Both residents and authorities joined the walk that started at the De Ypelaer neighborhood center on Corellistraat. After a cup of coffee, the group set off. Their first stop was Studio Second Skin, located at Verdiplein. Studio Second Skin is an initiative of ForwArt and UIA. Yassmine and Akin explained that the project is about fashion in the broadest sense of the word. Akin: “It's all about shaping and expressing your identity. After all, fashion is your second skin.” Yassmine and Akin indicated that everyone is welcome at Second Skin. Young and old!
Another stop was made at R-Newt's neighborhood bus. Soumeiya Hachin of R-Newt, a youth social services organization, explained that during this pandemic, this initiative was able to reach and connect with young people in Noord- Stokhasselt. Fortunately, in person meetings are now happening again. Soumeiya is also involved in The Scène, an initiative of R-Newt in collaboration with Zuidelijk Toneel. The Scene is also part of ForwArt. They organize all kinds of events and gatherings for young women. They do workshops, eat together and every now and then an inspiring female guest speaker comes to talk to and with the group. “We mainly look at the needs of young women,” explains Soemeiya. “And we try to do something with that. The goal is to keep learning from each other.”
In the gym of local primary school ‘De Vlashof’, Younes and Hasmieu showed the public the freestyle football skills they learned at the Corpo Máquina Society. The performances they put on show how street style and contemporary dance come together. Nasser El Jackson, professional street footballer and born and raised in Noord, wanted to contribute to that. Now once a week he teaches kids aged between 8 and 14. So far its just boys, but soon they will start a new girls-only group.
And then there’s Ypelaer Park. Many residents who took part in the walk were especially curious about the plans for this place. Paul Cornelissen of ForwArt explained the ideas for the park using a model and drawings. In Ypelaer’s Park there are plans for a sewing workshop, a stage at the water's edge, a moped workshop and a large playground. Residents Hans and Til Wouters have been living in Stokhasselt since 1978 and are happy with the plans. Hans: “We spend a lot of time in the park with our grandchildren. It would be great if all these ideas could be realized.”
The afternoon ended at the community center in Mascagnistraat. Soup and bread were initially planned to be served, but local resident and volunteer at the community center, Loubna had other plans. Together with a number of women from the neighborhood she prepared a buffet with foods from all around the world. There was Lebanese and African food, but also some dishes from the Caribbean island of Curaçao. People were eating together and dancing. “And that's exactly what this space is for,” says Loubna. She will soon open a restaurant in the building on Mascagnistraat. “From breakfast to lunch and dinner, as long as it's healthy. And everyone is welcome!”
Watch a video of the neighborhood walk here: