You may remember from our recent visit to Bricks that we are dropping into local Welcoming Spaces to shine a spotlight on their work.
Welcoming Spaces provide warmth and support to those affected by the Cost of Living Crisis, and form part of the city's response.
Recently, Rachel Varley visited Recliffe Hub, and spoke to Andy Carruthers, Community Development Officer.
1. What does your Welcoming Space offer the community?
We are open on weekdays for set hours, so that anyone can drop in and enjoy the space. During those times, people drop by for a cuppa and sometimes they ask for advice. We have partnered with other organisations, such as Citizens’ Advice Bristol and Bristol Women’s Voice, to offer specialist support too.
We now have a weekly community meal, film showings, a Scrabble club and a police ‘beat surgery’ running regularly in the space.
Some of our regular visitors asked if we could run bingo sessions. Instead of setting it up ourselves, we encouraged them to take a lead and made the space available for them use. Now we have bingo sessions being run by local residents!
One of the things we’ve loved to see is how people who live locally, but are from different backgrounds and cultures, are using the space and now connecting socially too.
2. Any tips or ideas you'd like to share with other Welcoming Spaces across the city?
· Listen to people and make a good cuppa!
· Be consistent with your opening hours.
· If people visiting your space have ideas of what they’d like to happen there, encourage them to take a lead rather than doing it for them.
· Give volunteers training and responsibility. We’ve benefited from training from Citizens’ Advice and other organisations.
3. What long term legacy would you like to see for your Welcoming Space? (Or, what would you like to see continued/funded?)
Our community hub opened during the Covid-19 pandemic and we are planning on continuing to be open and hopefully extend our opening hours to weekends as well. We want it to continue to be a place for different ages and cultures to connect with one another. Our visitors range from small children to those in their 90s!
A place for everyone, where connections are built, and people are empowered to take action.