When we talk about community development in Bristol, the neighbourhoods of Southville and Bedminster aren’t the first that come to mind, because they’re generally known for gentrification.
But behind the soaring house prices, there are still really diverse communities, and some pockets of deprivation – and some really interesting community development approaches.
Ben Barker has been at the heart of this work for over 25 years, involved in everything from projects that look tiny and have no budget, right through to things like the Business Improvement District that has helped the local high streets remain vibrant.
I always enjoy talking to Ben, so I wanted to find out more about his approach, especially to areas like social isolation, and projects impacting on elderly and disabled people, including making the area more accessible.
When we talked, we were referring to the Greater Bedminster Partnership, which has since been re-named Action Greater Bedminster!
Find out more about them on the Action Greater Bedminster! website. They’re still in the process of migrating to their new site, so some of the things we talked about aren’t up on the new one yet, but check back soon. You can also sign up to their newsletter there to find out the latest happenings in the community.
Links to specific projects and initiatives we talked about below:
- The Bedminster Business Improvement District
- Blooming Bedminster, who create community gardens and run the Good Front Garden Awards and more
- Projects and partnerships run via BS3 Community Development and their buildings, the Southville and Chessel Centres
- The Bedminster Toilet map:
You can sign up to the Action Greater Bedminster newsletter here, follow them on twitter and facebook, and you can always contact Ben on his email, benbarker [at] blueyonder [dot] co [dot] uk. Just be careful, you might find yourself signing up to get involved!
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