“We like to call it the neighbourhood’s living room”: Shining a light on our community benefit programme with Easton Community Centre

  • Posted: 30 Mar 2023

During round six of our Community Benefit Programme, we provided £4k in funding to Eastside Community Trust so it could continue providing a warm & welcoming space to the local community.

Community centres play a crucial role in providing a safe and welcoming space for local residents to socialise and access essential advice and services. However, many of these buildings are old and draughty, making them costly to run, particularly in light of the ongoing energy crisis.  

We’re committed to helping these centres continue to thrive by providing energy efficiency grants for community buildings via our Community Benefit Programme. Working with the Centre for Sustainable Energy, we provided over £30,000 worth of funding to ten community buildings located close to our clean energy sites in 2022.  

Included in the list of grantees was the Easton Community Centre, which is located near to our 20MW battery storage project at Feeder Road in East Bristol. Eastside Community Trust which runs the centre, as well as the Felix Road Adventure Playground, identified heat loss and rising energy costs as a significant problem. We’re thrilled to have been able to support the centre in addressing these issues by providing a £4,000 grant that has helped them to install essential loft and pipe insulation.  

These energy efficiency improvements have helped the team to reduce their operational costs at a time when it’s really needed, ensuring they can continue providing a warm and comfortable space for the local community to enjoy.  

“So much of what we do is trying to create a warm, cosy, welcoming space for people to enjoy – we like to call it the neighbourhood’s living room. From energy and legal advice drop-ins to exercise and reading classes, we’ve seen a big increase in the number of people accessing our services, many for the first time. We were concerned about the increase in energy bills, but the grant we have received from Thrive has helped us to take proactive steps in improving the building’s energy efficiency, not only reducing our own costs but making it more comfortable for the local community. It also means we can share our learnings about the process with people looking to make efficiencies in their own homes as part of our work on the Community Climate Action Project.” – Emily Fifield, Community Project Manager, Eastside Community Trust

The upgrades we have supported the centre with also mean that they can continue offering vital services to residents, which ranges from community advice on energy efficiency and retrofitting to providing a base for Bristol’s Somali Youth Voice – a grassroots organisation that advocates for and empowers disadvantaged young people living in the city. As well as this, the centre is home to Somali Kitchen – a women-led CIC offering advice and volunteering opportunities to Somali women, the BCfm community radio station, HIV & Aids charity Brigstow, the Raised In Bristol nursery and Houria CIC, an anti-racist café and catering business supporting migrant women and those escaping modern slavery.  

It’s a place where the community can seek advice and share ideas, or simply have a warm, safe haven to rely on.

As well as the Easton Community Centre, the other buildings we have supported over the past year include Knowle West Media Centre in Bristol, Birsay Community Hall in Orkney, Colne Village Hall in Cambridgeshire, Helmdon Reading Room near Milton Keynes and Strichen Playgroup in Aberdeenshire.