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Look Back: Models of Listening and Participation in Culture

by <object object at 0x7fa9ec990580> last modified 19/02/2024 05:00 PM
Reflections on taking part in Isto é PARTIS & Art for Change

Look Back: Models of Listening and Participation in Culture

by <object object at 0x7fa9ec990580> last modified 19/02/2024 05:00 PM

Isto é PARTIS & Art for Change 2024 - Image Credit: Carlos Porfirio

In January, Trinity participated in the Isto é PARTIS & Art for Change 2024 conference held in Lisbon, Portugal, shining a spotlight on the transformative potential of citizen-led approaches in the arts.

The Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and "La Caixa" Foundation are actively working to platform and support the tangible impact of participatory arts initiatives, reshaping cultural dynamics, and fostering more just and cohesive communities. The conference served as a beacon for continued dialogue and action in the pursuit of a more inclusive cultural landscape.

Featuring panels exploring diverse methods of citizen involvement in cultural dynamics, Trinity Community Arts, represented by CEO Emma Harvey, emphasized the significance of creative community spaces in shaping cultural dynamics in the arts. Emma shared insights into Trinity's work managing the Trinity Centre as a publicly-owned civic arts space, alongside efforts to save another publicly-owned asset, Jacobs Wells.

Trinity shared a panel with Lara Seixo Rodrigues, Marta Silva, and Miguel Atalaia, highlighting examples of collaborative and citizen-led cultural activity, including the Largo Residências in Lisbon and the Bons Sons festival in Tomar. Bons Sons - akin to Trinity's annual Garden Party, the annual community festival involves the entire village coming together to deliver a celebration of music, culture and local pride—an inspirational example of true citizen empowerment.

Trinity's partner, Saad Eddine Said, Co-Director of the Citizens in Power initiative, delivered a keynote speech on avenues for active citizen-led decision-making. Trinity, in is working with Citizens in Power and St Paul’s Carnival, to develop a Citizen Assembly for Culture, supporting communities in the West of England Combined Authority to shape their cultural delivery priorities and plans – funded by Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation (UK Branch) and the West of England Combined Authority. The conference also highlighted Battersea Arts Centre’s social enterprise programme, The Agency, which uses a co-design model to support young people to unlock their creative potential.

This collaborative effort, led by The Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, amplified initiatives that are unlocking the transformative power of citizen-led approaches in the arts. The Foundation's commitment to fostering partnerships between communities, creatives, and institutions, as showcased in the PARTIS & Art for Change initiative, exemplifies a forward-thinking approach to shaping the future of towns and cities. This conference facilitates key conversations and projects that contribute to the creation of more just, cohesive and culturally vibrant communities.

Further reading:

  • Read our blogs on creating a Citizens' Assembly for Culture 12, 3,  4 and 5

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    Opinion: Bristol Arts Funding

    by <object object at 0x7fa9ec990580> last modified 13/12/2023 04:34 PM
    Our CEO has written an opinion piece on the challenges facing Bristol arts in the context of the wider cuts to arts funding and the impact this has on limiting pathways into careers in the creative industries

    Opinion: Bristol Arts Funding

    by <object object at 0x7fa9ec990580> last modified 13/12/2023 04:34 PM
    Opinion: Bristol Arts Funding

    After school club at Trinity

    Tide and Tales

    Tide and Tales perform during Summer Stay and Play sessions. Photo credit: Alistair Brookes

    Trinity CEO, Emma Harvey, reflects on the challenges facing Bristol arts in the context of the wider cuts to arts funding and the impact this has on limiting pathways into careers in the creative industries.

    In December 2023, Bristol City Council (BCC) announced their decisions for the Cultural Investment Programme, awarding grants in principle to 15 organisations. This included Trinity, newly funded Unique Voice, and Travelling Light Theatre Company who recently lost their regular funding from Arts Council England. Also Acta, ASLS, Asian Arts Agency, Bristol Pride, Circomedia, CYN, KWMC, Paraorchestra, Rising Arts Agency, Spike Island, St Paul’s Carnival and the Tobacco Factory.

    With nearly a 40% reduction in total funds compared to past rounds, 13 groups missed out on regular investment. This included previously funded groups Bristol Old Vic, Encounters, Exchange, IBT, MAYK, RWA, Saffron, St Georges, Trigger and Watershed, alongside new proposals from APE, SSGB and Wardrobe Theatre.

    "Rather than sharpening our elbows to fight for the crumbs that fall from the table we should be Oliver Twisting it up and asking for more."

    As testament to the sector’s precariousness, two long-standing arts organisations were listed as, “closed or closing so not considered for investment”. Those not selected have responded with concerns about the continued cost of living crisis reducing audience revenue alongside rising overheads placing pressures on finances. Cultural institutions traditionally seen as too big to fail are facing an uncertain future and all funding is still subject to annual approval. This continued uncertainty means we're all on a sinking ship, just at different points of an inescapable decline.

    Successes and setbacks are all part of business as usual at Trinity. After almost 20 years the best I can say when someone asks if we'll be here in twelve months is, "hopefully". In the voluntary sector, survival is as good as it gets. Hearing frequent ‘Nos' then trying to work out what's next is part of the job. Competitive funding rounds linked to political cycles are perhaps the worst at breeding a "them and us" mindset, making organisations old and new, big and small go up against one another for ever decreasing funds. It creates a short-term focus and leads to over-commitment, particularly from those smaller, newer groups desperate to move from being “out” to “in” any funding portfolio round. It leads to an unrealistic emphasis on measuring the intangible that benefits no one and decreases our appetite for risk, stifling the very creativity we’re seeking to support.

    Rather than sharpening our elbows to fight for the crumbs that fall from the table we should be Oliver Twisting it up and asking for more. Were BCC to fund all 30 organisations listed to the maximum annual grant amount of £30k per year, this would amount to the amount to less 2% of the city’s total annual revenue spend. With many administrations nationally issuing or on the verge of section 114 notices due to difficulties in delivering balanced budgets, this can make such a case for arts funding appear entitled and out of touch with the everyday suffering of many across the country. But cuts to arts funding are part of a wider narrative (see links, below) of reduced investment in the arts that deprives those without the means from carving out meaningful experiences and careers in the creative industries.

