Welcome to Coexist.

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About Us

Coexist is a dynamic and creative community organisation based in Bristol, UK.
We seek to enhance the wellbeing and resilience of the communities we serve. Our current projects include:

The Coexist Community Kitchen – re-launched in Mivart Street, Easton, the Community Kitchen brings people together through food, and uses cooking as a vehicle to work with people who experience social marginalisation in our society;

The Bristol Commons – a new community-building and re-building initiative aiming to bring people from diverse groups across Bristol into dialogue together through a cultural programme of events and community conversations around ‘the commons’;

The Wellbeing and Resilience European Network (WREN) – an emerging network supporting community groups that are working towards a healthy, creative and sustainable future across Europe.

We are a Charitable Community Benefit Society (CCBS) registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).  This means we have charitable aims and that we work for community benefit.  We are currently looking for a new location to launch a community hub and consulting with local communities to explore future collaborations.

Founded in 2008, Coexist redeveloped Hamilton House – an empty 55,000 sq/ft office block – into a thriving cultural and community hub as a ‘Centre for Excellence in Sustainable Community’. We pioneered one of the first co-working hubs in the UK, had over 500 artists, charities and small business based within the building, boasted a conference suite and meeting rooms, a community theatre space, dance studios, a community kitchen, wellbeing rooms, an artists shop and gallery space amongst an array of other community resources and services.

Our pioneering work and the Coexist Community Model has been studied by researchers, community organisations and city delegations from across the world. We have built a reputation as a values-driven, dynamic project that develops new resources and approaches, speaks truth to power and works inclusively to regenerate our communities.

In 2016 we made international news with our pioneering Period Policy and work around valuing natural cycles, and in 2018 over 15,000 people signed a petition to bring Hamilton House into community ownership and 1000’s more marched to City Hall to demand council action. We have a passionate, growing membership in Bristol of people dedicated to protecting and nurturing community assets for future generations through

Rebuilding The Commons
and developing sustainable ways to coexist.
If you came here because you are interested in our work at Hamilton House, please check out our legacy site.

Coexist Charitable Society Directors

Rachel DeGarang

Consultant / Trainer / Mentor

Rachel is a Consultant, Trainer and Mentor, with expertise gained over 26 years working in the community and voluntary sector. She has acquired a deep knowledge and understanding of integrating different cultural groups; dealing with racism and discrimination in the workplace and wider community. She offers support to employers to increase the diversity of their workforce and improve their cultural competency, as well as delivering training on equality, diversity and communication across cultures.

Rob Mitchell

Media Educator / Creative Producer

Rob is an educator and media producer who uses media and arts to work with people and communities – for developing talents and community. He is also a writer, performer and filmmaker. He is keen on the values and aspirations demonstrated in the way Coexist works – with communities, creativity, environment and nature.

Daniel Balla

Facilitator / Artivist / Director / Educator

Daniel is a creative facilitator dedicated to creating systemic change. He explores human relationships with the world and each other through immersive projects of participatory theatre, storytelling and film.  He is passionate about facilitation and experiential tools for participatory democracy.  He has worked with Coexist since 2011, and is dedicated to exploring strategies for systemic change including Coexist’s manifesto to ‘Rebuild The Commons’.

The Bristol Commons

Coexist is building a movement to support communities and community hubs across Bristol. Many vital spaces and places – as well as organisations and services – are under threat. This network of people, infrastructure, knowledge and expertise is essential for individuals and communities to thrive. We refer to this as our commons.

In March 2023, Coexist brought together individuals, community groups and organisations from all over Bristol with an invitation to build a network of strength. We are co-creating a strategy to:

Share resources and nurture a culture of collaboration, not competition – a network of reciprocity based on commoning;

Bring vital infrastructure into community ownership to build community wealth and enhance community health – to Rebuild the Commons!

