Today’s guest blog comes from Cllr Helen Godwin, my Cabinet Lead for Women, Children and Families.
As we prepare to welcome delegates from across the globe to Bristol for the first ‘Towards The Child Friendly City’ conference later this month it has given us an opportunity to reflect on our own city and to challenge ourselves.
How child friendly is Bristol?
Bristol has a strong reputation as a city that believes in children, in play, in creativity and inclusion; it is no coincidence that we were the first choice city to host this international conference. We have much to share. Our incredible, resilient adventure playgrounds, the Playing Out movement that began here in Bristol, our Youth Council which is recognised across the world for including young people in democracy – the list goes on. However, there is clearly more to do and I want to use this conference and UN Universal Children’s Day (20 November) to challenge our city further.
For Bristol to call itself truly child friendly this has to be reflected in our infrastructure and our built environment. As Bristol changes we are building much needed homes, communities and infrastructure but we must demand design that works for families and that emboldens children whilst keeping them safe, fit and well.
Earlier this month I took our ALIVE obesity reduction strategy to Cabinet. This strategy focuses on healthy eating, physical activity and healthy places. We have an opportunity to make Bristol a healthy place by ensuring that as we develop and regenerate the future city we ask questions of planners and developers and challenge ourselves to create spaces for children to thrive, create, breath clean air and stay fit, safe and healthy.
All of these asks are enshrined in our Bristol Children’s Charter, launched last year and now with over 100 signatory organisations all committed to putting children first in Bristol. This commitment is palpable but now is the time to take the next step. Our Bristol focussed session at the conference (tickets available here) will be an opportunity for professionals from the key sectors to come together with experts in children’s rights to discuss how best Bristol can rise to this challenge. The answer no doubt lies in innovation, creativity, teamwork and a little bit of hope. All of which are qualities that children demonstrate in abundance!
For more information on the conference please contact Adrian Voce at Adrian@playfulplanet.org.uk . Delegate passes are still available, as well as tickets for the Bristol focussed session.