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Re-imagining Trinity post-lockdown - Part 2: Community

by <object object at 0x7f05a01b5580> last modified 17/07/2020 12:28 PM
Re-imagining Trinity post-lockdown - Part 2: Community

Tree planting and gardening with Barton Hill Academy, pre-lockdown

Roxana Vilk 'Lullabies' Sharing, 2019 © Alexa Ledecky

As both a community and cultural asset, we face very different challenges and responsibilities in relation to the two roles we play. In the second of two parts, we reflect on Trinity's role as a community hub and what role we have to play in a post-lockdown recovery…

Lots of people in Bristol will know Trinity as a gig venue but that’s just one part of our story. Music provides us with a vital source of revenue to subsidise a much wider programme, which includes providing over 4,000 hours of free and subsidised space for community activities. The COVID-19 outbreak has left the voluntary sector facing some of its biggest challenges to-date. It has also demonstrated just how important community hubs, groups and organisations are. This has been highlighted by the recent Locality report: "We Were Built for This" which details the crucial role the Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) has played in the initial crisis response and why this sector should be trusted and resourced as part of the UK's post-pandemic recovery.

Locality found that community organisations have been the quickest to mobilise and adapt their services to the crisis, the glue that has held together the community response and a notable ability to harness an upsurge in community spirit. The way communities and organisations across Bristol have mobilised and formed new partnerships to deliver food, supplies and care has been brilliant. Bristol City Council, Voscur and individual organisations big and small have come together to get help to where it is needed most. There are still gaps, but it’s been amazing to see this joined-up approach - and for Trinity to play a small part in the city’s response. “

When crisis struck, across the country community organisations were early responders, coordinating volunteers, delivering emergency supplies, supporting isolated groups, and finding creative ways to keep communities together.” - Locality

Trinity’s charity focus as 'A Centre for The People' is about creating an open, accessible space for people to come together, connect, learn, share and celebrate across a progressive programme of arts and cultural events and grassroots activities. This obviously proves much more challenging with social distancing measures in place - though not impossible. Our successful Youth Music programme to engage and support children who’ve fallen out of mainstream education has moved online, providing sessions to young people 121 as well as supporting music making through our partnership with The Teenage Cancer Trust. Our garden project - supporting people to access nature to develop skills and improve mental heath - has continued through providing online garden tips, nature-hunting challenges and activity resource packs for children and families.

As a venue, we’re home to a range of community groups - from Gerry's Attic and Gentle Dance classes for over 55s to long-standing groups such as Hype urban dance troupe and Bristol Samba Band. We hope to get back to our face-to-face functions as soon as we can and are working with groups and regularly reviewing Government advice to find ways of reinstating activities within the physical space. As a space for celebration, we even hosted our first 'socially distanced' wedding ceremony on Saturday 11th July - which is a key part of our centre's heritage.

A survey recently completed by over 500 people has shown us that you would like us to continue our online offer, develop our offer for children and families and provide reassurance to people coming back into to the Centre. In response to this, we plan to provide hundreds more art packs to children across the city thanks to extra support from Children in Need.

We’re continuing to connect people across the world online through our work with Associate Artist Roxana Vilk and her project, ‘Lullabies’, as well as through the digital launch of our new heritage project – The Art of Resistance: exploring 100 years of social activism and protest in Bristol and the art that underpinned each movement. We are thankful for all the love and respect we’ve received in response to our survey and we’ll continue to adjust our focus to support the community however we and in response to your feedback.

“I'm a huge fan of Trinity and have had some of my favourite Bristol experiences there. Possibly one of the reasons why I ended up moving to Bristol. I know I'm not the only one who feels that way, you have a huge community behind you who love what you do and respect your place in the Bristol scene and will support you through this time, myself included.” Survey feedback, June 2020

Locality’s report includes some asks of the Government; the need for a community-powered economic recovery supported by an investment plan for community assets and a collaborative public services approach to unlock community power and sustain the energies harnessed by new mutual aid groups. Though some financial support has been announced, the #WeWereBuiltForThis message is still very much one that needs to be driven home. We're keen to help grow the Government’s understanding of the critical role community organisations and hubs play in times of crisis and how they are key to building the strong and thriving communities of the future.

We’ve written to our local MP about these issues and are continuing to work with other grassroots groups to ensure the long-term future of Trinity Centre and other important community hubs across the city - big and small.

Locality has info on its website for writing to your MP about the community and voluntary sector - better still, write to them with your story about how much organisations like ours matter to you.

Thanks for reading! Click here to read Part 1: Arts

You can also head over to Trinity Presents to join us for some online arts and culture.

Big Love, Team Trinity & Trustees

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