The Building Bridges Project (branding)The Building Bridges Project (branding)

Activities, fun, friendship and work-related experiences for young people with additional needs aged between 14 and 25 in Monmouthshire

About the Building Bridges project

Big Lotter (branding)

Building Bridges is a project for 14-25 year olds with additional needs.

The project is based within Bridges Centre in Monmouth, but is a countywide project. Monmouthshire is split into three main areas with a project focus in each area; Monmouth, Abergavenny and Chepstow and Caldicot.

Our aim is to support and encourage young people to engage in their local communities; broadening their social networks, making friends, confidence building and learning social skills. Our focus is on sustainability and supporting our young people to make connections with individuals and groups that outlive the life of our project. We do this through one-to-one and group work encompassing social, leisure and work related activities.


A parent's perspective: 'Adam, one year on...'
The mother of one of the young people who's been involved with the Building Bridges project describes how here son's life has progressed over the year since we first met him.


Project team

Caldicot & Chepstow
Rio Whittaker
Tel: 07584 299611

Lisa Harris
Tel: 07788 606382

Andy Spencer
Tel: 07788 606268

For general enquiries please email:


How the project works


Initially we find out all about the young people and what their hopes, dreams and aspirations are, and then try to find ways to help them achieve the things that are important to them and for them.

Having met our young people and families, our project workers go out into the local community to explore the most suitable opportunities, and the best people to link up with. In some cases, where suitable opportunities do not exist, we explore setting up small groups so that like-minded young people can experience a new or existing interest in the company of others. This provides a relaxed and informal atmosphere to help ease social anxiety and offers the opportunity to build relationships through a common interest.

Sometimes where local opportunities do exist, we work alongside the young people to give them confidence to build a social network within the group setting. This could be within a club, work place, gym, volunteering placement among others.

In Monmouth young people have linked in with the local fishing group where they have had fun fishing with the club and learning new skills. Some of the young people have joined the club and made new friends in their community giving them confidence and a feeling of belonging.

In Abergavenny young people have linked in with a new community centre, joining in with community groups and activities, delivering leaflets, cooking for events and using the various spaces to hang out, having fun and getting to know the people who live in their local area. This has given them a sense of being within their community, building their confidence and improving their wellbeing.

In Magor a group of young people set up a pop up shop in the community when their local shop was closed for refurbishment. The young people learnt new skills and got to know people in their local community. One young person gained employment in the new shop when it reopened.

Other young people on the project have recently set up a community coffee shop and some have worked hard to gain their Bronze Duke of Edinburgh Award. Many are volunteering at the Bridges Centre in Monmouth and other vital community projects. Some have learnt to swim, climb, hill walk, cycle, sail, canoe, build rafts and shelters. Others have learnt to play pool, petanque, belly dance, drum, dance and cook.

We have set up and are involved in regular youth clubs, drama and dance groups, swimming groups, football groups and golfing sessions. We also hold planning sessions with the young people in coffee shops.

Together with the young people we have run a cycling event, camping trips, cinema clubs, a baking business, managed an AirBnB let, a coffee shop and a local shop.

The young people have learnt more about their local communities, the environment, disabilities awareness, sexual health, stress management, lesbian and gay issues. They have presented at conferences and schools talking about the project, their lives and disability awareness and they have given feedback to the local council, social services and The Welsh Government.

The young people have achieved way and above anything we had envisaged for the project when it started.

Through all these things they have gained confidence, friendships, relationships, self-awareness, independence, employability skills and a lust for life. Several have moved out independently, others have got jobs, gone to college, passed their driving test and one couple got engaged!


Impact Report 2013 – 2017

A digest of the project's comprehensive 2013 – 2017 evaluation report prepared by Carp Collaborations. First published and distributed at our 'Big Event' on 28th June 2017.

Adobe Acrobat (icon)Download a copy of the Project's 2013 – 2017 'Impact Report'

CARP Collaborations is a not-for-profit social enterprise and workers cooperative based in Swansea.


End of year 2 evaluation report

This report was prepared by our independent evaluators, CARP Collaborations, in November 2015. It features data generated by Building Bridges own monitoring mechanisms and significant levels of qualitative data from parents and disabled young people and also documents influencing activities, giving examples of how research can aid policy development.

The report has four main purposes:

Adobe Acrobat (icon)Download a copy of our Year 2 evaluation report

CARP Collaborations is a not-for-profit social enterprise and workers cooperative based in Swansea.