Photographed (L – R): Owain Caines, Stacey Clemente, Alex Pritchard, Rio Whittaker (Project worker), Beckie Llyod and Michaela Kennedy.
Members of the Building Bridges Project were on the street in Chepstow outside the Bridges charity shop with a cake stand. Project worker Rio Whittaker said: “We are meeting people to raise awareness of our project and we are selling cakes to raise funds for our youth groups.”
The project wants to support young people with additional needs to get involved in fun activities, making new friends and work related options in Monmouthshire Rio said: “We support young people with additional needs ages 14 years to 25 years of age in the community to develop confidence and to make new friends.”
Bridges Centre is running the project and has received some funding from the Big Lottery. The project started in November 2013 and will run for 4 years. You can find the Building Bridges Team in Bridges Centre. Rio said: “I made cornflake cakes because they are the easiest to make. The young people are much better than baking than me. We meet up regularly on Monday in Caerwent and on a Thursday we meet up at Bulwalk Community Centre.”
In 1984, a small group of volunteers in Monmouth began a support group to help local people who were experiencing financial hardship or isolation. At the time, a local factory had closed, and the workers needed help to gain skills and find work. Monmouth is regarded as a wealthy area, but there were, and continue to be, people who lacked opportunities or were disadvantaged and vulnerable. There were also many elderly people who felt isolated and unsupported. The volunteers decided to widen the project – and Bridges Community Centre came into being.