Author Archives: marvinjrees

Remembering two of Bristol’s best Black creatives

Today’s guest blog is from Councillor Asher Craig, Deputy Mayor for Communities, Equalities, and Public Health.

Councillor Asher Craig

Just a few days apart, the city has lost two of its ground-breaking artistic black creatives: Barrington Anderson, co-founder of the brilliant award-winning Ekome National Dance Company, and Reynold Duncan, founder and Director of Arts Opportunity Theatre (fondly known as AOT). I send my heartfelt condolences to their friends and family at this difficult time.

Barry Anderson

Barry Anderson

Barry was instrumental in the development of African arts in the UK, not just Bristol.  A dancer since the age of nine, he specialised in Ghanaian dance for over 20 years.  He arrived with his family from Jamaica at the age of six and settled in St Pauls.  In a society full of poverty and problems, dancing gave Barry a means of expression, a sense of his roots and a profession.  His legacy continues with members of his family, led by his sister Angela Anderson, continuing to bring Afrikan Dance to the masses.

Barry’s Thanksgiving and Celebration of Life was held this week. It was befitting that Barry’s ancestral journey should begin with a Drum Call which followed the casket from his home in St Pauls to St Mary Redcliffe Church.

Reynold Duncan

Reynold Duncan

Reynold was born in Guyana and was a musician.  In the early 1980s he established Arts Opportunity Theatre in Bristol (also known as AOT).  AOT helped hundreds of young unemployed people from all communities across Bristol under the then Manpower Services Commission’s  “Youth Opportunities Programme (YOP)”.  Many of whom went on to achieve great careers and success in the creative and performing arts.  These included drama, dance, music, stage management, lighting, photography, video-editing, costume design and making, creative and journalistic writing, graphic design, electrical and electronic engineering, office administration, booking, and computer skills.  His contribution is legendary and he laid the foundations for what has become one of Bristol’s greatest strengths as a creative and artistic city. 

I had the opportunity of working for AOT in the 1980s.  Reynold appointed me as the Chief Administrator at AOT.  I  joined the company when they were in the middle of rehearsing for their show, Black & White in Colour. This was was followed by the musical play Freedom City – which played at the Little Theatre in Bristol – and Romeo & Juliet in Dub, all of which toured throughout the UK including Edinburgh Fringe Festival where they received rave reviews. 

Plans for Reynold’s funeral are being finalised, but one thing that I know is both Barry and Reynold will receive the send off they deserve and their legacy in our city needs to be both celebrated and remembered by all.

Annual Address 2021

This is the transcript for my Annual Address speech I delivered at Full Council on Tuesday 6 July 2021.

As this is my first opportunity since being elected, I will start with some thanks:

  1. to the mayoral and councillor candidates who took on the challenge of running for office.
  2. to those of you who turned out to vote irrespective of who you voted for. Participation is essential to our democracy.
  3. and of course to those who campaigned and voted for me.

While my wife has been on TV admitting that she sometimes wishes I wasn’t the Mayor (a view a number of my Twitter trolls and probably one or two elected members hold all the time), it is nonetheless a profound honour to be re-elected on our record.

We laid out an ambitious agenda to the city in 2016. Bristol didn’t have a reputation for delivery and wanted a leadership that would get things done.

They voted for a bigger picture, for a vision of an inclusive, sustainable and fairer city committed to tackling the poverty and inequalities that undermined us. They voted for affordable homes, for jobs and for hope.

I don’t often quote Cllr Hopkins but he did once share with me – with all of us actually because it was in Full Council – that it’s easy to get elected, but the real test is to be re-elected. Having faced that test, we are confident the city wants us to continue to deliver ambition and compassion.

The election taught us all a lot:

  1. The city is changing – and certain areas are seeing dramatic changes in population and culture.
  2. We face the threat of growing divides – the old ones such as race, class, health, education, earnings. And new ones such as home ownership versus non-ownership, and those who have some trust in public institutions verses those who have none.
  3. We take our planetary responsibilities seriously.

The election also taught us that the conflicts and controversies, the shambles and scandals, worked up in this organisation and the way they are managed and driven through social media are often worlds away from the immediate challenges and complicated problems real people are facing in Bristol.

And we learned the people of Bristol are not interested in the weeds of the council. They want solutions to the problems they face every day, not abstract negativity, opposition for opposition’s sake. They want us to be a source of hope.

