Community Building in Belle Isle

The Belle Isle estate has been run by BITMO for 20 years as a tenant management organisation (TMO). There is a large majority of Belle Isle tenants on the Board, who make crucial decisions about repairs and improvements to the estate, caretaking and the housing service and have also chosen to invest in the community – from a grant scheme for environmental improvements to developing a community garden, to a community development team which runs a community centre in partnership with volunteers. We were very pleased to get funding through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund to employ a community builder, whose main role is to connect people in the Belle Isle community – whether they are BITMO tenants or not – and help focus on the huge assets that already exist in the Belle Isle community. We’ll let Ben introduce himself ….

Hello, I’m Ben, Belle Isle’s community builder. I was born in Leeds, and I have lived and worked here all my life. I am big into my rugby, I love cooking and sharing food with friends. My job is to chat with people in the community of Belle Isle and encourage residents to take power into their own hands and make a difference for our community. If you see me out and about come and say “Hi” I would love to hear your stories.

Belle Isle Community Builder Ben Mills

A good example of Ben’s work is where he collected Belle Isle bus stop stories – stories from people getting on the bus at Belle Isle Parade of how Belle Isle neighbours support each other.

Ben has a small fund he can use to help bring neighbours and Belle Isle residents with shared interests together. Follow the link to find out more about the Small Sparks fund.

You will see Ben around Belle Isle – maybe talking to parents at a sports session, in Greedy Monkeys or Windmill cafes, at the St John & St Barnabas Welcome Centre or Cranmore & Raylands community centre – if not at a bus stop! Please have a word and share your ideas on the best of Belle Isle – the people, the green spaces and the shared spaces. To contact him give him a call on 07891 273843 or leave a message at BITMO’s GATE community centre.

The UK Shared Prosperity Fund is a central pillar of the UK government’s
Levelling Up agenda and provides £2.6 billion of funding for local investment
by March 2025. The Fund aims to improve pride in place and increase life
chances across the UK investing in communities and place, supporting local
business, and people and skills. For more information, visit

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