In 2007, the first Reclaim project brought 45 12- and 13-year-old boys from Manchester’s Moss Side district onto a six-month mentoring and confidence-building programme with impressive results.
“Reclaim changed me. If I wasn’t on the project I’d probably be in a gang now. Instead I do community work.” Akeim.
During 2010 I followed the Gorton Girls’ Reclaim project, documenting the girls’ sometimes faltering but nevertheless steady progress until their ‘graduation day’ when they celebrated their achievement in front of friends and family. In The Reclaim Book I also include interviews with the girls’ parents or carers that reveal much about the pressures faced by young people in our inner cities.
“Working with Len on this book was a brilliant experience for all of us from start to finish. When we hatched the idea to document the Reclaim project in a book: its methodology, the young people and their families, we knew that Len would be able to perfectly capture the essence of what we are trying to accomplish. He worked with us continually for eight months, quietly photographing, recording and interviewing throughout. He was never intrusive and became a trusted part of the project, to the point that the young people and their families were totally at ease around him, and his camera.
“We are utterly delighted with the finished book. It is witty, personal, poignant, detailed, beautifully photographed and designed but most importantly, it reflects the truth of our work. When read in conjunction with the accompanying DVD, in which many of the young people in the book feature, The Reclaim Book stands as a positive testimony to the fantastic spirit of so many of Manchester’s young people who are determined to thrive.”
Ruth Ibegbuna, Director, Reclaim
Published by Len Grant Photography, 2011
ISBN: 9780952672081, £12
136 pages, softback
Design by Axis Graphic Design. Written and (mostly) photographed by Len Grant
Foreword by Eric Allison, prison correspondent for The Guardian
Available from Cornerhouse