Fishponds People website has now passed its 10th birthday since the idea to promote Greater Fishponds was born in March 2008 while walking around Hillfields Park one afternoon and began life as a Hillfields site. It soon became a website to promote the Greater Fishponds Neighbourhood Partnership as well which by 2011 was an award winning area by showing the amazing work by volunteer groups and individuals across the three wards of Hillfields, Frome Vale and Eastville. Today the website is once again owned by the volunteers who make Greater Fishponds what it is, for the good of the community and is owned and run by volunteers who love the area.
Our website continues to and support the promote Greater Fishponds Neighbourhood Partnership area and support the people who work, live and visit this large area of Bristol and which shares a large boundary with South Gloucestershire.
The website will continue to be known as the Greater Fishponds Neighbourhood Partnership. No politician can dictate what we call our site and community as volunteers in this area of Bristol.
How the website and social media for the area was born in 2008.
After 28 years in local Scouts and youth leadership in the Bristol area including Outreach Youth Work for Bristol Council, walking up to and engaging with gangs, which wasn’t at all a nice experience at times; the idea to create the Fishponds area website was to signpost people to opportunities and assistance and this quickly included the new social media that was coming about up to 2008 including Facebook, Twitter and more to create local interest groups which are now all run by other volunteers and have memberships of over 10,000 people in an area of almost 20,000 residents in Greater Fishponds and fringe areas including Stoke Park Estate with Lockleaze.
The story goes back much further though, it all started back in the early 1980s when Bristol Council administration at that time wanted to sell off all our council homes to a private landlord for £3000 a house. Asd part of the tenants association we quickly posted 5000 flyers and built up a membership of almost 1000 residents and family and friends hosted a number of community events in the area including coach trips where as many as 400 local residents headed to various beaches in convey on eight coach loads. The council homes were saved and tenants associations work had been completed by 1992 but so much had been achieved for the area. Ironic that now in 2018 the council want to build many thousands of social homes again, imagine if work by many in the 1980s had never taken place, they’d have all been lost to greed! Lady Mayoress had achieved so much and we are forever grateful for her work and many like her during those challenging times across the city for poor & deprived families who could have lost their homes.
In Spring 2011 three of us met in The White Lion pub on Frenchay Common and formed the Hillfields Community Trust (HCT) which today has evolved and is led by local cllrs for Hillfields Cllr Craig Cheney and Cllr Anna Keen amongst many including original founders George Campbell-Touray & Jan Ross. The idea for HCT was to save Hillfields Youth Centre from closure, to look at ways to save Hillfields Library and to possibly build a new Community Centre for Hillfields on the site of the old centre which stood for nearly 60 years. Hillfields had by 2011 lost so much community infrastructure and even since 2011 two more community buildings have been lost in the area but so far the Library and the Youth Hub have been saved. Visit www.hillfieldscommunitytrust.org
In 2011 & 2014 we delivered large community fun days in Hillfields Park & Youth Hub. In 2012 we delivered a Diamond Jubilee in Hillfields Park and Youth Hub. In 2012, 2013 & 2014 we delivered a number of community events from Hillfields Library to help save the building from possible closure. Hillfields had by 2011 lost so many community buildings and we wanted to limit how many more could be lost and have some rebuilt for the people.
In 2014 myself, Cllr Lesley Alexander and with the help of Elaine (Lady Mayoress) set up the idea of The Begbrook Retirement Club based in Frome Vale in the ideal community room developed for the community within a retirement complex which was once warden controlled and these are possible all across the city in over 100 similar rooms. A meeting inviting the community in Spring 2014 after 1000 flyers were made and posted through local doors, a committee was quickly formed and local champion Maureen Coles who saved land in Begbrook which become Begbrook Green Park decades before amongst many things for the area was from day one on the new committee along with several others and now four years later the club has gone from strength to strength bringing people out of loneliness and isolation and formed many new friendships.
During the time of our website and community work we have written to retailers including Coffee Number One and Iceland asking them to please open in Fishponds, we’ve hosted some large community events and tried our best to report and keep reporting issues and help get new things for the area in any ways possible and address inequality and keep on addressing the issues and reminding people where the problems are especially bus service poverty and unfairness. We have even had Network Rail look at a number of bridges and the one over the M4 painted Bristol Blue as a welcome to the city and following their inspection, the one in Stapleton Road replaced to bring new pride to the area.
Richard – Member of the Neighbourhood Partnership from 2011 to 2016.
This website is successful because of other amazing groups in the area which together make Greater Fishponds a better place to live, work and visit namely The Snuff Mills Action Group which put Greater Fishponds on map for Britain in Bloom along with Friends of Parks Groups such as Friends of Eastville Park who have done so much for the area as well. There are too many people and groups to all name here whose work has made it possible to create a successful website to celebrate this area of Bristol. As Fish Fest Group says “Fishponds is quite nice 🙂 ”
Our Groups & Buildings pages shows amazing groups. Visit: fishpondspeople.co.uk/community-groups
We continue to evolve for the good of the community and putting people and heritage before politics.