Brunel in Bristol: Shaping a City Youth Project.

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Brunel In Bristol: Shaping a City

This fantastic project was developed through 2014 and delivered in December as the first day of our three day celebration to mark the 150th Anniversary since the completion of the Bridge!  We were delighted to work with young people from across Bristol on this event, an audience that the Bridge team were tasked with engaging and inspiring to encourage more young people to visit Bristol's iconic landmark.  You may think this is a bit late to blog about but....we have just had one of the winning teams visit the bridge to redeem their prize - a unique visit to the underground vaults beneath the Leigh Woods Tower (the group are pictured below) and we have recently celebrated the culmination of all our youth projects so it seems the right time to tell the world exactly what we have been getting up to!

The challenge: develop and deliver a one day event with young people, for young people.

What we did: We worked with Creative Youth Network’s Youth for Youth team to develop a one day event to bring together young people from across Bristol. The team agreed that they wanted us to deliver a physical activity that young people could work in teams to complete. They stipulated that they, as young people, are interested in getting out to explore the city but wanted a resource to help them do this. They wanted to actively participate in an event rather than use a digital, screen based game.  The treasure hunt aspect of discovering answers was very important to them so we translated this in to a trail with the help of the team at Knowle West Media Centre who produced our trail map. Young designer David Biddle completed the brilliant graphics.

The Map: The Bridging Bristol: Shaping a City map was designed to reveal lesser known information about the built environment in the harbour side area of the City. The map was aimed at getting young people to look at familiar buildings in different ways and give them further understanding of the heritage of those places.

We used Brunel to link many of the venues by celebrating his innovations in the city but we also wanted the teams to explore more than just the famous landmarks. We introduced them to places they hadn’t been before - for example the Underfall Yard.



The Event: The event marked the beginning of a weekend of 150th Anniversary Celebrations in December 2014. Teams from across Bristol met at the Watershed for the event briefing and were issued with packed lunches, a free Bristol Ferry Pass (kindly donated by the Bristol Ferry Company) their trusty trail maps plus some additional equipment to help them with their mission!

Each team had to use the map to find the answers to eight questions. Along the way different venues had hidden QR codes for the teams to zap to reveal more information and facts.Teams had to make their way to the Clifton Suspension Bridge where the answers to the final questions could be found. Once the trail was finished the teams had to complete a challenge – to design and build a newspaper bridge!


Feedback from participants included many saying they loved going on the Bristol Ferry and had never seen the harbour from a boat before. They were also enthusiastic about hidden facts and places like Underfall Yard that they hadn’t previously known about.  Overall our feedback forms were full of comments that began with ‘I didn’t know that……’an outcome that we are very happy with!

Prizes were kindly donated by City Sightseeing Bristol, Clifton Suspension Bridge Trust, Knowle West Media Centre, Redpoint Bristol Climbing Centre, SAM FM and Underfall Yard. Ferry passes donated by Bristol Ferry Company.





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