The people of Bristol don’t see the world in binary. Talking to so many people during the election:

  1. they appreciated the commitments on housing delivery but also understood the challenges that Brexit and Covid had presented in maintaining the levels of delivery.
  2. they appreciated the need to protect land for nature and tackle climate change but also the need to build homes for people a grow the economy for jobs.
  3. on Colston’s statue, many appreciated the need to tackle racism alongside a sense that the statue was important and symbolic. But they also appreciated the statue itself was not the solution to racism. Some held a fear that they were losing their history and some recognise the danger of ordinary people being manipulated by those who, for lack of any real political vision, revert to manipulating them in the culture wars.

There is are enough challenges and divisions in the world without us conjuring up new ones for whatever motivation.

People want us to be focussed on creating hope and delivery and a better city. They want us to be people who are able to wrestle with the complex challenges and contradictions that cities – in all their diversity – embody.

I will spend the next three years leading in three areas:

  1. Inclusion
  2. Sustainability
  3. Delivery

1. Inclusion means inclusive growth

It means jobs and homes in a diverse economy that offers pathways to employment for people at all skills and education levels.

Our challenge is to share a way of doing economic development that by its very nature redresses the historic and institutional drivers of inequality and social immobility. This rather than growing the economy and then tacking a couple of equalities initiatives on the back end.

2. Sustainability means delivering against the climate action plan and the ecological action plan

It means working as a council. But it also means working as a city doing all we can to decarbonise the energy, transport and food systems on which our cities depends. It means not dealing with any single issue in isolation but recognising the interdependence of poverty, class, racism and climate change.

On that front, I will share the insight of someone who recently gave a speech to a Multi-Faith meeting on the environment that was organised by Afzal Shah. He shared with a gathering of black, white and Asian Christians, Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus and Jews how too often environmentalism had been a voice of divisive and accusational politics when what it should have been a cause for unity in the face of a global challenge.

We need to hear that challenge.

Sustainability means not shying away from the housing crisis and the difficult conversations about density and sustainable city centre locations.

It means bringing investment into green jobs and a transition to a low carbon economy.

3. Delivery means continuing to get stuff done

Delivery means lives change. Homes are built. Children are fed. Women and girls no longer in period poverty. Ground source and water source heat pumps and installed. Schools are built. City areas are pedestrianised. Jobs are generated. Homeless people are housed.

You can measure action by the number of cranes on the horizon. They are a clear example of the modernisation of the city, of continuing growth and opportunity.

Delivery means continuing to work as a city, not just a council. Working with partners and continuing to meet city challenges with all partners, cleaner air, a living wage city, mass transit, a living rent city, a city where diversity of thought leads modern 21st century city and continuing to put cities at the forefront of political, economic and social challenges – putting cities in front of challenges where governments fail.

We have the challenge of leading a city that is growing in size of population, need, diversity and inequality within the same geographical area of land. We do this while facing up to the environmental, economic, political, social and moral need to face up to tackle the climate and ecological crisis. And sometimes the things we must do to meet one area of these challenges can threaten to undermine our efforts to meet another.

Conclusion

So I finish with the same offer I have always made: if you have an genuine offer, a contribution to make to our efforts to meet those challenges, if you want to turn up with solutions, the door is open. Come make that offer, and then tell me what you need from the city to enable you to deliver it.

The time I have as mayor is loaned to me by the city. It’s my job to invest it not in fruitless distractions and false politics, but in the people and initiatives that will make a difference for the city, our country and world.

Working in partnership

Today’s guest blog is from Ellie Freeman, chair of Action Greater Bedminster.

Ellie Freeman, Action for Greater Bedminster

I’ve lived in BS3 with my family for 12 years, and I’m currently chair of Action Greater Bedminster (AGB). In recent years, AGB has got more involved in planning and consultations. Several new developments are happening across Bedminster and Southville, and slightly further afield at sites like Temple Quarter, and the community was feeling increasingly anxious about the impact these would have on the local area.  

When the council’s Community Development team approached me about working with the council in the early stages of a project to regenerate the area around Whitehouse Street, I was keen to build on our experiences and jumped at the chance to get involved so early in the process.  

The project area is just up the road from Bedminster Green, which is an area that continues to have a lot of interest from the community, with a general sense that their concerns have not been taken on board by the various developers involved. Our hope at Whitehouse Street was to bring the community in on the ground floor.  

