The SS Great Britain Trust has launched Welcome Weekends to provide free visits to Bristol residents experiencing barriers to visitation, making Brunel’s SS Great Britain accessible for all.
Having this year been awarded the Portimão Museum Prize for Europe’s Most Welcoming Museum 2019, the Trust are keen to extend that welcome to visitors who would not usually have the chance to visit the ship.
To identify common barriers to visitation, as part of their communities programme, the Trust launched a project which carried out community mapping and focus groups to better understand the needs of local communities.
The results demonstrated that a number of barriers stop individuals visiting - these barriers include a lack of awareness about the SS Great Britain and it’s free year-round activities, with many not knowing that entry tickets are valid for a year. Transport was also identified as a barrier to visitation.
Explaining the idea behind the programme, Leila Nicholas, Communities Outreach Officer, said: “Through the communities programme, we have been building connections with community groups in Hartcliffe, Southmead and Lawrence Hill. We have run library events, popped up at community events and brought exciting activities to family festivals across the city. As the culmination of this, we are inviting families to discover Brunel’s SS Great Britain and enjoy a great day out over our Welcome Weekends.”
The first Welcome Weekend event takes place on 12th-13th October, when residents of Southmead will be able to visit Brunel’s SS Great Britain for free by filling-in and bringing along a Welcome Weekend flyer. These flyers can be found in local libraries and community centres, and will be available to residents within the Southmead postcode area.
Welcome Weekends form part of the SS Great Britain Trust’s wider relationship with Bristol’s communities and schools. The Trust’s Golden Ticket scheme, for example, provides school children from deprived areas of Bristol a free visit with their family, while the Future Brunels programme inspires and encourages young school pupils to get more involved in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) through extra-curricular activities and experiences.
Southmead Welcome Weekend (12th-13th October) is just the first of a number of such events. In the following month, residents of both Lawrence Hill and Hartcliffe will be invited to enjoy a free day out on the weekends of 9th-10th and 23rd-24th November respectively.