Annie MBako: What Northern Power Futures means to me…

Since the early 90s when my family moved to the UK, the North has been a place of sanctuary and reconnecting with our kin. My parents settled in Wrexham, which at that time was just a small town on the Welsh side of the border. As pleasant as this was, we still ventured to Liverpool and Manchester to do our hair and buy West African food. When the time came to pick which university I wanted to go to, is it any wonder that The University of Manchester was high on my list?

Apart from the great reputation, I wanted to be in a place where I could easily spend the day walking in the countryside and spend the night dancing to afrobeats. Over the years I have watched many of my friends move to London or leave the country. If there was such a festival in those days, my friends would have seen the beauty and variety of opportunities around them. Some would have tried harder to stay. Admittedly these are different times with different opportunities, but the fact remains – we tend to go to where our voices are heard the most.

In recent years I have watched the number of visitors and migration into the region steadily increase. Imagine the effects of having an event that celebrates and showcases all that is on offer in the region. Some people may giggle at these aspirations but what if the Northern Power House becomes a hot spot on the global map just like other popular regions? Why not?

As we get closer to those dates, I can’t help but feel excited about my part in this entire process. I will be the role model, a mentor or a sponsor that I didn’t always have. I am determined that there will be a lot more people like me in the years to come. That is the true legacy of Northern Power Futures.

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