Building neighbourliness on the Belle Isle estate

Belle Isle TMO are keen to support local people to link up and make a difference in the community.

Do you have an idea for an activity, but don’t know where to start? Or perhaps you already link up with others but need a little extra help?

This is where Ben, the Belle Isle Community Builder, can help. Ben is out and about on the estate talking to people all the time. His job is to connect people, and their skills and knowledge.

It could be anything from an informal walking group to a street WhatsApp group or even a fun day on your street – residents organised two last summer.

Most recently Ben has spoken to three different women in the area who have all said they would like to go for local walks. He has now connected them and they are planning their first walk together.

There’s also a small urban foraging group that helped themselves to the free fruit that grows around the garden estate last autumn.

Neither BITMO nor Ben will run your activity, but they will help you find the resources or people you need to make it happen.

The fun days started with one resident expressing an interest. Ben then helped them talk to other people on the street and unlock a gazebo at number 23, an offer of burger buns from number 4 and some garden furniture and a barbecue at number 15.

Other activities you could join include litter-picking, looking after a planter near your home, or helping with Belle Isle Gala.

Ben says his work is about supporting people to use the power they already have and give them the confidence that they don’t need an outside agency – the Council, BITMO, school – to do it for them.

So, if you haven’t already spoken to Ben in the street and you’ve got an idea, give him a ring on 07891 273843 or drop into BITMO’s Gate Centre.


Photo: Planting seeds at the West Grange community garden


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