The future is bright! Ardagh Community Trust secures a sustainable, community-led future for the Ardagh site in the centre of Horfield Common.

August 26 2019
The future is bright! Ardagh Community Trust secures a sustainable, community-led future for the Ardagh site in the centre of Horfield Common

Ardagh Community Trust is celebrating the achievement of a community asset transfer lease for the Ardagh site which signals the start of a bright new future for this much-loved public asset under community management!

Ardagh Community Trust is a charity set up by local people to take on responsibility for community management of the Ardagh in the centre of Horfield Common following more than 9 years community-led activity to develop a vision for the future of the site as a public asset – and secure the funding needed to achieve it. A community asset transfer lease has now been signed between ACT and Bristol City Council which gives the trust responsibility for management of the Ardagh site through a 35-year lease. This will enable the charity to raise further funding to improve the quality and availability of facilities at the site, to improve the condition of existing facilities and to ensure that this much-loved public facility remains available & accessible to all into the future. The successful achievement of the CAT lease is significant milestone in the charity’s development and will enable the group to proceed with plans developed by the local community to ensure that the site is accessible to all, and that it serves the needs of the widest range of local people possible.

ACT grew out of a campaign by the Friends of Horfield Common begun in 2010 when the Ardagh site was threatened with disposal for development as part of the citywide Area Green Space Plan proposals. The site had been removed by BCC’s sports strategy and while it was being used by a very small number of members of a private sports club, had fallen into disrepair and was considered to be underused, and therefore not sustainable by the local authority.

Since 2010 local residents have worked together to find out how the community would like to see the site better used, developed plans – working in partnership with a wide-range of local, citywide and national groups to ensure that these are robust - and secured the funding necessary to achieve their ambitious plans. The plans have been informed by thousands of local people throughout this time with priorities including working to the highest environmental standards possible, ensuring accessibility for all is central, increasing facilities for people of all ages, including play facilities for children and young people and co-creation & partnership working with other groups across the area high on the agenda.

The group set up a community café in a previously disused external goods yard at the Ardagh in 2015, to begin to reanimate the site and demonstrate its value to the local community. Since then, regeneration of the site has begun in earnest with hundreds of local volunteers involved in a range of projects and activities which help to improve the facilities, and encourage increased numbers of local residents to use and enjoy this fantastic public facility.

Ardagh Community Trust has secured funding through Power To Change’s Community Business Fund, which will enable them to renovate part of the currently inaccessible and dilapidated pavilion building at the site to create a new, year-round café facility and community hub, create new, fully accessible public toilets including a changing places facility which will provide suitable facilities for all members of the community.

The charity is continuing to work with Bristol City Council and other partners including Sport England to develop plans for improved formal sports and informal play facilities at the site in response to need in the local area – specifically for accessible play facilities for children and young people. Additionally, the group are seeking funding to improve the formal gardens at the site and to bring these back into full use as public gardens.

Ardagh Community Trust is run by volunteers, and the charity is currently recruiting new Trustees who can help the charity to achieve its aims for the next exciting phase in its development. If you would like to get involved, please contact hello@theardagh.com for further information. On Sat 7th September 2019, Ardagh Community Trust invites you to join Trustees, Staff & Volunteers to celebrate the achievement of a community asset transfer lease for the Ardagh site and to contribute your ideas and feedback into planning for a bright, community-led & managed future for this much-loved public asset.

Find out more about Ardagh Community Trust, how you can get involved and the drop-in celebration event on Sat 7th September from 1-4pm at http:www.theardagh.com

For further information, please contact:

Sam Thomson, Chief Executive, Ardagh Community Trust

sam@theardagh.com / 07790 095162

Ardagh Community Trust, The Ardagh, Horfield Common, Bristol BS6 7YL