Statement on the recent evacuation of Barton House, Bristol

First published 29th November 2023

The Diocese of Bristol has been deeply concerned by the news that on 14 November hundreds of people were evacuated from Barton House in Barton Hill due to a recent building survey finding that there is a risk to the structure of the block.

Following the evacuation, St Luke’s Church, Barton Hill has been supporting people from the Barton House and the wider Barton Hill community through its long-standing work with children and families and the weekly food bank, while also exploring the use of the church crypt for cooking facilities. The church team is working with other community and faith leaders in order to support those who are living in temporary accommodation as a result of the evacuation and to raise wider community housing concerns.

The Rt Revd Vivienne Faull, Bishop of Bristol said:

“I am experiencing growing concern over the urgent situation unfolding at Barton House and in the wider Barton Hill community and offer my heartfelt sympathies to all affected by this crisis.

“The evacuation process is undoubtedly a difficult and unsettling experience for those involved, and our prayers are with each and every one of them. It is our duty, as a community bound by faith, that we act generously, offering our support and assistance in any way possible.

“Scripture tells us that every human being deserves a safe place that they can call home. We see it in Isaiah (32:18): ’My people will abide in a peaceful habitation, in secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places.’ So let us all pray that the people of Barton House may soon regain a sense of home and start healing as a community.

“I am in close contact with our church community in Barton Hill, particularly the team at St Luke's Church, who are working hard supporting the community during this trying time and extend my deepest appreciation for all they are doing.”

The Revd Nicola Harris, Chaplain for Housing for the Diocese of Bristol said:

“I am extremely concerned about the situation at Barton House and particularly by the short and long-term impact on lives when people, and especially children, are unable to stay in their homes.

“As part of Bristol’s Temporary Accommodation Action Group, I hear so many personal stories of those living in temporary accommodation and I know others in the Diocese are meeting people in housing need through initiatives such as food banks and Warm Spaces.

“As a nation, we desperately need to go further upstream in order to bring about the systemic changes required and this is the work that organisations like the Housing Festival and the Archbishops’ Housing Executive are seeking to do locally and nationally. I believe this is another way that we can seek to demonstrate the unconditional love and care of God for all of humanity.”

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