Time to Talk Day

Today’s blog is from Councillor Ellie King Cabinet Member with responsibility for Public Health and Communities.

Over the past three years, we have all faced many significant challenges, many having widespread impacts, including on people’s mental health and wellbeing. The COVID-19 pandemic, the lockdowns, restrictions and uncertainty, while important for slowing the spread of the virus, had a major impact on a lot of people’s mental health and wellbeing. According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), one in six adults said they experienced some form of depression in the summer of 2021.

Talking about our mental health helps to reduce stigma and create supportive communities, where we can talk openly and feel empowered to seek help when we need it. Time to Talk Day is an important way to start that conversation.

As we face a cost of living crisis, and rising cost of food and energy bills, we need to highlight the impact it is having around mental health and wellbeing, to let people know that it is ok to talk about it.

The cost of living crisis is affecting many people, whether that be reducing the amount you turn the heating on or struggling to get a normal food shop in. These difficulties and worrying about finances can have a significant impact on mental health and wellbeing, and if you already have poor mental health, these money worries can make things even worse.

Whether you are struggling financial or with mental health and wellbeing, or both, it is important to reach out regardless of what level of support you need. You do not need to be in a crisis before asking for help, it is better to ask the questions and get advice before getting to that point.

I know that I struggled during lockdown home-schooling my two children and worrying about my friends and family. It can be difficult asking for help, you may feel ashamed and awkward about asking but it is important to know you don’t have to suffer alone. While it may take some time to work things through, help is available, you will not be judged and if you are anything like me, you will find it a huge relief and support.

Welcoming Spaces

Since October, 90 Welcoming Spaces have opened across Bristol. They are places where people can keep warm, socialise with others, and access support. Citizens Advice Bristol are running drop-in sessions at various venues to give practical guidance around benefits, money, debt and energy, and they can signpost to specialist legal if more assistance is needed.

Welcoming Spaces are open for all to visit whether you are having a good or bad day. If you are feeling lonely or struggling to keep warm at home, need mental health or emotional wellbeing support, or are finding you’re struggling due to worries around the cost of living, please utilise the services available and don’t suffer alone. Help is available.

You can find your nearest Welcoming Space on the Bristol City Council website.

Other support

If you don’t feel comfortable attending a Welcoming Space, other support for mental health and money issues are available across the city.

Every Mind Matters give expert advice and practical tips to help you look after your mental health.

If you’re struggling most days, it’s important you ask for support. Community Access Support Service can signpost to organisations across Bristol for all groups of people and communities.

If you start to feel that daily life is getting too much to cope with, you can contact The Samaritans or Shout 85258.

The Samaritans offer support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on:

  • 0330 094 5717
  • freephone 116 123

Shout 85258 offers confidential text support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. When you need immediate help, text SHOUT to 85258.

Bristol Mind also has online resources to support older people’s mental health and emotional wellbeing.

VitaMinds is a free and confidential NHS service which offers a range of short-term talking therapies to people aged 16 and over who live in and are registered with a GP in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire.

Second Step supply mental health and wellbeing services to help people take the next steps in their recovery. They give practical help and emotional support tailored to everyone.

Changes Bristol give free peer support to any adult suffering from mental distress. This includes weekly in-person and online support as well as a telephone befriending service.

Citizens Advice can give you free advice around money, housing and legal problems.

Use the Money Helper website for free tools to help track spending, save and get help while you’re working.

Get tips about managing money from Money Saving Expert.

Further cost of living support is available on the Bristol City Council website or you can call the We Are Bristol helpline for free on 0800 694 0184, Monday to Friday 8.30am to 5pm.

Bristol’s Quality of Life survey: The Impact of the cost of living crisis is significant

Results from 2023’s Quality of Life survey highlights the impact the national cost of living crisis is having on Bristol residents. Unfortunately, there are increases in residents worries about everyday life, costs and functions. Almost half of participants are extremely or moderately worried about keeping their home warm this winter.

Across Bristol there are many people having to choose between putting food on the table and heating their homes, a choice that no one should have to make in 2023. Our city’s advice services are incredibly busy with people asking for help and advice on managing money and debt, and there are so many people concerned with how they will pay their rent or energy bills next month.

