Blog #4 - Community: Weather You Like it or Not!


This second blog entry from me is written in bed alongside a springer spaniel who is nestled close, in an attempt to preserve their warmth. The weather is frightfully cold which has resulted in hazardous conditions. The roads are icy. I daren’t attempt to drive to Creative Workspace for fear of a road accident.

Aside from the hazardous roads, another reason I’m not keen on working in Creative Workspace when it is bitterly cold, is because the venue doesn’t retain heat brilliantly. We’re working on it. In fact, we have just set up a new Local Giving page so we can fund the purchase of black out blinds for the main space and our office. If you’re feeling a little generous – or indeed – a little curious, head on over and check out the appeal, here:

Not only will these blinds allow for us to insulate the building better, but it will also let us:

- Facilitate sensory workshops for those with severe developmental issues

- Create fully-immersive, creative workshop environments for those with additional needs and learning disabilities

- Host performances for the community by professional theatre artists/companies who require a blacked-out space

- Control the light levels in the main space for film screening events

- Allow for the venue to control levels of light within the main space during days where there is excess sunlight - this means that this won’t disrupt the delivery of the workshop by the facilitator or the experience of the event for participants

And like I mentioned previously these will allow for further heat insulation (proving to be a viable investment in respect of the heating bill). Innumerable uses doth blinds have.

Me and Gill were somewhat made up this week, as we were shortlisted in the Arts category for the Bristol Life Awards 2018. As you may, or may not, know – we were shortlisted last year and won the arts category award. We were somewhat balled over. We then danced and drank the night away. It was great. Although the DJ refused to play any of my song requests. I’m not sure I can forgive him for that. Even ten months on . . .

Why, you ask, is this important? (The award, not song request-gate) Why do we need an award nomination or, indeed, win to validate our work? Well we don’t. But it’s a nice pat on the back. We know we have good intentions and that we are working hard to make those intentions fully realised – but most importantly it helps put the word out there. It makes more people aware of what we’re committing to and what’s on offer through Creative Workspace and with our outreach work. It’s also a really useful networking opportunity and we remain indebted to the like of Bristol Life Magazine for bolstering our profile in the Bristol area. Thank you ever so much.

I managed to walk Marks and Spencer earlier. It took much longer than usual. One thing I did notice, as I trekked through several inches of snow, was how unifying extreme weather conditions are. I was fist-pumped by a pre-pubescent resident of Knowle West and had numerous conversations with strangers once in the cosily heated supermarket. I guess there’s an unsaid, collective recognition derived from the adverse weather conditions preventing us all from fulfilling our daily routines. It’s rendering people ineffectual. It seems that when we can wholly relate to each other’s situation we express a level of empathy and support (however small). Unfortunately when the weather returns to ‘normal’ that sense of community will disappear. A Facebook friend posted on social media the following, yesterday evening:

‘Over 3 hours and several engine management warning lights later, I made it home safe.... but it wouldn’t have been possible (and this is the best bit) without the compassion, love, and unity shown by the communities around Salford and Bridlington. There were groups of people, offering coffee to walkers/stranded cars/drivers, people with shovels continuously clearing the roads and huddles of people pushing cars up hills.’

People can be so wonderful. I found this refreshing. It’s wonderfully reaffirming.

So – shoe-horn, how is this related to what we are doing? Well, as we have mentioned previously – we are still struggling on the volunteer-front. Can you remember the last time you offered to help someone who needed it? I bet it made you feel real good. All warm and cosy like a certain aforementioned canine who is still snuggling up to me as I tap away at this blog entry.

We’re not asking for huge commitment here. A day a month or every other month when we are open to the public. Or maybe you are willing to assist us remotely – administrative tasks or what not? Give it some thought and drop us a message if you are feeling extra community-focused. Remember – there’s only two of us. It’s a tough slog at times.

Lastly – before I sign off on this blog-entry – I want to share with you guys the artwork our Arts Award students have produced (see below). We’re proud and beaming. They are ALL presenting their work as part of the South Bank Arts Trail in May. Two of them have stalls at the Tobacco Factory, the others at BS3 Community. How cool is that!?

Anyway – enjoy their creative output. I’m off to make some noodles.