Hi, my name's Cara, I'm 14 years old and I'm from RECLAIM's Moss Side Girls 2015 cohort

I want to tell you what Moss Side is really like, from someone who lives there and has lived there for most of their life. 

So, I have no idea how much you've heard about Moss Side, but if you have heard anything it's probably been bad. When I was younger it had one of the highest crime rates in the country. There were issues with gangs and knives and shootings. We were in and out of the papers for years. 

The sad thing is that not much else about Moss Side has been reported about us in the news since then and if it has, you guessed it, it's bad news. None of the everyday things get reported: the good deeds, the kind words, the positive things, the fantastic events.  No matter how much Moss Side has changed for the better, the stigma remains. 

I grew up in Moss Side, left for a couple of years, and then came back. But most of my childhood memories were made here. We used to play out on the streets until dark. All our mum's used to be best friends with one another. Everyone was included, no matter what you looked like or where you came from or even what language you spoke. In Moss Side there are so many different cultures and languages spoken that everyone fits in somewhere. 

Here, everyone shares. You share food and laughter and friends and happiness. You learn new things everyday. We're not just a community, we're like a massive family.

As a group, Moss Side Girls want to present a truer image of Moss Side. We want the first thing you think of when you hear Moss Side is a positive one about a community that leads the way. To do this we're organising a food festival to show the talent within Moss Side and to encourage others to come and share food and see Moss Side as it really is.  

I am proud I grew up in Moss Side. Here everyone works hard and values your opinion, respects your background and genuinely wants the best for you. I know no matter how far away I go, however cheesy it sounds, Moss Side and all the brilliant people in it will be here to welcome me home. 

Read more about how RECLAIM has been challenging negative media portrayal of Moss Side:

http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/what-mosssidepride-message-banner-everyone-10598793

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/jun/04/moss-side-must-fly-tour-manchester-introduces-local-characters