Thirty years ago, a small group of volunteers had a vision: their hard work and commitment, and that of the many volunteers since, has made Bridges what it is today - a building full of character in the centre of Monmouth’s community.
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.
Bridges was initially based in a small church hall in Monmouth, but soon outgrew it and, ironically, moved into the disused canteen of the factory that had closed. As the number of supporters grew, so did their vision ... their reach ... the range of work ... and the number of people they were helping. Bridges became a charity, staff were appointed, and its community development work touched the lives of more and more people in Monmouth. Finally, after many years of hard work and determination to fundraise for and renovate the beautiful Grade II* listed building, Drybridge House and its modern annexe, it moved into this new home in 2003.
Bridges now provides:
- Support and help for the most vulnerable people in Monmouth
- A base for local community groups and local services to meet
- A base for learning new skills
- Healthcare support and fitness/wellbeing activities
- Rent-a-desk, rooms for meetings, conferences and training events
- A venue for weddings, parties and charity events.
- The Bistro
- A base for entrepreneurs and small independent businesses in the Stables Centre and Drybridge House
Bridges is a lively organisation which remains true to its original aims: to build bridges between people from all parts of the community. It offers opportunities for social contact and creates ‘social capital’ – two small words with a very powerful significance for Bridges. Bridges continues to have a deep and wide-reaching impact: on the people who volunteer here, those that use its facilities, and the statutory organisations that also help this community.