Bristol Older People’s Forum

Today’s blog comes from Cllr Asher Craig, Deputy Mayor and Cabinet Member for Communities, Equalities, and Public Health, and Labour Councillor for St George West.

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of speaking at Bristol Older People’s Forum (BOPF) Webinar. Here is an abridged version of my keynote speech. The full speech can be downloaded below.

An update on Covid-19 in Bristol (figures accurate as of 24 November – latest figures here)

We are currently seeing 390.2 new cases per 100,000 people (based on provisional data to 19th November). We have a local engagement board which meets weekly; our citywide volunteering platform, Can Do Bristol, now has over 9,000 volunteers; and we also have 16 Covid marshals. Thank you to the Bristol Older People’s Forum – I will say I really love your newsletter. It’s really informative and that helps us get the information out to your members. We are also one of the local authorities that the government has asked to be a part of the rapid lateral flow mass testing. We are still waiting on the 10,000 tests, but this will help us break the chains of transmission.

The impact of Covid-19 on our vulnerable communities

Older people – Between January and June 2020, the number of people aged 50+ claiming unemployment benefits increased by nearly 90%.

Disabled people – in the under-65 age group, the most disabled men and women are 6.5 and 11.3 times more likely to die than their non-disabled counterparts. The pandemic has also had a strain on support services.

BAME – 17% more likely to die of Covid and are also more likely to live in overcrowded housing than white households.

Low income – around 5% of families in the city have experienced moderate to severe food insecurity over the last 12 months.

Women – 80% of social care jobs are filled by women.

16-24 year olds – higher rate of furlough with 44% of eligible employment, compared to 31% for all ages.

Bristol’s Response to the Black Lives Matter Movement

The History Commission will be expanded out to look at the history of the city when it comes to women, poverty and many other communities. Bristol has a lot of rich history that we have been denied and it’s time for us to set the record straight so that our children and our city know who Bristol is and how we got to where we are.

We have pressed the reset button on our Commission on Race Equality and hired a new commission leader, Professor Olivette Otele, in May. The aim is to provide leadership with regards to race relations moving forward.

Disability Equality Commission

This is being established in recognition of the inequalities faced by disabled people in the city. The commission will consider the experiences and position of disabled people in Bristol and will develop strategic plans to tackle inequality. We will be going out and engaging with the Bristol Older People’s Forum and disabled people across the city. We hope to launch in Spring 2021 when it will be handed over to a disability organisation in Bristol.

Thank you.