    Arts can be an easy thing to cut in difficult times but we’re doing so to the detriment of those who benefit from its power most. There is an intrinsic value that’s accepted and widely evidenced. Art is good for us; our economy, our health, our sense of place and belonging. And yet, one of the wealthiest city's in one of the wealthiest countries globally can’t even resource the creativity that sits at the heart of our local identity.

    Collaborating with three local primary schools, Trinity recognises the significance of early engagement with culture in igniting creative aspirations. Children locally and nationally have witnessed reduced access to arts education compounded by challenges stemming from the pandemic and the ongoing burden of cost of living limiting access to out of school activities.

    The ongoing decline in arts investment nationwide results in a gradual erosion of our opportunities to engage with the arts, limiting our cultural pathways. As the voices shaping our shared narratives become fewer, the story of our national identity risks being conveyed through an ever narrowing lens. Over time, this reduces the chances for individuals without existing wealth and means to pursue meaningful careers in an industry that contributes billions to the UK's economy annually.

    It is commendable that, for the time being at least, BCC have sought to protect what remains of their public subsidy for the sector and focus what resource it can with the aim of sustaining participatory arts provision within neighbourhoods. But if we really want to ensure everyone has the opportunity to access and make art we need to think of better ways to ensure the investment is felt beyond a handful of suspects, however usual or unusual.

    Some of the most successful schemes to support arts and diversify the arts sector have come from creative co-option of back-to-work schemes, from Future Jobs Fund and the recent Kickstart Scheme, providing paid entry level roles for <25s, to Thatcher’s Enterprise Allowance, which enabled some of the UK’s most prolific cultural practitioners to carve out their early careers and saw the birth of Brit Art movement.

    Some trusts and foundations are catching on and supporting organisations and creatives in new and flexible ways. As far as public subsidy goes, we’re fighting for a seat at a table where chairs are continually being taken out of the game. Who will secure the chair once the music stops? A more impactful path involves collaborative efforts to lay the foundations for fairer resource distribution. Let’s stop playing someone else’s game and tip the table over.

    By Emma Harvey, CEO

    Further reading:

    Bristol City Council defends cultural venue funding cuts (BBC)

    Restore Bristol arts funding! (Equity)

    The arts are in crisis (Gal Dem)

    Government urged to intervene over local arts cuts (Campaign For The Arts)

    Funding cuts and weak economy send UK’s visual arts into crisis (The Art Newspaper)

    How will art funding cuts in schools affect creativity? (It’s Nice That)

    Huge decline of working class people in the arts reflects fall in wider society (Guardian)

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    Restoration Levy

    by sarah last modified 18/10/2023 01:49 PM
    Introducing a small charge to help repair, maintain and restore Trinity, a Grade II* listed building

    Restoration Levy

    by sarah last modified 18/10/2023 01:49 PM
    Restoration Levy

    The Trinity Centre 2023

    Kabaka Pyramid 2023. Photo credit: Khali Ackford

    We are introducing a £1 Restoration Levy on every event ticket sold. This income will be used to create a dedicated fund for critical building works that will protect and maintain the Trinity Centre, a Grade II* Listed building and the grounds.

    In Sept 2023, Music Venue Trust announced the UK is set to lose 10% of its independent venues by the end of the year. Like many grassroots music venues and arts centres across the country, Trinity faces unprecedented challenges due to the cost-of-living crisis, rising overheads and ongoing upkeep as a Grade II* Listed converted former-church.

    The Trinity Centre is a space for a diverse multidisciplinary arts programme for over 73,000 people every year. Since the building has been in our guardianship, we have raised and spent over £3m in its restoration, to improve accessibility, maintain and enhance this vital community asset and invest in green energy solutions to reduce our carbon footprint.

    As a registered charity, this Restoration Levy will be treated as a restricted heritage fund that will be dedicated to fulfilling our charitable mission, to preserve, protect and improve for the public benefit the Trinity Centre, formerly the Holy Trinity Church, and promote the heritage of this building.

    Our aim is to continue to provide a vibrant hub where today’s and tomorrow's generations can find joy in unforgettable concerts, electrifying club nights, community gatherings and immersive, impactful experiences. Your support through the Restoration Levy will help us to continue this legacy, helping us to raise over £40,000 each year, to:

    Maintain and improve the Centre: In a typical year, we spend over £100,000 on maintenance, repairs and facilities management and our 2022 conservation survey estimates over £400,000 additional repair works will need to be delivered over the next decade. This Levy will help us to ensure our doors can remain open now and for future generations.

    Improve accessibility: As a locally rooted community arts centre, we are committed to ensuring our activities are accessible. These efforts have been recognised by the Attiute is Everything Bronze Award and we continue to strive to remove barriers to taking part to ensure everyone has access to great arts and cultural experiences.

    Enhance sustainability: We have installed solar panels and LED lighting to reduce running costs and carbon emissions and will continue to work to improve the efficiency of the building and ensure that our programme for the people comes not at the expense of the planet.

    Thank you for being part of the journey.

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    Save Jacobs Wells Baths

    by sarah last modified 09/03/2023 01:32 PM
    The building may be sold privately as leisure company Fusion Lifestyle pull out of restoring and managing the asset

    Save Jacobs Wells Baths

    by sarah last modified 09/03/2023 01:32 PM

    Artwork credit ASLS

    Trinity CEO Emma Harvey reflects on the importance of community buildings following the news that Jacob Wells Baths is now at risk of being taken out of public ownership.

    Jacobs Wells Baths is an asset owned by us. Built in 1889 to serve the working poor, the Grade II Listed building holds within its walls a wealth of of architectural and social heritage - from its time as a public swimming baths to its 30 year history as a dance hub.

    This all risks being lost as, in December 2022, leisure company Fusion Lifestyle announced they were pulling out of restoring and managing the space meaning our cash-strapped local authority may now table it for disposal.

    The story of this asset is sadly not unusual. A 2019 report by Bristol Cable revealed how Bristol City Council has sold off millions of pounds’ worth of public property as part of their ongoing response to austerity. This local saga is set against a national backdrop dubbed as ‘The Great British Sell-Off’, with local authorities across the UK attempting to combat funding crises through sale of our shared civic and heritage spaces.