With the national cost of living crisis having a staggering impact on so many people across our city, it is unsurprising that themes associated with it have come through strongest in our annual Quality of Life survey. Now in its 23rd year, the Quality of Life survey is an extensive annual residents’ survey for Bristol.

This year’s survey saw a total of around 4,000 responses. Overall, 62% of people reported being satisfied with life: a significant drop from before the pandemic, when satisfaction rates were 75%. In particular, food insecurity is notably worse than last year and pre-pandemic. 8% of respondents told us they are now experiencing moderate or worse food insecurity, but this is doubling to 16% in the most deprived areas.

Everyone has seen a huge increase in their energy bills, and this does not seem to be stopping. Analysis from Investec forecasts the energy price cap for households will fall to £2,478 in the summer, which may ease some of the pressure on citizens struggling to cope, but is still far too high for most. A new question added to the survey this year asked if people were “worried about keeping their home warm this winter”, answers show almost half (48%) are extremely or moderately worried, rising to 62% of people in deprived areas. Over the winter months this concern has been addressed with a network of Welcoming Spaces, where people can keep warm, socialise with others, and access support. People’s satisfaction with the cost of rent or their mortgage (49%) also fell significantly, a 10% drop compared to 2019.

I know that these past few months have been incredibly tough for so many. Remember, you are not alone. If you are struggling to put food on the table or to pay your energy bills, please reach out. If you just need some basic advice around money management and budgeting, please reach out. You do not need to be in crisis before asking for support, it’s better to ask the questions and get advice before you get to that point.

Aside from the cost of living, a new question asking if people “feel unsafe from sexual harassment using public transport in Bristol” shows 8% of respondents overall feel unsafe; 12% of women feel unsafe but this doubles to 25% of young women aged 16-24 feeling unsafe. This is essential data for us as we continue work on vital initiatives, such as the city’s Women’s Safety Charter, to help tackle gender inequality, women’s safety and to make Bristol a fair and inclusive city.

On a positive note, citizens’ satisfaction with Bristol’s household waste (74%) and recycling services (73%) both rose significantly last year and are above pre-pandemic levels. Those who think “air quality and traffic pollution is a problem locally” has fallen significantly to 70%, much improved on pre-pandemic levels, and has also seen improvement in the most deprived areas (63%). However, the satisfaction with the local bus services continues to fall significantly (38% from 49%) and this fell even further in the most deprived areas (34% from 49%).

You can read the full Quality of Life survey headline report on the Bristol City Council website. The full range of 2022/23 indicators will be published in March via the Data Dashboard on www.bristol.gov.uk/qualityoflife, with a final report to follow. The 2022 survey consisted of 75 questions that will produce around 190 indicators, on topics such as health, lifestyles, community, local services and living in Bristol.

If you need support or advice with the cost of living please reach out, there are organisations that can help you. Visit the Bristol City Council cost of living webpage or call the We Are Bristol helpline for free on 0800 694 0184 between 8.30am and 5pm, Monday to Friday.

There are also things you can do for yourself as well to help you manage your money or debt. Citizens Advice has a budgeting tool to help you understand what you’re earning and spending and where you might be able to cut costs. They also have a debt remedy tool. You can find out if you’re eligible for Pension Credit and how much you could get on the government website. Bristol City Council’s benefits calculator will help you find out what benefits you can claim. Citizens Advice Bristol are also running drop-in sessions at some of the city’s Welcoming Spaces to provide people with practical guidance around benefits, money, debt and energy.

Bristol Light Festival is back!

Vicky Lee, smiling, in front of Bristol harbour.
Today’s guest blog is from Vicky Lee, Head of Bristol City Centre BID
(Business Improvement District)

Now in our third year, Bristol Light Festival will illuminate the city centre with stunning, interactive, and captivating light installations, creating a trail through the centre of Bristol from this Friday, 3 February, until next Sunday, 12 February.

Bringing more light, fun and colour to the city centre will brighten up the winter evenings. Visitors can explore eleven light installations as they come to life between 5pm till 10pm, enjoying the city’s food, drink and hospitality offerings along the way. Presented by Bristol City Centre BID, this year’s festival will have something for everyone: the perfect winter pick-me-up that is sure to delight.

