Community Connectors

Introducing the Coventry Community Connectors

Video: Community Connectors Introduction Credit: Mindriot Productions 

Audio Described Version

About the Project

Eight Coventry residents who are passionate about their communities have been chosen for a new programme with Coventry City of Culture Trust and 64 Million Artists.

The Community Connectors programme will see; Boyanka Bobeva, Emilie Jones, Kelly Walsh, Kevin Conway Kieran Joseph, Mel Gregory, Priya Gondalia and Theo Ioannou, each work towards creating their own artistic community event.

The group will benefit from specialist training, mentoring and networking, delivered by 64 Million Artists, which will help them develop their ideas and skills. They will also receive  1-2-1 support from the Programme Coordinator and with the Area Producers at the Trust.

Some of the ideas that the group want to develop include celebrating stories from local people, connecting through humour, and creating a mural in Foleshill that reflects its diverse community and features the different languages spoken in the area.

Follow us at @Coventry2021 on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram where we will be sharing videos throughout early 2021, introducing each of the Connectors and hearing from them as they start their journey with us. These videos will also be uploaded to this webpage.

Produced by the Coventry City of Culture Trust and 64 Million Artists with support from The National Lottery Community Fund.
If you would like to get in touch with any of the Community Connectors please click the link below and your message will be passed onto the relevant connector: Email Us

Your Community Connectors

Image of Boyanka Bobeva

Image of Boyanka Bobeva

Boyanka Bobeva

North East – Foleshill

About Boyanka

Image of Mel Gregory

Image of Mel Gregory

Mel Gregory

North East – Henley Green

About Mel

Image of Emilie Lauren Jones by John Whitmore

Image of Emilie Lauren Jones by John Whitmore

Emilie Lauren Jones

South West – Finham & Styvechale

About Emilie

Image of Kieran Joseph

Image of Kieran Joseph

Kieran Joseph

South West – Earlsdon

About Kieran

Image of Kevin Conway

Image of Kevin Conway

Kevin Conway

South East – Stoke Aldermoor

About Kevin

Image of Theo Ioannou

Image of Theo Ioannou

Theo Ioannou

South East – City Centre

About Theo

Image of Priya Gondalia

Image of Priya Gondalia

Priya Gondalia

North West Coventry

About Priya

Image of Kelly Walsh

Image of Kelly Walsh

Kelly Walsh

North West – Holbrooks

About Kelly

Boyanka Bobeva

North East – Foleshill

Boyanka supports the Bulgarian Community in Coventry across the city.

What are you most looking forward to during your time on the Community Connectors Programme?

I am looking forward to sharing Bulgarian Culture with the people of Coventry and beyond. I hope to develop relationships with other communities, connecting and building bridges to motivate the community. I am looking forward to laughing together! During this difficult time I want to share humour from my culture and learn British humour.

How do you feel about being on the programme, are you excited and what are you hoping to achieve?

I am excited about being on the programme and I am looking to actively promote and raise awareness among other communities about the diversity of the Bulgarian Community, and how this is reflected in our lifestyle, language and cuisine. This year we have many new people in the community, and we would like to ensure that we share and treasure our Bulgarian heritage, music, folklore, history, literature and traditions.

Mel Gregory

North East – Henley Green

Mel volunteers at the Foleshill Social Supermarket and is a key member of the community-led allotment.

What you are most looking forward to during your time as a Community Connector?

I am looking forward to meeting new people, improving my social skills and being outdoors. I want to do something nice for my community and make a mark on the local area.

How do you feel about being on the programme, are you excited and what are you hoping to achieve?

I am excited to see the end result and for people to drive past in a car or on the bus and see how vibrant it looks. I want to show myself that I can achieve something if I put my mind to it. I also want to support the community centre, make us more self-sufficient and grow and produce more food. I am excited to empower my community.

Emilie Lauren Jones

South West – Finham & Styvechale

Emilie is a poet and will be working with local people in the Styvechale/Wainbody area to share their stories.

What are you most looking forward to during your time on the Community Connectors Programme?

I am looking forward to working with my community to create a lasting piece of work that reflects the positive aspects of our area and the people who live and work here – it’s history, diversity and the green spaces it contains.

