Local women entered enthusiastically into the International Women’s Day celebrations – brought back to Filwood Community Centre after a five-year absence.
Over 150 people came to enjoy a range of stalls and activities from jewellery making and dance to meditation and pampering sessions.
The event was organised by Centre Manager June McNeill and Sally Clements from Knowle West Healthy Living Centre with the aim of letting local women know “what was available to them in the area” and bringing the community together.
June said: “It’s been absolutely amazing. It’s been as good as the first time. We’ve had a lot of people come through supporting us and doing the stands.”
And Sally said: “I’m really pleased with the turnout and people who have participated. It’s just great for people to get together…”
A topical year commemorating 100 years since the first women had the vote – author of The Bristol Suffragette Lucienne Boyce came to the event to give a talk.
Much of it focused on the militant action taken by the women and the reprisals they suffered in their struggle for the cause – from demonstrations on the Downs and stone throwing in the centre to riots on Queens Road and arson in the suburbs.
Ms Boyce told The Knowledge: “It is great to see International Women’s Day being celebrated and I like this community feel here. It is a challenge catering for different ages but it seems to work well here and there’s a nice atmosphere.”
Visitors had the chance to turn back the clock and try out dances from different decades such as the Charleston from the 1920s, the 60s shimmy or the 70s hustle with the Show Girl Dance Academy workshop in the main hall.
There was also a session of interpretive dance from the Untold Dance Theatre which has members ranging from 22 – 72.
Elsewhere in the building were relaxing meditation and mindfulness sessions, health checks and a nutrition talk organised by the Healthy Living Centre as well as the chance for a mini facial or to have your nails done.
Stalls ranged from Community Learning and SafeLink – a charity for victims of sexual abuse – to activities with We the Curious science centre and The Reader – a national project which offers stories, tea and chat at Filwood Library.
A popular stall was Sugar Smart – which showed just how many teaspoons of sugar were in products such as yoghurts, milk shakes and coke.
Health Improvement Advisor Claire McNeil who ran the stall said: “…It’s quite shocking the amount of sugar in everyday items. I’ve been doing a typical day and adding it up, it’s a real eye opener.
“Even if people are picking products like an Innocent orange juice concentrate or a Petite Filou – and flavoured water has 3 teaspoons of sugar. A child shouldn’t be exceeding six teaspoons a day – it’s easy to go overboard on sugar even if you didn’t mean to…”
Mary Self (23) who visited the stall said: ” It’s good because I have a two-year-old daughter and I’m always wary of hidden sugars but she’s a fussy eater…”
There was also an attendance from the Mini Police from Oasis Connaught – Avon and Somerset Police’s newest recruits who threw themselves wholeheartedly into the occasion.
PCSO Julia Penn who brought the young team said the idea of the project was to break down barriers between the police, children and their families – and the new recruits were very much involved in the community.
She said: “It’s a great way of getting them involved in what we do, partnering with schools, the local council and the police…
“They are really proud of their uniforms and wear them all day every Thursday. They are expected to sort issues out in schools and be kind and helpful to others.”
Visitors who came were pleased with what was on offer – with both creative and health giving activities as well as the chance to find out about groups they could get involved in.
Paola Kelly (410 said: “It is something local, it’s meeting new friends and getting everyone together… The creche is good because people don’t have to worry about their children.’