Author Archives: marvinjrees

Bristol’s Clean Air Zone: two month countdown

There’s only two months to go until Bristol’s Clean Air Zone launches on 28 November.

The image has a blue background, a green van with a question mark sits in the bottom left of the picture. On the right of the image a calendar with text reads November, Monday 28. White text at the top of the image reads Two months to go... Are you ready for Bristol's Clean Air Zone? Bottom right of the image text reads Clean Air for Bristol. With the Bristol City Council logo.

This is an important step on our journey to cleaner air and creating a healthier future for everyone in Bristol. We need to reduce harmful pollution in the city and reach the legal limits set by government in the shortest time possible, but we also want to give those who need it, a bit more time to prepare. That could mean upgrading or changing a vehicle or trying out different and more sustainable ways to travel instead.

That’s why I’m pleased to announce that today the online application portal for temporary exemptions is open.

It’s estimated that over 71% of vehicles on our roads are already compliant, so many of you will NOT need to make an application for a temporary exemption. Anyone who is still unsure if they will be affected should visit the government’s online vehicle checker in the first instance, to check if they will be charged to drive in the zone.

If you find your vehicle doesn’t meet the emissions standards, then you may be able to apply for a temporary exemption if:

  • you live within the Clean Air Zone
  • you work within the Zone and earn less than £26,000 per year
  • you meet one of the exemption criteria
  • and you need some extra time to replace or upgrade your vehicle

All the information, including the full list of exemption criteria, is available on the council’s website. These exemptions are being offered on a temporary basis, to give people a bit more time to prepare for the Clean Air Zone. I urge people to check the individual exemption pages on our website for information on when they end. If you need further support or have questions about your individual circumstance, please email cazsupport@bristol.gov.uk

If you run a business that operates more than one vehicle and are planning ahead to the launch of the Clean Air Zone, you might also want to check out the Business Accounts Feature which is now open. This allows you to set up a Bristol-specific Direct Debit to help you manage payment for vehicles entering and exiting the Zone. For more information, visit the Government website.

The photo shows Bristol's clean air zone signs. The grey sign has a circle emblem at the top, with a half green half white cloud with the letter D. Red text boxes below read Bristol Clean Air Zone, Coming soon, charges will apply. CleanAirForBristol.org, underneath is a white sign showing there are cameras nearby.

As well as offering temporary exemptions to give people more time to transition to cleaner vehicles, we have also secured over £5.9 million to help people to make their journeys more sustainable. Active travel not only helps to keep our air clean, but it can also help us to feel good and improve our mental wellbeing.

Our free active travel offer scheme offers people:

  • bike and e-bike trials for up to one month
  • adult cycle training to help build your confidence 
  • VOI eScooter credit 
  • train vouchers
  • taster bus tickets
  • enterprise car club credit
  • a free travel planning session to help you explore all your options for your regular journeys

We’ve already given out over 2,000 active travel offers to people in Bristol, and you can read about people’s experiences on our Clean Air For Bristol blog. It’s really great to see people already embracing new ways of travelling around our beautiful city and helping us to create a healthier city with cleaner air for all.

I know that the launch date is fast approaching, but I also want everyone to know that there’s still plenty of time to prepare and seek out extra support if you need it.

Update on Twinnell House

The fire at Twinnell House in the early hours of Sunday morning is a tragedy that has shocked and saddened myself and the wider community.

My thoughts are with the friends and family of the man who sadly passed away during the incident. My thoughts too are with other residents, who sustained injuries or had been effected by the evacuation of the building. Housing officers are continuing to support residents to ensure their physical and mental health needs are met.

As full details of the incident continue to emerge, we believe the safety procedures worked effectively, informing emergency services and allowing for an immediate and effective response.

There are stories of compassion, kindness, courage and support from those responders and the community. These stories are a positive aspect of an otherwise upsetting event.

I extend my thanks to everyone who attended to support residents, on behalf of the city. There are some I can thanks specifically .

