Before Christmas becomes a distant memory, let's hear from Pat, Community Engagement Officer at Up Our Street, about a event on 13 December. "For a number of years now we have been organising Carols in the Lawrence Hill underpass to bring some Christmas cheer to local residents and those who pass through the roundabout on the way to and from work braving the cold and grey skies, so typical for this time of the year.
The fame of carols have been growing in the community and this year not only we were busy inviting local residents and organisations to join us on the day but we were also contacted by those who wanted to be part of it, which was fantastic.
Couple of weeks before the event Anna Harris, a Sustainability Officer at the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency based right next to the roundabout contacted us to say the employees would like to contribute to the event and clear the roundabout from litter. And so before joining us to sing, eat and be merry together, Anna and her colleagues collected 15 huge bags of rubbish and recycling which made the event so much nicer.
Nimo from Somali Kitchen suggested that it would be great to do a pop up event before Christmas and share delicious Somali food with local residents. Hearing that I invited them over to join us during carols and so everyone who came along or just stopped for a chat could try delicious snacks served by Sahra and Nimo.
On the day we were also joined by an international group of Active Citizens Up Our Street was hosting at the time and so our guests from Bangladesh, Korea, Lithuania and England had a chance to join in and see how great our diverse community is.
The fantastic All Sorts Choir led by Sarah Moody ensured that the atmosphere in the underpass was transformed with the carols resonating all over the roundabout. We were very fortunate on the day as the sky cleared just before we were about to leave the office and during this grim and rainy day we were greeted with the blue sky and we all could enjoy perfect two hours of dry if chilly air.
At Up Our Street we believe that there is value in meeting and getting to know our fellow residents in public spaces, doing things together and celebrating our diverse community. This year’s carols were very special to me as they brought together a wide and diverse range of people demonstrating how well we can live together and what Bristol Values are really about."