Carol Haney, a Southway tenant from Withington, chatted to us about her passion for helping local people as a community champion, activist and anti-poverty campaigner. She’s part of the team planning a Southway Swap Shop event at Westcroft Community Centre between 12-2pm on Saturday 25th November.

We spoke to Carol about her work for the latest issue of Southway Stories.


How did the idea of a Community Swap Shop start?

Things are difficult for people who have less cash to splash, especially at this time of year. So I thought ‘why not do something where people don’t need any money?’.

We want people to bring along pre-loved toys, games and gifts, but everyone is welcome even if they can’t bring anything to swap. It will also help the environment as people will be re-using and recycling things that would otherwise be destined for landfill.

How did you first become involved in the local community?

You can sum that up in one word: poverty! This is a first-world country so there’s no reason why people shouldn’t be able to put food on the table for their children here.

As a Community Champion, I spread the word about things going on in our communities. This includes brilliant events like when Westcroft Community Centre had England’s matches on a big screen during the Football World Cup.

Tell us about your involvement with the Beautiful South Fund…

The Beautoiful South Fund is a massive project that allows people in our communities to apply for funding to help them achieve their goals. I’m always staggered at how much people achieve with the funding award – events like a dinner or a day out can make such a difference to those involved.

I’m on the appraisal panel that assesses applications. Southway staff attend the panel meetings but it’s the tenants who make the decisions on funding. Interestingly, it’s the only fund that individuals can apply for too. We’re only halfway through the 10-year programme, so anyone who has a good idea or a community project in mind can contact the Beautiful South Fund team.

What do you think about the Tenant Voice events?

It’s a newly created forum for tenants to voice their opinions on how things could be improved and for Southway staff to listen to tenants’ suggestions. The opportunity is there to have your say… there have been some lively debates! I can only speak for myself, but I hope more tenants come along to say what they feel could be improved. It’s your voice, it’s your choice.

Thanks, Carol. One last question: what change would you like to see in our communities?

I’d like to see more trading of goods and services provided by tenants and local suppliers with less reliance on outside sources – keeping the wealth circulating around our neighbourhoods is the future!


Come along to the Community Swap Shop on Saturday 25th November at Westcroft Community Centre, 26 Westcroft Rd, Manchester M20 6EF.

Bring along any unwanted toys or games and swap them for other preloved items brought in, have a cuppa and try your luck at the penny raffle! If you don't have anything to swap, don't worry, we'd still love for you to come along.