We want to bring a sense of fun, togetherness, and joy to the city across the late winter period, encouraging visitors to explore Bristol at night and enjoy the centre’s rich selection of night-time economy businesses.

Two children looking at each other, laughing, at the The Trumpet Flowers light installation in Sydney in 2019. This installation will be coming to Bristol Lights Festival 2023.
The Trumpet Flowers light installation in Sydney in 2019. It will be coming to the upcoming Bristol Light Festival.

Bristol Light Festival demonstrates the importance of free-to-attend events in supporting city centre businesses and attracting people to spend leisure time in the city during the quieter months. This was evident in 2022 with £3.4 million additional revenue in local businesses reported across the event, providing an economic boost for businesses when they need it most.

Each year we work with key partners and organisations, and this year our partner support has enabled the event to grow and offer even more. We have newly commissioned artworks, exciting new locations to discover and a longer ten day event, making it a real city-wide event.

The 2023 programme, curated by our Creative Director Katherine Jewkes, is bringing some exciting artworks to the festival from internationally acclaimed artists and the best of south west talent, most of which have never been seen in Bristol. We look forward to welcoming visitors to Bristol Light Festival to enjoy the city centre and all that it has to offer. The event embodies everything that Bristol represents and showcases it as the vibrant, playful and creative city that we know and love.

Bristol Light Festival is presented by Bristol City Centre Business Improvement District (BID), supported by Redcliffe & Temple BID, Broadmead BID, and Cabot Circus. The festival is also supported by Bristol’s City Centre & High Streets Recovery and Renewal programme, which is funded by Bristol City Council and the West of England’s Combined Authority’s Love our High Streets project, with the aim of supporting the recovery of Bristol’s priority high streets.

For more information, a map of the installations and locations, and updates about the event, please visit www.bristollightfestival.org and follow us on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and using the hashtag #BristolLightFestival

Supporting people with No Recourse to Public Funds

Councillor Tom Renhard, smiling, on College Green.
Today’s guest blog is from Councillor
Tom Renhard, Cabinet Member
for Housing Delivery and Homes

In the Autumn, I had the pleasure of chairing a meeting of organisations working across Bristol to support people with No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF). NRPF status means that people don’t have access to a wide range of social security benefits and payments, including Universal Credit and Housing Benefit.

It affects a huge range of over 1 million people in the UK, including those seeking asylum, EU citizens, recent arrivals from Hong Kong, and young professionals here on a spousal or family visa. For these different groups, having NRPF status means that when things go wrong – maybe an illness or losing their job – they don’t have access to the welfare safety net that the rest of us have access to. As a result, many people with NRPF, along with their children and families, can face homelessness and destitution through no fault of their own. 

Stills from the Bristol Refugee Rights video of lived experiences of NRPF. A cartoon of a young person playing with toys.
Stills from the Bristol Refugee Rights video of lived experiences of NRPF

Local Authorities receive no dedicated funding from central Government to support those with NRPF. During Covid, the Everyone In policy did briefly give us the chance to offer housing to everyone who needed it in the city. Knowing that this wouldn’t last forever, we set up a One City Task Force to bring together the skills and resources of Bristol City Council, the Homelessness sector and the Refugee sector to take a longer-term view. Through this collaboration we were able to help more than 75 people with NRPF successfully move on from the Everyone In accommodation rather than heading straight back to the streets, cutting rough sleeping by around 80%. 

From this success, an idea was born: the Bristol Model of NRPF support. It’s a holistic and collaborative framework for bringing together services and support based on four key principles – design out destitution, informed and supported, included and involved and a safe place to stay. It builds on the insight and premise that when people have their basic needs catered for, they can then make progress in escaping NRPF-enforced destitution, either by finding new work or by changing their legal status. It also works on the principle that no single organisation or sector in the city can effectively support those with NRPF on their own.

At the meeting, we heard from several organisations about their experiences of working with the Bristol Model. Bristol Refugee Rights and the Big Issue have both worked hard to make sure that people’s lived experiences of NRPF are at the centre of these conversations, and we watched a powerful film that captures the crippling insecurity and hopelessness that NRPF can cause. 