Personnel from the emergency services including Avon & Somerset Police, Avon Fire & Rescue and South West Ambulance Service responded immediately and helped evacuate residents and ensure the fire was extinguished quickly.

St Nicholas of Tolentino Church and Margaret Ulloa opened up their doors to residents to provide important information and emergency accommodation.

Rachel James, the headteacher of St Nicholas School, opened up their facilities for parking and as a space for residents to eat. Daniel Doyle of Newman Catholic Trust helped take residents to a local hotel, who were extremely welcoming and understanding in light of the issue.

Councillor Yasin Mohammed arrived in the early hours of the morning and provided support to the emergency services and residents in the immediate aftermath.

Also, Bristol City Council staff from a range of teams provided residents with information, collected food for them and set up temporary accommodation. Their actions In the immediate aftermath have helped all residents into their homes or alternative accommodation, and they will continue to work together to make sure all residents can return to safe homes.

I want to express my gratitude to these people and organisations as well as everyone else involved in the effort. The response from the community was remarkable, as we move forward we are continuing to ensure residents feel supported and cared for and provide updates as soon as we are able.

Great Big Green Week – Blaise Plant Nursery

Councillor Ellie King standing on the City hall ramp smiling.
Today’s guest blog is from Councillor Ellie King,
Cabinet Member for Public Health and Communities and a Labour Councillor for Hillfields ward.

Today is the start of Great Big Green Week (24 September – 2 October) and so I’d like to take the opportunity to celebrate Bristol Council’s Blaise Plant Nursery’s commitment to protect nature, support climate action, and tackle food poverty through its successful Community Plant Donation project. I’m also pleased to share some videos that show how this scheme supports community action tackling food poverty and climate change.

The plant nursery at Blaise Estate has been operating for more than 30 years. The team at the nursery work hard to reduce its impact on the environment and lower its carbon emissions as much as possible. The nursery produces all of its own electricity using solar panels, its staff use zero-emission ex-milk floats to move around the site, and they water young plants by hand from a borehole on the estate to reduce consumption. All the plants are grown in peat-free compost, biodegradable mulch mats are used wherever possible, and the plant pots and trays are recycled. Waste timber is recycled into biomass fuel and the nursery is wildlife friendly with bird feeding tables and bee hives dotted around the site.

Part of the great work the team do is the Community Plant Donation project. This spring, 10,000 vegetable and soft fruit seedlings were delivered to 50 food growing community groups in Bristol so they could help supply food banks, community cafes and schools to support people in need. As well as providing fresh, locally grown, healthy food to families and foodbanks, the plant donation project has also had a wider positive impact on communities. You can find out more about all the good work in the following short videos:

·         A group of young adults with special education needs and disabilities have been learning how to nurture a garden at Victoria Park Veg Patch.

·         People struggling with their mental health have benefited from being surrounded by nature and the feeling of wellbeing it brings through the social prescribing scheme at The Ardagh.

·         Residents in BS13 have been learning how to grow their own food, how to eat more healthily and how this can help the environment at Heart of BS13.

·         At Companion Planting in Speedwell people come together to teach their children about food and sharing food from their culture.

·         The Redcatch community garden in Knowle uses the produce they grow at their café and sell it in their shop to raise money to put back into their neighbourhood.

·         All the plants at the Blaise Plant Nursery are grown in environmentally friendly peat-free compost and are free of pesticides which is important to Edible Bristol.

Image shows a variety of plans in pots, including tomato, squash and pumpkin. A sign at the front of the image reads Friday Hillfields Community Garden.

The Community Plant Donation project started in April 2020 when the council’s plant nursery in Lawrence Weston had to close its shop because of the COVID-19 lockdown. The shop was fully stocked with fruit and vegetable seedlings at the time and so that they wouldn’t go to waste staff from the nursery and parks department delivered the plants to community growing groups who were delivering food to people who were shielding or growing food for food banks. The plant donations project had such a positive impact on communities that it received funding from the council’s Climate and Ecological Emergency Programme in 2021 and this year to continue to scale it up.

