The former toilet block on Sea Mills Square was closed by the Council in 2004 and increasingly became a local ‘eyesore’ and safety risk. The building was auctioned by the Council in 2005/06 and acquired by a local development company. Following several unsuccessful planning applications the property was put up for sale in early summer 2009. The churches in Sea Mills renewed their interest in the building for conversion to a community cafe and hub.
An offer to purchase was accepted in late 2009 – subject to planning permission being granted. On April 14th 2010 Bristol City Council granted planning permission for the cafe / hub proposals. The proposals are entirely consistent with the Council’s policy to encourage reuse of buildings for community use. Purchase of the building was completed on 21st May 2010. A new charity has been set up by the churches in Sea Mills to provide the context for development and operation of the venture (Sea Mills Community Initiatives – SMCI). Fund raising activity has been ongoing for a year or more and to date over £140,000 has been raised to cover the cost of the project. Building work commenced on 11th April 2011 and was completed in mid-November. The cafe opened to the public on 6th December 2011.
We have 40-50 volunteers and 2 paid staff. It’s a real challenge organising as many people as 50 because most of our ‘staff’ are volunteers and lots are mums so are unable to work during holiday periods which causes problems.
Church & Volunteer
The work scheduler ShiftPlanning has enabled us to stay in touch with people regularly and is very easy to use using a smartphone so is good for last minute changes. I would definitely recommend the work scheduler to others although I would warn them that the initial set-up is quite lengthy due to the amount of data you have to enter.
ShiftPlanning has enabled us to stay in touch… – Dave Simpson – Director – Three Cherries Ltd.
I also use the message wall which is great for posting team updates etc.
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