Community begins campaign for more from its sports centre
People living in Lockleaze are getting together to demand more community resources and services as one of the most deprived parts of Bristol begins to see hundreds of new homes built. Local residents have formed their own branch of the community union ACORN and, after campaigning on issues like drivers speeding through the estate, have turned their attentions to the lack of affordable activities in the local area.
A community meeting has been set up for tomorrow (Tuesday) evening, and everyone living in Lockleaze is invited to discuss what could be done.
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The ACORN organisers in Lockleaze have already met with bosses at Lockleaze Sports Centre, which only opened in 2018, and started a dialogue with bosses about how the leisure centre could better serve the people in the community where it has been built.
“Lack of youth provision, anti-social behaviour and an absence of community spaces – even a pub – are ongoing issues for the area, which is one of the most deprived wards in the city,” said ACORN Lockleaze organiser Em Wright.
“We are hoping that Lockleaze Sports Centre can play a part in addressing these issues. It was set up in 2018 with state of the art facilities, and the company’s mission statement includes a commitment to ‘delivering affordable first-class sports, education, health improvement and inclusive social facilities to the local community and beyond’.
Yet locals have found themselves unable to afford the costs, unaware of any affordable measures and unsure of what good the centre is doing locally,” she added.
One local resident, Terry, joined the ACORN campaign. “The centre should be something for local people, who shouldn’t be priced out of using their local facilities. And opportunities need to be better publicised – lots of people aren’t even aware it exists, and what’s going on,” he said.
Another resident, Alexandra, joined ACORN Lockleaze to join the campaign, and said the centre could be part of the solution to tackle the continuing anti-social behaviour by young people on the estate. “I have witnessed and heard tales of burnt out or vandalised cars, muggings, assaults and unwanted graffiti,” she said. “Providing young people with engaging activities would potentially limit nuisance behaviour by giving them somewhere safe, consistent and engaging to spend some of their extra time,” she added.
A group of ACORN Lockleaze members had a meeting with the boss of Lockleaze Sports Centre, Tony Wright, to talk more about how to get more people from the community involved and using the sports centre, and discussed the introduction of a local discount for people living in Lockleaze, and the meeting went positively.
A public meeting has been organised at the Hub in Lockleaze at 6.30pm on Tuesday. Em Wright said everyone in Lockleaze should get involved. “It’s great to hear that the Sports Centre is committed to improving local access. Communities like Lockleaze are feeling the sharp end of the cost of living crisis. We hope that a local discount will mean that residents are genuinely benefitting from these state of the art facilities, rather than just playing host to others who are better off,” she added.