What does the Bearpit mean to you?
The Bearpit to me means work, an exciting place to be, a job that I wanted for a long time - well a project that I wanted to be involved with for quite a long time. It means possibility, it means fresh starts. I think that’s pretty much, just about, what it means to me - at this moment in time.
Can you describe the community of the Bearpit in one sentence?
Yeah! We’re all a bunch of mad nutters! Everyone here: the trading community - they work super hard and just have tirelessly been here working day in, day out, rain or shine. Under canopies - can you imagine standing under a canopy for 4 years in the freezing cold? Creating new opportunities for themselves and willing to always try and create for others, like me. Just everyone here; the people that come through here. People who come from Clifton who are really shocked, they think it’s a really scary place but, actually, they figure that it’s not. They realise they can stop here and be a part of it and watch and observe and see what young kids in Bristol are up to - What with all the skaters, the gardening projects that happen. And, yes, there’s a huge community of homeless people that gather here and some of them are homeless and some of them are not. You know, there’s a lot of troublesome characters, with their addictions and things, but it’s also interesting to talk to those people and it’s really important to remember that those people exist. You can just walk past them here and ignore the fact that they're there. But they are there. And again, it’s an opportunity to try and learn and merge those communities and work with the people within that community, understand that community and we can learn so much from them.
What is your worst memory of the Bearpit?
What would my worst memory be? I’m gonna have to think on that because i’ve only had… I haven't really had any bad situations. Okay. My worst one, we were opening up one morning and there were some really aggressive, drug messed people sleeping on the porch. There were two of us here and we were trying to wake them up. One guy, started out friendly but he rapidly got aggressive and he was quite verbally abusive. Then, he started kicking one guy to tell him to wake up, to get off of the floor, but the guy wouldn't wake up because because he was so drug messed. Then he threw up all over the decking and that's not what you want on a Saturday morning when, you’re trying to open up and you just wanna work and you just wanna do your job and you’re trying to have a conversation with them and level with them but, they're so messed up that you just can't. It was really difficult to get that going and it took me over an hour and a half to get the shop open and clear that situation and we had called the police but they didn't show up until about 4 o’clock that afternoon when we were closing. We could have done with a bit of help, that was pretty exhausting and just not nice to see at the beginning of the day or to experience.
What is your best memory of the Bearpit?
I think, I guess my first day working here actually.
Because, I used to come through here before on my way back home from work. And I used to dream of working in a kind of more open environment with food again because I was doing a lot of office and events work.
And I was working super hard.
But that changed that day I started working here. It was a bright day, it was just a beautiful day and I felt really positive and excited again about the future and all the plans that tie in with this, with me being here and the things that I’m doing elsewhere in my life.
It was just a really exciting day.
Describe your perfect Bearpit day.