'A space worth saving for the community'

January 31 2017

THE unassuming exterior of Meadow Vale Community Centre belies the work which has been going on inside.

THE unassuming exterior of Meadow Vale Community Centre belies the work which has been going on inside.

Although the community centre has provided social events for more than 40 years, lack of investment meant the building has become outdated and less attractive for people to use. But the tide is starting to turn.

Development worker Lucy Touray said: "As a result of lack of investment community spirit had dwindled and people became very isolated. The fun, laughter and community spirit was at a low point but not gone.

"There are very little services within the area so any little hope of community space has been important to hold on to and the community has continued to fight for the building to stay."

Lucy worked with Meadow Vale Community Association, a charity which runs the centre, for several hours a week for most of last year after successfully gaining funding for her post from Sovereign Housing Association.

It proved a busy year which saw the launch of a new play area in the park with new path and improved access, fun dog show, Halloween party and a community arts day.

The building's main hall benefited from a lick of paint courtesy of the local police beat team and charity Brighter Bristol came in to the paint the bathrooms. 

Every week since August, with the support of Creative Youth Network, a youth club has been available to all local young people aged between 8-12 years. The club has been a great success with around 15-20 young people attending each week. More recently a further club for young people - called Project Night - has been set set up.

Lucy said: "The young people have become involved within their community, from enjoying activities, applying for funding with success, attending neighbourhood forum meetings to tackling the issue of speeding in the area, repainting the teenage shelter in the park and having a say in the improvements of the park which are taking place at present."

The building currently supports a European (Czech) toddler group, elder people's cards club, youth club, private parties, meetings and a parents group. Despite its size, there is scope for further use.

Lucy said: "I want to thank all the people for getting the community centre where it is today - people like Fiona Russell, the police who painted the hall and In Bristol Studio who worked with the young people to create the colourful board outside. Their work has made the community centre a little more vibrant and people are starting to use it again. This place really means something to the community and it's all thanks to the people who have put the effort in."

If a group, organisation or individual would like to find out more about hiring the community centre, call Fiona on 0784 9801709.