We also heard about how people have creatively found resources to help make the Bristol Model a reality. At the council we’re proud to have put the Model at the heart of our efforts to tackle rough sleeping, including our successful bid for funding from the Rough Sleeping Initiative over the next three years. This will secure some bed spaces for those with NRPF, caseworker capacity, access to legal advice from Bristol Law Centre and a specialist sub-group of our Rough Sleeping Partnership.

There is plenty more to do on this issue, and nobody is resting on any laurels. But we are confident that the Bristol Model gives us the right framework, one that is rooted in lived experience and consistent with the One City Approach. This work sits alongside efforts to tackle Bristol’s housing crisis through building enough new homes for our city and lobbying for required changes in legislation.

We are also truly humbled and grateful that, despite the unjust and often inhumane approach of the National Government on this, we live in a City of Sanctuary full of people and organisations willing to go the extra mile to make sure that everyone has the chance to build a life of dignity and purpose here in Bristol.  

Ayham, a Bristol school pupil, is pictured holding a letter that they addressed to the Home Secretary.
The Mayor recently received a copy of a letter on
a related topic from Ayham, a Bristol school pupil,
addressed to the Home Secretary.

Housing support during the national Cost of Living crisis

Today’s guest blog is
from Ally Rush – Strategic Lead, Shelter Bristol

The national housing crisis is inextricably linked with the national cost of living crisis. Hundreds of thousands are struggling to afford to keep a roof over their heads, and we now face a perfect storm of spiralling rents and rising bills that threatens to push many towards the brink of homelessness. In Bristol we have more than 19,000 households on our waiting list for social housing, along with over 1,100 households in temporary accommodation and a cost of operating crisis that is impacting the ability of support services to meet the needs of all.

How can I access housing support?

1. Struggling to pay rent

Rent is considered a priority debt as not paying could mean you lose your home. If you are struggling to pay or have fallen into arrears, it’s important to get advice as soon as you can as you may be eligible for additional financial assistance.

Try to negotiate with your landlord or agent, they may consider an affordable repayment plan, or even a temporary rent reduction – ensure any agreements or arrangements are in writing. Even private landlords may understand and will let you stay if your problems can be sorted out.

Early intervention can prevent a situation from worsening to the point where you may face homelessness. It is critical that households can access the financial assistance that is available to support them to pay their rent.

Discretionary Housing Payments are available when Housing Benefit or Universal Credit doesn’t provide enough money to pay your rent. More information is available on Bristol City Council’s website or from Shelter.

You can read about the different types of support that may be available if you need help with paying your rent on the Shelter website.

Your landlord must follow the specific rules when increasing rent. Simply telling you that the rent is going up does not actually change the rent legally. However, if you pay the new rent your landlord is proposing, this is treated as a legal acceptance of it. The same is true if you sign a new agreement accepting the new rent. Read about rent increases on the Shelter website

If the rent increase is excessive or the landlord is not following the correct procedure you can contact the council’s Private Renting Team.

2. Legally homeless:

If you cannot pay for the basics like food or heating after paying for your housing, you could be legally homeless.

You can approach the council’s homeless prevention team who will look at whether your home is affordable. If it isn’t, the council will need to look at assisting in accessing alternative housing options.

How can I take action?

  1. Know your rights and get essential advice

Get expert housing advice from Shelter advisers 365 days a year – over the phone, web chat, or on our website. We also hold free, online workshops.

Tel: 0808 800 4444 – open Mon to Fri, 8am to 8pm, weekends and bank holidays, 9am to 5pm. Email home@shelter.org.uk or on the Shelter website.

You can also seek financial advice from Citizens Advice Bureau, Step Change, Bristol’s Welfare Rights and Money Advice Service (WRAMAS) or Talking Money​.

If you receive a notice from your landlord, seek housing advice from Shelter, CHAS or Citizens Advice Bureau.

  1. Join together to fight for a fair renting system

The Bristol Fair Renting campaign was launched by local renters, with support from Shelter and the council, to demand urgent change to tackle high rents, poor conditions and discrimination in private renting.

The team of renters leading the campaign have all been personally impacted by the broken renting system and have been working hard to unite renters as a community and influence local politicians to bring the change they are fighting for.

They worked with Councillor Tom Renhard to shape a motion to tackle benefits discrimination, which councillors voted through in January 2022. In March, the campaign co-hosted a Renters’ Summit which brought the community together to start a conversation about what a local action plan to stamp out income discrimination needs to include, as well as what rent control could look like for Bristol.  More information can be found on the council’s website.

