What makes a stronger community?

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Lucy Holburn from KWA explained that by working together & playing to their strengths, just two years on the Alliance is steadily growing
Makala Cheung from Filwood Community Centre has lived and worked in the area for many years. She spoke passionately about how a grant helped free up time to focus on the centre's future
The Alliance focuses on the strengths of local people and organisations, building hope and taking action

Last week we heard from Knowle West Alliance (KWA) in South Bristol about how the five founding organisations are working together to support positive action.

Launched in 2019, this collaborative partnership of active and connected local residents, businesses and organisations has been active throughout Covid-19.

By working together their Covid Support Hub has achieved a lot. This includes: 

This was our 3rd virtual Behind the Scenes event, and the first for our new CEO Suzanne Rolt.

We were joined by our fund holders from across Bristol, B&NES and North Somerset who enjoyed a virtual visit to the Knowle West Alliance.

Feelings of frustration

Lucy Holburn from KWA explained that while people are proud of the community in Knowle West, there can also be a sense of loss for many people in the area; reduced facilities and lack of active investment in infrastructure has brought a low level of trust in the system. The low turnout in Filwood Ward in the recent elections – the second lowest in Bristol – was noted.

Established with an initial grant from us, KWA has five founding partners: 

KWA works with the local community, small businesses and other organisations to focus on the issues that matter to local people.

Spirit of generosity

Lucy Holburn explained: “There’s a real spirit of generosity and coming together in the core of the Alliance. Residents volunteer their time and effort, CEOs from the five local organisations give their time willingly too. The vision is building a confident, learning community; and the partnership is growing all the time, with over 20 other local organisations (Allies) coming together at different points over the year.

“In March 2020 we’d been together for about a year. We were able to bring together a swift Covid response. It’s what we were built for. The partners played to their strengths – for example the Knowle West Health Park has the health specialism and network, so could lead on that, the Media Centre could help with digital communications, Re:Work was open throughout providing that open door, phone handling and facilitating volunteers and workers in the area.  

“We’re so grateful to Quartet who were early supporters of the original idea (of joint working), nurtured that concept, supported it and championed it. We’re proud of what we’re doing, building long-term relationships. Collaborations like this take time, we’re learning along the way, building hope and taking action.”

Funding helps Filwood Community Centre think beyond next week

Makala Cheung has lived in the area for over 30 years, and has worked in Knowle West for more than 18 years.

Makala spoke about how a grant through Quartet to Filwood Community Centre helped free up time: “The grant allowed me and June to step away from the reception desk and day-to-day work and focus on strategy and fundraising. We couldn’t think strategically, couldn’t think beyond next week. The building was under threat but no-one wanted to lose it.

“So there’s loads happening. We’re having a modular retro-fit. We’ve got some new windows, boiler and heating system upgrades, we’re refitting the sports hall.

“We’ve now got more clubs and youth groups using the hall.

“Having the extra staff time meant we could focus on the future and we’ve now secured a long lease from Bristol City Council.

“In the breaks between lockdowns we’ve built a crazy golf course at Filwood Community Centre, to offer something fun for local people to do here, rather than having to leave the estate and pay a lot of money for activities.”

Investing in South Bristol

Ronnie Brown, Philanthropy Director at Quartet Community Foundation remarked: “What the Knowle West Alliance has been able to achieve in a very short time is really inspiring. Our funding is supporting local people and organisations to work together as they develop a shared vision and voice for what they want to achieve for their community.”

Inspiring events

We organise regular opportunities for our fund holders and supporters to hear from the causes we support together, including these quarterly Behind the Scenes events. If you’re interested in joining hundreds of other people who’ve already set up a charitable fund with Quartet, please contact Ronnie Brown ronnie.brown@quartetcf.org.uk

Hear from some of the amazing people in Knowle West - friends, allies and partners of KWA - about what they've all achieved by working together.