NEWSLETTER (58:17) – Window Wonderland, Ashton Court future, Portishead rail line, population

Sponsors Needed for Window Wanderland

The third Window Wanderland for Southville and Bedminster will be on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, February 23, 24 and 25 2018 (6-9pm).    As well as the many decorated windows, the WW Group is hoping to publish a map as last year to help with the Wandery bit.    However, this is likely to cost around £250 which the group currently does not have.    We are therefore looking for organisations that will sponsor the event, either to the full amount or perhaps with two or three organisations sharing the cost.    If your organisation would like to support this excellent local event, please contact the WW Group via

Other South Bristol neighbourhoods will also be doing Window Wanderland.    Arnos Vale’s event will be at the same time as Southville/Bedminster and we understand that events are being planned in Windmill Hill, Bemmie/Malago Vale and Ashton Vale.    We’ll bring you dates when we have them.   But, also google Window Wanderland and see that it is now an international bit of fun.   Not bad for something that started in Bishopston in 2015.

Apart from decorating the windows themselves, there’s a little bit of organising behind the scenes.   Contact GBCP NEWSLETTER if you think you might like to help.

Keeping It Tidy or Back to the Silos?

We know that Neighbourhood Partnerships (NPs) are now dead and are being replaced by ‘new’ structures more rooted in local communities.   Some, but probably not all, will adopt the existing NP boundaries.   There will also be gaps, at least, for a year or two.   It’s important therefore to acknowledge, and try to keep, one of the important benefits that arose from the ten years of NPs.   This was in the structure of BCC and in police organisation.

Ten years ago, many council department were internally ‘decentralised’ in that they had teams in particular parts of the city.   So, department A might be broken into 5 teams, each focusing, and therefore well informed, on a fifth of the city; department B might have eight local teams and so on.    A major problem was that the pattern of any one department was usually based on a different geographical assumption from all of the others.

This posed two major problems.   Firstly, it added to the difficulties of BCC teams working together (already difficult enough) and secondly, it made it difficult for people in the community to relate to BCC teams since you had to understand a complex pattern and who to contact in each case.

Following the establishment of the 14 NPs, BCC and the Police gradually altered their structures to come in line with NPs and therefore with each other.   Sometimes this meant 14 units, but more usually it would be groupings around, say, two or three NPs.   When NPs started, it was proposed that the Fire & Rescue Service and some bits of the NHS should also begin to mirror NPs, but I don’t think that got very far.

Under a less centralised neighbourhood structure and under pressure from ‘austerity’, there is a danger that this more supportive geography will begin to break down.     Hopefully, BCC, the Police and community organisations will be vigilant enough to discourage this.

Bristol’s population

BCC has recently published a report on the city’s population, its composition by age, ethnicity, gender etc, their geographical distribution and projections for the future.   For example, figures for the three ‘Bedminster’ wards include age profiles, thus….
0-15                        16-64                    65+
Windmill Hill              2400 (18.2%)        9700 (73.5% )       1100 (8.3%)

Bedminster                1800 (14.6%)       8700 (70.7%)         1800 (14.6%)

Southville                    1700 (14.3%)        9000 (75.6%)       1200 (10.1%)

The figures are for 2015, but on the 2016 ward boundaries.    See the BCC website for more details.

My Wild Ashton Gate Primary School

Children at the Ashton Gate Out of School Care Group are among the people who looked for wildlife in 2017.   They took some great pictures and improved their pond and insect hotel.    To involve other children, they have presented their discoveries as a wall exhibition.   See the attached ‘Secret Garden’ picture of that work in progress.    If you have a wildlife report, please send it to marked My Wild Bedminster.

Cycling and Walking Commissioner

Mayor Andy Burnham in Greater Manchester has appointed a Cycling and Walking Commissioner to lead on these issues.     As far as we know an equivalent appointment has not been made for either Bristol or for the Bristol Region, but it sounds like a good idea.    What do our readers think?

Base Radio/Media

This is an internet community radio station serving South Bristol.    See     This small, voluntary group is currently applying for an Ofcom FM license.   It’s also looking to increase its pool of volunteers and is keen to promote local organisations, especially charities and community groups.   If your organisation has worked with Base Radio they would appreciate a letter of support to go with their license application.    If you have not yet worked with them, it’s not too late.     They will be meeting in the Withywood Centre on 28 November (7.30pm) for a general discussion on developing the station.    For more information, go to their website and, hopefully, we’ll also be able to publish more information in a future GBCP NEWSLETTER.

Why Not be a FroG?

All of our public parks have groups of local people that collaborate with the Parks Department, champion their green space, organise events, raise money and undertake projects to improve ‘their’ park for all ages.    One such is the Friends of Greville Smyth Park (FroGS).   They will be meeting on Monday, 30 October from 7.30pm at the Bowls Club which is situated in the park.    They will be considering ideas for park improvement, especially as BCC funding is likely to be drastically reduced in the current economic climate.   Why not pop along and see if you can do your bit?    After all, ‘big things are just lots of little things stuck together’.

