Bristol is a city with a huge number of different groups and community organisations already in existence. Throughout the past few months I have been reaching out to several of them to learn more about what they do, to share my ideas for a new kind of learning-focused collective and to enquire about what kinds of workspace are available around different parts of the city. Here is a summary of what I’ve learned and who I’ve spoken with:
The Wellspring settlement.
This is a community centre in the Barton Hill area. They were really friendly on the phone and were very proud of how embedded they are within their local community. They often host learning events for local disadvantaged adults and were interested in the potential for new learning events to take place at their centre. They usually allow local residents to book space inside for free but they seemed very relaxed and there is a good chance they’d let me book space to use.
Zion community cafe
A kind of arts-focused event space and community hub in Bedminster Down. I emailed back and forth with a man named Charles who was very positive and supportive of my ideas. They have two main spaces, a gallery and a cafe space – each can be hired for a reasonable cost at times when they aren’t otherwise being used.
Malcom X Centre
In St. Pauls which is an area predominantly occupied by BAME residents. They are well respected and powerful players in Bristol, I spoke with a lady called Primrose who is a really well known figure in Bristol. (She runs a radio show and I think she has a tv show on a local channel or something). Not sure she really connected with my ideas but she was generally positive about the need for more opportunities for young people, I got the impression that I could come to her with a more cogent idea and she’d be all for it. Not sure whether I could use space in the Malcom X centre regularly but perhaps for outreach stuff?
As the name suggests an old factory in Bedminster that was run down until the previous city mayor George Ferguson saved and regenerated it. Now a hugely successful hub for all kinds of creative organisations and events. Not the cheapest space in the city but it’s a well-established location that could be useful to bear in mind.
BS3 Community centre(s)
The BS3 community group run two centres, one of which is totally focused on adult learning. Great ladies there that I spoke to, very passionate and they were well up for working together to run events in the future. Didn’t seem like it would cost me much as long as it was providing a benefit to local people which is what my project is all about!
BSWN – Black South West Network
Amazing group, really inspirational they do loads of work supporting disadvantaged (esp. black) folks in Bristol. They are all about upping social inclusion and when I spoke to them on the phone about how my group might be a great way to help bring an alternative form of education they were well into it. A strong link into communities that are otherwise not so easy to reach.
BAME-led local magazine that’s all about supporting Bristol’s young entrepreneurs and creatives. Great people who run it, had a zoom chat which was really positive they were up for amplifying our voice through their platform and potentially helping us reach more interested people.
Full Circle @ Docklands / Freestyle Bristol (Delroy Hibbert)
I spoke with a guy here called Del who does loads in Bristol to support young people and to help them to aspire to greater things. He also runs a social platform called Freestyle Bristol for young creatives. He was super passionate when we spoke on Zoom. He was happy to see that there were more people championing education within Bristol and gave me a bunch of contacts. We spoke about using some of the spaces that he runs and he was up for helping us to find spaces that fitted our needs. A solid contact moving forward who knows all the right people in Bristol.