Show your support for the Bristol Fair Renting Manifesto.   

If you’re a renter and are interested in helping to lead the Fair Renting Campaign, or would like to share your story, please email daisy_picking@shelter.org.uk. 

For more cost of living support and advice visit the Bristol City Council cost of living webpage.

You can also call the We Are Bristol phone line on 0800 694 0184, Monday to Friday 8.30am to 5pm.

A ground-breaking new facility for Bristol Children’s Hospital

Mayor Marvin Rees (left) and Nicola Masters (right), smiling in front of Bristol Children's Hospital
Today’s guest blog is from Nicola Masters (right),
Director and Co-founder of The Grand Appeal.

The Grand Appeal is the dedicated charity for Bristol Children’s Hospital. As part of our commitment to ensuring the hospital remains at the forefront of children’s healthcare, we are creating a pioneering facility that will be the first of its kind in the UK.

Jingle Jam Building will offer accommodation and treatment facilities all under one roof.

Over 100,000 children from the South West and South Wales visit Bristol Children’s Hospital every year. Imagine arriving in Bristol, an unfamiliar city, with nowhere to go while your child needs life-saving care. With Bristol Children’s Hospital serving the whole city region and often further afield – the largest geographical area of any children’s hospital in England – this is the reality for many families that pass through its doors.

Some stay for days, but many stay for weeks or even months. Jingle Jam Building will mean these families can be together during the last steps of their child’s recovery before they return home.

This unique development will improve the care of young patients undergoing different treatments, such as

  • Children who need long-term rehabilitation and/or therapy after an accident or major surgery
  • Children who need rehabilitation after brain surgery or a brain injury
  • Children under the care of the Orthopaedic team who treat bone, joint, ligament, tendon, and muscle disorders
  • Children treated for chronic inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis
  • Children working with hospital dietitians or who need specialist diets
  • Children who have cystic fibrosis
Artist impressions of the Jingle Jam building.
Artists impression of the Jingle Jam building.

It will also increase resource, and capacity and enhance the incredible work of the talented doctors, nurses, and staff at Bristol Children’s Hospital. The building is currently in the planning stage and will be based near the hospital.

This project is only possible thanks to the support of Jingle Jam. Jingle Jam is the brainchild of Bristol-based gaming company, The Yogscast. This epic event is the world’s biggest gaming charity fundraiser, which brings together the gaming community each December to raise millions for good causes, including The Grand Appeal. We’re proud to have worked in partnership with our fellow Bristolians at The Yogscast since 2017. 

A picture of the Cots for Tots House.

Founded in 1995, The Grand Appeal works in partnership with Bristol Children’s Hospital to run a multi-million-pound portfolio of investment.

It’s where babies, children, and young people with highly complex medical conditions – from rare genetic disorders, neurological conditions and congenital heart disease to traumatic injuries, cancer, and kidney disease – are all cared for around the clock. 

Just like Bristol, the hospital is a hub of innovation, where these experts create a brighter future for sick children every day through a vast network of research projects with international impact. So much so that Bristol Children’s Hospital has been recognised in the world’s top 14 children’s hospitals (Newsweek, 2021).

It’s thanks to The Grand Appeal’s partnership with the hospital and our friends at Aardman, that Bristol Children’s Hospital is a pioneer in so many fields today. That partnership is only made possible through fundraising – in all its fantastic forms – by people with one thing in common: the drive to change the lives of seriously ill children and their families. 

Nicola Masters (left) and Mayor Marvin Rees (right) stand, smiling, outside the BRI. A sign on the building says: Bristol Royal Hospital for Children, Paul O'Gorman Building.

That vision that we all share has never been more critical. The incredible advancements in medicine that the last two decades have brought about mean that more and more children are living with increasingly complex conditions and will rely on hospital services throughout their lives. Our goal is not just that they survive; but that they thrive. 

Underpinned by economic uncertainty, children’s hospitals now rely on innovative technology, science and models of care – like Jingle Jam Building – and, of course, on the comprehensive support of charities like The Grand Appeal. 

Jingle Jam Building is just one of the ways we make your children’s hospital the very best it can be.

