Knowle West hero in exhibition for Bristolians “who have made a difference”

Image: Don at work brightening up Filwood Community Centre. Picture Lewis Campbell.

A community gardener “who makes Knowle West beautiful” has been selected to appear in a photographic exhibition which celebrates Bristolians who have made a difference.

Don Jones (77), who has lived in the area for 37 years, will appear in the You Make Bristol exhibition – to be launched at M Shed on Harbourside this February.

The display is updated every three to four years and features everyone from community workers and campaigners to musicians and models. 

From nearly 200 people nominated in a public call last year – the list has been whittled down by a panel to just 40 people and groups in the updated display

The exhibition celebrates those who have found fame through their actions, but also those who have made an impact on a much more local level – like Don – whose portrait features alongside Olympic medal winners, pioneering Vogue models and artists. 

Don’s work in Knowle West has included introducing hanging baskets to Filwood Community Centre and brightening up the garden area – “to create a wow factor” and make the centre “a destination.”

He was also the driving force to get benches and planters to enhance Filwood Broadway in 2017, in his Boulevard project.

His latest work is to establish a thriving kitchen garden with other volunteers at the back of the community centre and to help get funding for a greenhouse.

Don has also spread his enthusiasm by leading planting workshops for local groups.

He told The Knowledge: “It’s about changing the environment. I was a bit shocked – I thought the gardens must be having an impact if people wanted to nominate me. It was not only me, I was part of the Man Alive group.

“I would really hope to leave a legacy for anyone coming on behind as the template is there. We could set up some basic workshops where people can drop in and become involved – so they get in the habit of knowing that this is doable stuff…

“This is not all about me, this is about the community, it was all their positive encouragement that gave me the faith to take the next steps. I wanted to share that with everybody…”

The display at M Shed will feature over 20 new photographs from renowned photographer Kirsty Mackay alongside archive images.

Knowle West residents are being invited to come to the launch on Wednesday 26 February from 6-8pm.

Tickets are available from https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/you-make-bristol-2020-launch-tickets-88116477757?ref=estw