Handover of Community Vehicle to Bristol Reconnect

On 16 March our Community Vehicle students from Orchard School handed over their Ford Connect van to Bristol Reconnect. Jonathan, Liam, Rusha and Vanessa were delighted to receive this vehicle. Jonathan has said, "We are incredibly grateful to the students from Orchard School, the staff from The Wheels Project and their funders, Henry Smith Charity, for providing us with a vehicle. This vehicle will make a big difference to the lives of some of the most marginalised people in one of the most deprived areas in the south west of England.

Bristol Reconnect works with and is majority-led by, people who have faced the multiple challenges of homelessness, mental health issues, substance misuse and having criminal convictions.  We have a strong focus on supporting people through training and through working together to be able to take an active and positive role in the wider community. A major focus for us recently has been the development of a community café, due to open shortly; Café Connect.  Café Connect will not only provide affordable, sustainably sourced and healthy food to the wider community, it will provide training opportunities in cooking, nutrition and working in a catering environment to the vulnerable adults we support.

The vehicle we've received from Wheels will make an enormous difference to us, for example, allowing us to easily collect donated raw ingredients for Café Connect.  We have plans to establish another training kitchen about a mile away from the café. Being able to transport goods between the two locations is essential.

The vehicle will however not only support our café it will also support the other work we do. We've previously been involved in woodland management, just outside Bristol, taking people on camping trips for a few days and working on large scale art works. All of these things require transportation - we've had to hire vehicles and often we've been unable to do these activities because of transportation issues. Now we'll be able to expand these activities - and start new ones. A current plan for example is the development of a bike mechanic training course for our client group, in co-operation with Life Cycle UK, a cycle charity. We'll need to be able to transport bike parts and tools between different locations.

Overall this vehicle will make an enormous difference to us - the timing is perfect - in a few weeks our café will open!"

This Community Vehicle programme was funded by The Henry Smith Charity.


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