Director of Public Health’s report for 2023

Councillor Ellie King, smiling, on the ramp in front of Bristol City Hall.
Today’s guest blog is from Councillor
Ellie King, Cabinet Member for
Public Health and Communities

The New Year often goes hand in hand with new beginnings, new goals, and new resolutions. For many people, being more physically active comes top of their New Year’s Resolution list. Although most resolutions fall by the wayside by February, being more physically active doesn’t have to be about hitting the gym every week. Simply put, being more active is about getting your body moving more. Taking the stairs instead of the lift, or walking or cycling short trips rather than taking the car, contributes to a more active lifestyle.

This year’s Director of Public Health report focuses on physical activity and how leading a more active lifestyle not only benefits our physical and mental health, but also helps with disease prevention and recovery. As Dame Sally Davies, Chief Medical Officer for England said, ‘If physical activity were a drug, we’d talk about it as a miracle cure’.

It is estimated that the current UK population is 20 per cent less active than in the 1960s. There are many reasons why this is the case. Technology has changed the way we work and the way we spend our leisure time. Fewer of us have manual jobs than in the past whilst many more of us now rely on cars as our means of transport.

Games being played at an accessible Multi Sports Festival.

The 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games, aimed to inspire a generation to take up sport and regular physical activity. The UK government’s pledge to encourage more people to take up physical activity off the back of the Games was a means to forge a healthier and more active future. Ten years on and after a global pandemic, the number of people in Bristol who do the recommended amount of regular exercise each week dropped from 73 per cent between 2015 and 2019 to 67.1 per cent in 2021 according to the Quality of Life survey.

Needless to say, the pandemic years were challenging for many people, but they also taught us about the importance of physical activity. Going out for that daily walk or doing home workouts became highly valued during a time when our movement was restricted.

The report showcases ten inspiring real-life stories where people in Bristol have managed to build physical activity into their daily lives. In some cases, physical activity has helped people overcome the physical and emotional effects of COVID-19. It has also helped to tackle lifestyle-related illnesses such as type 2 diabetes as well as facilitated stronger community ties through inclusive activities and programmes.

Maroua Nouri, smiling, on the top of some stairs with her children.

Swimming pools and leisure centres provide opportunities and environments where people can be physically active. The council’s commitment to invest £8 million across its leisure facilities will ensure these sites continue to cater to a wide range of physical activities, interests, and abilities, whilst providing people the opportunity to find activities that they enjoy.

Please join the movement to be more active in 2023 by taking your own small steps. Programmes such as Bristol Girls Can, FIT Robins and accessible multi-sport events can help you get started. Whatever you’re doing, you will be making a difference. #ActiveBristol

South Bristol’s new world class Youth Zone

A photo of Cody, smiling. Cody is an assistant youth worker at Youth Moves.
Today’s guest blog is from Cody, an assistant youth worker at Youth Moves. He came to the project as a primary school pupil, and has come all the way through from young person to staff member. And he is excited about the impact the South Bristol Youth Zone could have on young people in different communities across the patch.

I understand the value of youth work, both professionally and personally.

I started out as a young person at Youth Moves, after meeting a youth worker called Paul at my local primary school in Knowle West. He told me that there was this club that I can go to, and they could help me get back into education.

I spent years with the project, and they helped me enormously get my life on track after experiencing a few issues along the way. Then one day I started volunteering as an older teenager because I wanted to give back to the community. I went to college, and after finishing a media course, Youth Moves offered me a chance to be a sports apprentice. I am now aged 21, and have my first full time job as an assistant youth worker, working in the area I grew up in.

I love it. But there are some challenges we face in the south of the city. There can be some tensions between young people from Knowle West and Hartcliffe. I don’t really have a problem working in Knowle because obviously I grew up there and know a lot of people in the area, especially older siblings to most of the young people that we work with. So it’s pretty easy for me to work there. But it’s not so much when I go to Hartcliffe, as a lot of the young people at first don’t want work with someone from Knowle. That’s how entrenched some of this stuff can be.

We must build the relationship first and then sort of let them know where we’re from once they’re comfortable with us. For example, I had one group from Hartcliffe, who told me that had they known that me and another worker were from Knowle, they would’ve refused to work with us. Once they had worked with us for three or four months, we took them to our current base in The Park Centre in Knowle, and some of the young people mixed, they got on.

