Protecting the mental health of Bristol’s night-time economy workers

From left to right: Lynn Stanley, Cllr Ellie King, Carly Heath and Christina Gray are pictured, smiling, holding the Thrive at Night Managers' handbook.

Bristol’s night-time economy plays a key role, directly or indirectly supporting the employment of over 116,000 people, representing 38% of the city’s overall jobs and including nearly 1,100 licenced premises in Bristol.  

The sector is driven by the strong workforce that keeps it running from 6pm to 6am. This workforce is the engine that drives our renowned night-time economy and is also its greatest asset. Prioritising the wellbeing and safety of Bristol’s night-time workers is vital to the continued success of the sector.  

Thrive at Night is an initiative by Bristol Nights to provide free mental health and wellbeing support for all those working in the night-time economy. Councillor Ellie King and Carly Heath were proud to launch this work in June 2023.

Late night work can be rewarding, from meeting great characters to helping create the atmosphere in our venues that fellow Bristolians love. But this work can also be demanding. From dealing with challenging customers to the shifts that leave staff getting home in the early hours, there are many potential challenges to maintaining good mental health.  

Thrive at Night handbook is pictured with a purple cover and cartoon designs. Black text reads: A workbook helping you to Thrive at Night.

Immense pressure has been placed on the mental health of staff over recent years: the pressures of working during the COVID-19 pandemic, uncertainty caused by furlough, the rapid recovery post-pandemic, and now a national cost of living crisis. These are all major challenges that have impacted people across Bristol, something that, as One City, we must take steps to address.  

Thrive at Night includes a comprehensive range of mental health resources and training for local hospitality businesses, including bars, nightclubs, and restaurants. The package of support includes:

  • A managers’ guide to creating mentally healthy workplaces
  • A workbook for night workers
  • Monthly workshops and training

Businesses who have already benefitted from the training workshops include Motion, Pasture, The Assemblies Bristol, Thekla Bristol, Team Love, Under the Stars and more.  

The Deep Dive Wellbeing workshops include sessions on stress relief, how to embrace a healthy lifestyle as a night worker, boosting wellbeing and productivity, and how to improve team dynamics. Additionally, the monthly Introduction to Mental Health & Wellbeing in the Workplace workshop will provide organisations with the tools and support needed to create and implement their own mental health and wellbeing policy.  

The Thrive at Night Managers handbook is pictured, with pink cover and cartoon designs.

The Managers’ handbook is an important tool from Bristol Nights. It is a thorough guide that helps business owners, organisations, and managers create emotionally resilient and compassionate teams.  

The workbook for night workers is designed for individuals to work through. It’s packed with tips and techniques to give you the ability to cope with stressors and challenges you might be facing at work or at home.  

I want to thank all staff in Public Health and at Bristol Nights that have put so much work into this programme. They have shown that Bristol working as One City is committed to protecting front line staff and its thriving nightlife.  

Visit the Bristol Nights website for further information and resources on Thrive at Night.

Jez Kynaston, Managing Director of The Assemblies, says “I thought the course was really very good. It was like it was written for our company which can only show how in touch it was/is with what’s needed right now.”

And Daniel Ducz, Assistant Manager at Motion, said “We are proud supporters of Thrive at Night and are very happy that we were able to contribute to its creation, right from the beginning.”

The Thrive at Night deep dive session poster is pictured, with a yellow background and cartoon designs. Black text in the centre of the image reads Thrive at Night Deep Dive Session.