    "One thing you can say about Bristol is we’re a city that has demonstrated we can take complex heritage assets and transform them into viable community and cultural hubs."

    It’s a pattern that shows no sign of stopping in 2023. Bristol faces yet another round of cuts and the pressure’s on to plug a £32m funding gap in whatever way possible. 134 years on from the Baths’ construction, it feels as though Bristol folk are still working hard though still very much the poorer for it.

    It’s really easy to reduce these buildings to numbers on a spreadsheet. If we sell Jacobs Wells then the headache as to what to do with it next is finally over. Plus, we get some cash to plug a gap so we can all breathe a temporary sigh of relief until the next cycle of cuts. If you grew up poor it’s actually understandable. I’m sure many of us have memories of our parents pawning what few possessions they’d acquired just to make ends meet. It’s just what you do when you’re broke.

    The problem though is that, when our Councils take this same attitude to balancing the books, this robs current and future generations of the assets we own and makes us all collectively poorer. In a city like Bristol, growing in density and diversity, it deprives us of places to come together, connect and share experiences. To learn and grow, to grieve or to celebrate. To keep fit, dance and be merry. To avoid loneliness or just to get out of the cold. Even to problem solve, mobilise and take collective action about the things that matter to us.

    What is unusual about Bristol though is that for every Jacobs Wells Baths there are other success stories that run counter to this ‘sold from under you’ narrative. From Spike Island, to Watershed, to the Tobacco Factory, one thing you can say about Bristol is we’re a city that has demonstrated we can take complex heritage assets and transform them into viable community and cultural hubs.

    The Trinity Centre is one such building as over the last 15 years we have demonstrated that we can take a big old dilapidated liability and transform it into a celebrated, multi-use arts and community asset.

    So what’s stopping us from doing the same with JWB? Even with our track record, groups like Trinity just aren’t treated as serious contenders when the future of assets like Jacobs Wells Baths comes up for discussion. Maybe that’s because we don’t have millions of pounds at our disposal, or maybe its because I look like a Fraggle and talk like the love-child of Russell Brand and Janet Street-Porter. Decision makers just aren’t that great at trusting anyone to solve complex problems if the solution isn’t packaged in received pronunciation and a smart suit.

    We don’t do it because we’re told we can’t, are scared to try or don’t believe we can. If we want to change this narrative this doesn’t start with the Council. It starts here and now with us. If we want to save our spaces and protect Jacobs Wells Baths and other shared civic spaces for this and future generations, as citizens we need to come together and say we want one last shot at reimagining a different future.

    The Council may be the landlord but these buildings are ours. Once they’re gone they’re gone and there is no going back. We just need to believe for a moment that we can do this Bristol. Let’s put our heads and voices together and make it happen.

    Take action today:

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    Freedom of expression

    by sarah last modified 04/11/2022 09:30 AM
    Rasing awareness of the possible risks to the future of freedom of expression.

    Freedom of expression

    by sarah last modified 04/11/2022 09:30 AM

    Bristol Resists Mural by Tanith Gould - Image Credit: Sam Prosser

    We are joining forces with Arts organisations from across Bristol to create #67MillionVoices, to raise awareness of the possible risks to the future of freedom of expression.

    The right to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly and association is a fundamental cornerstone of any democratic society in particular in Bristol as a city of civic action with everything from bridges to buses, supermarkets to statues forming the backdrop to centuries of resistance that has helped to advance workers and civic rights nationally.

    Freedom of expression is a unique and precious liberty on which the UK has historically placed great emphasis in our traditions of Parliamentary privilege, freedom of the press and free speech. UK Government, July 2022

    This is why we believe the introduction of the Public Order Bill risks criminalising our fundamental rights of freedom of expression - to share our views, to raise our voice and to take action. Proposed amendments within the Public Order Bill contradict this core British value by enhancing restrictions that can be imposed on people who take part.

    Trinity is here not only to protect popular ideas but to also platform the breadth of opinions that makes up the world today and to safeguard against all forms of censorship as the most common violation of artistic freedom, in pursuit of our vision, creative expression for all. In a diverse city like Bristol with diverse perspectives, our personal freedoms start and ends where another person’s begin and we work to develop approaches that gently blur the edges between our freedoms to achieve peace and unity from producing creative content and providing space for conversation as well as helping people to develop the skills and networks they need to take action about the things that matter to them.

    We are concerned that the proposed changes allow disproportionate use of powers to restrict and control in a way that contradicts our collective aims of freedom of expression, including banning orders to completely remove a person’s right to attend a protest. This is less about the rights and wrongs of toppling a statue. Throughout history and today people have protested in a number of ways to have their voices heard:

    • The Suffragettes were always inventing new ways to keep their campaign in the public eye and often chained themselves to railings. The Public Order Bill would make it a new offence to "lock on" to others, objects or buildings, which would impact heavily in particular on environmental activists.
    • The Trade Union Act of 1871 led to a flurry of striking across industries including coal mining and textiles, as new unions fought for better conditions which caused widespread disruption to industrial activity. The Public Order Bill would make a new offence to obstruct or interfere with the use or operation of key national infrastructure and major transport works, which would impact on the industrial action of groups such as transport workers and airline staff.
    • Prominent Black Bristolians such as Paul Stephenson and Roy Hackett have made a huge difference to the advancement of UK civil rights. The Public Order Bill would make introduce new protest-specific stop and search powers, which would risk disproportionately targeting Black people who are are nine times more likely to be stopped and searched by police than white people.

    Do we want to find ourselves in a position where people are too scared and would risk a hefty prison sentence, a large fine, restrictions on their ability to use the internet and electronic tagging of to prevent them from attending future demonstrations.

    If we tolerate this, who in future will to stand up for the things that matter to us all?

    Take action today

    Locally and globally, the right to peaceful assembly and protest are fundamental principles of any democracy.We call on MPs to vote it down.

    Write to your MP to ask them to protect your rights to peaceful protest, by asking that the proposed parts of the proposed Public Order Bill giving the police disproportionate powers to tackle lawful protests are removed.

