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December update from Ardagh Community Trust

Published on: 08 Dec 2017

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Ardagh Community Trust is delighted to announce that we have successfully secured more than £200,000.00 in funding to help us to progress Project Ardagh. We have successfully secured £170,000.00 of grant funding from Power To Change to enable the creation of a fully accessible, year-round community hub at the Ardagh site which will house the Café on the Common and provide fully accessible new meeting space and public toilet facilities for site, and wider park users. The development of a year-round facility at the Ardagh is a direct response to demand from existing cafe, park and sports users who have repeatedly requested this since the (existing and seasonal) café was originally set up in 2015. Additionally, we have also secured £30,000.00 of grant funding from the BIG POTENTIAL to pay for a specialist social enterprise to work with us and a wide range of partners including Bristol City Council, Sport England and other sports sector councils to develop a sustainable and viable plan for improvement of the sports court facilities at the Ardagh site to enable increased sports, leisure and play activity for local residents and wider site users. Once this work is completed in early 2018, we expect to submit a series of further applications for funding which will enable us to improve the sports courts so that they are able to support a wide range of user groups, activities and enable fully-inclusive use by all! We still have some work to do (see below re: match funding requirements), but this is a massive achievement and will enable the step-change from seasonal operations only to year-round activities that we have been working hard to secure over the last year.

Local residents have been following the progress of Project Ardagh since it began in 2010 & will be aware that local volunteers have been working hard and consistently since then to develop both a community-led vision for the Ardagh site which can enable it to have a sustainable future under community management and to persuade the local authority that the site was not ‘surplus to requirements’ as a community asset.

This successful funding outcome will now enable a step-change in sustainability for our community business, the Café on the Common which has transformed the use of the Ardagh site over the last 2 years. The café, along with the toddler group, gardening group, repair café and wide range of other activities have helped to demonstrate the value of this unique public asset, and its ability to meet the needs of the local community in addition to providing access to informal sports facilities for users from across the city and out of local area. In 2010 the site was under threat of ‘disposal for development’ on the basis that it was “under-used” and as a result of this, the site was removed from the local authority’s sports and playing pitch strategy which meant that it was considered ‘surplus to requirements,’ and was ineligible for any funding for improvements. At that time, it’s fate appeared doomed. Our recent news is testament to all of the hard work done by volunteers and members of the local community who have worked together to make the case for the value of the site for the community that we are now moving forwards into an era when the site will be revitalised, brought up to the minimum standards required for all community buildings (the site does not currently meet minimum equalities legislation, for example there are no internal accessible toilets) and able to be used and enjoyed by local people of all ages and with a wide range of interests and needs.

This funding is a fantastic achievement – particularly in a context where grant funding is increasingly difficult to secure. Well done & congratulations to all who have been part of the Project Ardagh story so far! We are thrilled to be able to share this news in time for xmas 2017!

ACT will be hosting a public meeting in the New Year to share all of the latest news about Project Ardagh & plans for the future. We will be launching our new membership scheme which will give all local residents and supporters the opportunity to become part of ACT and to have a real say in how the future work of the organisation develops. Our new trustees will be available to chat informally, and you’ll be able to find out more about lots of the great projects and volunteering opportunities that are (and will be) available in our new facility from Autumn 2018! All BM readers are invited – please do come along:

Saturday 3rd February 2018, Project Ardagh Update, News and Membership Scheme launch at the Café on the Common, 10am – 2pm (presentations from 10.15am-11.30am, drop-in from 12-2pm).

It is important to note that the project going ahead is still dependent on Bristol City Council granting ACT a lease under the Community Asset Transfer scheme, and on ACT securing the match funding required for the capital project to happen! We have already submitted funding applications for the 25% outstanding match funding required, and are continuing positive and constructive negotiations with BCC in relation to the lease for the site. We will update all in the New Year & wish all BM readers a very happy Christmas and new year.

Container Auction – Project Ardagh fundraiser (and great xmas gift!)

Those of you who were part of creating it will know what a fantastic community project the creation of the ‘Café on the Common – Container Space’ was! In winter 2015/16 & in response to demand from café customers for an indoor space which could be used when the weather was temperamental (!) we created a unique, cosy and inspiring indoor café space from a container which had previously been owned by the RNLI when they were based on Birnbeck Pier. The container was fully refurbished by volunteers, it was insulated, fully wired and has served us brilliantly well since then. However, the space – whilst beautifully formed – is small (standard container size 8ft x 20ft) and not ideal for wheelchair users. This wonderful space is about to be replaced with a brand new, fully accessible space and we are now planning to auction the container space to help support our work and activities over the next year. We’ll be promoting the auction via the website at www.theardagh.com and we’ve already had a few offers for it (although not quite reaching the guide price of £3,500-5,000.00 just yet). If you are looking for a unique outdoor space and have the room to site it – please do follow the auction on the website and please do spread the word! If you would like more information about the container sale please do get in touch via info@theardagh.com

Merry Christmas to all Horfield & Lockleaze Voice readers – we look forward to seeing you in the New Year!

For more news, updates and all things Ardagh, please follow us on Twitter @TheArdagh, Facebook at ‘The Ardagh’ and sign up for e-mail updates via www.theardagh.com

 

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