BBRC Team visit some of our investees – Bristol Together & The Park Community Centre

The BBRC team had a change of venue for our last team meeting.

We took at trip to Knowle West, Bristol, to visit our investees, Bristol Together and The Park Community Centre

Bristol Together is a Community Interest Company that provides full-time, living wage jobs for recently released prisoners, by building new homes and redeveloping and refurbishing existing properties.

Ex-offenders are employed full-time on a minimum of the National Living Wage for up to 2 years and are trained in a variety of building trades, learning on the job and being mentored and supported by experienced tradespeople and Bristol Together staff.

Once a property is developed, it is sold, typically to a local housing association for affordable rented accommodation or sometimes on the open market.

All profits are reinvested into the next project. Once an individual is ready to leave, Bristol Together help them to find ongoing further employment or self-employment in the industry.

BBRC invested £300,000 in Bristol Together to build affordable homes for local people in Knowle West on Tavistock Road, on a site that was formerly occupied by a derelict boxing gym, that had been unused for some time.

Bristol Together employed 5 ex-offender staff on the project at any given time, and a total of 10 over the course of the project. During this time they have worked shoulder-to-shoulder with site supervisors and skilled trades people, learning a wide range of construction skills.

The new apartments will be sold to a local Housing Association so that they can be offered to members of the local community as affordable rented accommodation.

Many thanks to Bristol Together for giving us a tour of the new homes. We were really impressed.

Next stop was The Park Community Centre.

In February The Park Centre moved into new purpose-built building after a £1 million impact investment from City Funds, the Bristol-based impact investment fund run by BBRC.

Since its beginnings in the 1970s, The Park Centre in Knowle West – a Bristol neighbourhood that ranks among the 10% most deprived nationally – has played an integral part in the community; welcoming local people and supporting them to learn, gain employment, keep fit and get to know each other.

This much-loved hub of the community had fallen into a poor state of repair and the building was becoming increasingly costly to maintain.

Keeping the whole complex open would soon have become unviable, however good news for The Park came in the form of a £1 million investment from Bristol’s City Funds, the Bristol-based impact investment fund run by Bristol & Bath Regional Capital, for a new purpose-built community centre.

Local residents were involved in the design of their new community centre, which includes classrooms, conference rooms, a dance studio and gym as well as a cafe in the reception area.

We are very grateful to The Park for welcoming us.

The new building looks fantastic and it was great to see so many people from the community enjoying the new space.

Find out more about our social impact investments here

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