Grants awarded for projects during Covid-19

Main image: Artist Claudia Collins who received funding for a new project Knowle West Rocks. Picture by ‘Nicky takes Photos’.

Six local projects have been awarded funding during the coronavirus pandemic for their work to benefit Knowle West – by improving places and attitudes and helping connect residents.

Grants of £500 have been given by Filwood Fantastic based at Filwood Community Centre and for £100 by Knowle West Alliance – a group of local organisations and people working to build positive action in the area.

Some of the money will be used to bring some cheer and support to residents during the pandemic or to improve the environment – while other projects can start to take place when lockdown has eased.

Filwood Fantastic

The £500 funds had to be for “creative projects” and show at least one of the following criteria – improving places and attitudes, bringing people together and making them proud of their community as well as getting them involved and creating new opportunities in the area.

Knowle West Kindness Rocks

Claudia Collins who ran the hugely popular Knowle West Beaches project – bringing the seaside to the area with pop up sandcastles – received a second grant of £500 for a follow up.

Claudia Collins working in one of the roads named after a coastal town. Picture by ‘Nicky takes Photos’.

Claudia says Knowle West Kindness Rocks will “continue to create a playful sense of a holiday at home” by connecting people who live on the roads named after seaside towns. 

She says: “…This particular strand of the project will focus on acts of kindness using a souvenir stick of rock. 

“Residents of Knowle West will be asked to do something sweet for someone down their street and give them a stick of rock. (instead of bringing them back a souvenir from their holiday…) 

“Each stick of rock will come with a note with ideas for how to spread some Knowle West Kindness…” 

The project will also include a painted mural of a stick of rock near Filwood Broadway – with the tag ‘Knowle West Kindness Rocks’ – creating a photo opportunity spot.

Gardening Friends of Filwood

Residents Don Jones and Mike Robbins who run Gardening Friends of Filwood will be using the funding to help people transform their gardens into “places of relaxation and provision of home grown produce.”

Community gardener Don Jones watering one of the planters he was instrumental in bringing to Filwood Broadway. Picture Mike Robbins.

Don says: “…We aim to distribute posters and letter box drops around Knowle letting people know who we are and encourage residents to contact the group – to talk and advise how to make better use of their gardens.

“My observation is, once this has been launched,  a trend will follow… on the strength of what develops we will be able to look and plan for the next steps. All this can only start when the restrictions are lifted.”  

Inns Court Residents Group

Members of Inns Court Residents Group clearing a path. Picture Charlie Watts.

Inns Court Residents Group is a band of resident-volunteers who have been working hard to improve the local environment – from clearing paths to litter picking.

The £500 grant will be used for “providing planting kits to residents, making a walkway and planters out of tyres and fixing willow sculptures to the ground.”

Knit and Natter

Knit and Natter – which met every Wednesday afternoon at Filwood Library before the pandemic – was set up to help tackle social isolation.

The group will be using the funding to “knit and croquet objects – including rainbows, teddies, puppets and hearts for local residents in need”.

This will include children, those in isolation, the elderly and vulnerable – as well as those who have suffered bereavement due to the coronavirus.

They will be providing packs for people in the community so they can take part at home.

Knit and Natter members left to right Sue Vile, Viv Garton, Kelly Hunt and Janee White at a meeting last year with a selection of the baby clothes they knitted for charity.

Charlie Watts from Filwood Fantastic said: “”Filwood Fantastic is proud to be working with Knowle West Alliance to help get these projects off the ground. 

“We’re pleased to be supporting projects from all over the community, including Knowle West Kindness Rocks – which has come about off the back of the successful Knowle West Beaches.   

“All the projects we’re supporting show the importance of community and creativity at a time like this.”   

Knowle West Alliance grants

There were two recipients of the small grants of £100 from Knowle West Alliance, available for any groups, schools or individuals benefiting the community.

Applicants had to meet one of the criteria to make Knowle West: a safer, friendlier, greener, cleaner or active place.

Filwood Tree Champion

Filwood Tree Champion Jim Smith will be launching a tree planting campaign with school children in the first few months of 2021.

Filwood Tree Champion Jim Smith next to a tree he planted on Filwood Broadway.

He says the name of the project will be “Oh what FUN! I planted a tree in 20….21” and he hopes the schools and groups involved will make a badge with this on for each child.

Each child will also be given a measuring stick to decorate and put their name on.

He says: “…It will be used to measure the progress of their tree as a school project. They will also run a school related project on the importance of trees, especially oak trees.”

Filwood Community Market

Filwood Community Market which launched in October last year was forced to close during the coronavirus pandemic lockdown.

The grant will be used to “respond to new government guidelines around health and safety for the running of the market” and will include providing face masks and hand sanitiser.

The last Filwood Community Market at the beginning of March.

Alliance Development Worker Frances Coates said: “It’s great to have been able to bring back the Small Grants during this difficult time and work with Filwood Fantastic again. 

“I’m so pleased that so much good stuff is happening locally. It’s just another example of how Knowle West is a fun, exciting and creative place to be and how the community pulls together to support each other.

“All the projects we’re supporting show the importance of community and creativity at a time like this.”