Author Archives: marvinjrees

Peter Brathwaite: Rediscovering Black Portraiture exhibition

Rediscovering Black Portraiture opened at Bristol Museum & Art Gallery on 14 April. The opera singer and artist Peter Brathwaite has created photographic depictions of historic paintings with Black sitters, featuring himself and a range of makeshift props using household items to restage the images.

Peter Braithwaite is pictured in one of his pieces of work at the Rediscovering Black Portraiture exhibition.

Peter tells us about how the idea for the exhibition was born:

“During the Covid-19 pandemic, I was inspired by challenge set by the Getty Museum for people across social media to recreate their favourite pieces of art using everyday items they had in their homes.  At the same time, I had just started doing some family tree research and as I dug deeper into this, I realised that although there were portraits of my white ancestors, I found none of my black ancestors from the 1700s and 1800s. I thought that instead of just recording them within my family tree, I could recreate art works to honour them. So, I set myself the challenge of doing one every day for 50 days, sharing them on social media. The exhibition at Bristol Museum & Art Gallery and at the Georgian House along with my book Rediscovering Black Portraiture is the result of this.

“We opened on Friday 14 April, a date that marks the anniversary of the uprising in Barbados in 1816, and there is a replica banner from the rebellion on the plinth in the front hall. The exhibition winds its way around the art collections and includes interventions and soundscapes (one with me singing!) that reveal the Black presence hidden at the heart of our spaces and objects. It was a special moment to see these reimagined artworks displayed in a museum as the original portraits probably would have been.

Peter Braithwaite is pictured at the Rediscovering Black Portraiture exhibition in between two of his pieces of work.

“I created a new commission, specifically for this exhibition, based on The Young Catechist, a painting by Henry Meyer featuring a 19th century African man at prayer. Re-enacting this painting has led to some serious discoveries for me and my own ancestry in Barbados. I uncovered a wealth of detail about my enslaved and enslaver ancestors and their history, including an uprising of enslaved people in 1816 and songs of resistance they sang. My great-great-great-great grandfather Edward (Addo) Brathwaite (1742-1831) was forcibly converted to Christianity during his enslavement in Barbados. Like Addo, the African man in Meyer’s painting’s most deeply held beliefs – and his very identity – were transformed through his encounter with European culture. You can read about the history behind this commission in this Bristol museums blog.

Peter Braithwaite is pictured in one of his pieces of work at the Rediscovering Black Portraiture exhibition.

“In my research into Black sitters, such as Emmanuel Rio, formerly described as a ‘gardener and horn-player’, but now known by his name, I hope to bring previously undiscussed or even hidden historic Black figures to light. As a singer, I breathe life into characters. My photographic recreations of artworks draw on this discipline, finding new ways of telling untold or suppressed stories”.

Peter Braithwaite is pictured in one of his pieces of work at the Rediscovering Black Portraiture exhibition.

The exhibition is open at Bristol Museum & Art Gallery until 3 September and also will feature at Georgian House when it reopens on 12 June.

You can purchase the accompanying book Rediscovering Black Portraiture here.

Free city-wide events in May and June

Councillor Craig Cheney, smiling, looking towards the camera.
Today’s guest blog is from Councillor Craig Cheney, cabinet member for Finance, Governance, Performance, and Culture.

The City Centre and High Streets Culture and Events Programme is delivering another packed programme of free events and entertainment across our city centre and Bristol’s nine priority high streets in May and June. Our investment will keep helping support businesses, the local economy, and the recovery of the culture and events sector.

Following last month’s blog, our funding continues to support existing markets and establish new ones. As well as adding diversity, complementing existing businesses, and boosting footfall, markets provide a great opportunity to test your business proposition before investing in property.

Returning for the first time this year on Friday 5 May, St Nick’s Night Market will help bring the Old City to life. From 5pm to 10pm visitors can enjoy a variety of entertainment and a wide selection of stalls selling food and drinks from local producers and suppliers.

