The Swan pub in Barton Hill will be transformed into a multi-purpose community asset, now that the purchase by Wellspring Settlement has been finalised. Financed with a £250,000 investment from City Funds, Wellspring Settlement plans to use the site as a mixed community space with an added focus on young people in the area. The upper floor will be converted into affordable flats for local people.
Barton Hill is among the 10% most disadvantaged areas of the city, according to the 2019 Indices of Deprivation. The conversion of The Swan into a community meeting space will give a significant boost to reconnecting communities of all backgrounds and ages following the lockdown period. The plans have strong support from both the former owner of the pub and the local community. The purchase completes Wellspring Settlement’s ownership of the block bounded by Ducie Road, Morley Street and Bright Street in Barton Hill.
Joanna Homes, Co Director of Wellspring Settlement, said:
“Our community hub has been here since 1911 and the addition of this property is the final piece of the jigsaw. The support we received from City Funds helped us bridge the gap between the local impact that we can make with a new space and the financial requirements of purchasing the building. Having an investor who understands both meant we could get this project off the ground and into the community.”
Currently, the site offers a range of meeting halls, rooms, training spaces, office accommodation for tenant organisations and a café surrounding an inner courtyard. These spaces serve as an anchor for Wellspring Settlement’s mission to support community inclusion, strong families, health and wellbeing and economic development in an area of Bristol that, whilst struggling with the greatest economic hardship in the City is also home to thousands who overcome this to work towards their aspirations and dreams. An average of 40,000 people visit the centre each year.
In February, Barton Hill Settlement and Wellspring Healthy Living Centre merged to become Wellspring Settlement. The merger takes advantage of complementary work within East Bristol neighbourhoods and provides a strong foundation from which to grow and provide more for the local community. Barton Hill Settlement was founded in 1909 as a hub for the local community and has been on Dulcie road since 1911.
Andy Street, Chair of City Funds, said:
“Wellspring Settlement has been leading fantastic work in the community for over a century and the acquisition of this site is a huge opportunity to amplify that impact. Not only will new income put the organisation in a stronger financial position for the coming recession, the site itself will contribute to a strong, cohesive local community. These are exactly the type of results we want to see from City Funds.”
Hear Sue Cooper from Bristol and Bath Regional Capital speaking to Claire Cavanagh about the City Funds project on BBC Radio Bristol here:
One of the first funds of its kind in the UK, City Funds brings together investment, grant and local authority support in a coordinated place-based approach to tackling inequality. With different types of funding under one roof, City Funds will strengthen Bristol-based initiatives that are working to solve some of the biggest social and environmental problems the city faces. The fund can invest from £50,000 to £1 million with flexible terms that support social or environmental aims. City Funds is actively seeking opportunities to invest in organisations that support these aims, through its investment advisor Bristol & Bath Regional Capital (BBRC).
Initiatives seeking funding can find out more here