Wellspring Settlement is a charity that is run for the community and led by the community, in inner city Bristol, serving the Lawrence Hill and Barton Hill areas and other parts of the city centre and East Bristol. It has a culturally diverse and rich community and has a vision to build a strong dynamic community where everyone has a good quality life.
Young people’s needs in Bristol’s inner city have been overlooked, and there are no dedicated youth centres serving the Lawrence Hill and Barton Hill areas, young people have been left behind. The team at Wellspring Settlement have been striving for a youth centre for many years; more recently, to complement their detached youth work. Now their dream of creating a dedicated space for young people is taking shape. In 2021 Wellspring Settlement successfully brought a disused public house called the Swan. Its location is perfect and right next to other Wellspring Settlement projects. The team has managed to secure some small pots of funding to make it safe, but they still needed a large capital grant to make a real impact and refurbish the building.
A Youth Investment Fund grant of £ 796,647.00, alongside smaller contributions from other funders, will transform the Swan and create a vibrant hub for young people and means they will be about to support 80 more young people every week. Once complete the space will include a ground floor youth space, and office space for Bristol Somali Resource Centre, a key partner in delivering youth work, on the first floor.
The Wellspring Settlement has a great team of youth workers that are invested in engaging with local young people, including a large Somali community. Co-design is at the heart of their work, and they want to involve young people in every step of the capital project’s development, helping young people gain new skills, including participating in meetings, learning about tendering, and understanding the design, planning and architecture processes. It’s going to be challenging as the young people are a diverse group, with different age groups and very different cultures and religious beliefs. Many young people have never participated in projects like this and sharing their views and participating in co-design will be a new experience.
Young people are so excited about finally getting a dedicated and safe youth space that they can call their own. The Youth Investment Fund will be transformational and means our longstanding vision for young people will finally be a reality.
CEO Beth Wilson
Young people will shape what the new space will look like, and the activities on offer, and name the project. Now its identity and name are very associated with the building’s former life as a public house, so it’s time to reclaim it as a space just for young people. Once complete the project will be sustainable and accessible to all. It will provide a vibrant, safe, and welcoming space for young people to relax, chill, let off steam and learn new skills and participate in activities to boost wellbeing and mental health.