Working closely with the council’s project team, particularly the Community Development team, we agreed the scope of the work and the local partners we’d work with – Windmill Hill City Farm, Fun 4 Families and The Sanctuary.  I know Lynn from Community Development well from previous work and was glad to have her on board.  

Working with the council in this way – where AGB has been commissioned and paid by the council – has been a new experience, but it has helped us to have an open relationship where we have regular meetings and work to a set of shared principles.  

Since we started in February, I’ve got to know the Whitehouse Street area well. The engagement process has been thorough. We’ve hand delivered letters, taken surveys door to door to the few houses in the area, and met local residents to hear their views about the early proposals. COVID-19 has made life more difficult, but we’ve managed a project website with an online survey and interactive map to hear from people, as well as hosting online meetings with individuals and stakeholder groups.  

It hasn’t always been easy to keep that distance from the council – I’ve spent more time with council officers over the last year than anyone else – but working directly with them has given me a seat at the table to challenge and question ideas as they are developed.  Being paid for my time has also helped, not least by officially recognising AGB’s role in amplifying the voice of the community.  

AGB is committed to helping Bedminster thrive and grow, and Whitehouse Street can be a key part of this. Being a part of the project from the outset has been a huge learning curve. It hasn’t always been perfect, but the community having the chance to feed into the process directly has been refreshing. I’m pleased the council has taken this approach and I hope they continue to do so in future.  

Bristol – Gold Food Sustainable City

Today’s guest blog is from Councillor Asher Craig, Deputy Mayor for Communities, Equalities, and Public Health and Chairperson of the Going for Gold Steering Committee.

You may have noticed some eye-catching billboards popping up like mushrooms across Bristol this week, heralding our new status as a Gold Food Sustainable City.

As the Chairperson of the Going for Gold steering committee, I know this exciting accolade is the result of our 18-month long Going for Gold campaign which included the whole city.

The Going for Gold movement was about a collective ambition to make Bristol’s food system better – better for our people, our city and the planet.

It builds on the incredible work of over 120 organisations supporting a Good Food Movement (GFM) in our city that led Bristol to receiving a Silver Sustainable Food Cities award in 2016.

As only the second city in the UK to achieve Gold (Brighton and Hove were awarded Gold last year), the Sustainable Food Places Board recognised us for our innovative approach towards tackling food inequality, reducing waste and increasing urban growing.

The accolade also acknowledged Bristol’s GFM and our efforts in tackling the impacts of food on public health, nature, and climate change.

Sustainable Food Places leads a growing movement of people and organisations across the UK, who are working towards making healthy, sustainable, local food, a defining characteristic of where they live.

The bid was a One City collective effort led by Bristol City Council, Bristol Food Network, Bristol Green Capital Partnership and Resource Futures, as well organisations, citizens and food outlets across the city who logged almost 2,000 positive food actions on the Going for Gold/Bristol Bites Back Better website.

Now we have achieved Gold it is not the end of this journey. The pandemic was a powerful catalyst in heralding in a much-needed change in how we feed our city.

This work has rallied a powerful momentum in Bristol and sown the seeds for a decade of building a diverse, inclusive, resilient and flourishing food community that can bring real change by 2030.

Our focus is now the One City Food Equality Strategy and Action Plan and the Bristol Good Food Plan 2030. On World Hunger Day, the Mayor reaffirmed our city’s commitment to help over 10,000 households in the city that are experiencing food poverty.

Working with a number of partner organisations and in a One City collective approach, we are developing a Food Equality Strategy and a Bristol 2030 Good Food Action plan.  The pandemic has increased levels of food insecurity in our most vulnerable communities and our success as a Gold Sustainable Food City has given us the added momentum to tackle food insecurity head-on.

To continue our journey towards a resilient food system in Bristol, we all need to be involved, at home and at work, in communities and through our institutions and I am excited to see the next phase of this work take shape.

Saluting and Supporting our Armed Forces Communities

Today’s guest blog comes from Cllr Helen Holland, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Armed Forces Champion for Bristol City Council.

This Saturday is Armed Forces Day where we take the opportunity to recognise the contribution those in our armed forces communities make to our city and country. This year in particular, our armed forces have played a vital role in many aspects of the national response to Covid-19 – from distributing PPE, supporting testing and vaccinations, and working alongside countless community organisations supporting residents in need.

