Student Village

Trinity College Student Village Development

Building a Christ-centred learning community in the heart of Bristol.

“From the moment I walked in, I felt like I belonged. Community life at Trinity is vibrant and loving and the two years I have spent here have been the most fruitful and enjoyable years of my life.”

So many Trinity students say that the best thing about studying here is living as part of a Christ-centred, challenging, encouraging community. There’s a special feel to this place; an atmosphere and a Kingdom way of life that’s infectious. We want more future ministers and everybody who visits this place to experience it and take it with them when they go.

That’s why we’re planning new, flexible accommodation on site at Trinity College that will nurture this community for the next 50 years and beyond.

It’s not the same on Zoom!

Trinity life is about more than just lectures – it’s what goes on as we gather at the chapel each morning, share lunch together, or sit around a campfire after dark. There’s a rhythm to life here that forms a deep community.

This is why we welcome our ‘dispersed’ learners who live elsewhere to come and stay for block weeks on campus, rather than just taking a day trip. Our students living out in the city gather here frequently and take this way of life back to the Bristol churches and neighbourhoods they’re part of.

The culture in the campus community sets the tone for everybody’s experience of Trinity College – whether they’re students, conference guests, visitors, local churches or families using our nursery. It’s worth investing in.

“Having the chance to talk about the things I’m learning, especially with friends who may see things differently to me, every day over lunch or coffee or on placement, has been a massive help to me!”

Flexibility for the future

At the moment, our on-site accommodation (the Carter block) is old, dormitory-style and only suitable for our single students. We welcome students with spouses and children (we even have our own nursery!), but currently they can only live off-site in one of our houses in Bristol.

This has its benefits, and we intend to keep the same arrangement for now, but we want our new housing to be more adaptable; able to meet the college’s needs whatever our student demographic looks like in years to come. The buildings will have a flexible layout, so they could be used by single students, guests, groups or families in the future.

We also need much better accessibility. We plan for our new student village to be accessible by default, including wheelchair access and hearing loops, so that any student can enjoy living in the campus community.

Another thing we’ve been able to do is to offer our accommodation, when it’s standing empty, to people in need in the city. We’ve been working with local partners like Bristol Hospitality Network to house asylum seekers where we can, both off and on site, and have loved welcoming them into this special community.

There is a growing housing crisis in Bristol and our desire is not to buy up more properties to house our students in the city, but to build our own sustainable accommodation that we can share when we have opportunity.

The woodland village

The new student village will be a cluster of buildings surrounded by woodland, with shared spaces for the community to meet. It will be carefully and sympathetically designed so that it blends in with the woodland and trees, and doesn’t overshadow the historic Stoke House. Nearly 40 architects entered our competition to design the development.

We want to use sustainable materials and ensure the new buildings are energy efficient and built to stand the test of time. Our goal is to work with local builders and tradespeople, investing in our wider community.

Our aims align with the vision of Archbishop of Canterbury’s Commission on Housing, Church and Community – to ‘build better communities and homes, not just houses’. Bristol City Council is also encouraging the building of sustainable, affordable new accommodation, and the project is enthusiastically supported by Bristol Housing Festival.

The next phase…

Once the new student village is complete, we plan to redevelop the old Carter block so that it can accommodate all of our dispersed learners during their block weeks, along with guests and visitors.

The long-term plan is to have enough accommodation on site at Trinity College for everybody to experience and contribute to the “vibrant and loving” community.


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