In Mid October we’re now fully in to autumn and as I write this it’s a beautiful sunny day with brass coloured trees, birds singing and the last warmth felt as summer fights desperately to cling on to 2020 but damp, crisp air is days away and with that comes the winds of winter felt for five months as the clocks change to shorter days. In Greater Fishponds it’s time to visit your Frome Valley and connect with nature and well-being.
Explore faith buildings in the wider community. Most have youth memberships attached to them like here at St Johns Church on Lodge Causeway in the heart of Fishponds. 66th St John’s Scouts and Guides group celebrated centenary in recent years along with many other groups in the Greater Fishponds area. Groups where leaders give up their time to be volunteers and often throughout their entire adult lives. At St John’s Brian Bolley was a volunteer for over half a century and others for many decades.
Explore all the options available by discovering activities in community buildings.
The link below links to as many community buildings as possible, use those links to see what community opportunities are available to you in Greater Fishponds
We are nearly 13 years old. The website all started with a small website for Hillfields back in Spring 2008, the website was created which today would be very much out of date in terms of the technology used but the content would be similar. 10,000 flyers were used to promote the new website in 2008 and 6000 were posted through letterboxes and stored in various outlets and within days people were sharing their interest.
Having served Hillfields for over 20 years by initially helping to save all the council houses from being given to private ownership which will have left tenants vulnerable to capitalism we ran a Tenants Association which saved them all and today in 2020 council owned housing is seen as the best option so it’s lucky we did all that work from 1988. I later served for 15 years as a youth leader in Hillfields and the community of North East Bristol in the youth district team but by 2008 wanted to do something a bit different.
In 2009 the website also covered Frome Vale (mainly Oldbury Court) as the neighbour to Hillfields Estate so the natural route especially as the community and youth centre was also at risk of being lost forever there which thrived in the 1980s and 90s. In 2010 the website grew to include Eastville after the creation of the Greater Fishponds Neighbourhood Partnership by Spring 2010. This new alternative parish council for Greater Fishponds worked well; suddenly there was a real local decision making function for the area and money to invest in 100s of projects, money to renew the parks and reach people and groups who had never been reached before, this new set up by the Liberal Democrats was amazing. Never in the history of Hillfields and Frome Vale had anything like this ever existed before. The website was a fantastic way to reach as many orgs as possible for them to get involved ranging from retirement clubs to rugby clubs and everyone in between and to finally get things done for the area and attract new retailers to go in to empty shops such as Coffee One, Sainsburys, Iceland and Dominos Pizza and more opened in Fishponds after including the website in emails to them to show the potential and customer base of the area.
In Spring 2011 three of us set up the Hillfields Community Trust with the aim to save and develop Hillfields Library, Hillfields Youth Hub, Community Centre land for new housing and mixed use venue and deliver community activities in venues including the new Cossham Hospital Community Room. We delivered huge fun days for Hillfields between 2011 and 2015 including a Diamond Jubilee Event with amazing help from members of the community and Julie (rip) of Community Resolve, £700 funding by Neighbourhood Partnerships, huge support by Abdul Razak Dahir and Denis Wise of Neighbourhoods and Lindsay Wall of Housing.
Abdul Razak also asked HCT to please apply for and manage Hillfields Community First Funding of £38,000 over four years which we did to help every corner of the ward and we attended meetings where £30,000 in grants (£10,000 per ward every year was available) to help allocated money to all groups applying for funds. Empowerment to the three wards made it possible for so much to be achieved between 2010 and 2016 after the first elected Mayor George Ferguson kept and made Neighbourhood Partnerships even better.
In 2015 with Cllr Lesley Alexander I helped found retirement clubs after realising there was a desperate situation of loneliness in the Begbrook area of Stapleton and Frenchay and community rooms built in the late 1970s to serve the local elderly community were available on some days but over time this had been forgotten but not by lifetime community activists such as Maureen and Brian Coles who knew that the rooms were for everyone in the wider community and were extremely popular while warden controlled. In 2017 Lesley Alexander was made Lord Mayor of Bristol and wished to roll out this model all across Bristol by working with communities across the city after the Begbrook Club was unbelievably successful and by now run by the members themselves. Neighbourhood Partnerships again helped with some initial funding of £1000 to get the group established for coach trips and some equipment and later PCC Sue Mountstevens community grants paid for new kitchen equipment including dishwasher and cooker for the community room for all of the room users in the community to use.
The new Town & Village Green in Frenchay offers a new park just meters from the Greater Fishponds boundary for all to enjoy with tennis court membership, picnic tables, beautiful open spaces and lots of seating around the parkland and another new play area with small children’s bmx course at Scholars Chase at the top of Stoke Lane.
Explore our other parks at https://fishpondsbristol.wordpress.com/parks-and-open-spaces
It’s now the 28th June and the longest days of light in the year and after lots of rain our green spaces and wildlife is rich and plentiful. 2020 offers a lot of of opportunities thanks to Greater Fishponds boundary shared with South Gloucestershire. A new park is now open at the top of Stoke Lane in Scholars Chase and another new park with new tennis courts in the old grounds of Frenchay Hospital which is our new Town & Village Green, so protected land for ever more to add to the landscapes of the Frome Valley.
As the snow melts and daffodils rise across the Frome Valley and along the Railway Path we can start to sense that spring is around the corner and the woodland floors start to slowly come alive with nature once again and buds appear which will soon explode in to a sea of green all around us as the River Frome returns to a calm setting, leaving the rage of winter behind.
Enjoy the parkland of Greater Fishponds by visiting: https://fishpondsbristol.wordpress.com/parks-and-open-spaces
Volunteers make Greater Fishponds and Bristol the city that it is, these selfless people do not look for credit, they do not chase money, they do not allow politics and greed to get in the way of what they do. Scout Leaders through to parks groups and faith groups just plough on delivering for the heart and soul of the community and boy do they deliver.
There aren’t enough words in the dictionary or any amount of money that can be used to replace the volunteering in Bristol where one in four people are volunteers to make a difference to all people young and old.
Greenbank meets Whitehall and Easton at the other end of the Greater Fishponds boundary. Here you find colourful houses as Eastville slowly becomes part of the up and coming area of the city where people want to live close to Easton and St Werburghs which have really caught on in the past two decades.
In these areas you can find various shops, pubs, Bristol Sweet Mart and Stapleton Road.
Where Greater Fishponds shares a boundary with St George and Easton areas we have the vibrant Whitehall area with The Kings Head Pub and family garden, a £1million running track, St Ambrose Church with The Beehive Centre with all kinds of activities and opportunities for the over 55s, The West Indies Cricket Club and St George Park as well as so much more to discover in the are with St George Shops, Bristol & Bath Railway Path, Troopers Hill and The Whitehall Tavern all a short walk away,