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St Werburghs Community Centre celebrates funding boost!

St Werburghs Community Centre is thrilled to announce that it has won a grant from independent trust Power to Change. The grant, part of the trust’s Community Business Fund, will allow the charity to fund a range of capital and operational improvements. The works will include roof repairs and redecoration of the wooden towers of the Victorian building, a range of works which will enhance provision, health & safety and accessibility for the Centre users, as well as a digital system overhaul to improve administrative and financial operations.

St Werburghs Community Centre has been running since 1971 serving the local communities of Ashley, Easton and Lawrence Hill as well as communities of interest across the city. It hosts a range of affordable and inclusive activities run by around 200 member groups. The Centre itself is home to a range of organisations who work within the local community.

Goska Ong, the Centre Director said “Alongside the Power to Change Community Business Fund we secured match funds from Quartet Community Foundation, The Nisbet Trust, The National Lottery Community Fund Awards for All, Locality, Enovert Community Trust and Ibstock Enovert Environmental Trust. We are extremely grateful to all our funders as the secured resources will not only help us deliver the necessary capital and digital works, but also allow us to grow as a community business and become more sustainable long term.”

The Centre users will benefit from a high-end hearing loop systems, better designed and energy efficient lighting & heating, more accessible toilets, new lighter chairs, tables and audio visual equipment. The refurbishments will also include two rooms in the main building and improved storage for member groups using the annexe, such as yoga and pilates. The garden will be more secure with secondary gates and a new ramp will be constructed to the garden entrance. And the 20 year old room booking system will be replaced by an online tool which will streamline the operations and make the availability visible to those who would like to book rooms.

Thangam Debbonaire, MP for Bristol West commented on the exciting news: “I am so pleased that St Werburghs Community Centre will get the funding it needs for repairs, improvements and accessibility features to keep the building at the heart of the community I know so well. Thank you to all the funders supporting this lively community hub.”

Kate Stewart, Director of Programmes at Power to Change said: “St Werburghs community centre is already delivering so much for people in the area. I’m delighted that this grant will help them to invest in modernising their facilities and reach even more people. A huge congratulations to the whole team.”

You can follow St Werburghs Community Centre on social media to stay up to date on all the latest developments and see the impact that this grant will have on the centre.
The Community Business Fund offers grants between £50,000 and £300,000 to existing community businesses, based in England. Grants are designed to help community businesses to grow and become more financially sustainable. For further information follow this link.

OUR ROUGH ISLAND - The Old Scholars - First World War Stories of St Werburghs

The research volunteer team from Our Rough Island Story have been continuing their research uncovering new stories and refining their excellent work. In November 2017 we held another remembrance service at the St Werburghs Centre to mark a hundred years from the Battle of Passchendaele. Here’s the link to the new booklet the team produced.

The pupils from the local school brought the wreath to lay and they contributed a wonderful rendition of ' It's a long way to Tipperary'. This was a moving day which brought the community together.

The research team will be present at various community events including Picnic in the Park and the St Werburghs Arts Trail 2018 leading talks and sharing stories from the archive People from the community can take part in a free workshop to create a wreath for the memorial service. 

Linda Bell

It is with great sadness that we have to pass on the news that Linda Bell, the former director of the St Werburghs Community Centre,
passed away in her sleep on 25th January 2018 at the nursing home where she had been since Christmas.

Linda was a great battler and refused to be beaten but sadly even she could not beat the illness that overwhelmed her in the end.
Here at St Werburghs we owe her a great debt of gratitude as it was her vision, determination and refusal to give up that secured the funding
to transform the Centre from a crumbling old Victorian school into the warm and welcoming place it is today.
It was she who oversaw the capital project - construction of the annexe and refurbishment of the main Victorian building -
through one of the coldest winters in recent times.
This is just one example of the ways in which Linda put her heart and soul into our Centre and our community.
Linda was also on the board of Khaas, the unique organisation, which supports BME families with children with disabilities,
and Bristol Wireless, showing her commitment to grassroots action and innovation for the benefit of local people.

She will be greatly missed by all of us at St Werburghs Community Centre and by all of her many friends.

The funeral took place at Memorial Woodlands in Thornbury at 1 pm on Thursday 15th February 2018.

Linda wished for anybody who would like to come not to bring flowers but make a donation to Macmillan Cancer Charity instead.
She found their support of a great value during the last months of her life: Macmillan

In sadness
Lyn Porter, the Chair of SWCA
Goska Ong, Centre Director

WERBUZZ WERBUZZ - St Werburghs Centre's Community Garden Project

Our new exciting project is all about creating a buzz in the Centre, and outside!

We are in the process of transforming our car park into a community garden, play and event space for everyone!

Imagine lush greenery, kids interacting and learning about plants and bugs, and some lovely seating in the sun.

