This week saw the launch of another Didsbury Arts Festival. The event boasts a range of artists and talent from across the arts and always proves a success with local residents and visitors. This is the events fifth year, bringing together local, national and international artists. From poetry at Didsbury Library, a historical walk around Didsbury hosted by New Manchester Walks to live music at Didsbury Perk, the event has something for everyone whatever age. One of the things I love about Didsbury is the sense of community. Events such as the Didsbury Arts Festival really help to bring people together to take advantage and enjoy what the area has to offer.
Didsbury has a vibrant mix of independent shops, bars, eateries, tea rooms, boutiques, furniture and gift shops to name a few of its attractions, as well as plentiful green spaces such as Fletcher Moss Park and Marie Louise Gardens. I have to agree with people who say there is something for everyone. I recently took part in a discussion about what it means to have a sense of self and social identity. Something I have picked up since becoming part of Didsbury’s community is people’s allegiance to the area and how many people speak proudly of Didsbury being part of their identity.
Equally, in regards to Chorlton, I’ve enjoyed the eclectic mix of talent that an area such as Beech Road attracts. From galleries such as The House of Bystander which hosts Jack Lloyd’s photography to On the Corner’s super power juices and selection of vinyls, I love visiting Chorlton’s Beech Road and immersing myself in the vibrancy. Despite Chorlton not being a million miles away from Didsbury, I didn’t visit as frequently as I would have liked outside of my time spent at my Chorlton therapy room. Aside from driving, public transport links between Didsbury and Chorlton were not regarded by many residents as being the best. With the arrival of the Metrolink to Didsbury, there is ample opportunity to travel from any one of the Didsbury Metrolink Stations in East Didsbury, Didsbury Village, West Didsbury and Burton Road, to Chorlton. Having viewed some of the upcoming events in Chorlton, they strike me as having a holistic feel. From Zumba to meditation workshops and comedy, Chorlton strikes me as being conscious of offering attractions that also aim to take care of a person’s physical and emotional wellbeing as well as their mental health. I’m thankful that I can be a part of that by providing support through counselling and psychotherapy. Being affiliated to Counselling Rooms on High Lane, enables me to be part of a Community Interest Company, providing private counselling and psychotherapy at reduced rates to members of the community who might be struggling during difficult financial times.
Both Didsbury and Chorlton pride themselves on fostering the success of independent local businesses. Certainly in my experience of Didsbury residents, they have held strong views against allowing chain stores to open on Burton Road in West Didsbury, preferring to retain its identity and reputation of consisting primarily of independent businesses. Thinking back to the discussion I took part in recently on personal and social identity, we could argue that Didsbury and Chorlton encourage both. They promote the success of independence amongst residents; supporting and nurturing individuals to grow their business and feel successful, where independence and uniqueness is encouraged and celebrated. This in turn appears to evoke in individual residents a sense of belonging to a larger group; a community which has an identity of its own.