Coronation: Knowle West Style will mark His Majesty The King’s Coronation on 6 May. Locals are invited to join in for a fun day of cake, crowns, and creativity, with activities and entertainment for young and old alike.

People from Stockwood are invited to share their sounds and stories to help create the Stockwood Sounds Audio Trail, a playful new community audio trail celebrating all things Stockwood. Join Brave Bold Drama in Stockwood Square on 13 and 14 May or 10 June.

Follow the exploits of Dr Fausty and Freya, two squabbling tour guides, on the Bristol Comedy History Walk. Delivered by Bristol Improv Theatre in partnership with Angie Belcher, the tour will provide a quirky look at the hidden histories of Bristol. Led by improv performers and comedians you can expect some hilarious alternative perspectives and sneaky Bristolian in-jokes. The 90-minute tours are fully accessible, and will run from May to August.

Actors from Bristol Improv's Comedy History Walk are pictured with laughing alongside an audience.

Spanning four weekends in May and June, Invisible Circus will present Weekends of Wonder (WOW), the first street performance festival of its kind in our city. From comedy and magic to giant kangaroos and adorable hedgehogs, veteran street artists will perform alongside cutting-edge new talent creating vibrant circus and theatrical performances in circle shows and interactive walkabout acts. WOW is inclusive, barrier free and open for everyone to enjoy.

Forming part of the Festival of Nature’s 20th anniversary event on Saturday 17 June, the Natural History Consortium are bringing The Walking Forest to the centre of Bristol. Follow the trees through the city and reconnect with nature as the immersive Walking Forest travels through town all the way to the Wild Weekend takeover at Millennium Square.

On 18 June, Bristol Cathedral will be celebrating Bristol 650, bringing together communities from across our city. The full day event will start at 10.30am with the Sunday morning service on College Green followed by live music, food and family friendly activities through until 5pm. 

A black and white still from Windrush 75: Stories through Film is pictured.

Bristol’s Summer Film Takeover, presented by Bristol UNESCO City of Film and partners, starts with Windrush 75: Stories through Film. To mark the 75th anniversary of Windrush and to celebrate the contribution of Bristol’s Afrikan-Caribbean community to the city, Bristol Museums are screening a dedicated programme of films on board the Vintage Mobile Cinema in Broadmead from 22 to 24 June. And showing in the evening of 22 June will be premiere of award-winning filmmaker Clive Smith’s “Bristol’s Afrikan-Caribbean Legends of Martial Arts” at Bristol Museum and Art Gallery.

A Wall is a Screen: Secrets of the Old City promises to be a film night like no other. Join Encounters Festival and Hamburg-based collective A Wall is a Screen on 30 June for a guided evening walking tour exploring hidden architectural gem around the Old City and featuring a curated selection of short films projected onto nearby buildings to watch along the way. The event will be repeated on 16 September.

An image of a crowd cueing for A Wall is a Screen event in Hanburg.

Bristol Photo Festival are working with Historic England to deliver Picturing Bristol, an exciting programme of workshops and exhibitions to be showcased across Bristol over the summer in community spaces, local shops, unconventional venues, and the public space, highlighting our nine priority high streets.

The City Centre and High Streets Recovery and Renewal programme is funded by Bristol City Council and the West of England’s Combined Authority’s Love our High Streets project.

Technology Enabled Care

Councillor Helen Holland, smiling with college green, Bristol Cathedral and trees in the background.
Today’s guest blog is from Councillor Helen Holland, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and the Integrated Care System and Labour Councillor for Hartcliffe and Withywood ward.

There are many people with long-term health conditions in Bristol who rely on extra support in their homes so that they can live independently for as long as possible. It’s important to our administration that we offer support that enables people to stay in the surroundings they are familiar with, often close to family or friends.

One way we can do this is through Technology Enabled Care (TEC). This a service that takes the approach of introducing technology to a person’s home to help keep people safe and get about with their day to day lives as independently as possible.

