Meet the manager of Bristol youth club who is working to close the £3m funding gap

A youth club manager who herself benefited from youth services as a child is hoping to raise millions of pounds to support them in Bristol.

Charmaine Lawrence believes that with her innovative campaign, titled ‘333’, she will be able to fill a funding gap by raising £3million over three years. She claims Bristol Youth Services have faced cumulative cuts totaling nearly £3million and could be cut further.

The 38-year-old, who grew up in St Pauls, attended Full Circle youth club as a child before starting work there in 2012. Now that she is responsible for youth development within the youth project , based at Docklands Community Centre, its focus is on maintaining services for young people in Bristol who are currently at risk.

Read more: South Bristol’s £8m youth zone – ‘world class’ or ‘black hole’?

She believes the solution can be found with Bristol’s business community. Its mission is to find 300 businesses across Bristol to pledge to donate a total of £9,900 each, over the next three years.

She said the campaign was called 333 because each 3 represents a different component of how the £3million will be raised. The first three symbolize the 300 companies that will take part, the second being the £3million target and the third representing the fact that the project will take place over three years.

Charmaine believes that with her creative background, business experience and years of working in the youth sector, her campaign can provide a viable solution to the latest cuts to youth services: “We are in the very early stages campaign and it’s something that I if done right it will be there for a very long time. We have a lot of businesses interested in supporting it and I think in the next six months we will see it gain momentum and see the positive effects of such a campaign for the youth sector in Bristol.



Full Circle Youth Development Manager Charmaine Lawrence and Jonathan Newey outside the Docklands Community Center in St Pauls

Charmaine is no stranger to creating solutions to problems she sees around her – she said it has been an ongoing pattern in her life. In 2014, she had entrepreneurial ambitions in the form of starting an all-natural skincare business, but after finding out about the networking events there were membership fees could reach £500 a year.

READ MORE: How this woman is changing the face of business in St Pauls

In response, she was inspired to create her own networking events for women from diverse backgrounds called Queens Power Luncheon. What started as a group of around 10 women from St Pauls, all of whom wanted to start their own businesses, grew into mixed-gender networking events attended by people from across the South West.



Dj Ngaio and Charmaine Lawrence

This led her to create the Mogul Spirit Group and create its own award ceremonies and magazine. She said it was important for her to channel her disappointment into something positive. The magazine she created grew out of frustration at a lack of mainstream media coverage of the individuals and companies she celebrated at her Mogul award ceremonies.

Reflecting on why she felt these stories weren’t covered, she said, “Unfortunately for me, my story isn’t sensational enough. I wasn’t a drug dealer now doing something good I’m not a stripper now I’m giving back to the community I’ve always been on the same path that I am I’ve always tried to do my best, I’ve always given back to the community, I’ve always tried to create platforms that celebrate other people and the good work they do. Here you will see a pattern in my life that I have always tried to be the change I wish to see.

After three years, the plan is to distribute the funds among 70 or more youth organizations across Bristol. Unlike most funding pots which require lengthy applications, the only conditions attached to this funding are that the money is spent on service delivery and that young people have a say in how the money is spent. spent.

Once the money is raised, the all-female governance team will decide which organizations will receive funding and how much they will each receive. The governance team is comprised of Judith Davis, Creative Youth Network Engagement Worker, Rachel Robinson, CEO of Quartet Community Foundation, and Beaula McCalla, Director of Growing Futures.

Any Bristol-based business wishing to support youth services via 333 can follow the link, as are those wishing to apply for funding as a youth organization in Bristol. Anyone from the general public can support the 333 campaign by making a donation to the GoFundMe.

The fundraising page says: “Over the past decade the youth sector has seen devastating 70% spending cuts across the country, and Bristol continues to be no exception. We have decided to channel our energy towards positive actions and have created a campaign to raise funds and fill the gap to help all youth services in the city for the next three years.

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