With the help of our local community and our generous funders, we have already achieved so much including building new raised beds, creating a bug hotel, moving tonnes of soil and planting up a beautiful and edible garden, building a herb spiral and filling it with beautiful herbs and flowers, creating new and improved compost bays, creating a play tunnel with insect-themed artwork and a slide with playpit for children to play, seating areas with umbrellas for the cafe.  

With huge thanks to funds from the Big Lottery - Awards 4 All, Tesco - Bags of Help, Endsleigh Insurance, Cory Environmental Trust in Britain and Churngold Environment Grant via Quartet Community Foundation, who have made it all possible.

The final phase of our garden transformation is set to include:
  • Creating sensory gardens
  • Installing a slide with hidden den for play
  • Creating educational displays with interactive flaps & moving parts
  • LED lit images of insects and wildlife
  • Planting lots more flowers, edible and decorative plants

Have you got any ideas or comments? Please get in touch and share them with us! 
E-mail Goska on or pop into the Centre and write your comments on the notice board in the main Lobby opposite the reception.

Read out project brief here and get involved!
EASY PC - Computer Lessons for beginners and Job Search Support

Weekly sessions: Tuesdays 10:30am – 4:30pm

Our easy-peasy computer class is open to all, regardless of experience and ability. It runs weekly on Tuesdays between 10.30 am and 4.30 pm, with both morning one-to-one and afternoon group sessions available.
Our friendly and patient teacher, Steve, caters for everybody from total beginners to those who are a little more advanced. Topics covered include an introduction to computers, e-mail, social media, Skype, online shopping and internet security. Steve's helpful handouts are available to download here

Funded by the Bristol City Council Impact grant 

Course attendees have said:
“Able to update and send CV, documents and respond to and send emails. Amazing service. Thank you St Werburghs Centre.”
“I am less frustrated now, I can find fulfilment using the computer for pleasure, I feel I can participate in life better now.”
“I was happy to meet new friends and the leader was very nice.”
Drop into the Community Centre and fill out an application form or call the Community Centre for more details on 0117 955 1351.

Easy PC Project Evaluation eport July 2013 - July 2016
RAKING & BAKING - Cooking & Gardening Project

Weekly sessions: Thursdays 10:00am – 3:00pm

Download enrolment form

If you’re interested in growing fresh food in small spaces and learning to cook seasonal food from scratch, join us for our Raking & Baking course. This pioneering and totally free cooking and gardening project uses the catering kitchen and perimeter gardens at the Community Centre. The courses are arranged in eight-week blocks on Thursdays from 10am - 3pm and cover both cooking and gardening each week.
The morning cooking sessions focus on how to cook fresh, healthy and well-balanced meals using seasonal home-grown organic fruit and veg. Participants also learn how to use the surplus harvest to last all year by making chutneys, cordials and jams. The gardening sessions teach how to grow fruit and vegetables in pots on windowsills, in containers and on allotments. There will be workshops on how to sow seeds, take cuttings, look after mini-crops, how to harvest them and cook them. In addition, there will be lessons on planting flowers which are decorative, beneficial to wildlife or edible.

Our course attendees have said:
“I look forward to cooking and I am not afraid to try ingredients I have not used before. I plan to invite some friends for dinner so I can show off my new skills.”
“This project is the highlight of my week. I feel happier, healthier, more confident, more hopeful for the future and more connected to my community.”‚Äč

Raking & Baking Monitoring Report August 2016

TAI CHI - Workshops for over 50's

Weekly sessions: Fridays 2pm – 3pm

Practising the ancient martial art of Tai Chi regularly improves your balance, helps you walk more easily, builds up stamina and generally enables you to enjoy your life more!

Researchers found that older people who regularly performed the traditional Chinese “mind and body” technique were less likely to suffer high blood pressure and were physically stronger.

Tai Chi, which has grown in popularity throughout the world, is typified by slow, deliberate repetitive movements and is based on co-ordination and relaxation rather than muscular tension. It is believed that focusing the mind solely on the movements helps to bring about a state of mental calm and clarity.

Our experienced and knowledgeable teacher Dennison Joseph will guide you through the movements at a slow pace. Drop-in session every week. Donation of £3 welcomed. 
OUR ROUGH ISLAND STORY - Local History Project

This project involved local volunteers in helping us to learn about the First World War Memorial on the front of our Victorian school building and revealing the forgotten First World War stories of St Werburghs. 

In November 2016 we held the final event for the Our Rough Island Story Project at St Werburghs Community Centre. The remembrance celebration was held on 11/11/16 to remember the 'Old Scholars' of St Werburghs school who lost their lives in the Great War.

The day included poetry reading, music and artwork designed by the current pupils of St Werburghs Primary School. The event was well attended by members of the local community and provided a very moving remembrance and a joyful celebration of the success of the project. 

The team created a free booklet of the findings which you can download HERE


Thank you to everyone who was involved in the project, particularly all the volunteers and to the project leader Xeena Cooper.
Our Rough Island Story would not have been possible without the support from the Heritage Lottery Fund.



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