Opened in 1972, The Vench has established itself as an integral part of the community, offering a range of services that benefit local children, young people and families. Many of the local residents have a personal connection to The Vench, having used the centre when they were children and now bring their own children and grandchildren.
Built on waste ground at the end of Romney Avenue in the late 1960’s, a local couple helped children to build dens and swings. Later two teachers and pupils from the local Lockleaze Senior School took a petition to Bristol City Council for support and in 1972, John Cleese officially opened the playground known locally as The Vench.
In July 2016, Groundwork secured funding to carry out major redevelopment work. This included new climbing walls, a rope balance, a trampoline, a clatter bridge and an expanded outdoor stage. Groundwork appointed Splash Projects to design, develop and build the enhancements to the playground. BAE Systems also supported the project, meeting additional costs and providing volunteers who assisted with the build.
Designs for the site improvements were developed through consultation with children and young people within the local community which was carried out earlier in the year, overseen by the Steering Group for the Vench.