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The Bearpit - Past, Current & Future | Aspiration & Milestones


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A document to depict the work the Group have done in the last 4 years and the aspirations we are working towards.

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The Bearpit - Past, Current & Future | Aspiration & Milestones

  1. 1. background progress Not all that long ago the area of St James Barton roundabout, colloquially known as ‘The Bearpit’ became the subject of research, where it scored consistently highly as an unsafe area in the city of Bristol. The dank, dark subways that linked the shopping strip of Broadmead to the vibrant area of Stokes Croft were avoided whenever possible, despite the police statistics proving that relatively little crime was taking place. It was the fear of crime that was preventing the public from lingering in the space. With the support of Bristol Civic Society and the People’s Republic of Stokes Croft, an initial meeting was held in 2010 with a mixture of residents, amenity groups, the Council and police representatives. The Bearpit Improvement Group was formed to implement ideas and prospects for the Bearpit. A few years on and the beloved Bearpit has been nurtured into something to be proud of. Go and see the change for yourself. workstreams: tRADE GREEN HERITAGE ART PLAY Trade has been a key transformation to the Bearpit. With the addition of 2 shipping containers and our 1979 VR Double Decker Bus it’s starting to be a sought out trading area! Greening will be what will make the Bearpit feel like the oasis many of us see. From edible plants to native wildflowers and fruiting trees the Bearpit will become a rich and lush flora haven. The history of the St. James Barton area is a colourful one. Early 2015 we will be unveiling the heritage panels. The Bearpit Improvement Group works closely with the People’s Republic of Stokes Croft to bring thought provoking art and turn the Bearpit into the most exciting outdoor gallery. Play in the Bearpit is a workstream we hope to develop lot more once the works will be done. Our table tennis table was a huge hit and we’ll have the chess table soon return. TRADING 2010-2013 - Market Stalls, huts & shipping Containers - Tables and chairs 2014 - Bus craned into the Bearpit - Bus refurbishment PHYSICAL RE-DESIGN + MAINTENANCE 2010-2013 - Phone kiosk removed - 3 shipping containers & outdoor power supply - Points for Zapp stands (market stalls) - Temporary floodlighting 2014 - Resurfacing & stairs - Improved lighting & service connections - Walkway/cycleway - Cycle parking PUBLIC ART (VISUAL) 2010-2013 - Artboards in tunnels and ramps - Adshels - Changing gallery of art - 2 exhibitions - Bear sculpture - Bear prints 2014 - Photography exhibitions - Stokes Croft Arts Festival tunnel takeover - Bear statue repainted - Heritage Panels (to come) PERFORMANCE ART, MUSIC, OTHER EVENTS AND ACTIVITIES 2010-2013 - Julian Trust Charity fundraiser - Zombie event - Occasional one-off events 2014 - Wildflower mobile garden launched GREENING 2010-2013 - Mobile planters donated by Groundwork SW - Christmas tree & décor donated by Soil Association - Sponsored hexagon planters 2014 - the People’s Garden (mobile planters full of native wildflowers with incorporated seating) - Collaboration with Incredible Edible Bristol planting in existing planters PLAY 2010-2013 - Table tennis table - Cubes (UWE play project) - Small chess/backgammon 2014 - Big Chess Set
  2. 2. Current future October 2014 The Bearpit Improvement Group have been working in collaboration with Bristol City Council over the works. We’ve worked hard on getting the best design to make the space attractive and functional . As you can see, the works are progressing. A new paved surface is being laid. There will be some changes to the layout of the raised areas, new lighting, and there will be steps down into the space from a new walkway/cycleway round the edge at road level. The ramps and subways will be retained. You can see a plan of the works at Bear Fruit’s unit in the Bearpit. The works are due to be completed by end 2014/early 2015. We are sorry for the disruption caused over most of 2014, but we hope you will think when it is finished that it has all been worthwhile. Bearpit Social and Bear Fruit will continue to trade whilst the works continue, and the bus cafe will be opening soon! These are some of the things we’d like to implement going forward. Some may take months and some years nonetheless the Bearpit Improvement Group will continue in striving to create a safe, welcoming, inclusive and diverse space for the community. Many of these objectives will depend on funding in order to establish the infrastructure to eventually create a thriving and sustainable hub. TRADING - Enterprise Hub (4-6 small units with a mix of retail and food) - Established Traders - Regular Market Days - Events PHYSICAL RE-DESIGN and MAINTENANCE - Toilets conversion - Artistic/playful lighting - Play facilities - Performance space - Water fountains PERFORMANCE ART, MUSIC, OTHER EVENTS AND ACTIVITIES - Launch of the Bearpit after works - Curated Events Programme - Arts programme with Hand In Glove GREENING/PLANTING - Community Forest Garden - Fruit Trees - Wildlife Habitats - Collaborating with Incredible Edible Bristol If you’re interested in the work we do, check out