The Alliance is a group of local organisations and residents which has come together to work to improve the local area.
With its mission: “rooted in the community, growing for the future” – organisations involved are Filwood Community Centre (Community in Partnership), Knowle West Health Park (KWHP) and re:store as well as Knowle West Media Centre (KWMC) and The Park.
Alliance Development Worker Emily Smith has been recruited to work with residents in the community and led the introductions.
She said: “The aim of this event is to launch it officially and have a range of residents and organisations coming together to find out more…”
The event started with displays from the mini and junior dance teams from KASPA – a performing arts group which meets at The Park.
During the evening attendees were also asked to pledge their support or get involved if they wished.
Heather Williams, CEO of KWHP told the gathered crowd: “When I first came I realised lots of organisations were doing lots of good work and it wasn’t always joined up…”
She said rather than competing with each other “how much better if there was cooperation among these organisations.”
And she stressed they wanted the Alliance to “build on the strengths and skills” of the community” and for Knowle West to be “the best place to live.”
“We want to lead this community to be a community that stands out within the rest of Bristol…”
Other speakers included resident Ian Watt who spoke about the importance of local people getting involved – so they could get together and “have a voice and say” about their community.
And Levi Hodge, now in his twenties, described how he had got into trouble as a teenager and managed to turn his life around with the help of Youth Moves at The Park.
He said: “I’ve gone from being a young person spoken about in meetings to going to meetings – I’m now a trustee for Youth Moves…
“Without Youth Moves and people behind me I could quite easily have ended up in prison.”
He now works with challenging young people in schools and has won the High Sheriff Youth Award as part of Bristol Young Heroes.
The last speaker was Graham Sims, the former architect of the community asset transfer policy at Bristol City Council.
He said: “Members of an alliance are called allies…it is about coming together for the greater good.”
The final part of the night was the open forum fielded by Community Worker Alex North who took suggestions from people for “things to be done locally to make this place an even stronger community.”
These were then discussed in small groups – and included combatting isolation in the area, a Knowle West market and the future of Filwood Library.
The next step for the Alliance will be to give out community grants of £100 in May for groups and individuals to improve the area. For more information visit https://www.facebook.com/KWAlliance/ or email Emily.firstname.lastname@example.org