Grow Wilder Engagement Hub
Inspiring communities to support nature's recovery
In 2012, we took on an unused smallholding in the Stapleton area of Bristol, and volunteers and local groups transformed it into a community and food growing hub rich in wildlife, where people can reconnect with nature, learn new skills and improve their health and wellbeing.
Our mission now for Grow Wilder is to bring about urgent action for the restoration of wildlife by educating, upskilling and empowering people, communities and businesses to bring about positive change through wildlife-friendly gardening and sustainable food growing.
In order to do this, we need your help to establish a new community space by introducing a new building to the site. This will help to engage and inspire more people, communities and businesses to actively support nature’s recovery.
Through demonstration, learning and events, Grow Wilder will be a hub from which we will seek to connect people with nature, equipping them with the skills and knowledge to restore and conserve natural habitats of all sizes across the Bristol area and further afield.
Places like Grow Wilder have never been more important ... Grow Wilder has a vital function within the community, connecting people with food growing and nature, giving them the opportunity to enjoy being outdoors and helping volunteers acquire experience and skills. I fully support their ambitions to expand what they do, which will bring even more benefit to the local community and to the city as a whole.Bristol East MP
Benefits of a new engagement hub
This will be a space to welcome our neighbours, local community and visitors to the site. We will be able to greet and teach people about what we do at Grow Wilder and help them get the most our of their visit.
This will result in more people learning and engaging with the site; actively finding out more about how the site operates and what they can do during their visit such as walking trails and wildlife ID.
Having an area where people can relax and enjoy some of the food grown on site, we will be able to generate an active interest in local food growing systems and their benefit to people and wildlife alike.
This will result in more people understanding importance of local food systems and change their behaviours after seeing food grown first hand, learning about importance of sustainable food growing and then eating that same food in one visit.
Visitors will be able to buy books, tools or discovery packs to help continue their sustainability journey at home as well as championing the produce of the small businesses that use the site.
This will result in more people being able to take their next steps in food growing and wildlife gardening beyond their visit and small, local businesses having a new way to sell their produce to local people.
New community space
A larger space at the engagement hub will allow for more education and community activities to take place on site, for all to benefit from.
This will result in more people learning how to grow food, help nature's recovery in their own communities and more connections being built between people and groups in the local area.
What will the engagement hub look like?
Frequently asked questions
Can the local community use the building?
Absolutely! The building is design with community in mind. The café will provide a place for people to meet and share food and drink and a new community room can be hired for use for meetings or events. The whole site is open for the community to come walk around, explore and enjoy.
Will there be a lot of disruption from construction?
The good news is that 95% of building is prefabricated offsite meaning disruption from construction is minimal and takes days rather than weeks or months.
Some road works will be required to connect building to sewer. No other disruption expected from other utilities.
Will the building impact soil and food growing?
The building is planned to be placed at the front of the site where it can be most effective.
The two polytunnels that sit in that location currently will be relocated within our site, ensuring food production on site is unaffected.
The building itself will be built with low impact foundations meaning the soil is retained for future generations. More detail on this in our info pack.
Will the Engagement Hub create more traffic and congestion in the local area?
The engagement hub has been designed with sustainable travel in mind. We will be keeping parking spaces to the same number as today and instead will be actively encouraging and incentivising our visitors to come be foot, bike and public transport.
Grow Wilder is very lucky to be positioned on the Metrobus network and many other bus routes. We will also be including a bike shelter as part of the new design.
Will cars end up parking on residential roads?
As mentioned we will be an engagement hub promoting sustainable travel, however during busy events on site, we will be opening up an overflow car park to prevent parking occurring on local streets. More detail can be found in the info pack.
How does a new building help the charitable aims of Avon Wildlife Trust?
Grow Wilder is Avon Wildlife Trust’s primary urban wildlife hub. From the site we host many learning and engagement activities with the local community and visitors to encourage more people to take action for nature's recovery in the local area. Lack of indoor space, toilets and visitor amenities has prevented us from achieving the impact we know we can alongside the local community. It will be a space we can use all year round to teach people new skills, hold events and inspire a movement for nature's recovery.
Will the Engagement Hub be accessible to wheelchair users?
Yes – the engagement hub building will be designed with accessible ramps where possible and include 2xaccessible WC cubicles. The carpark will also have dedicated disabled spaces. As part of this project we will also look at the site as a whole, ensuring large parts of the site can be used by wheelchair users.
Will this building lead to further development in the area?
Grow Wilder forms what was once part of Bristol’s historic market gardens, once providing food for much of the local area. Since taking on the site in 2012, we have brought food growing and local businesses back to the land. In doing so, we have helped protect much of the land from development and urbanisation. The new Engagement Hub will help champion sustainable local food growing and communicate to visitors the importance of this land (known as the 'Blue Finger') for Bristol’s food systems, helping protect it for generations to come.