Bedminster gets a much-needed new nursery

Published on: 27 Dec 2017

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Pictured top: Artist Nila Murali in front of the new community-inspired mural

The Chessel

Above: The new community room, open early in the New Year

Courtyard at the Chessel Centre

Above: Plenty of fun to be had in the courtyard

BEDMINSTER’s much-needed new children’s nursery has opened on the corner of Chessel Street and Garnet Street on the site of an old scout hut.

Artist Nila Murali unveiled the artwork she’s completed with the aid of local schoolchildren to brighten up one of the entrances.

Nila asked children from St Mary Redcliffe, Parson Street and Compass Point primary schools what they wanted from a community nursery, and used their ideas in a colourful mural.

Nila is a professional artist and graduate of Bristol School of Animation who also  works in the after-school club at Southville community centre. 

It was the Southville centre’s charity owner, the SCDA, that saw the need for more nursery spaces – it has hundreds on its waiting list – and also saw a lack of community facilities in the area as so many buildings are turned over to housing.

In recognition that it has spread its wings, the SCDA (Southville Community Development Association) has changed its name to BS3 Community Action.

The new building is to just a nursery – it also has offices for BS3 Community Action, and a meeting space which can be hired by community groups for ups to 40 people.

The Voice was given a tour of the new building by its architect, Windmill Hill resident Carlton Bodkin.

He described how he had kept the height and profile of the terraced houses in the Chessels, while also letting lots of light in with a double-height window at the front.

The nursery splits left and right as you walk through the main door, with cloakrooms on one side for under 3s and the other for under 5s.  

Areas for cookery and activities lead around on either side,, with a bog courtyard in the middle where many children will want to spend as much time a possible. It has  a giant wooden treehouse with play areas underneath it, and outside a sandpit and a small open channel through which the rainwater will flow right around the courtyard and into a giant tank underground.

The channel is one of the building’s largely hidden environmental features – it’s part of a drainage system that can store all the water even if a storm so force it happens once in 100 years was to dump all its water in half an hour.

On the roof are solar panels which supply much of the heat and electricity from the building, and feed any excess back to the grid. And soon the roof will be planted to become a green roof, keeping even more water out of the drains.

Other features include a special space-saving cycle store for staff, who can mount their bikes securely on sliding racks in an outside lockable store.

The 54-place nursery opens on Monday December 4 and the community room in the new year.

www.southvillecentre.org.uk

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