But this takes time. We even recently took groups from both areas to a residential alongside Hartcliffe Club for Young People.

This is where the team at Youth Moves is strong, as we have staff born and raised in Knowle like me, and those from Hartcliffe that have those trusting relationships. We also have staff from outside the area that can give a broader perspective and fresh eyes on things.

A picture of Cody, standing in front of Morrisons in Hartcliffe.
Cody in Hartcliffe

So, with the new £8 million Youth Zone coming, our plan is to try and bring both communities together. It may seem naïve, but we have already started the work, to break down barriers and build a bridge between groups of young people. A barrier that shouldn’t be there anyway in my opinion.

There was a big divide, especially when I was growing up, and I reckon the Youth Zone will be a big part of solving this, because it’s right in the middle and in a space where all young people feel safe. The problem with our current location at the minute is it can be hard for the young people from Hartcliffe to get to and to always feel comfortable in.

It’s also important for young people from other parts of South Bristol to come too of course. I think once it’s there and it’s been there for a little while, we’ll be able to get funding to be able to transport young people to and from different locations across South Bristol.

Now you may be wondering what a Youth Zone actually is, well it’s basically a giant youth club with loads of facilities that’s open most of the week. Last year I went to visit one in Manchester, and I thought it was amazing. Part of me only wished there was something like that about when I was younger.

Walking through the building I was impressed, there was a gym for people that like their sport, their exercise. A football court, a boxing room. There was dedicated spaces for arts and crafts, hair and beauty. So, you’ve got everything and that’s what you need in a place. There’s something for everyone to do, and that’s where you’ll get everyone mixing and joining in and building relationships between communities and young people themselves.

And I feel like it’s been a long time coming for South Bristol, we deserve something of this standard to give to the young people to keep them off the streets and keep them out of trouble. There was nothing like this when I was growing up.  Bigger buildings like this are so much better because then it gives them a safe space to come to, and more things to do. And young people will probably trust us workers a bit more and open up about stuff they might have going on.

An image of 7 boys, standing in front of a goal, wearing football kits.
Cody as a young person (bottom left) with Youth Moves

It’s important to say that Youth Zone isn’t really all about Youth Moves either, it’s about the area. In the next couple of years, we will be looking for local organisations that we can invite in to come in and run different areas of the building. Local clubs and stuff. It’s going to be bigger than us, we are just based there.We want to make it a whole community thing.

What I love about the Youth Zone concept is also the involvement of young people in it, something that’s key. It’s important that young people have a say, something that can often get lost in debates and conversations on their behalf.

We will be setting up a young person’s advisory group and are actively looking for young people to get involved now. This group will have a say in the naming of the Youth Zone, the design, what will be in there and the shaping of all of it really. The building is for them after all. It’s there for us to work in yes but it’s for them to come in, feel safe, and enjoy.

Young people need to have a say, otherwise it’s not going to be what they really want, doing this it means it’s for them. So, I’m so happy it’s coming and am very excited about working there and what the future holds for the young people of South Bristol.

Cervical Cancer Prevention Week – How we can end cervical cancer 

On a pink background, white text sits in the middle of the image reading: Jo's cervical cancer trust. Jo's cervical cancer trust's logo is to the right.
Today’s guest blog is from Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust.

This week is Cervical Cancer Prevention Week (23rd – 29th January) and it’s amazing to see Bristol City Hall turning pink to mark the occasion. The week is always a great chance to talk about how we can help prevent more cases of cervical cancer. This year is a bit different as we’ve launched our biggest ever campaign, a campaign to end cervical cancer. 

The exciting thing is that it’s in our reach. HPV vaccination and cervical screening can both stop cervical cancer from ever developing. The vaccination is offered in school to girls and boys to help prevent HPV-related cancers, cervical cancer being one of them, and evidence shows it has prevented almost 90% of cervical cancers in those who have been vaccinated! Cervical screening is offered to women and people with a cervix from 25 up to 65, and it also offers a really high level of protection by helping identify anyone at an increased risk.

HPV vaccination and cervical screening can help prevent and, one day, end cervical cancer. However, uptake has been falling in many parts of the country. 

