I came to HWV via the job centre to improve my knowledge of IT, so that when I return to my profession as a painter and decorator I can use that knowledge to help me create documents. I have learned elements of I.T. such as Spreadsheets so I can do my own accounts, Presentation so I can create a proficient image to further an advance to procure potential clients. With Word, I can write up a professional letter or quote which hopefully will impress future clients.

With the superb help of my teachers Deb and Tracey, I quickly went through CLAIT and then worked my way through the next level ECDL to pass my finals.
I am now doing volunteer work with the IT team.


After 7 years in retail, I decided to change my job, and go to work in an office environment.

I did not have any experience and English is my second language, I realised that I had to study before being able to work in any office.

I joined HWV and started to study ECDL.  The teachers (Tracey and Debbie) were very helpful and gave me so much help and support I believed that I could do it.

I started to work in a law firm even before I completed the course. I am currently in the mailroom filing documents using Excel a lot.

This year I enrolled on another course to do accounting, as my plan is either to work in accounting or an HR department.

It was the best decision I made, to do this course, to start on my new career path.



“HWV support two job clubs in North Bristol: SCART Shop Job Club in Southmead (Wed 9:30am-11:30am) and Wescott Jobs Club in Lawrence Weston (Fri 10:00am-1:00pm). Bev came along to Wescott Jobs Club at the end of June this year having been signposted by the local Jobcentre, and while there she signed up for Work Zone 1-to-1 person centred employability support with our Work Zone Navigator Andy.

Initially Bev, a mother of 9 children, was despondent and demotivated at the idea of working. The only job she’d ever had was a months temp work at a warehouse. We talked and discussed her home situation and let Bev dictate the pace. Bev had helped her mother nurse her elderly father with dementia and found the idea of care-work with similar older people attractive. We explored a number of vacancies in care, but her lack of own transport consistently became a barrier. Then we heard that a care home a few minutes’ walk from Bev was recruiting and Bev applied. She was successful, began her training in October and started full-time as a Care Assistant shortly afterwards.

On her day off today Bev popped into Wescott Jobs Club again to say thank you and added “I’d never have got this job if it hadn’t been for you lot.”

Personal & Social Development

My name is Hayley and I am going to tell you how my journey at HWV @ The Gatehouse started.

I was introduced to the centre in September 2015 after going through some very bad personal problems, but I was never really interested until I joined my first course with Julie Watts, which was called “Knowing Me, Knowing my child” in January 2016.

At first, I was a bit hesitant to join the course because I lacked confidence and self-esteem, so I was frightened of being judged, but Julie and the group made me feel so welcome.  I wasn’t very talkative and I never participated in group discussions.  I would not talk to people during breaks as I didn’t know them and didn’t know how they would react towards me.

In the second or third week of January 2016 I mentioned that I would like to improve my English and Maths skills, so Julie encouraged me to enquire about it.

I started English at Entry Level 3, near the end of January 2016, with Nic and have progressed over the last two years, finally finishing Level 2 English in November 2018.  I took my written exam in October and got 100%! Which I was shocked about but also proud of.

I started maths, at Entry Level 3, in September 2017 and passed that level in December 2017.  I am now taking my practice exams for Level 1, with the hope of taking my exam in December 2018.  I would like to progress to Level 2 as I would like to have the same level in both my Maths and English.

I have also taken the cooking courses here with Caroline, as I wanted to improve my cooking skills and learn how to eat more healthily.  I have really enjoyed this as I love to cook when I have the time.

I am so grateful for the opportunity that the centre has given me to improve my skills and through this, my confidence has slowly built up.  I have also made some wonderful friends and have the best tutors who always support me whenever needed.

I will be starting a new job in the new year, working at the hospital, which has always been my dream. I think that without this guidance from my tutors and new-found friends, I would never have come this far.  I would like to thank everyone who has helped and supported me, especially through the most difficult times of my life.

If you’re looking to improve your skills and would like to meet new people and build your confidence, then HWV @ The Gatehouse is definitely for you.

You will NOT be judged and will always be supported.
My name is Ebony.

My journey at HWV started 3 years ago when my eldest child joined the nursery. I lacked a lot of confidence and Julie Watts tried to get me onto her courses for a while. As a young mum of two young children, I had cut myself off from most of the outside world and lived in my own little bubble, isolating myself from the world.

Fast forward a year and my youngest started nursery at HWV as well. I felt like I was ready to finally try and get myself out there mainly for my own mental health. I gave Julie Watts' personal development groups a go, I love them so much I stayed on to do more, including the Level 2 course which will be my last with Julie.

A few months ago a job was advertised here at HWV. Julie suggested that it was something I’d be good at. She knew I was ready to move on to the next stage in my life, as I had always worked from the minute I left school up until I had my first child. With Julie's support, I applied for the job, and to my delight I was successful. From that moment on my life has just got better and better.

I would never have had the confidence or drive to go for it if it wasn’t for Julie’s personal development courses. I now feel like I have a purpose in life other than being “just a mum” and as much as being a single parent and working part time can be hard sometimes I really enjoy my job.

I’ve met some amazing people who I think will remain friends for life. Our group over the last 2 years has become more of a family. We have all gone through some hard times and have all been there through the tears and heartbreak and supported each other to get through it.

Hartcliffe & Withywood Ventures
The Gatehouse
Hareclive Road
BS13 9JN​​

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Phone:  0117 9781708
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English & Maths

Hello, everyone, I would like to tell you my success story at HWV Gatehouse. I have been coming to The Gatehouse for three years now; I am 53 years old.  I came here to get qualifications in English as I did not do any exams at school.

I started my English course in Kate’s class at Entry 2.  Kate helped me a lot as I lacked in confidence.  Now I am happy to say I have confidence thanks to the tutors and staff at The Gatehouse.

I passed my Entry 2 in Kate’s class then I moved up to Alasdair’s class and gained even more confidence.  I passed my Entry 3 & Level 1 in Alasdair’s class.  I am so grateful to the tutors for helping me get this far.

If it wasn’t for The Gatehouse and their tutors I would still be at home with no qualifications.

I also do I.T. CLAIT that will help me get a job.
I am now doing well in Level 2 English.  I am so grateful to the centre and the tutors, so I thank them for their help.



Marti is a young man with ADHD and Tourette’s syndrome.  In the past, he has had some significant behavioural issues and has an Educational Health Care Plan.  This has not made education easy for him and it was always easier for him to just not attend school or college. 

A2A has made a huge difference to Marti and he has been regularly attending A2A for over a year.

With support and determination, Marti has identified the times where he needs to take short breaks and seek pastoral support.  Initially struggling with focusing in sessions, he is now able to concentrate on tasks, with the given support from his tutors and is now focusing on learning.  His work with a staff member, specifically to look at all the issues that Marti faces in and out of studying, has helped him develop an improved attitude towards learning and to manage his behaviour significantly better than he has in the past.

With improved confidence in his own abilities and capabilities, Marti is now looking to take his Level 1 maths and Level 2 English exam in June 2019.  He has shown an increased interest in moving forward and looking at what he wants to do in the future.

This might seem like a small step to you, but it’s a huge leap for Marti.