Wesport and Knightstone Housing Association activate communities with a volunteering and community festival project.
Communities across the West of England have benefited from a Big Lottery grant used to deliver Community Festivals, with sport and physical activity as a key engagement tool. The West of England Sport Trust (Wesport) partnered with Knightstone Housing Association to access community groups for a project delivered through the summer of 2016.
The festivals were aimed at providing people of all ages and abilities the opportunity to participate in fun, physical activities to enable them to learn about, and experience, the health benefits associated with exercise. In addition, the events encouraged social interaction and positive relationships between local people, reducing potential feelings of isolation.
Outcomes and Impact
45 leaders were trained for the Community Festival events
978 people attended across 7 Community Festivals
94 volunteers helped to support these events
Pete, a Knightstone Empowerment Officer for the St Pauls Community in Bristol said:
“Crossing two sets of residents from differing cultural backdrops worked very well; it was pleasing to see so many people enjoying their day and one another. Eastern European, Jamaican, Brazilian, Somali and British. Bridging these gaps within a community event will always allow for further cohesion and acceptancy”
Training: Knightstone engaged 40 volunteers to attend three festival training days which were held at locations central to the neighbourhoods. Training provided the volunteers with the opportunity to obtain the necessary skills, knowledge and confidence to organise a community festival. First Aid Qualifications were also provided to ensure that any first aid issues could be dealt with effectively.
Festivals: The festivals were planned and led by the local community volunteers, who had the full support of Knightstone Housing representatives. The festivals aimed to encourage local people to come together to participate in fun, physical and social activities; each festival was tailored to fit the needs of the local community.
For example, in Haywood Village the community is a recently developed housing estate and therefore, currently quite segregated due to transport and road infrastructure. The organising committee built relationships with local providers to deliver activities and have a stand at the event in order to meet new members of the community. One clear success was the engagement of the future head teacher from the new school site that is due for completion in September 2016. His attendance meant that parents could meet and discuss the upcoming academic year and plans for the new site. This demonstration of relationship building has resulted in the Haywood Village organising committee confirming the school site as a venue for the festival they are already planning for next summer!
Continued Participation: Each festival provided opportunities for local people to participate in fun, physical activities. The organising group used information collated from Wesport’s club database to invite local providers from physical activity, social groups and sports clubs to advertise their sessions. This consequently provided an exit route for residents to continue their participation with an active lifestyle.
Opportunities available to residents were uniquely developed and integrated into festivals. The Bradley Stoke organising committee evidenced this by using their event to showcase their new skate park. Through using the event to brand their launch as a ‘Community Festival’ it ensured that the entire community knew they were welcome.
Using some underspend from the project, Wesport has been able to further support communities to develop links with local clubs. Furthermore, additional equipment and coach time has continued to aid the Haywood Village Community.
Knightstone Housing Association use their Empowerment Officers as direct links into their communities. The project would not have been as beneficial without this level of access to communities. After the success of this project, Wesport aim to further support Knightstone Housing Association with future collaborations.
Want to find out more?
To access funding for your community groups please visit the Wesport funding pages at www.wesport.org.uk/funding