The approach we take is a mix of low and high technology use. Often the technology is mixed with a care package to ensure that the benefits of care are maximised and supported by the use of technology.

The type of technology we introduce to the home varies depending on people’s needs. They could include using a Magi-Plug to stop the bath from overflowing or installing a Memo-Minder to help forgetful people by providing reminders when you walk past. There are bed and chair occupancy sensors, temperature sensors, and night lights which switch on when someone gets out of bed.

Recently we’ve also trialled a piece of technology called Blue Box which monitors early signs of deterioration and illness and links wirelessly to carers and doctors in primary care settings who can access the readings in real time. Through innovative technology like this we have seen improvements to people’s health and care as well as large cost efficiencies.

Another way we help people is by using technology to make their life easier, not just at home but also when they are out and about.

Susan* is a good example of someone who benefitted from using technology after a stroke affected her ability to communicate, especially her speech. For those that don’t know her well, Susan can be difficult to understand which is frustrating and embarrassing for her when it happens. It led to her becoming more isolated as she didn’t want to venture out into the community to go to the library or the shops. The TEC Hub team assessed Susan and came up with some options to help. As she was confident using both a phone and a tablet, they suggested using a ‘type to talk’ app, which converts written text into spoken words. The app includes hundreds of pre-programmed phrases which can be quickly accessed making it easier for Susan to hold a simple conversation or to ask for help if needed. It also helped with accidental activation on her pendant alarm as she can now communicate, using the app, over the alarm system to cancel any unnecessary emergency call outs from carers. 

Our next phase of TEC will see us build on the successful work achieved so far while also trialling further technology which will include pilots of:

  • A sensor-based product called ‘Guardian’ used to monitor vulnerable people in their own home. By tracking movements in the home, carers and family members have the reassurance they need without having to be physically at the property all the time.
  • A FitBit style device linked to a patient app that is built to monitor real time patient data to identify risk of falls. This data is published to an online dashboard that can be accessed by both carers and Bristol’s monitoring centre. We will also use more existing technology that people may already be used to such as Alexa devices. They can help reorder prescriptions, check the weather and generally, make those who live alone feel less isolated.
  • A product called Sound Boost which is a wireless speaker and microphone that works with an existing alarm system called Lifeline. The units can be placed in different rooms so if an alarm is raised, Sound Boost will replicate the sounds meaning the resident and monitoring centre can still communicate around the property.

Having Technology Enabled Care (TEC) is proving to be an invaluable resource for Bristol, both in adult services and social care. Since the beginning we have been working in partnership with the Integrated Care Board and Sirona to trial and roll out new devices and we will continue to work together as we enter the next phase of this important work.

In fact, a six-month research trial has just started for hospital patients in Bristol. It will help our NHS partners understand what the most effective methods of TEC currently are and how we can enable patients to rest and recuperate at home more quickly after a stay in hospital.

If you are interested in finding out more about TEC, please go to our webpages on the Bristol City Council website or visit the Sirona Health and Care website.

*For anonymity purposes the name of the individual has been changed.

Listen, Respect, Act: two films raise awareness of domestic abuse

A picture taken at the private screening at watershed cinema, to mark the release of two films raising awareness of domestic abuse. 
Today’s guest blog is from the Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Victim and Survivor Forum.

Last month, stakeholders and service providers from across the city were brought together at the Watershed cinema to attend a private screening marking the release of two films about domestic abuse. 

Created in partnership between the Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Victim and Survivor Forum (DASV) and Bristol based production company Criss Cross films, the films aim to raise awareness of the signs and impact of domestic abuse. 

With financial support from Public Health England, a second film was created to engage with and support the training of front-line staff from health, social, family justice, and policing to support a better understanding of domestic abuse, perpetrator behaviour and the devastating and long-term harm caused to victims, families, and communities when failures are made. 



