The Bournville is a large council estate in the South Ward of Weston-super-Mare, built mostly during the post-war years apart from a number of recently additional developments. It houses around 5,000 people. The estate is like many others in the UK, being recognised as having pockets of deprivation, including high unemployment, poor health, child poverty, people suffering with mental illness and with a history of substance abuse.
The reasons for these problems are complex. Our experience over twenty years of working among the people of the Bournville is that individuals and families need sustained help and support from people who are committed to them in the long term.Our aim is to provide such support.
The Family Centre is situated right next to Bethesda Evangelical Church. When we describe ourselves as ‘Evangelical’ we mean we believe that the Bible is what God has said; it tells us the truth about God, about ourselves and about the world we live in. The God of the Bible is an active God, who sent His Son to suffer and die for our sakes, so we believe that we shouldn’t just talk about the love of God within the church walls, but we should go out and show the love of God to the people around us, especially those in need.
The Bible clearly states that God has an especial concern for the vulnerable – the widow, the fatherless and the poor. In seeking to be a help to such people we stand firmly in the tradition of evangelical Christian believers of the past, like William Wilberforce, who fought for the abolition of slavery and George Müller, who took 2,000 orphans off the streets of Bristol and cared for them solely by asking God to provide.
This building has been purpose-built to use as a base for our work in the community, with facilities designed to be used for the benefit of all on the estate, whether elderly, disabled, unemployed, parents or children. The facilities include a large hall where groups such as Toddlers and lunch clubs can meet. There is a catering kitchen, a disabled shower, a meeting room and office/reception area. There is also a separate workshop area in which people will be able to learn practical skills as a preparation for returning to the world of work.