Since taking on the role of Armed Forces Champion in the council earlier this year, I have enjoyed learning more about the needs and experiences of our armed forces communities, and look forward to meeting those organisations in person as restrictions lift.

Bristol is home to a number of reserve units across the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force. According to data published in 2017, over 16,000 veterans live in the Bristol area, and as the recent census asked the question about serving in the armed forces for the first time, we look forward to getting the results of that so that we have the most up to date information about our veteran population in the city.

All local authorities in the country are signatories to the Armed Forces Covenant, which is a commitment to ensure that members of armed forces communities receive the support they need in recognition of their dedication and sacrifice. However, we also want to make sure that members of the armed forces and veterans, and their families, are integrated into local life in the city and that we promote understanding of the issues affecting the armed forces communities in Bristol. A multi-disciplinary group of Council officers meet, alongside forces representatives, and agencies such as the Royal British Legion, SSAFA, and the DWP to ensure that our work is as joined-up as it can be, and I want to work to raise the profile of that work. 

One of the aspects of this work is making sure that veterans and members of armed forces communities are supported into employment, which is why Bristol City Council, alongside 67 other businesses have signed their own covenants. At the council, we are developing a work programme specifically to support employees who are veterans and reservists to ensure their needs are accommodated and they are supported to thrive in their careers at the council.

We know, however, that there is more work to do across a range of city services to help those who serve – or have served – in the armed forces to thrive. Access to mental health support continues to be a crucial issue. Research from Kings Centre for Military Health Research indicates that rates of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in 2014-16 had grown to 6% – higher than the population average of 4%. Information on specific support through the NHS for serving personnel and veterans is available here.

Labour’s Shadow Defence Team have set up a network of Armed Forces Champions to ensure that the voice of armed forces communities are represented in national policy. We are campaigning to make sure the Armed Forces Covenant is fully enshrined in law, to promote a new duty of care from the Ministry of Defence to give veterans better legal and mental health support, and to ensure that Commonwealth veterans have visa fees scrapped. They are also keen to hear from veterans about their experiences directly – if you are an armed services veteran you can complete their survey here.

Meanwhile it was my pleasure to attend the flag-raising for Armed Forces Week on Monday alongside the Lord Mayor and representatives of our service units in Bristol, and where we were able to #SaluteOurForces. On Saturday, I encourage you to join in.

Citizens’ Assembly recommendations

Bristol’s first Citizens’ Assembly brought together dozens of people from across our city to hear from experts, so that they could make recommendations on how we can rebuild a better Bristol as we recover from the impacts of the pandemic.

This week, my cabinet was formally presented with their report.

Hear more about the deliberative democracy pilot from Deputy Mayor Asher Craig, Cllr Paula O’Rourke, and Assembly members in this short film!

Pause, reflect, renew

Today’s guest blog comes from Professor Jane Powell, Director at the Centre for Public Health and Wellbeing at UWE.

Professor Jane Powell

Since March last year and for at least another four weeks, the world has found itself in the midst of a pandemic that has brought uncertainty and challenges to each and every one of us. The world has reacted yet still we find ourselves working in stressful, unprecedented environments that not only affect the way we work but all aspects of our day to day lives including our mental health and wellbeing.

This has undoubtedly had a huge toll on millions of us in the UK and the hundreds of thousands of us that call Bristol our home.

On Thursday 17 June, the City Office and Centre for Public Health and Wellbeing at UWE held an event as part of Bristol Remembers to offer a space for people to talk about the pressures they have seen on staff from all sectors and all corners of the city. Speakers from St. Peter’s Hospice, UWE Public Health, Bristol City Council, University Hospitals Bristol and Weston (UHBW) and Brunelcare all offered insight into some of the ways we can support our organisations and the teams within them to enable a safe recovery from periods of intense pressure.

Frank Noble is CEO of St. Peter’s Hospice and gave a really inspirational presentation on his experience of military decompression, talking around a framework that he produced to help his staff recharge, restore and recuperate in their own teams to help readjust to elements of normality. This was followed by Dr Liz Frost, a colleague and Associate Professor of Social Care here at UWE, who added her thoughts about the impact the pandemic has had on the workforce and how organisations can help staff by focusing on the things that truly matter to them, which in turn will help both teams and individuals thrive.

Along with input from Christina Gray, Director of Communities and Public Health for Bristol, Samantha Chapman, Head of Organisational Development at UHBW and Oona Goldsworthy, CEO at Brunelcare, delegates were given a thorough insight into what others are currently doing and how they too can share, develop and use these ideas within their own organisations.

