Katherine from the Bristol Port Company gets stuck in with kids from Pill Youth Club

The Bristol Port Company steering young lives in the right direction

Pill is the most deprived Ward in the North Somerset parliamentary constituency, so how has it beaten the odds and sustained a thriving programme of youth activities through the funding cuts?

The answer lies in the dedication of local people, assisted by the commitment and financial support of The Bristol Port Company.

Community leaders and parents in Pill were faced with impending service closures, following the withdrawal of North Somerset Council funding for their local youth services.

“With Quartet’s advice and guidance we made a commitment to support the Partnership for three years.”

-Katherine Lovell The Bristol Port Company

Don Davies, a local Councillor and member of Pill and District Children and Young People’s Partnership said, “Whilst in other areas young people look forward to their summer holidays, too many children here had nothing to do, nothing to interest and thrill them in the holidays.  We wanted to avoid this leading to anti-social behaviour and to give our young people experiences others take for granted.”

Bristol Port Company and Pill Youth Club chatting
Katherine from the Bristol Port Company meeting children from Pill Youth Club

"We want to give our young people experiences others take for granted.”

-Don Davies Local Parish Councillor and member of Pill and District Children and Young People's Partnership

The community decided that keeping the doors of their successful Youth Club open was vital to make sure that young people from all backgrounds in the Pill area could have a shared space to spend time together, learn about healthy lifestyles and experience meaningful activities during their free time, thereby discouraging anti-social behaviour.

As well as after-school activities throughout the year, the Young People’s Partnership takes groups horse-riding and puts on theatre workshops, archery and forest activity days during the school holidays.

Making this programme affordable for many local families costs money.

In 2015, Arthur Taylor – the former Vice-Chair of the local parish Council (who sadly passed away earlier this year) – approached The Bristol Port Company for funding, to help bridge the gap between the income from the Parish Council and the costs of running these activities.

Katherine Lovell from The Bristol Port Company said, “With Quartet’s advice and guidance we made a commitment to support the Partnership for three years.” Their support has made all the difference to the young people of Pill.

"It’s wonderful to see how the volunteers and staff are helping young people from all backgrounds mix in and learn together."

-Katherine Lovell The Bristol Port Company
Bristol Port Company - Pill Youth Club gaming
Young people at the youth club show Katherine their gaming skills

Katherine visited the Youth Club, meeting the junior members who that night were busy making pizzas, practicing sports and playing computer games. “It’s wonderful to see how the volunteers and staff are helping young people from all backgrounds mix in and learn together. We use our Quartet fund to support the disadvantaged communities close to the Port, so it’s great that the Partnership has used this funding to benefit young people in Pill.”

At Quartet we have a responsibility to monitor trends in our communities, in order to protect the wellbeing of those most vulnerable to cuts in public provision. In other areas where funding for youth services like these has also been cut, we’ve seen youth clubs close and noticed a rise in vandalism, graffiti and anti-social behaviour.  It’s easier to measure the impact of improvements to a bad situation, as there’s hard data (such as a cut in the number of police call-outs) and many funders will only make grants to projects that have measurable outcomes like this. However we feel it’s clearly better for everyone – and more ethically sound – to act early to prevent problems from arising in the first place.

The Bristol Port Company day-to-day handles massive ships, importing and exporting all the goods we need for daily life. For those out at sea, a mistake in navigation can be put right – requiring much time and effort – but any sailor knows it’s much better to keep on the right course.

Katherine said, “it’s inspirational when you hear how so many young people are now taking part in community activities because they’ve been given the confidence to try new things. It’s a privilege for us to support the team steering these young lives in the right direction.”