Thursday, 22 August 2013

Back to Backs

Last week we went to the Back to Back properties in Birmingham. They have done some fantastic community work over the last few years and Anglesey Abbey and Wicken Fen staff were keen to know more about how it was all undertaken. We met Mukith Miah, a very busy man, who is Education & Learning Manager at the Back to Backs and also Birmingham Sub Regional Strategy Offsite Volunteer Development Manager. He has been responsible for initiatives such as the Summer Challenge from which young people receive volunteer training and work collaboratively with current volunteers and staff. At the end of their training they are able to deliver a tour to visitors. Mukith gave us a lot of his time and an insight into his operations which certainly gave us a lot to think about. 

After a rather strange Chinese lunch, which I’m sure none of us will forget for one reason or another, we took great delight in exploring the wonders of the Back to Backs sweet shop. During our visit the shop was doing a roaring trade and we were happy to partake in the experience! After copious amounts of fudge, chocolate covered stem ginger, cherry bon bons and coconut mushrooms had been purchased we were taken on a property tour by one of the guides. He took us on a journey which spanned from the 1830s – 1960s, from a Jewish family to a Caribbean tailor and back to the present day. Such a span of time and different stories was very interesting and highlighted why the property is so successful. With so many different avenues to explore in terms of residents alone, a guide can pick and choose which information he should deliver to his group, I am sure that should I visit the Back to Backs next week I would receive a different experience. An enjoyable visit was had by all, though perhaps a few too many sweets were eaten on the car journey back to Cambridge… 

Rachael Morley 
Community and Interpretation Intern at Anglesey Abbey
Anglesey Abbey 

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