Exhale group collagesMahasin Ahmed, Programme Manager at Exhale in Glasgow tells us how a 'Come on in' microgrant from Creative Lives helped them open up their safe, creative space to new people.

"Exhale.group is an organisation that aims to create a safe space to dream, explore and connect for QTIPOC+ (Queer, Trans and Intersex People of Colour) living in Glasgow.

At Exhale we recognise the unique tensions that our community faces between our culture, identity and belonging. We hope that by bringing people together, who have had similar experiences, in an environment designed to support flourishing, we can begin to mend these tensions and facilitate self-acceptance and positive self-expression. 

Our pilot project ‘Space to Be’ focuses on creativity as a way to learn more about ourselves and each other, finding new ways to express who we are. It involves delivering fortnightly creative workshops on film, writing and art, and open creative sessions for the community.

We applied for the ‘Come on in’ microgrant as we wanted to improve the accessibility of Space to Be, opening it up to others who may not have heard about it or been able to attend due to access costs. Our main methods of advertising were through social media and contacting other similar organisations. However, we realised that we were missing those not on social media or already engaged with community projects.

Therefore, we wanted to use the grant to reach a wider audience. This money allowed us to print flyers and stickers that we distributed across the city and at events – including the SQIFF Craft Fair, Strathclyde University Fresher’s Week and Pride Outside Festival. We also used the grant to provide travel expenses for people who needed it to attend Space to Be.

We are extremely grateful to have been able to open up our project to more of our community – it has been great to see more people coming to our events and enjoying the space we have created!"