In Bristol, just 68.7% are up to date with their cervical screening. That means a third are not attending. Cervical screening can be difficult for lots of reasons, it can be embarrassing, scary, hard to find a convenient appointment or you may have a health condition or experience of trauma. However you feel about the test, you aren’t alone. There are lots of tips and support out there for you, however you feel. 

Cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer in women globally and every day in the UK there are 9 new diagnoses and 2 women will lose their lives. Countries across the world are working towards the day we can make cervical cancer a thing of the past. Through raising awareness of cervical screening, spreading important information about the HPV vaccine and calling on governments to take action, we can make cervical cancer be the first cancer in history we have eliminated. You can play your part and together we can end cervical cancer. 

Watch the new video from Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, to find out how #WeCan end cervical cancer

Cervical Cancer Prevention Week runs from 23-29 January 2022 and Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust is launching its biggest ever campaign – to End Cervical Cancer. Join in to raise awareness of HPV vaccination and cervical screening and call for Government action to make this a reality www.jostrust.org.uk/ccpw

About Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust

Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust is the UK’s leading cervical cancer charity. It provides information and support to anyone affected and campaigns for excellence in cervical cancer treatment, care and prevention. Its national helpline is free and confidential: 0808 802 8000.

Making harbour fees ship shape and Bristol fashion

The UK has 5,000 miles of navigable waterways. They provide important benefits to people, to the environment and to communities. They also make considerable contributions to the UK economy.

In Bristol we benefit from our rivers, that have shaped our city, and our harbour, that our city built. The harbour plays a key role in our city’s economy, our environment, wildlife and biodiversity, business, leisure, mental health, physical health, and education. It is a crucial element of the nature and development of our city and in connecting our communities. Our harbour offers improved health and wellbeing, affordable ways to get afloat including canoeing, boating and paddle boarding. We are proud to be home to several water-based charities including the Sea Scouts, All Aboard and Urban Pursuit.  

Bristol City Council is the harbour authority and has the responsibility for ensuring the protection of our waterways. Our role as managers of the harbour includes providing accessibility and engaging all communities. We support the businesses and residents that call the harbour home and welcome tourists from barges to super yachts. 

The harbour has become increasingly difficult to manage financially in recent years. Harbour fees have fallen well behind the true costs and have not been reviewed for two decades. The shortfall in funding affects harbour services and our ability to effectively manage increasing numbers of short-term visitors. The use of our docks has changed since the last review of fees and charges was introduced and the commercial income it previously benefited from has reduced to a negligible amount, with the harbour is now used for more leisure purposes than commercial. A benefit of becoming financially self-sufficient is that operations and facilities will be improved, and these improvements will be evident for service users and all visitors to the City Docks Estate.

We have now reviewed fees and benchmarked against other cities and harbour authorities. They are set to rise above RPI for the first time in 20 years and be brought closer to the necessary funding required to run an effective harbour service. Only eight people have permanent moorings in the harbour and so no other boat should be permanently resident. Apart from the eight permanent residential permits, all other boats in the harbour are present on leisure licenses. The leisure licence is offered on an annual basis and permits the owners to berth their vessels in the harbour but do not have any right of tenure and under the terms of this licence cannot stay onboard for more than a 15-day period. Anyone on a leisure permit has to register a residential address, and does not pay council tax for the boat.  

Boat users failing to comply with the license system and treating a leisure permit as a residential privilege are abusing the system and damaging the city’s ability to manage the harbour for all, to allow for better usage and to improve the facilities.

The harbour is owned by the city for the city. We must ensure it is managed effectively for all, not for a privileged few. As well as being a requirement under legislation, it’s also a moral one at a time when Bristol City Council faces a cost of operating crisis. We continue to protect frontline services, like libraries, children’s centres, and parks, at a time of severe pressure from high inflation, rising demand for services, and continued national austerity.

Boat permits continue to offer low-cost stays in our city but they do not enable people to use a leisure licence as a permanent residence. Comparing a boat as a residence to a land-based dwelling shows clearly that despite the upcoming fee rise, boat ownership remains a low-cost alternative.  

The revised fee structure is comparable with other cities. We cherish our harbour businesses, boat and land users, and visitors, and we want them to prosper. We also want the harbour to be an open, inclusive, and excellent facility at the heart of the city.