Zion Community Art Space closed in Bedminster Down as part of old church collapses
THE owner of a community arts project is counting the cost of repairs after part of the old church building collapsed.
Zion Community Art Space in Bedminster Down, which is housed in a former chapel, is run as a not-for-profit organisation by Jess Wright, who bought it in 2010 from the methodist church.
Firefighters were called to the building in Bishopsworth Road at 8.30pm on Tuesday after reports that the gable end of the building had partially collapsed internally.
A Bishopsworth Neighbourhood Forum meeting, which involved council officers, the local police team and residents, was taking place at the venue when attendees saw part of the ceiling give way.
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A structural engineer was called to examine the building and parts of the road and pavement were cordoned off for fear of further collapse.
The building is now to be examined by a loss adjuster to see whether the damage will be covered by Ms Wright's insurance.
The arts space has been closed for the foreseeable future with all events planned for the rest of this week cancelled.
The building housed Zion Methodist Church until August 2008, when the last service was held.
The dwindling congregation could no longer sustain its use and the chapel was left derelict.
In 2010 Ms Wright came across the building while she was looking for a unique property that could house the various community projects that she had worked on over the years.
After Ms Wright had secured planning permission, completion on the building was finalised in April 2011 and work began to restore it as a centre for the community.
She set up Zion Bristol – a not-for-profit social enterprise with all income used to create a sustainable future for the community art space.
The enterprise is not funded by the council and relies on all its events and activities to fund the space.
It hosts a range of events and activities from film and quiz nights to talks, workshops, markets and exhibitions.
It is available to rent for meetings and parties, and also provides a café for residents.
Ms Wright is now waiting to hear back from her insurers but hopes to get events up and running again as soon as possible.
She told The Post: "It's an important building in the area and gets used by a lot of people.
"I am hoping that we can get it reopened again as soon as possible."