Founded by Bristol City Council’s Keeping Bristol Safe Partnership in 2021, the Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Victim and Survivor Forum (DASV) is formed of female victims with lived experience of Domestic Abuse. The purpose of the DASV Forum is to strategically inform on Bristol’s domestic abuse and sexual violence services, highlighting both good and bad practice to encourage action at local and national level, ensuring a proactive approach to safeguarding children, adults, and communities.

The amazing work that the DASV Forum is doing would not be possible without the incredible support and hard work of Jennifer Wills, Participation Project Officer at Bristol City Council’s Keeping Bristol Safe Partnership, who works tirelessly to support members in sharing their lived experience and using their voices to make positive and impactful change in our city. 

If you would like to hear more about the DASV Forum or have lived experience of domestic abuse and would like to apply to be a member, please visit their website.

Photos: Bristol’s Grand Iftar on College Green

Last night I had the honour of attending the Grand Iftar on College Green, with 1,000 people from across Bristol’s Muslim communities and the wider city.

The brilliant event was organised by Muslims 4 Bristol in partnership with Bridges for Communities, with support from Black 2 Nature, Bristol Cathedral, Bristol City Council, Bristol Waste, Feeding Bristol, Redwood Events, the West of England Combined Authority, and other partners.

The Grand Iftar on College Green is pictured, showing people sat on the floor eating, with City Hall lit up in green in the background.
Afzal Shah, one of the organisers of the Grand Iftar on College Green, is pictured speaking on stage.
The Grand Iftar on College Green is pictured, showing people sat on the floor and in chairs eating.
Three people are pictured on stage, speaking, during the Grand Iftar on College Green.
Two Islamic lanterns are pictured in the foreground. People sat on the floor eating are seen, blurred, in the background at the Grand Iftar on College Green.
A group of people, including Councillor Asher Craig (right), are pictured  at the Grand Iftar on College Green, with City Hall seen in the background.
The Grand Iftar on College Green is pictured from the top floor of City Hall. People can be seen sat on the floor around colourful mats, with some of Bristol's skyline including crowd.

St Werburgh’s Primary School takes over the Council Chamber

Bristol's Council chamber is pictured with students from St Werburghs primary school debating. Pupils are pictured speaking from the dais.

In March, Councillor Amirah Cole welcomed Year Four pupils from St Werburgh’s Primary School to City Hall, where they gave impassioned speeches about their priorities for Bristol. You may have seen them making headlines recently, as they held a protest against idling outside their school, brandishing banners such as ‘switch off so we don’t cough’. Clearly, these young people are set out to make the change they want to see.

I was very impressed about what they had to say in City Hall. Not only did they look at the challenges facing our city, but they put forward solutions too — with more maturity than we sometimes hear in the Chamber! I suggested that they share reflections on their visit, so that I could share it with the wider city. Here’s what they said:

Today we went to City Hall. We loved visiting because it was the first time we had been there. It was very interesting and fun. Councillor Amirah Cole told us about how she helps other people and why she loves doing this. We wrote and performed speeches about what we want to change about Bristol.

“Our speeches were about:

·       Looking after nature

·       Stopping racism

·       Not dropping litter

·       Stopping smoking

·       More green spaces

·       Homelessness

Bristol's council chamber is pictured. With students from St Werburghs Primary School speaking from the dais.

“The Chamber was huge and we felt nervous. We thought the best speakers were loud and had clear pronunciation. We had to project our voices confidently so everyone could hear.

We thought about solutions. To look after nature we could not drop litter, drive less, and respect animals and nature. We could also plant more trees. We could help people with homelessness by lowering the price of petrol, making electricity in homes cheaper and lowering the price of rent.

Their speech topics reflect issues that are important for children and young people in our city them; these issues are also priorities for Bristolians and for us as an administration.

Our administration has always prioritised addressing the climate and ecological emergencies, the housing crisis, and the national cost-of-living crisis. Likewise, we heard speeches about tackling racism, improving public health, and keeping our streets tidy – all very important subjects on which we have acted.

