Read our interview with Lina, Committee Leader at Dandelion savers, find out about one of the newest groups in the Savers Network who are already achieving great things!

Can you tell us a bit about Dandelion savers? When did you start, where and how often do you meet? How many members do you have?

Dandelion Savers is part of the Dandelion Community, this is an established Community, where Workers and Volunteers have been serving the Woodhouse Park area and other parts of Wythenshawe areas for as long as the United Reform Church Building has been standing, and is under the leadership of (Rev) Kate who works there.

Dandelion Savers are a newly established Savers Group, (who did not exist before), they started January 2023, the Committee Member are made up women who are existing volunteers or service users of the Dandelion Community. Initially a group of 7 women came together with a view to establishing a Saver Group and joining the Community Savers network. This was following a visit to an existing network member in Miles Platting.

Dandelion Savers are a small team, it was initially created and run by two committee members, the number has now increased to three committee members. Who are Fathima- Committee Treasurer of the Dandelion Savers, Lina-  Committee Leader of the Dandelion Savers, Zoe,- Committee Leader of the Dandelion Savers. I feel that the group exist, remains in existence, due to the amazing technical support it receives through the support agency CLASS.

Who meet at the Dandelion Community – Oakland Road M22 1AH from 10am – 1pm on Wednesday

We have 23 members active members.

Dandelion Savers members where invited and some attend the Christmas Party/End of Year Party in December 2023 hosted by the support agency CLASS, a fun time was had by all who attended, for the committee members, it was great to meet and get to know some of the other Savers  in an informal Christmas/End of Year setting.

Dandelion Savers

Savers at the weekly Dandelion Savers group

As a group, what would you say are the main benefits for the individuals who save with you?

Dandelion Savers, benefits the Dandelion Community, its workers and volunteers and seeks to provide an opportunity to bring people/residents in the Woodhouse Park area together.

The Savers Group seeks to help existing Savers and encourage residents :-

  • To be more in control of their  own money.
  • To think about saving money for a special occasion or holiday.
  • To think about saving money for repairs or to buy an item that costs a lot.
  • Encourage saving thereby reducing the chance of needing a loan, using loan sharks or credit cards
  • Encouraging resident to save so that they feel less stressed about money and debt, during the cost of Living crisis.

How long has Dandelion been working with the Community Savers network? Has working with the other groups helped Dandelion to develop, learn, expand or do things differently?

The Dandelion has been working with the Community Savers network for 1 year now, receiving technical support from the Support Agency, Community Led Action & Savings Support (CLASS). We are a brand new group of committee members, working together for the first time.

Throughout 2023 we attend quarterly Community Leaders Network Meetings, where we met with other Community Saver Leaders. The agenda were set by the Leadership Team and we planned, learned and developed together.

Throughout 2023, we had the option to attend training on mental health, neurodiversity and safeguarding in community groups.

Extra Training was provided for SEN System and schools

We had the option a learning network events to connect with Birmingham & Coventry organisations also funded by Renaisi/Smallwood.

We have had an option to attend a CLASS Trustee meeting to introduce ourselves, as a new Savers Group

Last but not least, we had the option to attend, the annual Community Savers Retreat: in Llandudno 10-13 July 2023

All these training opportunities, and technical support from CLASS (the Support Agency) have allowed us Committee Leaders to develop in our role as Leaders, allowed us to set up really good systems, as well as undertake our weekly Savers Group meetings on Wednesdays. All the committee members are volunteers, they also volunteering for other groups and are involved in other community groups.

As well as the savings group, are Dandelion Savers involved in any other community projects and what are the impact of these?

As leader for our Saving group, it quickly became evident that this was a role that was encouraging us to get involved in community action, we initially went to visit another Savers Group in Miles Platting that was organising a local housing campaign.

We have been encouraged to join a network of other women led groups in Wythenshawe, called Women of Wythenshawe, we have been meeting quarterly and seeking to focus on community actions that affect Gender Justice. The group have voted to focus on three Topics, Special Education Need (SEN), Domestic Violence (DV) and Housing.

The community action within the  Housing Group has really taken off, due to a number of local issues, with the focus of the campaign on promoting Social Housing and Social Rent in the Woodhouse area. This is because the Places for Everyone consultation, took out the wording social rent and secondly in the local area Manchester City Council (MCC) have bought the Civic Centre and there is a drive of community action to influence the MCC to include social rent housing in their plans and not “affordable housing” as it has quickly become apparent that the term “affordable housing” is not covered by the Local Housing Allowance rate and is unaffordable.

What can we expect to see next from Dandelion Savers next – does the group have any plans for the future?

The Committee Leaders recently attended a Network Meeting in January and made plans for 2024, which included feedback from the Learning Exchange in Nairobi Kenya, a display on the Community Savers  Board in the Dandelion Community, Committee Leaders want to increase membership by going out into the community to recruit members, Committee leaders would like to arrange an a day out for its members, and prepare for an AGM.

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