Bristol charity's bid to make new community centre green

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A brand-new community hub is opening this autumn, but they need your help...

The Southville Community Development Association (SCDA), the charity behind the highly successful Southville Centre will open a brand-new community hub in BS3 this autumn but before they do they’re asking for your votes in a competition to win £12,000 to make the new building as green as it can be.

The new building, the Chessel Centre, is due to open at the end of this year and will house a new much-needed 54 place nursery, a new community space and offices for the charity. The centre will also provide space for local community groups and activities such as after-school clubs for children and social clubs for older people, as well as an outdoor play spaces for the nursery. 

The project has been shortlisted alongside seven other projects in the West to win a share of the Marks and Spencer Community Energy Fund in order to fund solar pv panels for the roof. This will enable the building to not only generate the electricity it needs but also create a surplus to fund further charitable community activities and initiatives in the local area.  

A total amount of £300,000 is available through the Marks and Spencer Energy Fund to support community energy projects and technologies across the UK. The SCDA made the shortlist last month and it’s now up to the public to start voting from today (Monday 4 September) until voting closes on the 20th October. The winners will then be announced in early November. 

The SCDA have already successfully raised £1.6 million to build the Chessel Centre on the corner of Chessel Street and Garnet Street but the ambition is to create a new community hub that has a zero carbon footprint. The new building has been built to specifications to enable the charity to install further pv panels, a green roof and retain as much green space as possible but the costs to reach all of their ambitious plans are too high so by winning the funding through the public votes the charity has the chance to reach these goals. 

Simon Hankins, chief executive of the SCDA commented: “There is huge demand in the Bedminster and Southville area for quality childcare provision and additional services and activities for the local community, particularly isolated groups. The new Chessel Centre will make a considerable difference to help address this but we want to ensure the building provides an eco-hub for BS3 and sets an example of how we can improve the area and air quality. 

“Our ambition has always been to create a new centre with zero carbon footprint but the costs have just been too high for us to fulfil this ambition to its potential. Now we have the opportunity to raise the additional funds we need to further improve the green credentials of the building and use the energy generated to increase our charitable activities in BS3 but to achieve that we need the public’s support so we’re calling on the people of Bristol to simply click on the link and vote for us to win part of this fund and make a difference.”

The SCDA is a registered charity and as an ethical organisation holds the Social Enterprise Mark and Gold Standard from the Green Business Tourism Scheme, all of the charity’s nurseries have an Outstanding OFSTED rating.

To vote for the SCDA visit https://www.mandsenergyfund.com/projects/improving-the-economic-and-environmental-sustainability-of-the-chessel-centre and to find out more information about the Chessel Centre please visit www.southvillecentre.org.uk 

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