It’s reassuring to hear that our future city leaders recognise the importance of addressing these issues and want this work continued. I’ve always believed it’s important it is to make sure young people can have their voices heard, as it puts them on a path to engaging with politics throughout their lives.

We have sought to amplify young people’s voices through the Youth Mayors and the Youth Council – with youth councillors now sitting on both our One City Transport Board and Young Peoples’ Board, directly shaping transport in our city.

The involvement of young people in Bristol’s politics should continue long into the future. If any of the pupils at St Werburgh’s are reading this: I hope this is only the start of your efforts to make the world a better place.

Students from St Werburghs primary school are picture speaking at an event hold in Bristol's council chamber.

Bristol Harbour Festival returns for summer 2023

Mayor Marvin Rees (centre) is pictured with four young musicians, one of whom is holding a guitar. M Shed, the cranes of Prince’s Wharf, and the harbour can be seen behind them.

Last Wednesday, Bristol Harbour Festival announced its return of the 2023 event, which will take place 14 to 16 July. Three days of maritime magic will put local talent at the forefront of 2023 Bristol Harbour Festival showcase.

I joined aspiring artists from Access Creative College, who will be performing at this year’s festival on their own stage in the Amphitheatre, in a reimagined new area, Harbour View.

The young artists will also feature on the line-up for the festival’s new Music Quarter, in Queen Square, programmed by Tony Benjamin. This space will kick start the festival on Friday night.

For the launch, 18-year-old singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Madara Plusa performed Massive Attack’s Teardrop, accompanied by 17-year-old guitarist, Jack Isgrove.

Madara Plusa and Jack Isgrove will be performing at the Harbour Festival.

The performers were also joined by fellow students 21-year-old Shaye Stewart, a gospel musician, pianist, and producer currently studying Access Artist’s development course, and 18-year-old DJ Fitz, a music producer and DJ studying Music Production.

Access has been providing creative education in Bristol for more than 20 years, offering full-time vocational courses in music, events, games design, computing, Esports, graphic design, film, and photography.

The college has a strong focus on diversity and inclusion, ensuring students, irrespective of background, successfully develop the knowledge, skills, and behaviours to thrive in the creative and sporting sectors.   

Achievement rates are above national benchmarks and progression to higher education from socially disadvantaged backgrounds are double the national average. 

Bristol Harbour Festival in 2023 will see newly imagined entertainment zones, Circus Playground moving to College Green, and an inclusive water programme that celebrates our city’s harbour.

DJ Fitz is another one of the young artists that will be performing.

Attracting over 250,000 visitors to enjoy over one mile of entertainment, the festival will feature a huge range of local talent, world-class circus, music acts and on the water activity from cardboard boat races to high octane jetpack stunts.

The festival has opened its annual expression of interest for those wanting to perform and get involved with the festival this year, hoping to attract new and interesting talent to the festival, from all over corners of the city once again. With a large number of performers coming through the EOI form last year, applications are open to everyone and anyone looking to share their talent.

Bristol Harbour Festival’s new and reformed festival is brought to the city by Bristol City Council. The Circus Playground is supported and funded by the High Street Recovery Fund. To keep up to date with all Harbour Festival news and updates, follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter or visit the website.

For more on Access Creative:

Instagram and Twitter

Check out our young performers:

Shaye – Instagram

Madara – Instagram and Soundcloud

Jack –  Instagram and Soundcloud

Dominick – Instagram and Soundcloud

Bristol’s foodbanks need your help!

Foodbanks are playing an important part in Bristol’s response to the national cost of living crisis. With the price of food continuing to rise, these vital lifelines for low-income households are feeling the impact of the crisis as demand for food is surpassing the number of donations they are receiving.