    ✔Amplify our collective message on social media

    ✔ Get Informed - read the online timeline of events so far

    ✔Sign Liberty's petition to drop proposals in the Public Order Bill

    #67millionvoices make culture - use yours today

    #BristolResists #TrinityResists

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    Our Living Wage commitment

    by <object object at 0x7fa9ec990580> last modified 10/07/2023 01:36 PM
    Increased Real Living Wage will be implemented in Oct 2022

    Our Living Wage commitment

    by <object object at 0x7fa9ec990580> last modified 10/07/2023 01:36 PM
    Our Living Wage commitment

    Trinity Community Arts

    The Real Living Wage Foundation  has announced that the new RLW will be increased by 10.1% in the new financial year (April 2023). Outside of London new Living Wage rates will rise to £10.90 an hour (£1 increase).

    "We should not treat staff as a cost cutting measure but the engine which drives everything we do.  We know low-paid workers are being hit the hardest, with over half using foodbanks in the last 12 months, so the time for us to act is now". Adam Gallacher, Deputy CEO

    With the largest year-on-year RLW increase announced recently we stand firmly with our commitment to ensure all staff and regular contractors are paid fairly. As such we have implemented the changes as of October 1 2022. This will mean entry level-staff members and those on casual contracts will benefit early from the increase.

    We are proud to be an accredited RLW employer. New research from the Cardiff Business School shows that workers being paid the Real Living Wage have benefitted from more than £338m in extra wages since the start of this year, with one in ten employees now working for an accredited Living Wage Employer.

    Find out more about the Real Living Wage by watching a short film about the positive impact it has on some of our team members here.

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    Our Pledges 2023-26

    by sarah last modified 11/02/2023 07:51 AM
    Following an extensive Community Consultation and Feasibility Study 2021-2022, we have published a set of pledges in response to findings

    Our Pledges 2023-26

    by sarah last modified 11/02/2023 07:51 AM
    Our Pledges 2023-26

    Community Consultation

    Community Consulatation

    Trinity's Community Consultation

    Thanks to the support of Architectural Heritage Fund, we were able to carry out an extensive community consultation, led independently by Artspace Lifespace. Working with PH3 Designs, we also worked to update our Feasibility Study for the Trinity Centre, to ensure we have a plan for future capital works linked to the feedback of communities we serve.

    Our 12pt action-plan, linked to our Business Plan for 2023-26 will help to ensure we remain on track to respond to these fundings and recommendations, in line with our values:

    Accessibility & visibility

    1. Achieve 'Attitude is Everything Charter' Silver Award to further improve venue accessibility
    2. Develop a 'soft' entrance into the building, introducing visual aesthetics to make the Centre more inviting, welcoming and celebratory of our communities
    3. Provide a programme of publicly accessible drop-in activities to enable visitors to attend and utilise the site freely

    Relevancy & equity

    1. Develop activities in direct response to feedback and community needs analysis, including open access activities for young people and targeted provision for men aged 55+ living locally
    2. Increase place-based work, delivering activity outside of Trinity to connect and engage new communities in partnership with local groups and artists
    3. Adopt Equity Union minimum rate of pay for freelancers/artists and prioritise resources to nurture and support locally embedded artists
    4. Invest in a cross-sector partnership model and prioritise support for grassroots groups who can proactively respond to community needs and interests

    Reach & representation

    1. Develop existing and new participatory decision-making forums to ensure representation across programmes
    2. Develop targeted community-specific communications and engagement, including neighbourhood champions to reach our diverse communities and celebrate community achievements
    3. Adopt Unlock: the Inc Arts Diverse Workforce Toolkit, which includes inclusive recruitment actions to reach and support a diverse workforce

    Responsibility & accountability

    1. Update our 2014 Green Audit to identify short, medium and long-term actions in response to the climate emergency
    2. Appoint a dedicated mental health lead for Trinity’s workforce and offer mental health first aid training to support staff and centre users


    Trinity’s values are Empower, Respond and Amplify and we are committed to living these values through the proactive development of our workforce, programme and building. In response to previous surveys and feedback we have taken the steps to ensure our actions align with our values, including:

    • Empower: Becoming a Real Living Wage employer in 2020 for all age-groups and roles, to ensure everyone is paid fairly to start their career in the arts

    • Respond: Appointed a new Activities Coordinator in 2021 to lead asset-based community development activities and initiatives

    • Amplify: Ran the 100 Beacons campaign, 2022 to raise the profile of the work of community buildings across the city, helping to inspire a £4m Community Resilience Fund for the city

    If there is anything else you think we could or should be doing to make sure we live out our values, please get in touch with your suggestions:

    More info

    What's Next? Community Consultation, Artspace Lifespace

    Feasbility Study, PH3 Designs

    Trinity Business Plan, 2023-26

    AHF Logo

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    Win a Mini-Rig and a Trinity goodie bag

    by sarah last modified 26/09/2022 02:07 PM
    Complete our survey by 10 Oct 2022 to be in for a chance to win

    Win a Mini-Rig and a Trinity goodie bag

    by sarah last modified 26/09/2022 02:07 PM
    Win a Mini-Rig and a Trinity goodie bag

    Khali Ackford - Booty Bass

    Tell us what you think - and be in for a chance to win a Trinity Mini Rig plus goodie bag

    Each year we ask you to let us know your thoughts about Trinity. We use this to help shape and adapt our programme and to help us raise funds so we can ensure that everyone in Bristol has the opportunity to access and shape arts and culture.

    Last year you said: you would like to see more music performances in the Garden and for there to be a space for communities to cook together.

    We responded: we opened The Den - a new seasonal outdoor venue in July 2022 that will be opened annually until late summer. The Den has an outdoor kitchen and a bar.

    You said: You wanted more activity for over 60s that reflects peoples tastes and interests.

    We responded: Our Community Activities Coordinator has worked with resident groups to re-ignite provisions and have welcomed back Gentle Dance and Gerry's Attic. Our partnership project Eastside People and Places is supported by community-led activity with regular Creative Coffee Mornings at Rosevear House already established.