The event finished with everyone getting a chance to participate sharing their own thoughts, feedback and experiences that we hope to share even wider as we look to recover together as one city. We want to build on the conversations we have had so far to make sure that as a workforce, we don’t just go back to how things were but improve on them, to make it better for everyone.

For anyone interested in finding out more about the event or using a ‘decompression’ framework within your organisation to help recovery from the pandemic please contact the City Office via city.office@bristol.gov.uk

The case for food education

Today’s guest blog comes from Barny Haughton, Founder, Director and Cookery Teacher at Square Food Foundation, based in The Park, Knowle.

Photo credit: Sustainable Food Trust

If we want healthy and resilient communities and healthy and resilient food systems, we need a food educated society. And that means getting food education into schools and into the community.

Most people in the developed world are not responsible for and have no say in any aspect of the food system except eating – and maybe – cooking it. Food ‘education’ and the responsibility for how food is produced from soil to plate has been the default remit of the food industry.

But we are finally discovering the real significance of where our food comes and why some foods are better for the environment than others and about the relationship between diet and physical and mental health. We are discovering that learning how to cook well is often the first step to eating well. And that learning how to cook is a gateway to a world of knowledge, confidence and empowerment beyond just a life skill and healthier eating. It connects individuals, families and communities in the most obvious and brilliant ways. It brings an understanding about the bigger food landscape and our place in it. 

So now is the time to look beyond the kitchen and at the bigger picture. Covid-19 has shown on the one hand the fragility of a globally evolved and globally dependent food system and on the other the potential for local communities to transition towards systems which are less fragile, more responsive – and systems which are understood by, and the responsibility of, ordinary people.

Food education in schools…

Imagine what a generation of school leavers who had learned about the world of food would contribute towards this transition

What would food studies in schools mean?

Food education is not just about cooking and nutrition

It means the study of everything to do with food:

  • Agriculture, production, climate, environment, natural history
  • History, tradition, politics, law, economics,
  • Culture, religion, ethics
  • Science, ecology, waste, medicine, disease
  • Identity, literature, art
  • Public health, nutrition, diet, personal health
  • Cooking, taste, eating, tradition

And in the community…

For the past ten years Square Food Foundation has been delivering cookery and food education programmes to people from all walks of life. I have personally been working in food education for the past thirty years. And I absolutely know that it is a critical part of the solution to the challenges which face us all – in our communities and in the world. Square Food is currently working in partnership with Oasis Connaught Primary School in Knowle West on a whole school curriculum integrated food education project which involves teachers, parents, whole families as well as the children. Schools and community working together.

We believe that food education is key to the principles of social democracy and food systems resilience and that it should be central to education itself, to the life of every school, on the national curriculum, in the minds of government policy makers.

Without food education we will never substantially reduce food poverty. And with it we can solve many of the biggest problems facing humanity.

Imagine an Environment Minister with a Masters in Gastronomic Sciences

It’s time to get food education into schools, into the community and into government policy.

If you would like to find out more about the work and aims of the Square Food Foundation you can contact them via:

Info@squarefoodfoundation.co.uk

0117 903 9780

Insta: @SquareFoodFoundation

Twitter: @squarefood

Facebook: @squarefoodfoundation

Our night time economy

After yesterday’s announcement from national government that any further easing of restrictions will be delayed by at least four weeks, Carly Heath, Bristol’s Night Time Economy Advisor, has written to Paul Scully MP, Minister for Small Business.

Dear Minister,

Re: Additional support for the Night Time Economy (NTE)

I am writing in light of yesterday’s announcement confirming a delay to easing of Coronavirus restrictions and following conversations with trade bodies, businesses and workers within the NTE.

Our vibrant nightlife is at the beating heart of what it means to be a Bristolian. The city doesn’t stop at 6pm. The night is where we come together as a community, it’s where the soul of our city gets to flourish.

I appreciate that the Delta variant of the virus has presented fresh challenges for the government and that public health must remain a priority. We will support measures taken to keep the situation under control, however, extending restrictions without the necessary support risks jeopardising the livelihoods, relationships and mental health of those working in the NTE.

Current business support has kept many businesses afloat in the past year and it must be continued until restrictions are lifted.

Venue owners and events organisers have been planning towards the 21st June. In order to be ready for potential reopening, they have bought in stock and hired staff. These are, in many cases, costs that cannot be recouped.

