~Girls On Tour support M.A.S.H, August 2017
Running late as per usual, I quietly rushed down into the basement of Soloman’s Café Bar, holding a glass of prosecco in one hand and a packet of handmade crisps in the other. After a long day at work, and a job and a half finding the venue without a charged phone, I could finally let my hair down…and didn’t I just.
I had successfully found and was now opening the door to the venue which held our quarterly MWSG charity gig. This time, we were fundraising for M.A.S.H.
M.A.S.H, or Manchester Action on Street Health, is a charity which provides free and confidential support to female sex workers in Manchester. From sexual health to needle exchange to therapeutic services, M.A.S.H works to promote the well-being and personal safety of sex workers through providing medical and emotional support with the aim to break the cycle of women returning to work within the sex industry. And; after researching into the charity’s website, it is clear that M.A.S.H offer much more than free condoms.
Thanks to the nurses and caseworkers at M.A.S.H and the professional services that they provide, the charity efficiently offers both short and long-term care support through;
- Drop-In sessions- Individuals are able to use their facilities, have some refreshments and a confidential discussion with a caseworker.
- Help with legal matters- Caseworkers who work closely with women who are survivors of attack and who are involved in the criminal justice system.
- Checkups- Nurses offer confidential sexual health-related check-ups.
- One-to-one support and counseling sessions- MASH caseworkers offer individualised and tailored care plans to suit individual cases.
It is precisely through these services that M.A.S.H have been helping women, day and night, to break away from the sex industry. In 2016, MASH helped over 800 women alone.
But equally, if not, more importantly, M.A.S.H’s commitment to empowering individuals to make the best life choices is what makes this charity transform the lives of many; and since 1991, they have been doing just this.
~On the night itself
Held on the 4th August, 7:30pm in Solomon’s Cafe bar, the events organiser, Heidi Dewhirst- (a brilliant musician herself who just recently performed at Edinburgh Fringe Festival) opened the night with a speech about the charity; what it does, who it helps, as well giving her own experience of visiting the M.A.S.H Centre just days before.
During this speech, I noticed a small clothes stall and an EP record sale; organised by our MWSCG acts, Ellis Hall and Avital Raz, as part of fundraising for M.A.S.H. Leaflets and donation boxes were also scattered around the room, blending in quite nicely with the half full, half empty glasses of wine. The venue itself was eye-catching too; after a stressful ordeal with a last-minute venue cancellation, we unexpectedly (although luckily) stumbled upon Solomon’s Cafe Bar- it was a pleasant surprise.
The room dark but homely; with portraits of local musicians hanging from the walls, and an old, presumably abandoned bar area, which seemed to have collected and kept music gear from previous gigs- It was almost as if the room itself knew the Manchester music scene very well.
This was then followed by the MWSCG line-up; (and a quick synopsis of each act)
- 7:30 Claire Jordan– Sincere, sweet and uplifting.- very lovely.
- 7:55 Eilís Hall– Raw and innocent- instantly charmed by her confidence. Her poetry; personal and passionate. Her story-telling; absorbing and easy on the ear.
- 8:20 Sophie Blackwell– Heart-enduring lyrics- performs as if she is in her own little world and invites us in .
8:45 Avital Raz– Shocking and controversial. Lyrics which may disturb the prude- tone rich in dark humor.
- 9:10 Karen Chung– Quirky, hippy and cool- sings directly to the audience.
- 9:35 Heidi Dewhirst– Powerful and traditional folk origins-distinctive strength of vocals.
- 10:00 Alex Ohm– Emotional and compelling- a real sense of maturity in her style.
~And there we have it!
The night ended with drinks at the bar, a few conversations about music influences and an expensive taxi ride home.
~A quick reminder
MWSCG is passionate about showcasing the talent that Manchester’s songwriters, poets, and musicians have to offer as well as helping out local charities with the fundraising that we achieve.~This is what makes Girls on Tour gigs special.
Thanks to the donations that we received, the night raised £50.00 for MASH.
And once again, MWSCG strives to support more local charities with more Girls On Tour music nights;
Our next gig? 16th November @The Art Of Tea, 19:00
~Thanks for reading!
Donations are much appreciated: please find attached link below.
Photography @Andy Darbyshire