In our last episode we spoke to Jennifer Paice from SafeDeposits Scotland. In the show notes for that episode, I linked to a couple of articles which discussed the housing situation in Govanhill, and more specifically highlighted the action that Glasgow City Council were taking on ‘slum landlords’ in the area.
As it would happen, Gabby Cluness and Angela Ireland, the guests I have on this episode, run a café called MILK which is situated in Glasgow’s Govanhill area. The 2012 Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation listed Govanhill as one of the most densely populated areas in Scotland, with a significantly high percentage of its population comprised of ethnic minorities (indeed, the difference when compared to the rest of Glasgow at that time was some 186%). Why is this relevant? Well, MILK is a café which provides a safe and supportive environment for ethnic minority women in Glasgow. Although one does not have to come from the Govanhill area specifically to be a volunteer at the café, I feel it is somewhat significant that the café itself is based in this area.
And the MILK café does great work. Ethnic minority women receive employability support there, and they provide their volunteers with valuable opportunities to gain appropriate skills, experience and confidence that aim to assist them into moving onto other mainstream jobs.
MILK offer help with English language, personal development and interview skills, all taking place in a live hospitality environment. Perhaps the biggest key to this, like any good employability programme, is the way it offers immediate and real work experience to its volunteers.
Since opening in 2015, the café has also become a great community hub, offering various different events and workshops to people all over Glasgow.
It may seem unlikely, but over the past few years Govanhill has become a vibrant and thriving community which is awash with projects which help foster a brilliant sense of belonging. MILK is just one part of that great tapestry, but it is a wonderful part of it.
In this episode we discuss the foundations of MILK; what drives Angela and Gabby to do what they do, and the rewards of working with people from a variety of different cultures in an area which they initially feared may not have been accepting of their idea.
I hope you enjoy the episode.