Project Voices

Project Voices: Nazmina Begum, Brunswick

We are people, designing spaces for people. Our latest project voices are from Brunswick Village in Manchester.

It’s been ten years since work started on the transformation of Brunswick in Manchester. This city centre neighbourhood has seen over 500 new homes built and 650 refurbishments completed in and around new public realm and community facilities.

Buttress with S4B started by talking to the community about what they wanted their neighbourhood to be; now we are back to find out what the experience of living in Brunswick is like for its residents.

Our fourth and final story from Brunswick comes from Nazmina Begum, Chair of the Tenants and Residents' Association who moved to the area with her husband five years ago.

headshot of a lady looking at camera, a park is in the background

"Hi, my name is Nazmina, or Naz, and I live in the community of Brunswick.

"Well, our help to buy is nearly up, so we've lived here for, five years. I came to the estate because of my best friend who is actually from Wales, He lives around the corner. His partner had bought his first house and I was a bit unsure. Alex, my husband, his father is a policeman and he wasn't happy because there's been a lot of old history of crime in the estate, so I was a bit apprehensive. But then for the same reason, we were looking in Chorlton and you could buy like a two-bed old council house with one bathroom, but here you could get a three-bed with three bathrooms, at a similar price. So I said, we'll hedge our bets and maybe try it for a few years, and if we don't like it, we could always move.

a lady sits on a bench in a park. A row of brick houses sit behind.
A lady stands with her hands on her hips with new brick houses in the background.
a parent and child walk in front of new houses

"My active role in the community is ... I'm the chair now of the TARA.  Before I just used to be a member of Brunswick Tenants and Residents Association. 
To be chair of the Residents Association is just a title, I think, because if I'm honest I do a lot of volunteering things. I’d do something in the community
regardless of my role, but it just so happens that in this community it has a title to it.

"So there's people who've lived there for years, there are people who've just bought the houses outright, there are people who, just like me, have just moved and have done the help-to-buy. So there's a lot of issues coming from different perspectives and in the TARA we are all volunteers. That's one thing that people need to remember, that we're all volunteers, and we come together and try to put these events on. Its where I know parts of the old community and the new community come together.

"She's one of the old community, trying her best to integrate the new part of the community. I think that's really nice, because you don't get that in a lot of places."

"We met Cynthia earlier, she puts on a massive New Year's Eve party, and they actually leaflet all of the houses. She's been here for ... since she was a child. I think she may have been born here. So then, she's one of the old community, trying her best to integrate the new part of the community. I think that's really nice, because you don't get that in a lot of places.

"Oh, the biggest challenge I find in the role ... to try and make people happy. I'm definitely a people pleaser. But then what I realize is you can't please all people, and that's been hard."