When are you open?
The Vench and the playground are open at the following set times for the youth group and play sessions on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Other activities are often run alongside these sessions, the details of which can be found on our What’s on page.
Term time: Thursday and Friday 3:30pm-6:30pm
School holidays: Thursday and Friday 11am-4pm
Every Wednesday 5pm-7pm
These are open access sessions and you are welcome to arrive and leave at any point within these times. Unfortunately, early entry isn’t permitted, so please arrive just before the start of the session.
Does it cost to attend the play sessions or youth group?
No, both the play sessions and youth group are free to attend, along with the other activities we run for children and young people. We do ask (where possible) for a donation to support our vital work. Please see the next question and answer to find out more about our fundraising goals.
Why isn’t the playground open every day?
The playground is open at set times when youth workers and play leaders are able to supervise the sessions and ensure children and young people are safe using the equipment. Due to funding cuts to the sector in 2018, play sessions have had to be reduced and now only run twice a week. Sadly, this means that in-between these sessions (without the necessary supervision), the playground and our other facilities are unable to be used by children and young people. We are working very hard as a team to secure funding to be able to hire additional play leaders, as well as working in partnership with other youth and play organisations to run additional sessions throughout the week. While the sessions and activities are free, we do ask (where possible) for a donation to help us reach our goal. With your support, we can provide a safe and supportive environment every day of the week for children and young people to meet, play and learn.
Cost of training a play leader – Donate here
If you work for a youth or play organisation and are interested in running a session at The Vench, please get in touch for more information.
Are you a qualified play leader with a few hours to volunteer? We’d love to hear from you. Visit our volunteer page for more details.
How are you funded?
The Vench is run by Groundwork South, the community regeneration and environmental charity and a small team of dedicated staff (team page). In addition to running a busy youth and community centre (and everything that goes with it), a key part of our work is focused on fundraising, usually by means of applying to local trusts and foundations, but also through local events, community giving schemes and corporate giving. It is only through securing this vital funding that we can continue running the centre and developing our key services for children, young people and the wider community. If you’d like to support The Vench, why not take a look at some of the current projects we’re working hard to make a reality.
We are fortunate to receive support from a number of fantastic organisations, the details of which can be found on our Funders page.
How are the play sessions structured?
Learning Partnership West (LPW) run open-access play sessions every Thursday and Friday. LPW is a Social Enterprise, working to support children and young people to positively change their lives and reach their potential.
The play sessions are an inspiring mix of in-door and out-door activities that include: den and tree house-building, fire-building, rope swings, cooking and creating dishes from different cultures; arts and crafts; games and sports.
In addition, each week Life Cycle UK, run an open-access bike activity session from 4-6 pm, which teach young people the skills to fix punctures, oil chains and keep their bikes rolling smoothly. They have pool bikes to lend to those without their own and run cycle games and bike skills sessions to help young people learn the skills to cycle safely.
Life Cycle UK is a registered charity that has been transforming lives through cycling since 1999.
Read more about LPW and Life Cycle UK on our Partners page.
What happens at youth group?
Creative Youth Network (CYN) run an open-access group every Wednesday at The Vench.
CYN is a non-profit charity based in Bristol that aim is to enable young people, no matter what their background or circumstances, to reach their own potential.
Drop in any time between 5 and 7 pm and get involved in a range of activities including:
Not forgetting use of The Vench’s impressive drop slide, zip wire and sports pitch. It’s not one to miss!
Find out more about CYN on our Partners page.
Is there a minimum age to attend the sessions?
The play sessions are for children aged 8-13. Children younger than 8 are very welcome to attend, but must be accompanied by a parent or carer.
Do I need to book?
The play sessions and youth group are open-access, so booking isn’t required. Some of our other activities do require booking, including our Holiday Lunch Club (read on to the next question)
When does Holiday Lunch Club run?
We have funding to run Lunch Club during the school holidays throughout 2019. Join us for free play, fun games and a healthy two-course meal. Click here for our summer holiday dates and list of activities.
Are bikes and scooters allowed?
Yes! Bikes and scooters are welcome. Our outside space includes a large sports pitch, which our children and young people like to use to ride around.
Why not check out Life Cycle UK’s bike activity session on a Thursday, a great way for children and young people to learn the skills keep their bikes rolling smoothly and have fun with a range of bike games and activities.
Where can I find the details of your policies relating to children and young people?
How do I keep up to date with details of your activities and sessions?
There are several ways you can keep up to date with what’s going on at The Vench. Be sure to check out our events calendar and keep an eye on our Facebook page for any changes or updates to our regular sessions. We also have a Twitter and Instagram account which we regularly update. Our monthly newsletter is a great way of catching up on the highlights. For more information and to sign up, click here.