It’s a different world up there, even though it's not that far away distance wise.

Bristol is world famous for its suspension bridge, but some young people in south Bristol have never been.

While tourists flock here from Europe, America and the far East to get a glimpse of Brunel’s creation, the first of its kind in history, not everyone living close by does.

Working with young people from the estates of Hartcliffe, Knowle West, Stockwood and Withywood, our youth workers are increasingly finding this to be true.

As lockdown eases and we have been able to venture further afield on mentoring trips, we are taking in the sights of the city, broadening horizons and offering new experiences to young people. But some youth workers have discovered that what Bristol is most famous for, has passed by many young people we work with. In the last few week alone there have been three similar situations. 

Youth worker Levi explained: “I took Blake there a few days ago, and he told me it was his first time. He’s 13. We took some photos; he was very excited. So we drove over the bridge, and then went back and walked it too.”

This isn’t unusual for Levi, he said: “Lots of people may be surprised by this, but I am not really it’s very common, and you will find it with other well-known sites in the city too. It’s just not really in their reach or part of their life to do so. Lots tend to stay in their estate, so why would you go?” 

Levi himself grew up in Knowle West, so can fully understand this. He said: “I didn’t go by the time I was his age either. I think the first time I actually went to the bridge was as a staff member on a trip when I worked at Oasis Academy. It is pretty common for where we are from to be honest,” he added.

So what are the reasons for this? “Well hard to say, partly getting there, if you have the transport, but as much to do with it being beyond their horizons,” he said, adding, “ It’s a different world up there in Clifton, even though it's not that far away distance wise. People just tend to stay in their estates, maybe go into town sometimes.”

The tale of Bristol success and global status has increased more and more, with not only tourists coming but people flocking to move here from London. The experience of many, however, is a story of Bristol that isn’t shared by all, which is why working with young people in South Bristol is really important. Levi continued: “It is really important. Getting them out their area, and taking them to see some of this stuff to see whats’ possible. Blake was so excited, was amazed by it. His face was a picture.

“So its up to us to show the famous parts of the city too. I mean why shouldn’t our young people have a taste of it too?”