Nikki started by telling us about the project Shift Old Furniture Around which we know as the SOFA project. They collect good quality furniture and appliances from local households and businesses on a daily basis. The items have to be of good quality as they will be purchased from their retail outlets. The items are brought back to our premises, and in the case of electrical appliances fully refurbished, before being made available at a low a price and then can then be delivered to the new owners. They have other activities such as an electrical workshop, an e-bay shop, a flat pack workshop, a sales area and an office furniture operation. They also work with other local organisations providing work placements and work experience to those who, for a number of reasons, are currently excluded from the job market. They also help those in
Caroline Duckworth, Treasurer of The Society of Merchant Venturers, gave an informative talk that provided insights into the changing focus of the Society. The Society of Merchant Venturers was formally established in 1552 by Royal Charter from Edward VI. For centuries it was synonymous with government in Bristol but now focuses on charitable organisations. Membership is by invitation only and the three critical criteria are (i) to be successful in chosen career, (ii) to be involved in civic society, and (iii) to be congenial. In a secret ballet, at least 75% of members must approve the prospective member. An initial and an annual fee are paid. The first woman member (non-honorary) joined in 2003 and now of 76 members, 7 are women. The current areas of focus are: Education (of 4,000 pupils in 9 schools) Care for the Elderly Social Business Charitable Funding (£7million in
Lindy, has been chair of fundraising for an incredible 30 years forYoung Bristol which provides opportunities for 12,000 young people to help them overcome barriers and achieve their potential. The charity was originally founded as Clubs for young boys aged 8 – 24 in 1928 by prisoners of war returning home with the aim of helping them to become responsible members of Society. Now, it provides youth clubs and opportunities for girls and boys in addition to enabling young people to obtain National Citizen Service Awards. It holds a variety of watersporting opportunities in the city’s docks, an annual 100 mile canoe race on the River Wye and provides high ropes challenges at Kingcott Farm (just across the Suspension Bridge). All of which gives young people opportunities to explore, learn more about themselves and achieve something – perhaps for the first time in their lives.
In the year when Bristol is celebrating the 800th anniversary of the traditions and role of Lord Mayor, it was particularly interesting to be joined at our Club supper by a former Lord Mayor, Clare Campion-Smith, who told us that only 9 women have held the post throughout these years. Although we are aware of the Lord Mayor, I am not sure we realised just what it entails. It sounds exhausting attending 730 events is one year. However, it was a year of fun, challenges and memorable events on occasions very diverse. Clare brought her robe and beautiful hat for us to enjoy. We all realised what a valuable function the Lord Mayor performs.
During the First World War soldiers and their families relied heavily on letters and parcels to raise their morale. Sally showed us the work of a team of textile artists and Cotham School GCSE textile students demonstrating their amazing sewing skills. They replicated some of the parcels and memorabilia showing us the pleasure the contents gave those receiving them. Their work was displayed at an exhibition at Bristol Cathedral and continues to be displayed in local libraries: Fishponds Library BS16 3UHL from 5th-19th Sept. Hillfields Library BS16 4HL from 23rd Sept.-11th Oct. Bishopston Library BS7 8BN from 16th Oct.-27th Nov.
Toby is one of three directors at Clevedon Salerooms. He is a chartered arts and antiques surveyor and has been with the firm for 15 years. Some of us have known Toby for many years and we were not surprised when her demonstrated his expertise and entertained us with a delightful talk about the salerooms and his work. The Salerooms have quarterly specialist sales; antiques, interiors, collectables and jewellery sales; free valuation days and jewellery, watch, silver and gold valuation days. He told us how he got into the antiques business and interesting facts about what sells and what doesn’t. He pointed out that what we may have loved and cherished for many years if it is not popular will not sell at a price we expect and then later the tables will turn and may become much sought after. Thank you Toby for an
Unseen is a Bristol based charity that is working towards a world without slavery by supporting survivors and vulnerable people through specialist services that enable them to recover safely and develop resilient, independent lives. Hannah started by explaining the meaning of trafficking which is the movement of people from one place to another. It is a worldwide issue and is the second biggest illegal trade next to the drug industry. The actual number of people trafficked is unknown as people are afraid to come forward. She showed a film displaying what happens to people when they are trafficked, their feelings and the signs we should look for in the community. She also showed us a clip of “Favour’s Story”. This showed us how she moved from country to country and how she was eventually rescued and saved by Unseen. She asked us to stay aware, get involved
Gish and Lucy gave a stimulating talk about their recent trip to Northern India. They gave a very personal account of their impressions of life in the places they travelled. During their three week stay they learnt about life in India and were impressed with the government’s attempts to increase the number of girl children who are born and who then complete an education. The government pays families on the birth of a girl baby and then at intervals as the girl goes through education. Trying to change such a huge country with many long held customs isn’t easy and will take a long time. They found the country huge, the people welcoming, the wildlife varied and the food delicious. India is a real assault on the senses, as their driver said: “you see anything and everything in India”. Fly drive certainly won’t catch on!
Louise Mitchell, CEO of Bristol Music Trust was an inspirational speaker and covered all aspects of the refurbishment of the Colston Hall. She also told us about the amazing music made by disabled students. The Bristol Music Trust and Bristol City Council are working together on the project and amongst other things they plan to: Remodel the existing main hall. Redevelop The Lantern (most of us knew this as “The Little Theatre”). Restore the Victorian foyer and include a restaurant on Colston Street side (the current restaurant will probably become a meetings area). Open up the historic cellars to create a third performance space and a dedicated music centre. Improve the stage and also have access for disabled artists. Install new comfortable seating, air conditioning, toilets and improving access throughout the building Improve the outside of the building on Colston Street. An SI Bristol Club member said
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