt of £120,000 lottery money to fund two workers for three years. This was an era when funding, although always precarious, was consistent.

The original Management Committee didn’t last for long. Bob Day left to pursue an academic path; the management members dispersed slowly with only Christine Greenhalgh and Edgar Roberts remaining. Edgar’s presence reminds us of our gratitude to the URC from whom we rented the premises and as the church has been a crucial support in our evolution.
Fast forward fourteen years. The Management Committee is small but perfectly formed! Well no not really. It has been sustained for many years by a core of a few people: the Chair/Director Christine Greenhalgh, URC representative Edgar Roberts and our member who is an elder at St. Marks, a member of the Tree of Life Management Committee and local resident, Eula Mesquita and our Treasurer Stuart Armstrong - this has given us core stability. Along with the consistent support of the Centre Manager Clare North and the Finance Administrator Nikki Stanley, we manage to steer a steady course that makes us unique in Wythenshawe, as the only independent organisation of its type.
Let us highlight a few milestones of the organisation
 • 1997 - Extension of Family Centre to include Community Garden
 • 1999 - Lottery Grant of £140,000 to fund Centre Manager and Contact Centre
              Co-ordinator. Registered as a Creche
 • 2000 - Converted garage into Messy Play area
 • 2001 - Staff team doubled – more services introduced – provision for 11-16 year olds
 • 2003 -10 year anniversary. Saw the number of people accessing at least one of the Family Centre’s services more than double.
 • 2004 - Saw our annual income rise from £4,321 from the time we started to £217,101.
 • 2005 - An exciting but tough year. Funding for 9 out of 14 strong staff team about to end but we survived. Felt strong enough to submit a Community Consortium bid to manage the Active Lifestyle Centre.
 • 2006 - Underwent a thorough review of our services and how we might improve them. One change was to find a new name which accurately reflected the work we did – Wythenshawe Community Initiative was born.
 • 2007 - Clare North completed her first year as Manager. Mary Armstrong retiring.
Most recent achievements have been to access outside expertise in order to further our aims. A major goal is to be successful in developing a trading arm, able to generate future income and create employment and training opportunities for local people. We are fortunate to be able to build upon the existing strength of our Mobile Creche which is recognised as strong, high quality child care.

© Wythenshawe Community Initiative 2012. All rights reserved.