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£1.8m YMCA Bristol contract to renovate historic building

John Perkins Construction has begun an important partnership with YMCA Bristol to renovate and upgrade the former police HQ (CID) building on Bridewell Island in Central Bristol.

The £1.8m contract, which is partly funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, is due for completion in October 2017. The project's aim is to preserve the building's colourful history while giving it a new lease of life as a YMCA Hostel.

'Helpful, flexible and patient'

Ben Silvey, Director of YMCA Bristol, comments:

"This is the realisation of an eight-year vision to provide beds for vulnerable people within the City Centre that are not funded by the council. YMCA Bristol will be using the revenue from our commercial backpacking hostel to pay for the provision of beds for young people."

He adds: "We've worked with Rupert Perkins and Rob Yeandle for three years to push through the project. John Perkins Construction has been helpful, flexible and patient during the negotiations. Now that we're on site, things are working well, with site staff keeping a clean, tidy and organised site."

Light touch refurbishment

The Grade-II-listed former police HQ was built in 1928 and has many distinctive features, including a 'Mannerist' entrance, a vintage lift (with an open shaft and timber lift car), and a mix of terrazzo and parquet flooring.

John Perkins Construction is carrying out a 'light touch' refurbishment, working with Ferguson Mann Architects and with the support of the Bristol City Council Conservation team. The aim is to ensure the building can 'tell its own story' through the preservation of historical motifs and other quirks. This includes retaining some of the graffiti that decorates the inside of the building; a nod to building's previous incarnation as a home to the Invisible Circus theatre company.

As well as preserving the history of the building, the finished facility will also be brought firmly into the modern age, with solar PV on the roofs, additional insulation, and specialist lighting to provide residential lights within a setting that feels more industrial.

Providing beds for the homeless

Once refurbished, the building will primarily consist of hostel accommodation (dormitory-style shared rooms and individual en suite bedrooms). The top floor will also provide dedicated beds for longer-term residents who are either homeless or in vulnerable circumstances.

Rupert Perkins, Contracts Director of John Perkins Construction, comments:

"We are delighted to be able to put our extensive experience of working on historic buildings to good use by being a part of such an exciting project. It is very rewarding to be working with the YMCA in order to breathe new life into a listed building with a unique history that has sadly been out of use for many years."

He adds: "As a long-standing fixture of the Bristol community, we recognise that Bristol has a significant problem with homelessness. During the building work, we will be providing opportunities for employment, experience and training. And, upon completion, the new YMCA Hostel will represent an important lifeline for those young people in Bristol who find themselves in a vulnerable position."

Learn more about our past historical restoration projects: £2.4m renovation of Underfall Yard



 
"John Perkins Construction has been helpful, flexible and patient during the negotiations. Now that we’re on site, things are working well, with site staff keeping a clean, tidy and organised site."

Ben Silvey
Director
YMCA Bristol