A home for everyone
10 October

Making Bristol more accessible: social value project improves Hartcliffe community space

This month we’re celebrating the opening of a new accessible walkway at a community project in Hartcliffe, Bristol.
Celebrations at the Roundhouse

The Roundhouse, at Bourchier Gardens, was developed with the help of local volunteers in 2015, with support from LiveWest, Hartcliffe Health Environmental Action Group, Bristol Green Capital, Volunteering Matters, Awards for All, and The People’s Health Trust.

It's home to community groups and activities in the heart of Hartcliffe. HHEAG and other local volunteers use the space to inspire and educate residents about nature and harvest affordable, healthy and sustainable food. It meets the Bristol Green Capital aims of informing communities about renewable energy and recycled materials, as well as offering children a safe place to play and explore.

As the building is found on a slope of a hill, it had become difficult to access for people with limited mobility. HHEAG put forward a proposal to develop the surface, and make it weather-proof all year round.

As part of its contract to offer repairs and maintenance services across the West of England on behalf of the housing association, our contractor, MD Group, stepped up and offered its help to develop a new safe and accessible walkway so The Roundhouse could be accessed by wheelchair users and parents with pushchairs.

Lesley Nel, our Community Empowerment Team Manager, said: “The project was a great example of local groups and businesses coming together to make a difference for the community. We’re thankful for the support from MD Group and all of its suppliers who got involved with the work.”

The MD Group team worked alongside Felton Construction, who offered labour to complete the groundwork, using materials donated by Bradford’s Building Supplies, Jewson, and Dando’s.

Alan Trembeth, Contracts Manager at MD, said: “When LiveWest first approached us to create a suitable footpath suitable for wheelchair users and prams, I thought this would certainly be a challenge. Once the foliage was cleared we were able to create the footpath, crossing the stream, and over into the allotments, not affecting any of the nearby trees.”

Sue Walker, from Hartcliffe Health Environmental Action Group, said: “So many people with limited mobility or families with children using pushchairs found it almost impossible to come and enjoy activities and events at The Roundhouse and take in the wonderful views of Bristol.  Now it’s open to everyone, lots of new people are joining us and discovering the fun and friendships which can be found at this amazing community base.”

This summer, The Roundhouse has been home to forest schools, cookery courses, and scouts groups. Before it was born, the area was littered and needed to be brought back to life, and was built by a team of agencies and volunteers, and constructed from lots of naturally occurring materials, like turf, clay, and straw, most sourced locally.

Last week we held an event to celebrate the completion of the new path, as well as hosting a bake sale for Macmillan raising nearly £100.

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