Last week saw the launch of the Year of Can Do 2020, a year of activity to inspire, motivate and support the citizens of Bristol to get involved in their community. It’s about sharing skills, knowledge and time, accessing volunteering opportunities and celebrating the huge positive impact social action has on our city.
Having spent time working in the voluntary and community sector, I know the vital role these organisations play in shaping the identity of a place. I’m proud of Bristol’s reputation for independent spirit and community action, and of the things we have achieved by collectively stepping up and demanding better.
There are thousands of people in the city who give their time each year to helping others. Many volunteer with third sector organisations or with other services such as hospitals, schools, parks and libraries. But there is also a groundswell of individuals who offer support or give their time for free to their friends, neighbours, local communities, faith and cultural groups.
I want to thank all those who give their time to making our city a better place for everyone. We want to celebrate all these acts of kindness, large or small, during the Year of Can Do. Those that are already active in their community serve as inspiration to us all – and we want to encourage more people to get involved.
But it’s not just about what you can give – there is so much to gain from getting involved in your local community. Volunteering can offer you skills, keep you active and allow you to connect with others. It can be a channel through which to empower those who may not typically get a seat at the table, and then there’s the sense of satisfaction that so many volunteers report.
A great way to get involved is to connect with your neighbours and others Can Do Bristol (www.candobristol.co.uk), Bristol’s dedicated new web platform for enabling and celebrating community action in the city.
It has been developed by partners across Bristol and is an easy way to find information on campaigns, events, training and volunteering opportunities throughout the year. You can use it to find out what’s happening near where you live, take part in local initiatives or create your own.
There will also be a Can Do Festival running from 2nd-15th March. The festival will offer the opportunity to attend training, take part in events and activities, share your learning or discover something new.
So, what is it you feel most passionate about? What change would you most like to see and how can you help to make that a reality?
Bristol belongs to the people who live, work and study here. We want to empower more people to positively shape their communities through volunteering and neighbourly activity. Together, we can deliver a Bristol that works for everybody.