She’s been dubbed “part of the Knowle West Mafia”– challenging officials to get things done for the area.
Now after 25 years as Chair of Knowle West Health Association (KWHA) Carol Casey has stepped down – but will be continuing to battle for the community.
She says: “I’ve not gone as such – I’m still Independent Advisor for the police … I’m the representative for Knowle West if residents have any issues…
“And I’m also still supporting drug addicts on a one-to-one basis but from home.”
She recalls how KWHA was set up after the death of a child from glue sniffing. Based in the lane at the back of re:work, the organisation started with only two staff – a development worker and an admin.
“We did wellbeing activities and women’s mental health. We also used to do the carnival round here and get the different floats and it used to go all around the estate and was ram packed – all the kids came out and families.”
The organisation expanded and moved to Filwood Community Centre eight years ago – starting cooking classes and taking on an allotment. It’s been at its current site on Filwood Broadway since 2014.
Carol is proud she set up a domestic violence support service there and that KWHA had the first Ofsted registered crèche in Knowle West.
She cites one of her highlights as: “The people that used to come in for the classes and the Friendship Group …. I have a lot of good memories with them. “
Another was when KWHA won the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Services in 2010 and she visited the palace for the ceremony.
Within the community Carol’s also been just as active – she was on the Health Park Steering group before it was built and helped set up charity re:work with other resident campaigners Rose Manning and Mary Smith.
She also started the community bus with Mary; she and Rose established the Playing Fields as a charity trust – so they couldn’t be built on; set up a community fund and a girl’s football team.
She says: “I also went to number 10 with Mary to fight for the community hospital and better treatment for drug addicts.”
The list is endless and Carol doesn’t seem to be stopping her efforts any time soon.
She laughs: “I’ve been 35 years in the community out on the estate – I could write a book.”