‘Give them Cake’?

Queen Marie Antoinette is a much misunderstood historic figure.   Her famous reference to cake was not in fact a response to bread riots in eighteenth century Paris, but was advise to the then emerging profession of community support worker.    Later this became known as CLCD or Cake Led Community Development.    The national charity Contact the Elderly clearly understands this philosophy and cake figures strongly in their work.   See the attached poster where they are asking for volunteer drivers to deliver and take away older residents who are invited to share a meal with local families once a month in South Bristol.     Contact Helen if you can offer lifts and also if you would be happy to host a meal with an older community member.

Bedminster Social Club

BSC continues to meet regularly at Mezzaluna Cafe, West Street for Coffee & Chat (or Tea & Talk).    This is an informal group of people mainly in their 60s and 70s that comes together once a week.   In addition to the Coffee&Chat meetings, group members enjoy lunches, skittles and trips together.    Why not come along and try them out?   And please pass this information on to others that might enjoy meeting new friends.

The next Coffee&Chat meetings are on Thursday, 26 October (from 2pm); Wednesday, 1 November (from 10.30am); Tuesday, 7 November (from 2pm) and Monday, 13 November (from 10.30am).   Just turn up, buy a cuppa and join in.   New members welcome.


The last for GBCP and the first for the new Greater Bedminster Community Forum.    7pm at acta on 2 November.   ‘History is made by the people who turn up.’

BS3 Helping Others

BS3 Helping Others is a group that recruits volunteers for various projects, but especially for working in Care Homes.    They usually meet on Tuesday and Saturday mornings, but they have asked us to say that the Saturday meetings on 28 October and 4 November are cancelled.    However, if you are already DBS checked with Amerind Grove Care Home please feel free to visit whenever you like or contact Bex Skinner:  For more info on BS3 Helping Others contact or 07733 068680.

The Right to Great Design

Glass House and The Architecture Centre will lead a discussion exploring different experiences of place and place making.    They are particularly keen on seeing how people and organisations can collaborate  to design local places.   The meeting is free and at The Architecture Centre from 18.00-19.30 on Wednesday, 8 November, but you need to book at

Collaborating with UWE

The University of the West of England have a small fund which can be used to support projects involving the university and community organisations.   It’s usually up to £3000, but the main resource is the time of students.    It seems to be designed to give students an interesting project that will help them build relevant experience and course related understanding as well as achieving some useful outcomes for local communities and organisations.   There is a very short lead up to the next round as applications have to be in by 6 November, but there will be annual future rounds, so it’s worth thinking ahead.    If you have possible ideas, you can contact the Community Fund Team on .

Portishead Rail Line

Consultation on reopening this line which basically runs from Bedminster to the coast has now opened and will be to 4 December.    If you want to find out what’s proposed and have your say, go to .

Please Vote for a WATER SUPPLY for Dame Emily Park

Please vote for this community project called ‘Water for Life’ via Aviva Community Fund:   Dame Emily Park is often full of people using the play, games and skateboard areas or just running about, but there is no drinking water on site.   Anyone who lives in the UK is eligible and you get 10 free votes, but you need to do it by 21 November.   Please spread the word on this via facebook etc.

Marvin the Mayor and Loads of Rubbish

Marvin identified cleaning Bristol up as one of his objectives with a measurable difference by 2020.     Current street cleaning costs for Bristol are around £6million a year.   He may be beginning to deliver as the new system starts in November.

GBCP and others have long argued that although most people do NOT litter, especially when reminded, a minority will only respond if there is an effective enforcement system.   So far, BCC has been notably wimpy about this.   Last week Marvin announced a stronger policy, starting with on the spot, £75 fines for littering; not picking up after your dog; flyposting and defacing property with graffiti.   Actually, dogs’ doo is £100!!

74% of adult Bristolians are said to regard litter in parks and streets as a major concern, so we wish Marvin’s new policy all the best.   But, proof of the pudding…….    Go to and for more information.

Walking the Malago

There has been some discussion about walking the Malago (probably from Dundry back to the Avon New Cut).   A likely date is 10 November.   It’s not confirmed yet, but get back to us if you are interested and we’ll let you have the details.

A Future for Ashton Court Manor?

Bristol Civic Society is hosting an event at Ashton Court Manor on Friday, November 24 (from 10am) along with Bristol City Council.    In an age of austerity and the loss of important services, old buildings such as Ashton Court are under threat.    The meeting will look at those threats and discuss ways of dealing with them.    The meeting is free, but you need to book a place via

A message from the editorial team:

We’ve noticed that some organisations are very good at supplying bits of useful and interesting information for the GBCP Newsletter.   Others are not.    Perhaps you are not doing anything or perhaps you are too shy?     Whatever the reason, how can you expect other organisations to take you seriously if you don’t blow your own trumpet every now and again?



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