Food price inflation data released in March 2023, highlighted that UK food prices are rising at the fastest rate in over 40 years. Those on low incomes are most likely to be impacted. In December 2022, 61 per cent of those in the most deprived areas of the UK were buying less food compared with the previous year. Price rises were particularly steep for household essentials like pasta, tea, and bread, while prices for low-fat milk increased by 46 per cent between December 2021 and December 2022.

Price increases like this are not sustainable for people on low incomes. We have seen throughout this crisis, and particularly during the winter months, that people have been forced to choose between heating their home and putting food on their table. The national government needs to step up given how much of an impact this crisis is having on our most vulnerable communities. As one of the richest countries in the world, Britain’s reliance on foodbanks is worsened by a lack of funding and support for residents, leaving many vulnerable.

Even though we’re in the spring, people are not out of difficulty. This national cost of living crisis is sadly going to continue.

Our annual Quality of Life survey revealed that 16 per cent of respondents from deprived areas had experienced some form of food insecurity in the last 12 months, compared with eight per cent across Bristol.

A person is pictured holding a box of donations at a Foodbank. With shelfs full of tinned food in the background.

As would be expected, the national cost of living crisis has been driving up foodbank usage. In the past few months they’ve seen a significant rise in people coming through the doors to access their service, but they’ve also seen a huge decrease in the food and essential item donations they’ve been receiving. For example, from January to March 2023, Bristol North West Foodbank received 29,272kg of donations and have given out 38,043kg in the same period, which is a difference of 8,771kg.

Donations are vital for foodbanks, to enable them to support local people who are referred to them in crisis. If the trends continue, it will get more difficult. This is where you come in, if you can.

Foodbank reserves are running down and many of them are completely out of some items that make up a foodbank parcel. In some cases, they’ve been funding this themselves.

I know that times are tough for so many but if you can donate food or other essential items, no matter how much or how little, it really will make a difference. If you can help, read the details below to find out how you can donate to each foodbank and what items they really need. Thank you.

How and what to donate

North Bristol and South Glos Foodbank

  1. Buy items at supermarkets and place them in the collection areas in store or at a community collection point – find your nearest here
  2. Donate through their online shop  
  3. Make a financial donation 
  4. Download the Bank the Food app and follow North Bristol and South Glos Foodbank to get notifications about what they need and where you can donate.
  5. Follow the foodbank on social media to see what their most needed items are.

Donations needed: Long-life fruit juice, tinned ham/spam etc, UHT milk, tinned tomatoes, instant mash, sponge puddings, sugar, washing powder 

Bristol North West Foodbank

  1. Buy items at supermarkets and place them in the collection areas in the store or at a community collection point – find your nearest here
  2. Make a financial donation
  3. Follow the foodbank on social media to see what their most needed items are

Donations needed: Bags of rice, UHT milk, UHT fruit juice, instant mash, shampoo and conditioner, sanitary towels, tins of custard and rice pudding, sauces (ketchup, gravy, brown sauce), tinned fruit

 South and East Bristol Foodbank

  1. Buy items at supermarkets and place them in the collection areas in the store or at a community collection point – find your nearest here
  2. Donate through their online shop 
  3. Make a financial donation
  4. Download the Bank the Food app and follow South and East Bristol Foodbank to get notifications about what they need and where you can donate.
  5. Follow the foodbank on social media to see what their most needed items are

Donations needed: tinned fruit, tinned fish, tinned meal meals, jam, long life milk, tinned potatoes, toilet roll, instant coffee, shampoo, custard

For more cost of living advice and signposting, visit the Bristol City Council website.

Investing in Bristol’s Infrastructure: Underfall Yard Sluices

A sketched drawing illustrates Underfall Yard Sluices.

Since its construction back in 1809, our city’s historic Floating Harbour has had very little done to maintain it. For most of its life it was a working harbour and a key gateway to Bristol at the height of maritime trade and travel.

