Support The Vench - it's still open!

May 08 2018
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The Vench is calling on local residents and businesses to support the much loved Adventure Playground. Contrary to popular belief, the playground is still in operation and is not closing.

Learning Partnerships West (LPW) is currently running a reduced youth session service after reaching the end of its council-funded contract.

Following the recent recommission of Youth services by Bristol City Council (BCC), LPW will fund and deliver two after school sessions for 8 – 13 year olds from its own resources. These will run for the next two years. These sessions will run on a Wednesday and Thursday from 3.30pm – 7pm during term time, starting from Wednesday May 9th. BCC is funding another session on Fridays from 3.30pm-6.30pm, which will run for two months from May to July.

Councillor Estella Tincknellof Lockleaze said: “The council has put a lot of work into finding money for the youth contracts despite severe budget constraints.”

Residents can offer ideas on how to make The Vench more profitable at a meeting at the site at 7pm on May 9th. An art table will be set up so parents can bring their children along.

Charley Murrell, of Groundwork South, the charity which leases The Vench from the council, said:  “We really need your support, we will be discussing how residents can get involved and offer their ideas and suggestions. Our first meeting was really positive and we were overwhelmed by all the feedback and the useful ideas.”

The meetings will take place every other Wednesday evening at 7pm. Groundwork South, along side LPW, is offering volunteer training for those who wish to get involved. Volunteers will need a full Disclosure and Baring Service check to help run play sessions.

Charley added: “Groundwork South do not receive any government subsidies so consequently we are looking to find funding streams to keep The Vench open. We want to make the place profitable so we would really love to hear from you if you can help.”

Last year, Bristol City Council changed the way it funds youth provision across the city, in light of cuts. The new council contract, Targeted Youth Service (TYS), does not include any provision for play and only focuses on children aged 11 to 19. The new contract has been awarded to Creative Youth Network (CYN) who begin in June and are still finalising plans.

Archie Morrell, Team Manager for LPW, said: “LPW is exploring with Groundwork and BCC how The Vench can be open during school holidays, we hope to have this ready for the May/June half term break. LPW is equally committed to providing Youth sessions for young people aged 13 – 19.”

A new Friends of The Vench Facebook Group has been set up to allow residents to air their suggestions and concerns. Details of meetings will be added to the group.

Facilities at The Vench are available for hire and include a meeting room, kitchen, art room and adventure playground. The Lighthouse Youth Project is running a cooking, crafts and games session at the site on Friday evenings from 7.00pm-8.30pm. The session will run during term time and is available for school years 5-8, entry costs £1.

For further information on the meetings, hiring the site or volunteer training, email charley.murrell@groundwork.org.uk or call 07833 128737. To contact LPW, emailamorrell@lpw.org.uk.