    Using the feedback from last years survey alongside and extensive Community Consultation, we have published our 2022 Trinity Pledges, a 12pt action-plan that will help to ensure that Trinity live by our values. Read more about this here.

    This year we are again calling for those who use Trinity, and those who don't, to fill in our audience survey and lend their voice to help shape the future of Trinity.

    By taking part you will entered into a prize draw* to win a custom Trinity Mini-Rig. Survey closes on 10 Oct so hurry and click on the link to tell us what you think!

    Click here to fill out our audience survey

    Survey closes 10 Oct 2022 5:00pm

    *T&Cs apply, click here to download them

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    Can Bristol co-create for the future?

    by sarah last modified 02/11/2022 11:11 AM
    New project launches that aims to pilot a new people-led model for culture

    Can Bristol co-create for the future?

    by sarah last modified 02/11/2022 11:11 AM
    Can Bristol co-create for the future?

    Trinity AGM Rob Carmier

    Newtown Paint Day

    Community Painting Day part of the Wish List. Photo credit Khali Ackford

    We have joined forces with St Paul’s Carnival to launch an ambitious project that aims to pilot a new people-led model for culture. Together, we want to support people to take decisions, make change and create culture that matters to them.

    St Paul’s Carnival and Trinity are both grassroots, independent organisations based in East Bristol. Alongside delivering citywide events, we both work with local communities to design and deliver creative and cultural provision throughout the year.

    The Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation (UK Branch) has committed funding for this research and development project, to test a process in which citizens could lead the creation and design of a cultural strategy for Bristol and the surrounding region.

    Trinity and St Pauls Carnival will collaborate with the Gulbenkian Foundation, David Jubb of Citizens In Power and others to develop a bottom-up approach within the city that speaks of the collective experiences of diverse communities in order to better shape future decision making.

    “We want to explore a different approach - one in which the very people who make and enjoy culture have a voice to express what this means for our city.” LaToyah McAllister-Jones Executive Director of St Pauls Carnival

    Over the next year, the pilot will explore tested models such as Citizens’ Assemblies - used in Bristol in 2021 as part of the city’s post-COVID19 recovery planning - to input and shape democratic decision making in Bristol; a city known for its arts and culture.

    This research phase will run until Summer 2023 and will involve a series of targeted workshops and open sessions, that will explore different ways of co-creating with communities.

    If you would like to get involved, or for more information, please contact or sign up to Trinity’s Mailing list.

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    Trinity Police Station Redevelopment

    by <object object at 0x7fa9ec990580> last modified 02/11/2022 11:11 AM
    Trinity Community Arts Statement re Trinity Road Police Station Redevelopment, August 2022

    Trinity Police Station Redevelopment

    by <object object at 0x7fa9ec990580> last modified 02/11/2022 11:11 AM
    Trinity Police Station Redevelopment

    Masego, 2018 by Khali Ackford


    Teachings in Dub regular sound system night @Trinity, ©Khali Ackford

    Trinity Community Arts Statement re Trinity Road Police Station Redevelopment (Application Ref. No: 21/04338/F) – Updated August 2022

    Trinity welcomes the prospect of increased affordable homes and social housing offered by The Guinness Partnership. As such, since 2019, we have been liaising with Guinness and have worked closely with other community representatives including the Old Market Community Association (OMCA), as part of a shared effort to deliver the best possible outcomes for new residents.

    Our main concern stems from the findings of an independent acoustician, who has concluded the noise measurements that underpin the acoustic assessment are not fit for purpose. Specifically, that the metrics adopted in the assessment fail to specifically consider the high potential for disturbance caused by low frequency music noise.

    This was accompanied by concerns that proposals for a Deed of Easement - while providing additional protections to the venue - may not be suitable for a social housing development due to lack of social mobility of incoming tenants. Tenants with choice limited by their means will be more likely to accept an offer of unsuitable accommodation and will have less social mobility to relocate in the event that they find the conditions and impact of living in such close proximity to a venue to be unsatisfactory and unable to complain about this due to restrictions in their tenancy.

    In addition, solutions such as mechanical ventilation, may offer little comfort to those who are most at risk of the impacts of rising energy costs and the current cost of living crisis.

    As with other developments in the city and country, the 1st of 10 principles from the Govt’s National Design Guide, is ‘context’. Too often, the rapid re-imagining of our cities comes at the expense of existing social, cultural and physical landscapes.

    Were the development to be permitted, we hope that Guinness will continue in their efforts to address these concerns to ensure every step is taken to mitigate against impact of our existing operations on our new neighbours.

    Protections promised byAgent of Change remain largely untested and sadly the responsibility to protect what exists already falls to individual citizens to speak up in defence of the things that matter to them.

    So far, there has been a lot of good will expressed by all parties including the Local Authority. We now need to ensure this translates into clear conditions and robust mitigation measures as part of the planning process, to legally safeguard Trinity’s future as a cultural institution for East Bristol and to ensure a duty of care is undertaken for the future tenants of those living 50yd from our front doors.

    We recommend anyone with concerns to direct these through the Bristol City Council planning portal (application ref no. 21/04338/F).

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    Join the team

    by sarah last modified 01/08/2022 12:13 PM
    Get involved and be part of an exciting period of growth a Trinity

    Join the team

    by sarah last modified 01/08/2022 12:13 PM
    Join the team

    Trinity Garden Party Marley Small

    Community Painting Day

    Community painting day with Rose Popay. Photo credit Khali Ackford

    Trinity is a charity whose work connects communities and contributes to urban regeneration, through a progressive programme of live music and creative activities.

    Following the success of Trinity’s recovery post-Covid we are in an exciting period of change and growth in the organisation and are looking for new team members.

    Youth Service Manager

    Join our Arts Programme team in the newly created, full-time, Youth Services Manager – in response to consultation, we are expanding our programme of activities for children and young people and require an experienced Youth Services Manager to help us build on our longstanding offer in music and nature play, developing  new areas in dance & performing arts, alongside an enhanced outreach offer for schools and neighbourhoods.

    The successful candidate will be experienced in designing and delivery of creative programmes for children and young people and will be passionate about using arts and creativity to help build skills, confidence and progression for those taking part.