Since closing to commercial shipping in 1975, our Floating Harbour has seen a big growth in its role as a residential area, a tourism magnet, and a space for all manner of watersports and activities – all the while remaining a working harbour and home to a diverse ecologically rich community of wildlife.

Continuing the trend of previous administrations of dodging investment in our harbour is not an option. As much as any road, bridge, or cycle path, our floating harbour is a central part of the city’s infrastructure. As a home, a workplace, and a travel route, our harbour plays many roles and we’re taking the steps necessary to ensure its maintenance is prioritised.

We announced in December 2021 that we had bid for £1.25 million of funding to spend on works required to the Underfall Yard sluices. The sluices are an integral part of how our harbour manages itself. They have been providing Bristol with a means of regulating the water levels within our harbour since 1840.

Due to the tidal nature of the River Avon and the high levels of water which flow downstream from it and other main water courses (including the River Frome), these sluices provide our city with a critical flood defence measure.

Since then, we’ve been taking steps to identify further funding for these works and I was delighted, at the most recent cabinet meeting, to approve the receipt of a funding award of £1.75 million from the Environment Agency that fully funds the necessary works.

This additional funding means the sluices, where some of the infrastructure if over 100 years old, will get the refurbishment they need to continue to protect our city for many years to come.

When you add this to the funding of the Capricon Quay project to make 32 more berths for boats, investing in new pontoons and washroom facilities, plus upcoming efforts to progress work on the harbour walls, it’s clear this administration is taking the issue of our harbour’s health seriously.

Upgrading Bristol’s Street Lighting to LEDs

Councillor Donald Alexander, smiling, with trees and College Green in the background.
Today’s guest blog is from Councillor Donald Alexander, Cabinet member for Transport and Labour Councillor for Avonmouth and Lawrence Weston.

We have embarked on a three-year programme of work to replace 29,000 of Bristol’s old street lights with LEDs that could save council taxpayers up to £2 million a year in energy and maintenance costs.

The move to LED street lighting supports our ambition to cut the city’s carbon emissions while offering best value to our residents.

LEDs (light emitting diodes) have lots of benefits because they:

  • use less energy so are cheaper to run
  • last for many years without needing to be replaced
  • produce fewer carbon emissions
  • direct light down reducing light pollution

We are replacing the lanterns of old street lights one area at a time and have started on home ground for me in Avonmouth and Lawrence Weston ward. This will see our electrical engineers using a lifting platform to install the new LED lanterns street-by-street.

As we only need to switch out the lanterns, and not lamppost columns, it will only take about 20 minutes to upgrade each street light, so disruption on local roads should be kept to a minimum.

You can help us by leaving space around the street light outside your home on the day your street is due to be upgraded. Look out for a letter from our contractor, Centregreat, in advance telling you when this will be and if you need to find alternative parking for the day.

Towards the end of April we’ll move onto our Park & Ride sites in Portway and Long Ashton. Then, in June, the plan is to continue the rollout in residential areas in the north of the city. 

Over the summer, we’ll focus on upgrading the street lights along main A and B roads across the city. There will need to be some traffic management in place for this, which could mean temporary traffic lights in some areas for short periods of time.

Heritage lanterns will be upgraded on an ad hoc basis and will be in a similar style and character to the existing equipment but with improved efficiency.

We will continue with the upgrade on residential streets, ward-by-ward across the whole of Bristol, from the autumn onwards.

We are also set to introduce a central management system that will allow us to control and monitor our LED street lighting remotely using smart city technology. This means we will be able to dim lights or  brighten up an area with the touch of a button, improving safety and helping us during any incidents.

Overall, we are investing almost £12 million into this city-wide project, which we now estimate will result in a saving of 20,000 tonnes of carbon within ten years of the upgrade (based on 2022 figures).

A street light is pictured fitted with the new LED lights.

It’s amazing that by switching over to LEDs it will make such a difference to our environmental impact and bring down our energy costs substantially, meaning it’s a win-win for the city.

To find out more about the street lighting project, visit