Generate a surplus to reinvest in vital projects that support marginalised groups and fund an equity-based sustainable restoration programme;

Collectively persuade and steer the council and national government for increased community power – including the right to buy community assets;

Create systemic change so that developers and private landlords are no longer the key beneficiaries in our cities by facilitating communities to protect and nurture our shared assets to maximise public benefit.

Community Power

Our strategy will evolve and be achieved through movement building, collective action, campaign work, policy development and exploring best practice. Using a membership framework, this collective power-base will fund a coordinating group to grow the movement – engaging diverse communities to participate and shape The Bristol Commons through a variety of simple, accessible and enjoyable processes.

The Bristol Commons will advise and support Bristol City Council to prioritise community benefit through commons principles, challenge extractive development proposals and problematic developers, and lobby the UK Government to enable communities to secure cultural assets through common ownership.

Community Hubs

Pioneering and Supporting Community Hubs

Coexist pioneers creative cultural and community projects that enhance wellbeing and resilience.  Since our eviction from our flagship project Hamilton House in 2018, Coexist has been reimagining its role and devising a new strategy that reflects the current climate communities face during the impacts of Covid 19, the increasing ecological crisis and a potential economic crash. 

In such times of overwhelm, community spaces where we can come together are needed more than ever. We have relaunched our community kitchen in Mivart Street, Easton, and are consulting with other organisations about potential future projects.  We are always open to invitations and suggestions so if you would like to recommend an interesting site or possible project please get in touch: info@coexistuk.org

In December 2018, following the eviction of Hamilton House, Coexist temporarily relocated to St. Anne’s House, St. Anne’s.  The building is owned by Bristol City Council, and the principle leaseholder at the time was St. Mungos.  The vision was that Coexist would open and manage a community centre on the top two floors and St. Mungos would run an emergency homeless shelter on the ground floor.  The stars did not align, and Coexist was only offered a 3-month lease – an opportunity that the directors, given the recent experience at Hamilton House, felt did not offer sufficient security of tenure to launch a new community space.

In 2020, the homeless shelter was forced to close due to lockdown restrictions as a result of new Covid-19 guidelines.  The following year Coexist were offered a 1 year lease to run the building at cost price, but by this point the building had also attracted interest from BRICKS.  Seeing an emerging and energised organisation keen to take on the challenge, Coexist withdrew its offer and instead chose to support BRICKS’ vision for the building by backing its bid to Bristol City Council, and providing the organisation with £1000’s of equipment to run the new community centre in St. Anne’s.

BRICKS are doing some amazing work revitalising that space and creating a hub for the local community.  Please visit their website to book rooms, enquire about hotdesking, or see their events programme.
We are always open to invitations and suggestions so if you would like to recommend an interesting site or possible project please get in touch:


Exploring the potential of a rural/growing project

Coexist is especially interested in collaborating with growing projects with regenerative farming experience.

We work with a community centred approach, using our Coexist Community Model that builds on Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) principles.  Our model has been studied by researchers, organisations and city councils across the globe due to its success in generating tangible participation, wellbeing and resilience for the community it serves.  We work by centring community voices and creating forums that give members an active role in the development and delivery of the project.  We prioritise authentic and healthy relationships, mutually beneficial partnerships, and creativity and innovation that are rooted in shared values and strategic aims. We work explicitly to increase the wellbeing and resilience of communities so that people and planet can coexist through regenerative and sustainable practices.

Coexist has long sought a rural site to complement its urban activities.  We work with food and growers through our Community Kitchen (now located on Mivart Street in Easton), and also deliver programmes around sustainability and community resilience.  We see local regenerative food systems that prioritise soil health, active community participation, animal and people care as central to wellbeing.  We believe this enables us to coexist.  Our aim is to operate a rural growing and education project and urban community centre in tandem, exchanging opportunities and creating economic benefits to both sites and communities through integrated projects.


If you’d like to keep in touch with our work and The Bristol Commons, please sign up to our newsletter by completing the following form.

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