Ardagh Community Trust (ACT) is a charity run by local volunteers.
ACT was created so that local residents could take on responsibility for managing The Ardagh, to keep it as a public asset, for use and enjoyment by the community. ACT is a charity which does not receive any core funding. Our charity registration number is 1172256. The charity raises money through making applications for external grant funding and by running services through our social enterprise. ACT employs 25+ people, and is a proud Real Living Wage Employer.
The Café on the Common is a social enterprise which generates income to help pay for the running costs of the Ardagh site, while the Trust continues to fundraise for the costs of capital improvements to the sports courts and leisure facilities, public gardens and environmental improvements. We are committed to sustainable operations and to increasing our positive social and environmental impact.
Ardagh Community Trust has a board of trustees responsible for controlling the work, management and administration of the charity on behalf of its beneficiaries. More information about the charity can be found on the Charity Commission for England and Wales website: https://register-of-charities.charitycommission.gov.uk/charity-search/-/charity-details/5098468/charity-overview
Introducing our Trustee team:
I am a local resident and have been a trustee since the Ardagh Community Trust was formed 6 years ago. I am retired, following a career in NHS and Social Care management, mostly in service for disabled people. I work part-time as an advocate. I am active as a volunteer and with regular grandchild care….and a Season Ticket holder at Bristol Rovers.
Peter Walker (Chair of Trustees)
Being a Trustee is a great privilege and provides me with the opportunity to be involved and to support the development of the Ardagh into a rich community resource. Having lived adjoining the Common for almost 40 years I have witnessed the decline of the Ardagh and believe ACT has the vision to create a new and vibrant future at the heart of the Common. I have a particular interest in ensuring that the Ardagh site and its facilities are accessible to all.
I have been with the Ardagh since 2020, it provides a lovely complement to my day job as an academic where my research includes understanding public spaces, how we manage and create them. I love the energy and inclusivity of The Ardgh as well as the range of activities (coupled with cake and an occasional beer). I am the Trustee representative for Health and Safety, so do talk to me if you have concerns or questions.
I have lived a mile from the Common for over 20 years and I joined the Ardagh as a trustee in 2022. My professional background is in Human Resources, in public and private sectors. In the last few years I have been a consultant and interim manager, now heading fast towards retirement. I have been a trustee with charities supporting disabled people in the region for over ten years. I have recently become a Listening Volunteer for the Samaritans. My other passions are cycling, music and watching sports. I am a Gloucestershire cricket club member and watch Bristol Rovers a few times a year, although my roots mean that when these clubs play Lancashire or Bolton, I revert to type!
Full-time manager at WECIL, a disabled people’s organisation based in Bristol, I have lived in Manor Farm for approximately 12 years. Over the summer of 2021 I rescued a dog and since then I spend a lot more time walking around the common and visiting the Ardagh for coffee and cake. I have enjoyed seeing the space develop over the last couple of years and I am really pleased to be able to volunteer my time to support a really important community asset.
Trustee with ACT since 2018 and a familiar face at The Ardagh for many years. A local resident and keen gardener, Fiona also supports the work of Friends of Horfield Common.
Bristol One City: View from the Ardagh
Bristol’s One City Gathering – Fri 27th May 2022
ITV News: What's life like at the Ardagh?
ITV News Broadcast – Live – Thurs 26th May 2022
The Café on the Common
Future vision...what happens next?
We are constantly seeking to build partnerships with local organisations and have growing links with Family Food Action, My Community, Claremont School, City of Bristol College, Redcatch Community Garden, Age UK Bristol, Southmead Development Trust, Bristol Dementia Wellbeing Service, The Misfits Theatre, Invisible Circus and many more local organisations working to develop opportunities for wellbeing, education, leisure, activity and sport.
The gardens are a vital part of The Ardagh and have undergone a spectacular regeneration through the hard work and dedication of our gardening team. As a result of their success we have established a plant nursery so everyone can enjoy the plants and flowers grown at The Ardagh.
ACT’s gardening volunteer group grow vegetables in raised planting beds for use in the café and for donation to Family Food Action (FFA) which is on site weekly on Tuesdays.
Fresh vegetables grown on site are donated by FFA to partners for distribution to families in need in our local area.
Sports Courts...and more
ACT has a vision for a community hub offering space and facilities for sport, play, performance and learning. In response to community feedback we are developing plans for improvements to the site, which will enable The Ardagh to be an adaptable and widely used resource for all to enjoy.
Capital Regeneration Project
The Ardagh site had been in decline for more than two decades when ACT secured a community asset transfer lease for The Ardagh in 2019. The lease currently excludes two areas of the site; part of the pavilion and the bowling green itself. Ensuring a sustainable future for the whole Ardagh site as a community asset has always been the aim of Ardagh Community Trust.
Currently we are waiting for confirmation on how these excluded areas of the site will be sustainably managed and maintained into the future. ACT has a 35-year lease and external funders want to know how these areas will be maintained throughout this time as they are adjacent to areas covered by the lease held by ACT. Power To Change were prepared to work flexibly to enable the café project to go ahead, but it is now difficult to progress further with fundraising for significant improvements to other areas of the site until this is confirmed.
In the meantime, ACT are developing plans and proposals informed by ongoing community feedback – updated in response to use of the site throughout the pandemic and ongoing. Future plans must ensure that they reflect community need (existing and emerging), so that we have a realistic understanding of the costs that will be involved in achieving them and can start fundraising in earnest to improve the quality and sustainability of all of the facilities here.
Additionally we are fundraising for, and delivering a range of, smaller projects to improve access which is our highest priority. We are currently working on projects including:
- Paths – improvement works (access and inclusion)
- Changing Places facility (access and inclusion)
- Replacing paper towels with hand driers in toilets (environmental) – achieved in 2022
- Basketball Posts & Nets (play) – in place and in use April 2023
- Gardening for Wellbeing (health) – sessions were run during September 2022
- Community Plant Nursery (social enterprise) – launched March 2023
‘The MIsfits Theatre Poetry Group’ perform in the gardens for the Platinum Jubilee, June 2022.
‘Outside the Café’, Platinum Jubilee Community Festival, June 2022.
How you can get involved:
Become a member of ACT
Becoming a member of ACT enables people to demonstrate their support and to have a voice in how the organisation is managed and developed.
Details of how to become a member of ACT are on our Membership page.
Become one of our #Ardagh100
The Ardagh site will be 100 years old in 2026 and ACT is recruiting local volunteers who would like to help us plan for it’s next 100!
More information on this to follow.