Frequently Asked Questions
Our mission statement is: To be a company whose members are creating: A democratic community where people who have experiences, beliefs, and feelings that have sometimes been labelled as mental illness are welcomed and can talk about these experiences freely, safely and without judgement; a place to participate in friendship, support, learning, teaching, discussion, being active, and making a valid contribution both within the collective and the wider community.
There is a leaflet in the big green folder (‘What we do and how we do it’) explaining how the Bridge Collective works as a collective. The big green folder is beside the bookcase. You can also find this leaflet in the 'What we do and how' page of this website.
Yes, most groups are open to all, but we are not open all the time. We have an Open Afternoon on the first Thursday of the month between 12 and 4 and other groups run at specific times during the week. Bridge Collective activities take place both at our central Exeter site and out and about in Devon.
We don’t have one person in charge like most organisations. We have a number of directors and hold a monthly community meeting where decisions are made as a collective, there are people who are keyholders who are responsible for opening and closing the Bridge and whilst the Bridge is open. There are people who are facilitators who are responsible for facilitating groups and activities. Everyone is welcome to the monthly community meetings to share in making decisions about how we run as a collective.
Membership is an opportunity to put your name to support for the Bridge Collective and the aims of the Bridge Collective. You don’t have to be a member to come to the Bridge or the groups which operate from the Bridge Collective, but to have a vote at members meetings including the annual general meeting you need to be a member.
To become a member you will need to fill in a membership form and pay an annual fee of £10 (£5 if paid between 1st November and 31st April) There is a leaflet in the big green folder on becoming a member. You can also find the 'Membership form - Updated March 2020' in the 'What we do and how' page of this website.
The groups are all free to attend and you will only have to pay for expenses such as travel. Contributions are asked for lunch and drinks with the Greenwood Project. We are always happy to accept donations.
The contribution asked for tea and coffee is 20p and there is a pot to put the money in.
We have a general donation pot in the office. When we have a visiting speaker, donations towards venue hire and speaker’s travelling expenses are sometimes asked. For individual groups look out for the group donation pot eg, to contribute towards art materials. You can also visit the 'donate' page on this website to find out more ways you can donate.
People are welcome to invite their support worker/carer/friend/partner/ family member to most of the Bridge Collective activities. Everyone who attends is invited to participate. Some groups are for people with a shared experience only. If so, please check ahead with the group if you would like to bring a support person with you. We can have dogs at the Bridge Collective, but it is with the agreement of people using the Bridge at that time. The women’s art group is a women only space. Imaginary friends and teddy bears are always welcome.
We currently are not set up for children or people under 18 to attend.
This isn’t a prescribed support service, but we hope that you feel supported in the groups.
We don’t offer 1 to 1 support. We work around the idea of peer support, community development and community building
Peer support is help offered by people with similar experiences and is mutually beneficial to both people involved. The Bridge Collective offers opportunities for social contact and mutual support.
About building and making something happen together. The opportunity to grow your own contribution, - to take part in a way that works for you, - to have a voice. One way of looking at building community is that everyone who comes through the door, or makes contact online or meets up to go for a walk is participating in making the community.
From our volunteer policy: At the Bridge, we use the term “volunteer” to describe someone who has made a commitment to do unpaid work that has been identified by the Collective and agreed between the volunteer and the Collective, with a specific role description. This policy is about volunteering in this sense. Many people contribute in an informal way by doing work when they see a need, be it cleaning, making tea, delivering post, or helping to write a policy, without a longer term commitment or agreement. The Bridge welcomes and values this kind of participation. The nature of the Bridge Collective is that it is about participating in something together. In essence that participation is equal for everyone regardless of ‘roles’ they have. The Bridge is a place where everyone can be both a 'provider' and a beneficiary. Volunteers at the Bridge are members of the Bridge community who have taken on a particular role for a period of time. They may also be in many other roles in the Bridge. The Bridge Collective is a grass-roots organisation with ideas for specific voluntary roles growing from collective decisions. If you are interested in collective working, come and see what you’d like to get involved with. A good place to see where we create and share out opportunities for work that supports building the Bridge is the monthly community meeting.
Yes. If you are interested in becoming a director, come to the monthly community meetings to find out if it is a role you would like to do. We ask that you have a chat about what’s involved and attend 3 community meetings before putting yourself forward so that you know what it’s like. There is a leaflet in the big green folder on becoming a director. You can also find lot's more information about becoming a director here in the 'Director Team' page, which is in the 'Activities and Groups' section of this website.
If you have an idea for a new Bridge Collective activity/group/event, find out if other people are interested, check whether your idea fits with the Bridge Collective mission, check are there at least 2 people to initiate 2 people to facilitate? Find out what support is available and what training is needed. (See next question).
Bring ideas to the community meeting to begin planning what support is available to a new activity/group/event. There is opportunity to look at practicalities and training involved e.g. support to new facilitators, finding out about peer support, training in first aid, health and safety, safeguarding checks and safeguarding training, help with admin/enquiries/advertising, supervision and time for reflection, planning a one off get-together or a series of dates.
Hiring is sometimes possible depending on at-the-time capacity to support the practicalities of hiring. We are pleased to support local community projects and groups in providing an informal community space to meet when we can. We do not have a caretaker or a dedicated room bookings facilitator. We do not hold hirers liability insurance. This means all external groups using the Bridge Collective need to supply a copy of their own Public Liability Insurance. Copies of: insurance certificate, safeguarding, health and safety and complaints policy are required in advance of a booking being confirmed.
By the road (not in the alleyway) and there is a sand tin for butts in the doorway to the Bridge.
Yes. There is a red book loan book on the bookshelf with instructions.
Many people at the Bridge know about other organisations and groups. Feel free to bring in leaflets.
Bridge landline messages and post are picked up on Thursdays. We aim to reply to any message within 2 weeks.
For contact details for the individual groups and events: please check activity and group flyers (in the yellow folder) and the activites and groups section on this website.
Bridge Collective activities take place both at our central Exeter site and out and about in Devon at a variety of day, evening and weekend times. If you'd like to come to a Bridge Collective activity please consider having a look on our website. There are details to be found on what we do, weekly and monthly, one off groups, activities, meetings and meet-ups. There is also a calendar which we do our best to keep up to date and current to let everyone know of any changes that might be arising.