MEET John Gow. He is the man tasked with knitting together Kingsway’s growing community – and he’s got two years to do it.
John has taken up a role as Kingsway’s new ‘community builder’, a job which will entail drawing on people’s talents, willingness to run community groups or create new small businesses and to get people to work together.
He believes it could be a turning point for an estate which will soon have more than 3,000 homes – all built in less than a decade.
“Community is about life for me,” he said. “It is where mums learn to be mums, dads learn to be dads and their children find their heroes. I want to be one of the heroes. I want to be a hero rather than a person who puts people down. I am really excited about this role because community is my passion.
“Kingsway doesn’t have a foundation so it will become whatever the community wants it to become.”
His first task has been in setting up the new Kingsway Running Club. People from the estate are being encouraged to get their running shoes on for April 14 when the club will run from opposite Asda at 6.30pm.
But he is also confident that the new Kingsway Community Centre and the sports pavilion and pitches will see the formation of new groups and sports clubs for youngsters to enjoy.
He said: “A new Kingsway football club is something that we are trying to start. It would be great to see the people of Kingsway produce their own football team.
“The new facilities will give young people in Kingsway something to do and that is really important.”
John’s role is being funded jointly by Gloucester City Council and Oxbode Housing Association with support from the Barnwood Trust. The post is initially for two years.
“It is enough to get Kingsway started,” he said. “I expect it to have its own momentum in two years time.”
John has enlisted the help of five or six volunteers who will help him connect with people on the estate – but he is hoping that anyone who feels they have something to offer will get in touch. He can be contacted on 07553 349291, on Twitter @kingswaycom or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
WHAT’S NEW IN KINGSWAY?
- Waterwells Academy Primary School opened in 2013
- Asda opened in 2013
- Next phase of housing will push the number of homes to more than 3,000
- Work soon to start on building 11 new shops
- Community centre will open in September
- New sports pavilion, pitches and BMX track being created