What's Happening
Dear God...
“Hate leads to fights, Fights lead to war, War leads to beautiful world no more”
Kieran Hunt

St Gabriel's Centre

Love Weoley Castle

Love Weoley Castle (LWC) started in 2016, with the idea of bringing together those invested in the community to look at how we could make the estate an ‘even better place to live and work’.  Since then, the network has continued to spread organically as it has become more established, and now has a reputation of making a difference.
Each term LWC hold a “gathering”, at different community venues, to share positive local news and plan our activities and events.  We focus on building great community relationships and making a practical difference. We have purposely avoided setting up another committee or charity in order to enable people to join in easily at the same time as supporting new initiatives and encouraging existing organisations. LWC is under the care of St Gabriel’s Centre.
Over the last few years LWC has placed equal importance on small positive acts of community spirit alongside holding larger events that celebrate the people of the estate.  Each year we have planted daffodils across Weoley Castle, as the council no longer had the resources to do this in our area and people felt disregarded because of it. This has moved onto establishing flower planters in prominent places across our estate. We also arrange a Christmas tree in collaboration with businesses and residents. Recently we have had a ‘yarn bomb’, a remembrance service, and we supported the annual festival. LWC run projects which the local community can be fully involved with and use the skills and resources they have.
The biggest event we held was the Love Weoley Castle Awards evening to celebrate our ‘local heroes’ in 2019, over 200 attended the event, which was held at the local secondary school. Over 20 awards were given to people who were nominated by friends, family, neighbours, or colleagues.  These ranged from an older brother helping with homework to thanking a nursery teacher for over 30 years of commitment.  Performances included a primary school choir, a wheelchair dance group and a brass band.  These events and activities are only possible through having the opportunity to build close community relationships to ensure consistency and reliability.
COVID 19 and ‘lockdown’ meant we had to cancel a number of Love Weoley Castle events in 2020 and change the way we connected.  Regular contact was made with all those who are affiliated, and occasional Zoom calls enabled us to share how we felt people were coping, as well as having ideas for how we could celebrate the community spirit was shown.  During this time we co-ordinated a ‘Weoley Big Thank You’ evening online with videos and performances instead of holding the Awards event.  During the pandemic we continued to ensure our flower planters looked good as we recognise that small things like this can improve people’s wellbeing and the overall feeling of living in Weoley Castle. Over the past two years, due to an idea from one of our group, we also delivered personalised Santa letters to hundreds of children, which proved incredibly popular.
[Westhill admin note: It’s important perhaps to note that the events in the past were not funded by Westhill, these were all run independently. Westhill became involved with funding in Summer 2022. While LWC is still and will always be run by and for the community, funding from Westhill has enabled a member of sessional staff to spend further time in coordinating all these activities, building connections, applying for specific project funds, and seeing the best in the community.]
Currently (Oct 2022) LWC are working with other local organisations in developing ‘Weoley Warm Spaces’ in response to the cost-of-living crisis. It is important that we have been able to response quickly and collaboratively in this and having the LWC network has made that possible, and we hope our reputation will help people to feel safe and confident to come along and use these ‘spaces’.
At the moment we are focussing on more regular community events, both indoors and outdoors.  We support a weekly Incredible Surplus Food Project and Uniform Swop Shop held at a local church.  We have recently started working with Foodcycle, providing hot meals to the community once a week. We hold monthly community events, school holiday events at the ‘duck pond’, and we hope to work with the Weoley Wombles for an event next April. And, of course, we’ll always be planting bulbs and flowers!
Love Weoley Castle is always evolving because of the long term relational, partnership and asset-based approach of St Gabriel’s Centre. Love Weoley Castle continues to seek to promote the gifts, talents, and beauty in our community.
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