    Duty Manager

    We're also looking for a part-time Duty Manager (15hr pw basic) to join our team in time to help us with the delivery of our late-night programme alongside our varied community events.

    The ideal candidate will have a passion for working in a community and live-events setting and  will be flexible and adaptable, ideally with previous experience as a key-holder or event/house manager.

    To find out more about the roles head over to Get Involved to download the recruitment packs or if you have any questions about the roles, please get in touch on

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    Accessing the arts industry

    by <object object at 0x7fa9ec990580> last modified 01/11/2022 10:46 AM
    We are committed to creating opportunities for people to gain access into the industry

    Accessing the arts industry

    by <object object at 0x7fa9ec990580> last modified 01/11/2022 10:46 AM

    Trinity AGM Rob Carimer

    Trinity is committed to creating opportunities for people to gain access to the arts industry and gain experience in the creative sector, particularly amongst groups with lower representation in the arts industry.

    “At Trinity the opportunities for cross-departmental collaboration are massive. I’ve learned so much being here that I wouldn’t have at other venues” Aysha, Event Production Coordinator

    Many of our permanent team members initially joined Trinity on an internship. Aysha, Trinity’s Production Coordinator, started her journey at Trinity in 2019 on a three-month internship. A role was created to suit both Aysha’s skill-set and the needs of Trinity. Trinity feels that this individually focused approach to hiring staff leads to more meaningful, fulfilling employment, and means that employees are in roles that best suit their skills, experience and long-term ambitions.

    Like many members of Team Trinity, Aysha was offered a permanent contract after the end of her internship, moving into the role of Production Coordinator, and having additional responsibilities such as line management.  Further to this Aysha is part of a city-wide campaign to create safer environments for everyone to enjoy nightlife in the city.

    Trinity believes strongly that investment in staff is one of the most effective ways to democratise employment in the arts industry.

    We are working in partnership with South Bristol Youth (SBY) to provide opportunities for KS4 students to experience insights into working in the creative sectors as part of their 'insight into apprenticeship' initiative.

    We also became an accredited Living Wage organisation and have created opportunities for young people to develop skills in the creative sector. Through the Kickstarter scheme we offered entry-level roles to nine individuals including CPD, training and mentorship for young people to gain paid experience in the cultural sector including in event production, marketing and communications and operations.

    Over ¼ of employees who start at Trinity on internships go on to stay as permanent members of staff. By offering both secure and meaningful employment alongside opportunities to progress and develop a career in the sector, Trinity can help ensure that careers in the creative industry are a viable option for everyone.

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    Space for platforming emerging talent opens

    by sarah last modified 01/11/2022 10:47 AM
    Pop-up outdoor venue launches with a programme of summer activities

    Space for platforming emerging talent opens

    by sarah last modified 01/11/2022 10:47 AM

    Peachin' Day Festival. Photo credit Khali Ackford

    In our commitment to platform emerging talent and provide access to quality facilities for the community, we’re excited to announce a summer season of live music and spoken word events in our outdoor space, ‘The Den’.

    Between July-September 2022, we will be showcasing some of the best breakthrough artist from Bristol and the South West alongside a wider programme of family friendly arts activities and events.

    “Trinity have always been there providing a space for us and many other artists to do what we do best and always put creativity and community first” Ishmael Ensemble

    We’ve joined forces with collectives who are making waves in the region including Bristol poetry collective Raise The Bar, who are bringing Youtuber Leena Norms to perform, 31 July and multi-disciplinary Arts organisation Beyond Face, who will take over The Den to showcase spoken word artists from the global majority.

    Head over to our What's On section to find out more about events and activities at The Den.

    About The Den

    Our vision for The Den is to increase our presentation of creative and performing arts, and alongside this provide facilities in the interests of social welfare for recreation and leisure for community groups and local residents.

    Funded by Power to Change, Bristol City Council, Tarmac Landfill Communities Fund and match funders, our revamped outdoor space feels like a secret, magical corner of a festival. The space - including bar, kitchen, outdoor seating and stretch-tent – is set within our beautiful garden and heritage grounds.

    The works form part of Trinity’s phased capital works programme, that paused in 2020 when the impacts of COVID19 and Brexit caused delays to planned construction of a larger scheme of work, including a two-story kitchen/bar with offices and outdoor area.

    Venue Director, Jamell Ackford said; “Like many music venues, we began to get creative with our outdoor space in response to pandemic restrictions, launching the ‘Garden Sessions’ in 2020.

    Following support in 2021 from the Architectural Heritage Fund to to revisit and revise our Feasibility Study, a detailed community consultation helped us to find out what the community wanted from us in a post-pandemic environment. From this, we updated our original plans and the idea for ‘The Den’ was born.

    With this new bespoke setup, The Den will provide wider opportunities including supporting local food and community activities, as well as giving audiences a unique experience.”

    As part of Trinity’s post-pandemic responses, a Community Activities Coordinator has been appointed to support ‘Community Kickstart’ activity – working with local residents, grassroots groups and charities to establish new activities from the space.

    If you are a local resident or group and would like to run an activity for the local community, get in touch with to find out more.

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    Funding for community buildings

    by sarah last modified 13/09/2023 10:28 AM
    Bristol City Council announces the Community Resilience Fund following Trinity's report

    Funding for community buildings

    by sarah last modified 13/09/2023 10:28 AM

    Ashton Court Future Ville Launch. Photo credit Caroline Thake

    Bristol City Council has announced The Community Resilience Fund to be made available to community groups delivering provision in some of Bristol’s most deprived areas. The announcement of the grant follows the publication of Trinity’s 100 Beacons Report that we submitted to the City Council.

    The report, created in partnership with other venues and the Council, shines a light on Bristol's community and cultural assets, including the critical role they played in providing local services as part of the COVID19 response.

    "Huge thanks to Trinity for advocating for other community buildings in some of Bristol’s most neglected areas and to Bristol City Council for engaging and responding to this need” Katherine Chiswell Jones, Art Space Life Space

    We created the report with the intention of building a collective case for capital investment in the city’s youth, community and cultural assets and we are pleased that Bristol City Council has now announced the commitment to funding these much-needed spaces.