Many skilled workers have left the sector in the past 16 months and businesses are now facing huge staff shortages as a result. Staff have been hired and trained in anticipation for re-opening, and there are questions marks over whether these staff will be eligible for furlough. This means many new employees will be let go and businesses will have to go through the process all over again, or face the prospect of paying to keep staff on their books for the anticipated four weeks, with no certainty that the restrictions will be relaxed then either.

UK Hospitality estimate that 300,000 jobs are at risk in light of yesterday’s announcement and that a one-month delay to restrictions lifting will cost the sector around £3 billion in sales. A survey of 300 NTE businesses by the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) suggests 1 in 4 businesses will not survive longer than one month without further Government support, and 50% will last no longer than two months.

In Bristol, we have 1,127 NTE premises. 39 music venues & nightclubs, 784 hospitality venues, 5 theatres, 52 hotels and 13 breweries. Nearly all venues have reopening events scheduled. Many have been sold out for months. A number of major events and festivals are now facing cancellation or further postponement, threatening the viability of those businesses and the supply chains they rely on.

At least 32,000 jobs in the city are reliant on night-time cultural and leisure activities. The wider NTE constitutes 91,620 employees, or 30% of Bristol jobs.

In coming weeks, businesses are facing quarterly rent payments, the end on the ban on commercial rent evictions and further contributions to furlough costs – but these same businesses cannot bring in revenue if they are unable to trade or profit.  

To protect workers, businesses and the entire NTE ecosystem, we therefore ask that the government:

  • Extends the current business support package, including:
    • Extension of VAT reduction
    • Extension of the rent moratorium
    • Extension of rates relief
  • Implements a sector-specific furlough scheme for this sector, to provide flexibility that will prevent the mass firing of newly employed staff.
  • Provides the sector with certainty that should restrictions be extended, support will be extended to match.
  • Implements a government backed insurance scheme for events and festivals to enable them to plan with confidence.
  • Ensures there is adequate mental health and debt support services for those working in the sector – as a local authority, we will be using our communication channels to get information out on available support. People are in desperate situations.

We understand the rationale for delaying re-opening, but the impact of doing so without government support is cutting the lifeblood to our social heartbeat. The unthinkable consequences as a result of the government’s decision to delay the roadmap threatens a very real damage to our communities and our cultural life.

I look forward to your response on this matter. There is only so much longer that the sector can survive.

Yours sincerely,

Carly Heath

Night Time Economy Advisor

City Office, Bristol City Council

Taking on the Climate Smart Cities Challenge in Bristol

If there is one thing we rise to in Bristol, it’s a challenge. As One City, we need to urgently tackle the climate and housing crises we find ourselves in. As the first city in the UK to declare a climate emergency and an ecological emergency, and as a city committed to delivering the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, we are delighted to have been chosen by Nesta Challenges and UN Habitats as a Climate Smart City for focusing on finding innovative ways to deliver affordable, low carbon housing.

The aim of the challenge is for partners to support innovators in developing, testing and scaling cutting-edge solutions to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions as well as delivering a significant social impact to local people. In January, applications were sent in from cities all over the world, with only four being selected. Makindye Ssabagabo in Uganda, Botoga in Columbia and Curitiba in Brazil will be joining Bristol in the next stage. Each city’s challenge will be formally launched by Nesta and UN Habitat at a World Expo in Dubai in October 2021.

 There is a lot to do before then so the City Office, in partnership with Bristol Housing Festival, Bristol City Council, and other city stakeholders, has already started work around defining the detail of the challenge for Bristol. As a city, we will look at devising a model of housing development that brings collaboration to the forefront whilst also making it financially viable and sustainable for the future.

At the end of last week, a two-day ‘Discovery’ workshop was held to look at our specific locale, our history, our communities, the environments we have as well as other key aspects that make sure Bristol’s needs are being considered from a number of perspectives.

Following the immediate feedback from those that attended, we will now undertake wider stakeholder engagement with city partners, before a second workshop in July where the challenge brief will be finalised before the official launch of the project towards the end of the year.

The time for change is now and being part of the Climate Smart Cities Challenge, enables us to bring new ideas to the table which will help decarbonise our affordable housing, from a grassroots level, and through a One City approach.

To find out more about the Challenge go to: Climate Smart Cities Challenge — Bristol Housing Festival