Eastside Community Trust Review of the Year 2023

15 Dec, 2023
Here is a little round up of some of the personal highlights from Eastside Community Trust over the last twelve months.

Review of the Year

All of us at Eastside Community Trust would like to say a big thank you to you, our community, for supporting us, celebrating, and sharing with us over 2023.
Here is a round up of some of our highlights from the last twelve months.

In January, we moved into the next stage of our Community Climate Action Project after receiving funding for the next three years from the National Lottery’s Climate Fund. So far, we have successfully run a training course to train handy people on simple retrofitting to add to their skill set, we have taken one group of local people on as Warm Home Champions teaching them how to make their homes more energy efficient so they can pass that knowledge on, and we are just about to start our second round of Warm Home Champions, find out how to apply.

February saw us officially develop our partnership with the wonderful café, Houria. Houria is now open five days a week, as well as serving up delicious food at Easton Community Centre, they also run private catering and serve up amazing Community Feasts. In 2024 you can look forward to Saturday openings, events and Sunday roasts… watch this space.

Easton Community Centre was a bustling Warm Hub throughout the winter, with a new Women’s Only Exercise Class and Bollywood Aerobics class, advice drop-in, plus activities and meet ups for the over-50s as part of the Eastside Connect programme, including Cuppa to Connect, Craft to Connect, and Tai Chi for women over 50. Many of these activities are still happening regularly find out more on our events page.

March was the month when we hosted the first Women’s Celebration nights, kicking off with a Somali Women’s Night complete with food and dancing – this has ushered in several more women’s celebrations. March also saw a Seed Swap at Felix Road and Eastside ran a stall of mindful activities to celebrate International Women’s Day at City Hall, including Mindful Colouring!

April: Eid Mubarak! Easton Community Centre hosts another awesome Women’s Night to celebrate Eid, this time a Buranbuur Night. Also, Eastside Repair Café came to Easton Community Centre. Making it easier for our local community to reduce, reuse and recycle. The Easton Mega Mandala painted by members of the community, and facilitated by Brick Project, is installed in the foyer, adding a beautiful splash of colour. April also saw the publication of the Spring edition of Up Our Street magazine, celebrating our successes as a Warm Hub, with artwork, local stories and poetry.

May: A brand new cycle track opened at Felix Road – the track allows visitors and kids with skateboards, bikes, roller skates, scooters, wheelchairs and buggies access to more of the playground than ever before. The first of our Welcome to Stapleton Road events took place this month, celebrating the section between Robertson Road and the railway bridge. Felix Girls celebrated a very successful trip to The Wave where the girls got their surf on.

May also saw the Coronation of King Charles III – Eastside Connect celebrated with a Coronation Tea Party for over 50s. Tea was served, complete with cake, sandwiches, party hats, bunting, live music, and of course a photo point featuring a throne.

With June came the second of our Stapleton Road events, this time, celebrating the stretch of this monumental road between the railway bridge and Lebeqs Tavern, taking place right in the middle of all the action, at Kensington Baptist Church. Another off-site summer activity: Women’s Cycle rides are timetabled, with an array of relaxed bike rides in partnership with Life Cycle UK.

July started with a party. Felix Road Adventure Playground took part in St Paul’s Carnival procession – a fabulous colourful comeback for St Pauls carnival. Our third and final celebration of Stapleton Road took place at the end of the month, this time the focus was on the lower section of the road between Rawnsley Park and Maliks Supermarket. The Rotary Club painted the Main Hall at Easton Community Centre, creating a smart new colour scheme – thank you. Women’s Bollywood Night came to Easton Community Centre – dancing, music and a thali were all on the menu.

August: Felix Road extended its opening hours for the school holidays, offering play, food, trips, workshops, craft and fun.  A highlight was the exciting and new water slide. Easton Community Centre offered a variety of free family activities, including Lego, chess, board games, colouring and more. Eastside Connect, who offer activities for over 55s ran one of their successful FABulous discos at Trinity, opening their doors to boogying on down for the more mature club-goer. There was a School Uniform Giveaway where uniforms were given out to 86 children in need.

September saw the introduction of Saturday opening at Easton Community Centre, offering a rolling programme of events including Eastside Repair Café, Everyone Makes It arts and crafts family workshops, Craft to Connect sessions for adults, Lego Club and Family Film Club, all offering affordable activities on a weekend. We ran an Eastside Climate Action Day at Felix Road, complete with sound sculpture, workshops and discussion events, all to review our Community Climate Action Plan to make sure we are on the right path. Building tenants from Easton Community Centre, BCFM, held the Your Bristol Life: Sound Event – this was a ‘lights out listening event’ there were five new audio pieces exploring overlooked aspects of Bristol’s history. September also saw the completion of a beautiful new mural for the side of the building facing Owen Square, by local artist Aumairah Hassan.

October: Eastside Connect presents the Easton Celebrating Age Festival, a chance to show appreciation, admiration and respect to those over 50. The day included talks from the Human Library, entertainment and food, crafts and weaving and activities to get the blood pumping, like Men’s Nordic Walking.

Eastside Community Trust formed a partnership with Come the Revolution to present free film screenings at Easton Community Centre. The first screening of Barrel Children: The Families that Windrush Left Behind takes place, directed by Nadine White and presented by DET, the film sells out within 24 hours, and another is scheduled on the same day.

We also hosted our most heartwarming event of the year – our annual Thank You Awards are a chance to say a great big thank you to those volunteers and people in the not-for-profit sector who give their all to our community, yet again we say a big thank you to those wonderful individuals and groups who make this area the best place.

In November we got off to a warming start with a Diwali celebration at Felix Road Adventure Playground. The children enjoyed a bonfire and Nirmal and Hero, our team in the kitchen, cooked up a storm, offering huge, delicious Thalis for everyone celebrating.

November was also the month that saw Eastside Community Trust win the Locality Award for Bringing Communities Together. We are chuffed to bits, especially given the high quality of the other nominees.

The 20 November was World Children’s Day – we celebrated by sharing our most recent Freedom Kids’ Podcast on Children’s Rights. This is the third installment of Freedom Kids this year, made by and for children.

This month we unveiled a mural on the side of the building by the bike racks – the new mural was created by Butong Idar and Nano Warsono of Jogja disability arts with Andrew Bolton.

We also said goodbye to two of our trustees, Marg and Mandy, both of whom had been on our board for three years. Of course, this also means that we got to say ‘Hello’ to four new board members, Muna Mohamed, Ted Fowler, Azmina Mitha and Prof. Jon Fox.

December saw us get all festive, but not before we’ve made sure that people are warm. December 1 is our Coat Giveaway – we gave out a whopping 75 coats and loads of hats, gloves and scarves. Most of the coats were donated from the community and we also provided brand new hats, scarves and gloves thanks to Abri Housing for funding us. In this month we host several Christmas parties with Houria at our side, providing delectable Christmas catering, for the first time together. Yum. We all get busy with decorating Felix Road and Easton Community Centre, and present wrapping starts in earnest for the Felix Road Christmas Party.

Of course, we could not do this without the amazing community that we exist within and strive to serve. We are looking forward to the new year, but are always aware that there are challenges ahead, with a climate emergency and a cost-of-living crisis, not to mention far more local issues affecting our communities and individuals. However, we see Eastside Community Trust as a Place of Possibility, across all of our sites, and face the new year with a sense of positivity. Together we can make this part of the world a more caring, equal, and warm place to be in. Happy New Year from all of the team.

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