    The one-off pot of £4 million is also available for city-wide self-organised equality groups and is intended to help groups invest in costs, such as works to improve access, upgrading ICT infrastructure or works to a community building.

    Our 100 Beacons report was part of our continued commitment to advocating for shared community and cultural spaces. We are members of Locality, support a ’Community Power Act’ and, have invested in Stokes Croft Land Trust.

    Find out more about the funding and how to apply here

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    ‘We’re Right Here’

    by sarah last modified 13/09/2023 10:28 AM
    National Community organisations call for a ‘Community Power Act’

    ‘We’re Right Here’

    by sarah last modified 13/09/2023 10:28 AM
    ‘We’re Right Here’

    Community Art with Rose Popay

    We're Right Here (subtitled) from We're Right Here on Vimeo.

    National Community organisations have gathered together to launch ‘We’re Right Here’ a campaign that aims to shift power to communities through the creation of a ‘Community Power Act’.

    This act, if successful, will fundamentally change where power and decision-making lie by ’ establishing three new community rights:

    A Community Right to Buy - giving communities the right of first refusal once buildings and spaces with significant community value come up for sale.

    A Community Right to Shape Public Services - Encouraging greater collaboration between communities and public institutions when designing, commissioning and delivering local services.

    A Community Right to Control Investment - Increasing community control over the key spending decisions which affect local neighbourhoods.

    ‘We’re Right Here’ is supported by nine national organisations committed to ‘community power’ – these are Power to Change, The Cares Family, New Local, Locality, the Young Foundation, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Local Trust, People’s Health Trust and Friends Provident Foundation.

    Here's how you can support this work:

    Find out more about We’re Right here

    Share your story of the Power of Community

    Sign the letter to Michael Gove

    Trinity are committed to advocating for shared community and cultural spaces. We are members of Locality and have invested in Stokes Croft Land Trust. Read our 100 Beacons report that shines a light on the importance of – and understand the risks posed to – Bristol's community and cultural assets.

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    Help us win Spirit of the Scene Award

    by sarah last modified 03/03/2022 01:35 PM
    Public votes needed for Music Week's Grassroots Venue Award

    Help us win Spirit of the Scene Award

    by sarah last modified 03/03/2022 01:35 PM
    Help us win Spirit of the Scene Award

    Waldo's Gift

    TLK Trinity Presents Image Credit Khali Ackford Trinity Commuity Arts

    TLK performing in the Fyfe Hall as part of Trinity Presents. Image credit Khali Ackford/Trinity Community Arts

    In the past year, Trinity has welcomed some of the best artists in the UK, from Brit Award-winning Sam Fender to singer-songwriter Joy Crookes (on her breakthrough tour) to post-punk band Goat Girl. We've hosted all-nighters welcoming the likes of Teachings In Dub and Electrikal Wall of Sound. In-house we programmed some of the best acts Bristol and the South West have to offer, from Booty Bass giving it everything in the Garden Sessions to sublime Jazz from Waldo's Gift in the Fyfe Hall.

    We are pleased to announce in recognition of this and, for the second year running, Trinity has been nominated for a Grassroots Venue: Spirit Of The Scene Award as part of The Music Week Awards.

    As the winner is selected by public vote, you can help by:

    1. Vote for Trinity by clicking on this link 👉 (voting takes 1-2 mins)
    2. Spread the word - Share the link on socials alongside pics of your fav gig you have been to at Trinity in the last year and don't forget to @ us and use #ReviveLive hashtag
    3. Be quick - Voting closes at 5pm 18 March 2022

    The Award is supported by Music Venue Trust whom advocate for Grassroots Venues in the UK and we are nominated alongside eight other grassroots venues in the UK: Le Pub, Night & Day, Omeara, Rescue Rooms, Sneaky Pete's, The Boileroom, The New Adelphi and The Sugarmill.

    We wish everyone the best of luck and anticipate a very enjoyable evening together on Thursday 26 May during The Music Week Award Ceremony when the winners will be announced.

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    by sarah last modified 02/11/2022 11:10 AM
    Arts organisations call to keep Culture at ‘arm's length’


    by sarah last modified 02/11/2022 11:10 AM

    Trinity stand in solidarity with the Bristol DIY Arts Network and call to keep Culture at ‘arm's length’

    Arts organisations from Bristol have come together to create #67MillionVoices, to raise awareness of the possible risks to the future of creative freedom of expression in the arts.

    As many were buried in the National Portfolio application, the newly launched Reviews of Public Bodies programme announced it will examine the operations of all arm’s-length bodies in England - including the Arts Council, the BFI, the National Lottery Community Fund and Historic England - to assess whether "they should be abolished or retained" (The Stage, 16 May 2022)

    The UK have always held a firm ‘at arms length’ stance to the arts and heritage sector. Over the last two years, pressures from the 'Common Sense Group' has  sought to reduce this independence, and have lobbied the Government step in and take action against charities and arts organisations whose work is not in keeping with 'British values'.

    What does it mean to be British and who should get to decide?

    DIY believe diversity is strength. It makes our art better, our heritage stories richer and Britain greater.

    It is the job of arts and heritage charities to reflect on our past and recontextualise history for audiences in the present day.

    The presentation of narratives counter to those that we may be more familiar with is not about, ‘doing Britain down’. Instead, this provides us with an enriched learning environment and builds a more accurate picture of what it means to be British today.

    This freedom of expression is critical to the arts and enables us to celebrate our diversity.

    Here's how to support this work:

    ✔  Keep culture 'at arm's length' #KeepItArmsLength #HandsOffOurHeritage
    ✔  Uphold the Human Rights Act #ProtectHumanRightsAct
    ✔  Protect freedom of expression #ProtectFreedomofExpression

    ✔Write to you MP, download a template letter

    ✔Amplify #67MillionVoices on social media

    ✔ Get Informed – read the online timeline of events so far

    #67millionvoices make culture - use yours today

    Bristol DIY Arts Network is an independent gathering of arts organisations and arts practitioners, large and small, who deliver cultural programmes within the city of Bristol. We meet regularly to advocate for the sector and to discuss and inform policy.

