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Archive for December, 2013

Jodie’s story

“A weekly Knowle West sewing group is looking for more women to join in and earn money doing something they enjoy. Earlier this year I saw a leaflet for an event called ‘Sew Clever’, and I thought ‘bonus: there’s a crèche at Knowle West Children’s Centre!’ It was half term, so I was keen to go along and have a few hours to myself.

I met a lovely sewing tutor, Julie Ellison, who showed us how to make tote bags out of recycled banners. Julie explained the enterprise idea: make bags and sell them at Arnolfini. The bags are selling so well that she needs help to make more – an opportunity for the makers to earn some extra money. You can make up to £5 per bag: £1.50 for cutting the outline shape and £3.50 for sewing it together.

This has developed into a weekly group through the “Do What You Love” programme, which is a partnership between Knowle West Media Centre and re:work. I went along to the group because I enjoy sewing and being creative and my children were in nursery and school at the time, so it was a perfect opportunity for me.”

(Jodie Gardner)

Project to tackle social isolation in Bristol

As Christmas approaches and news reports highlight increasing loneliness among older people – an innovative health project is working to tackle isolation in South Bristol. The Social Mirror project is being piloted in the Knowle West community to link people aged 65 plus and 18-25 to local activities that could help their health and wellbeing.

We’re working with the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Commerce and Manufactures (RSA) as part of a research and action project to improve people’s social inclusion. We’re trialing Social Mirror at the William Budd Health Centre over a 12-month period and hope to reach 300 people by the end of March 2014.

Patients are asked to complete a short questionnaire via an app on a tablet computer and are then given a ‘social prescription’. This directs them to community activities or groups such as coffee mornings, sports classes or local history clubs – instead of being prescribed drugs or other health interventions.

Project Manager Gaia Marcus from the RSA commented: “Scientists have found that feeling lonely over long periods of time can kill you: being emotionally isolated can be as fatal as smoking, and common illnesses made worse by loneliness include Alzheimer’s, obesity, diabetes, and cardio-vascular diseases. Social Mirror is a way of linking local people to local activities and groups, using local knowledge. It’s a bit like an automatic magazine quiz: you answer questions and, if you need it, Social Mirror can issue you with local ‘community prescriptions’ based on your interests… from a walking group to a photography class…”

KWMC’s Sue Mackinnon added: “This project has been very well received by the community – and the feedback from those who have joined a group has been really positive. It’s great to know we are making a real difference to people’s lives and helping to tackle the growing problem of isolation, especially among the elderly.”

Recently retired local resident David Bird says taking part in Social Mirror has made him feel ‘life is worth living’. He was given a prescription for a walking group and has never looked back. He says: “It has changed my life. I would recommend it to anyone. I wasn’t doing anything; I’d been a recluse and for three days a week I wouldn’t go out of the flat and the weight was piling on. I’ve now lost a stone and I can talk to people quite freely which I couldn’t before.”

Mary Hall runs a lip-reading group at Knowle West Health Park for those with hearing loss. She has had referrals from Social Mirror and says her group really benefits those who attend. She explains: “They come and meet other people like themselves and compare notes to their heart’s content – it’s much less isolating for them. I reckon I keep people out of doctors’ surgeries because of depression. They come once a week and we are like a family here.”

For further information about Social Mirror visit or view the Social Mirror project.

‘Understanding what young people really want’

“Young people want to make content not just consume it. The arts are about doing”.

In the latest Digital R&D journal our director Carolyn Hassan discusses why arts organisations should consult with young people – and how this can yield a better understand what they’re interested in and how we can best support them. Eleanor Turney investigates the questions: ‘do arts organisations know what young people want?’ and ‘can they compete technologically?’. Read the full article here.

Common Purpose Bristol Quest Day & Challenge Day

During the Autumn months, KWMC hosted two events for Common Purpose: a Quest Day and Challenge Day.

A group visited us as part of the Common Purpose West of England Meridian 2013 senior leaders course and were set a challenge to solve that linked to our forthcoming Lost & Found project. One of the participants commented: “It was an imaginative and effective way of introducing us to the project they are working on and to the area. Very experiential.”

In September, participants from across the UK attended the Common Purpose Quest Day, which you can find out about on their website.  One of our visitors commented: “It was great to hear about all the really inspiring and innovative things [KWMC are] doing, and how focused they are on meeting the needs of the community.”

For the Love of Bread – new film about Knowle West’s Bread Group

Find out more about bread making in Knowle West – watch the new Baking Bread film on YouTube.

The Bread Group get together every Thursday at Knowle West Health Park to bake and sell their popular bread and to socialise. They love it – and they welcome anyone to join and learn. The Bread Group are being championed by Knowle West Media Centre’s ‘Do What You Love’ Green and Digital Business programme.

The film was made by students of FdA Digital Media Production at City of Bristol College as a Community Liaison Production.



Merry Christmas everybody!

The first day of Advent sees people across the country opening calendars and blowing the dust off their Christmas decorations for another year. Knowle West is well known for having extravagantly decorated homes during the festive period – and we’ve tracked down an interactive festive game we produced for Electric December when we were still known as Knowle West Media Project.

Can you deck the house with Christmas lights before your time runs out? Save energy on real light bulbs and do things online this year!

Christmas Decorations Lights Game

Contact Us

Knowle West Media Centre
Leinster Avenue
Knowle West
+44 (0) 117 903 0444

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