Who are we?
In 2018, a group of residents and five local organisations, Filwood Community Centre, The Park, Re:work, Knowle West Health Park and Knowle West Media Centre, came together and developed the idea of Knowle West Alliance, with the aim of creating a collaborative partnership of active and connected local residents, businesses and organisations to build and support positive action in Knowle West. We want to help facilitate changes big and small that make a difference to people’s lives. Officially launched in spring 2019, the Alliance is growing and partnering with more and more local organisations. By working together, we can achieve more.
The Alliance has two ongoing employees who manage the day-to-day work, Lucy Holburn, Alliance Coordinator, and Frances Coates, Community Development Worker. Lucy has worked in Knowle West for a long time, previously at Square Food Foundation and Knowle West Health Association. She’s responsible for all the organisational work and making sure we’re funded. Frances has also worked in Knowle West for City of Bristol College when they had a centre on Filwood Broadway and for Learning Communities who are based at the Park. She does a lot of the community engagement work on the ground and has been coordinating the volunteers for the Covid Support Hub during the pandemic. Frances’ predecessor, Emily Smith, is also rejoining us temporarily as Community Planning Facilitator to support our work around resident involvement in regeneration and planning.
The Alliance have a Working Group made up of active and involved local residents who meet monthly to direct the Alliance work. Representatives of the founding organisations also meet quarterly.
What do we do?
Knowle West Alliance aims to be as flexible as possible so we can change our work according to need and the work in hand. Here are some of the things we do:
· KWA members have co-created a Knowle West Pre Planning Protocol for Community Involvement. This protocol sets out a process that aims to involve the community in having a voice in housing developments happening locally. We are working to ensure community views are heard so that the best developments are achieved.
· We run a Small Grants programme, funding local residents, groups and organisations to run projects that benefit the local community.
· We work with the community to help secure funding for improvements through the Council’s Community Infrastructure Levy.
· We manage the local Covid Support Hub, providing residents with volunteer and other types of support.
· We manage a popular local Facebook page where we share local information, important updates about the current situation and local community stories.
· We’ve taken over 400 referrals through the Covid Support Hub since the beginning of the first lockdown, many of these residents returning more than once for support, and matched approximately 125 households with volunteer help.
· We delivered flyers to the whole estate twice during lockdown, providing every household with information about where they can get support during the Covid crisis.
· We set up a meal partnership with Knowle West Health Association and Square Food Foundation in May and since then have provided approximately 1200 cooked meals free to Knowle West households.
· We have conducted community engagement activity to encouraged participation around proposed housing developments. This has helped the community to shape the proposals for the new Park community centre and ensured resident voice has been heard on developments such as the Boklok housing development on the Airport Road among others.
· Collaborating with Filwood Fantastic, we have given out 35 Small Grants to fund projects run by local people for the benefit of local residents.
· We secured emergency government funding to distribute to residents via 20 of our partners on the estate including schools and local organisations.
· We helped to secure council funding (CIL) to buy toys for Filwood Library after residents said this was something they’d like.
· Our Facebook page now has over 2100 followers, many of whom have benefitted from the information we share.