Knowle West is no longer waiting for the bus!
In August 2008 the 89 bus service, which provided a route to the Centre along Leinster Avenue, was cut. This left many people in Knowle West, particularly elderly residents and families with young children, isolated and struggling to get around. Later that month around 250 people crowded into Knowle West Media Centre (KWMC) to attend a protest meeting.
A dedicated group of local residents formed a committee and have spent the last year campaigning to have the service reinstated. Their commitment and hard work have been rewarded; in September 2009 the transport provider First announced the new 91 route. Leinster Avenue is back on the travel map!
Local lady Lyn Caple was interviewed on BBC Radio Bristol and has been nominated for a community award for her role in the campaign. She said: ‘I couldn’t have done it without the committee. When you’re on your own you get doors shut in your face. When you’re part of a committee, doors open!’
In early 2009 KWMC commissioned artist Cluna Donnelly to explore the issue of transport in the area. Cluna met with local residents and made a series of video clips that explore how life in Knowle West was affected by the withdrawal of the bus. The clips were combined to produce a longer film, which was shown at a meeting with First. Cluna commented: ‘I was inspired by working with local people like Lyn Caple who, through determination, will and imagination, have proved you can make a difference for yourself and the community and use video to capture a community’s experience and hopes.’
The committee also enlisted the help of Dawn Primarolo, the MP for Bristol South, who took up the cause. She visited Knowle West on Friday 25th September 2009 when the long-awaited bus finally arrived!
KWMC screened the short films before the residents formed a queue that was more disorderly than usual, as they excitedly admired the new double-decker bus! Cheers and laughter could be heard along Leinster Avenue as everyone celebrated the achievement. Working with local organisations and using technology to make their views heard, the people of Knowle West have succeeded in making a great change to the community!