A Movement for Sustainable Community Prosperity
Coexist is building a movement to support communities and community hubs across Bristol. Many vital spaces and places - as well as organisations and services - are under threat. This network of people, infrastructure, knowledge and expertise is essential for individuals and communities to thrive.
On Tuesday 28th March, Coexist is brought together individuals, community groups and organisations from all over Bristol with an invitation to build a network of strength. We are co-creating a strategy to:
Share resources and nurture a culture of collaboration, not competition - a network of reciprocity based on commoning;
Bring vital infrastructure into community ownership to build community wealth and enhance community health - to Rebuild the Commons!
Generate a surplus to reinvest in vital projects that support marginalised groups and fund an equity-based sustainable restoration programme;
Collectively persuade and steer the council and national government for increased community power - including the right to buy community assets;
Create systemic change so that developers and private landlords are no longer the key beneficiaries in our cities by facilitating communities to protect and nurture our shared assets to maximise public benefit.
Our strategy will evolve and be achieved through movement building, collective action, campaign work, policy development and exploring best practice. Using a membership framework, this collective power-base will fund a coordinating group to grow the movement - engaging diverse communities to participate and shape The Bristol Commons through a variety of simple, accessible and enjoyable processes.
The Bristol Commons will advise and support Bristol City Council to prioritise community benefit through commons principles, challenge extractive development proposals and problematic developers, and lobby the UK Government to enable communities to secure cultural assets through common ownership.
Coexist pioneer creative cultural and community projects that enhance wellbeing and resilience. Since our eviction from our flagship project Hamilton House in 2018, Coexist has been reimagining its role and devising a new strategy that reflects the current climate communities face during the impacts of Covid 19, the increasing ecological crisis and a potential economic crash.
In such times of overwhelm, community spaces where we can come together are needed more than ever. We have relaunched our community kitchen in Mivart Street, Easton, supported many community hubs around Bristol, and are currently consulting with communities on a more collaborative approach to sharing skills, resources and working towards safeguarding community assets. We are always open to invitations and suggestions so if you would like to recommend an interesting site or possible project please get in touch:
Community Centres Across Bristol
A new Community Hub
In December 2018, following the eviction of Hamilton House, Coexist temporarily relocated to St. Anne’s House, St. Anne’s. The building is owned by Bristol City Council, and the principle leaseholder at the time was St. Mungos. The vision was that Coexist would open and manage a community centre on the top two floors and St. Mungos would run an emergency homeless shelter on the ground floor. The stars did not align, and Coexist were only offered a 3-month lease - an opportunity that the directors, given the recent experience at Hamilton House, felt did not offer sufficient security of tenure to launch a new community space.
In 2020, the homeless shelter was forced to close due to lockdown restrictions as a result of new Covid-19 guidelines. The following year Coexist were offered a 1 year lease to run the building at cost price, but by this point the building had also attracted interest from BRICKS. Seeing an emerging and energised organisation keen to take on the challenge, Coexist withdrew its offer and instead chose to support BRICKS’ vision for the building by backing its bid to Bristol City Council, and providing the organisation with £1000’s of equipment to run the new community centre in St. Anne's.
BRICKS are doing some amazing work revitalising that space and creating a hub for the local community. Please visit their website to book rooms, enquire about hotdesking, or see their events programme.