The Lawrence Weston estate is on the outskirts of Bristol. With high levels of deprivation, it houses some of the most vulnerable families in the area.
At least the Juicy Blitz project, based in a juice and smoothie bar on the estate, is a safe and friendly place for local young people aged 11 to 21 to pop in, make new friends as well as get a life education, like learning to cook with healthy ingredients.
“We’re absolutely delighted to have received Reaching Communities funding from the Big Lottery Fund,” said Emma Rigby, who was project manager for the Juicy Blitz project in November 2012, when Big Lottery Fund awarded the project a five-year grant of £486,277.
“This is a much-needed investment in tackling the inequalities that many young people living in Lawrence Weston experience and it comes as a huge relief in the current economic climate to have received this funding to sustain a vital support mechanism for vulnerable young people who are often trying to overcome multiple disadvantage in their lives, that would have otherwise been at risk.”
Shaking up the status quo
Run by Bristol Education for Action in Development (BREAD), Juicy Blitz, which offers bi-weekly drop in sessions, encourages its service users to take an active role in the activities it runs so that they feel more empowered to make the right choices in their own lives and community.
In May 2012 one of their youth leaders, Blue James, won the Avon and Somerset Police “Children and Young People” award. The judges selected him as one of the seven winners as they were so impressed with the way the then 17-year-old had turned his life around.
After being expelled from school in 2011, Blue started volunteering at Juicy Blitz as a young leader. In one year he gave more than 500 hours of time to the project, delivering activities for other young people during the drop-in sessions.
In recognition of his commitment to Juicy Blitz, Blue was invited to become a member of the North 1 Youth Forum to Juicy Blitz. Working together with the other members of the youth forum, Blue had the opportunity to identify policy challenges for young people locally, and share them with representatives from the council, police and other agencies.
Blue says: “I love it here. I’m proud of myself. It has helped me become more mature and responsible and the young people who go to Juicy Blitz are making a difference in the community as well.”