Deadline closing on bid to save Bedminster community centre

Zion Bristol, a community space in Bedminster, is hoping to raise enough money to keep the building functioning at the heart of the neighbourhood

Zion Bristol is a community space in Bedminster, south Bristol, and is a place that has been functioning at the centre of the neighbourhood for a decade.

The current owner, Jess Wright, has been running it as a social enterprise for 11 years but will be stepping down from her role later in the year and has been campaigning to offer the community the opportunity to purchase the building.

With only six days left to go on the pledge, time is running out to keep this well-loved centre within the community.

So, what makes it so important to those who visit and live around the area? For over 11 years, Zion Community Art Space has provided a place to chat over a cup of tea or lunch, a place to meet friends, learn something new, find a support group or to enjoy comedy, music, theatre and more.

The support for the pledge has been enormous and it's clear to see how loved the space is

Bristol resident Ms Wright bought the building with a loan from the bank in 2011 and set about breathing life back into the landmark BS13 Methodist chapel.

She used a small start-up budget of £5,000 to renovate the building and open as a small-scale café serving coffee and cakes, offering film nights and kids’ creative sessions.

Today, the community space exists to provide a daytime community café, a broad programme of over 200 events and activities a year, regular daytime drop-in groups such as a Memories Café, Creative Writing Group, Local History Group and Breast-Feeding Support, and an indoor and outdoor private hire venue for weddings, parties and other celebrations.

It is for this reason that Ms Wright is keen to safeguard this vital community space for the future. In the process, she hopes it will have the potential to create a bigger and better community hub for all in Bedminster Down, Bishopsworth and beyond.

In order to do this, Zion Bristol has launched a Community Share Offer, which is now in its final days. Currently sitting at £132,300 of their £229,300 target, despite 206 investors, there is still a long way to go.

As you can see, the community still needs your support

By opening it up as a Community Share Offer, it offers the community the opportunity to purchase this privately-owned building and save the space for future community use, opening up more opportunities, more input from the community and access to funding.

According to Zion Bristol: “A Community Share Offer is a great way of funding projects that benefit the community. They enable communities to invest in projects that matter to them and can be used to save local shops, sports clubs and pubs, and to transform community facilities.

Massive Attack got behind the campaign to save Zion Bristol

“Anyone can choose to invest in Community Shares and each investor is given a say on how the community project is run.” Unfortunately, if the building is not purchased by the community, it will be put onto the private market and the community space could be lost forever.

With over 206 investors and 15,000 people a year using the space, it’s clear that there are a lot of people in support of saving the space. Even Massive Attack showed their support this week, with a retweet out to their millions of followers.

For more information on how you can pledge your support, head to the Zion Bristol Facebook page or visit their crowdfunding page.