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    Thank you for supporting us this year

    by sarah last modified 02/11/2022 11:23 AM
    A round-up of how your support has helped us adapt our programme

    Thank you for supporting us this year

    by sarah last modified 02/11/2022 11:23 AM
    Thank you for supporting us this year

    Distant Drums


    We have been so grateful for the support of funders, donors, members, artists, audiences, volunteers, the team and everyone who has been involved in Trinity's journey this year.

    We were able to adapt our programme so communities were able to access arts and culture through these challenging times.

    Respond. We programmed activities for 625 children, young people and families, including Forest School, family garden days, 1-2-1/small group bespoke music provision and skills-based workshops.

    “These young people can have some much-needed downtime, in a safe space, with supporting adults. Many of them have described the Wednesday night sessions as a lifeline” Helen Peder Refugee Council | Children’s Adviser (Bristol)

    Amplify. Through Art of Resistance, we celebrated the role of creativity in some of the key social movements of the last 100 years, programming nine events and project-based activities attended by over 274 people.

    Empower. We provided 285 paid opportunities for artists, companies and freelance event staff alongside five entry-level roles at Trinity, paid at the Real Living Wage.

    Community partners were able to re-launch regular activities at the Centre, such as Hype Dance and Gerry’s Attic dance groups. We also supported Aid Box, Black Creatives and St Mungos to set up new regular groups, providing services and activities for some of those most in need during the continuing pandemic.

    48 volunteers helped to deliver activities and mobilise others. This included gardening sessions in our community garden and a neighbourhood celebration event in August with a new ‘Newtown Network’ of local residents.

    We welcomed back live music/club nights inside the building. With sell-out performances from Sam Fender, Teachings in Dub and Black Midi.

    Over 2600 people came along to our in-house programme, Trinity Presents. From taking part in lively discussions about Soundsystem Culture (Roots, Reggae and Resistance) to experiencing Roxana Vilk's immersive Trinity take over (Lullabies Celebration) to sit-down-raving in our pop up venue early in the year.

    Finally, we’re looking forward to welcoming back Caring in Bristol for their Caring at Christmas day shelter, Dec 24-30, providing a warm welcome, hot meal and good company for those experiencing homelessness and hardship this Christmas

    Thank you to everyone for being part of this amazing journey, we could not have done this without you.


    Power to Change Here for CultureChildren In Need Youth Music Logo NewAHF Logo

    Here and now logo National Lottery Logobristol City Council Logo FAC Logo

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    Team Trinity feature in Real Living Wage film

    by sarah last modified 06/12/2021 02:56 PM
    Bristol City Council shines a spotlight on Trinity as a Living Wage Employer

    Team Trinity feature in Real Living Wage film

    by sarah last modified 06/12/2021 02:56 PM
    Team Trinity feature in Real Living Wage film

    Trinity Community Arts

    Trinity features in a film created by Bristol City Council, showcasing organisations in the city who are certified Real Living Wage Employers.

    The film features Trinity team members Rhiannon Jones (Programme Director) and Jamell Ackford (Venue Manager) alongside Ben Openshaw and Harry Lewis who are both employed on a six-month internship as part of the DWP's Kickstart Scheme.

    "Paying the Real Living Wage means we can support our workforce who, if we retain and nurture, will become future cultural decision-makers." Emma Harvey, CEO, Trinity Community Arts

    Trinity became a Real Living Wage Employer in 2020, providing employees a fair, entry-level wage, calculated independently based on living costs.

    Trinity believes that the best workforce is a diverse workforce and that by paying people a fair wage the opportunity to choose a career in the cultural sector is not limited to those who can afford to take on low paid internships.

    Trinity joins over 65 Bristol employers, including Quirky Campers and Hargreaves Lansdown, as a certified Real Living Wage organisation, contributing to the nearly 2,500 employees who have seen an increase in their wages relevant to their day-to-day living costs. Find out more about Bristol City Council's commitment to becoming a Real Living Wage City here.

    Real living wage

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    Trinity receives Cultural Recovery funding

    by sarah last modified 26/11/2021 01:03 PM
    Support means Trinity continues to #behereforcultuture

    Trinity receives Cultural Recovery funding

    by sarah last modified 26/11/2021 01:03 PM
    Trinity receives Cultural Recovery funding

    Trinity Community Arts

    Like Mercury rehearsal 2021 photo credit Khali Ackford

    Trinity has been awarded £163k through the third round of the Cultural Recovery Fund, meaning that Trinity can continue to #behereforculture.

    "We are really pleased to have the continued support of the Cultural Recovery Fund, the funding enables us to keep on reaching communities through culture and create a robust platform for which Trinity can thrive, now and in the future" Mijanou Blech, Chair of Trustees, Trinity Community Arts

    Since April 2021, with the support of CRF round two, Trinity has employed/paid over 230 artists and freelance event staff. This third successful round of funding will enable Trinity to continue this commitment to the cultural workforce and the creative sector.

    Alongside this, the grant will enable Trinity to continue to adapt the business in response to COVID19 and implement the long-term changes to the organisation to have a viable business model post-pandemic. The support from the Cultural Recovery fund will bridge a vital gap in income generation while revenue streams such as the Pay & Display Car Park, community and private hire, continue to recover from the impact of COVID-19.

    The grant will be allocated to cover Trinity’s core costs (November 2021 – January 2022), including staffing and the maintenance of the Trinity Centre, a Grade II* Listed building, plus external fees including artist and partner commissioning develop a viable and sustainable programme for 2022 onward.

    We were thrilled to hear we have received funding thanks to the government’s #CultureRecoveryFund so that we can continue to be here for you and #HereForCulture

    About the Cultural Recovery Fund

    Here for Culture is a movement that unites the public, government and cultural organisations in support of our fantastic cinemas, theatres, music venues, museums, galleries and heritage. Whether on the global stage or quietly in our own lives, culture inspires, uplifts, comforts and entertains us. In these challenging times, it’s our turn to continue to provide a lifeline and show our support. Everybody should have the opportunity to access a wide-range of high-quality cultural experiences, which is why it is so important that we support arts and cultural venues, cinemas and heritage sites in local communities to survive and thrive.

    Here for Culture

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