I hope to learn from the team and developing my creative practice. I am experienced at creating poetry and organising events; however, I have not previously worked with a specific community to make a creative piece.

Taking an active part in City of Culture, something which as a Coventrian, I can be proud of and will remember forever.

How do you feel about being on the programme, are you excited and what are you hoping to achieve?

I hope this project will bring people in our community together, I am hoping that it will create new friendships, increase the sense of community and inspire people to explore their creativity.

I want people to be excited that we are a City of Culture and to know that they can be part of it because their voices and creativity are important.

I hope people will take pride in the finished piece as well as enjoying the creative process that takes us there.

Kieran Joseph

South West – Earlsdon

Kieran has set up a project called Guardian Ballers Life Stories, a basketball and mental health project which has a focus on the mental and emotional well-being of children and young people aged between 11-18yrs.

What you are most looking forward to during your time as a Community Connector?

My excitement is two-fold. I am excited to work in collaboration with the other Community Connectors and the Producers to get to know their areas of expertise and the DNA of the communities they represent. Equally, I am excited to explore and capture information about Guardian Ballers participants within a creative piece that broadcasts the individuals and their extended communities. I believe we will be able to make Coventry proud be showcases a small collective of its residents.

How do you feel about being on the programme, are you excited and what are you hoping to achieve?

I feel very honoured about being on the programme. As Founder and Director of Guardian Ballers, working in partnership with Coventry and Warwickshire Mind, we are launching the programme in January 2021. We will be reaching young people in Schools all across Coventry throughout the year. Thus, I feel as though also being a Community Connector, I will truly be able to ‘connect’ a diversity of cultures and people!
I hope to achieve a creative piece that captures ‘life stories’ of young people from a diversity of cultures in our City of Coventry.

Kevin Conway

South East – Stoke Aldermoor

Kevin has previously put on an event to celebrate the Italian Job being filmed in Stoke Aldermoor and wants to organise an even bigger event in the coming year.

What are you most looking forward to during your time on the Community Connectors Programme?

I want to represent Coventry and the area I’m from and put Stoke Aldermoor on the map as a tourist attraction.

How do you feel about being on the programme, are you excited and what are you hoping to achieve?

I am excited to finally bring to fruition an event I have been planning for 3 years, this project means so much to me and I am looking forward to sharing it with the local people from Stoke Aldermoor and inviting not only local people from Coventry but sharing it with people from the rest of the UK and maybe further afield!

Image of Theo Ioannou

Image of Theo Ioannou

Theo Ioannou

South East – City Centre

Theo supports refugee communities and supported Coventry Welcomes (Refugee Week activity), with a focus on communities in which English is not their first language.

What you are most looking forward to during your time as a Community Connector?

I am mostly looking forward to sharing knowledge, experience and expertise with like-minded people who share my passion for community development and/or the arts. I am also looking forward to delivering the cultural project that I want to organize as I know that this experience will be fulfilling and gratifying. 

How do you feel about being on the programme, are you excited and what are you hoping to achieve?

I am very excited to be on the programme and I am looking forward to getting to know everyone better and familiarize myself with their work. Through this programme, I am hoping to develop my skills in production and community development and become better networked with other people who organise similar activities and their communities. 

Image of Priya Gondalia

Image of Priya Gondalia

Priya Gondalia

North West Coventry

Priya is currently a youth coach and has experience with empowering young people and has previously organised a Diwali inspired event.

What you are most looking forward to during your time as a Community Connector?

I'm most looking forward to being part of a network of other community connectors and producers and being supported to build up my skills and knowledge to run my own project.

How you feel about being on the programme, whether you are excited and what you are hoping to achieve

I am very excited to be on the programme and I'm hoping to create a lasting impact with my project with the support of the producers and fellow community connectors.

Image of Kelly Walsh

Image of Kelly Walsh

Kelly Walsh

North West – Holbrooks

Kelly is a local teacher and Lead Arts Ambassador for the Future Trust.

What are you most looking forward to during your time on the Community Connectors Programme?

I am looking forward to meeting and networking with new people in both my local and wider community. Putting Coventry in the spotlight and re-engaging people with arts. 

How do you feel about being on the programme, are you excited and what are you hoping to achieve?

I am extremely excited and feel very privileged to be part of the programme. I am keen to learn new skills and give opportunities to others.