We are now facing a different kind of crisis. The rising costs of fuel, food and other essentials means there are households at even greater risk of hardship and wellbeing and so the continued success of the plant donation project is even more important.

Bristol was awarded Gold Sustainable Food City status in May 2021 by the UK’s independent, Sustainable Food Places Board. The plant donation project supports Bristol’s commitment to maintaining this status by increasing the amount of nature friendly, low carbon food growing in the city and supporting food equality by improving access to nutritious, affordable and sustainably sourced food.

£4.8m funding allocated for Family Hubs and the Start for Life programme

Councillor Asher Craig
Today’s guest blog is from Councillor Asher Craig, Deputy Mayor for Children’s Services, Education and Equalities and Labour Councillor for St George West

The early years of a child’s life are so important as this is the time when the foundations for their development are set. We also know that it is vital that they have the support they need throughout childhood and onwards through their teenage and transition years into young adulthood.

That’s why I’m thrilled that Bristol is one of 75 local authorities that has been selected by the Government for a portion of over £300 million of funding, to support the Family Hubs and Start for Life programme in the local area. This is on top of a Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) grant of £97,000 over two years, which supports services to help parents develop effective relationships and reduce conflict in the home.

The £4.8 million of funding for our Family Hub Start for Life programme will help to support the vision for children and young people set out in Bristol’s Belonging Strategy. The strategy’s aim is that everyone in Bristol will have the best start in life and to get the support, help and skills they need as they grow up to prosper in adulthood.

The funding for Bristol over the next three years will help to develop Family Hubs to make it easier for families to access information, support, and services when they need it. This is especially important in areas with the highest levels of deprivation and disproportionately poor health and educational outcomes, as we know from our efforts to protect Bristol’s children’s centres and avoid the mass closures seen elsewhere since 2010.

Through the Family Hubs and Start for Life programme, parents and carers will receive more dedicated support to better help them nurture and care for their babies and children, ensuring they have the very best start to life. Family Hubs are a great way to join up the planning and delivery of services in a local community or area and will bring together a range of services to improve the connections between providers, professionals and families. The aim is that they are a front door to universal support and early help.

A child draws inside a carboard box at Bristol City Council's play day event in Eastville park.
Bristol City Council’s play day event in Eastville park

While the Start for Life programme will focus many funded services on babies and young children and help us in furthering our ambitions to be a Child Friendly City, it will link into the wider Family Hubs programme offering services for families with older children and young people up to the age of 25.

The programme is still in the early stages of development but it’s important to know that these Hubs aren’t about creating new buildings; it’s about connecting the dots, so families have a “one-stop shop” to universal and early help ranging from infant feeding support to mental health support, parenting and family support and help in accessing specialist help, at their fingertips.

This could look like a mixture of physical and virtual spaces, as well as outreach where families can easily access professional support for the challenges they’re facing. We will also strive to build on the existing services on offer, such as midwifery, family support workers and voluntary and community sectors. We also wish to build on delivering services from some of our children’s centres with the aim of developing this approach more widely across the city as well as considering how we can develop young people-friendly hubs.

We’re really pleased to be developing the Family Hubs model, working together with a wide network of partners and organisations already doing incredible work for our children, young people and families in the city. Together we are stronger, and we can make sure that people can access the right support whenever they need it.

Have your say on updating Bristol’s Local Plan

Cllr Nicola Beech stands, smiling, with a blurred background of trees and houses behind her.
Today’s blog is by Councillor Nicola Beech, Cabinet Member for Strategic Planning, Resilience and Floods, and a Labour Councillor for St George Central ward

The overarching plan that maps out how Bristol will develop over the next 20 years will be reviewed this winter. The Bristol Local Plan is a guide for the delivery of a very wide range of development in the city. It is especially relevant as a pointer to where new homes and future jobs, as well as health and energy infrastructure, would best be located.

A regional spatial development strategy is the document which local authorities often refer to when planning and preparing for new homes and jobs in the future. However, work recently stopped on the regional West of England Spatial Development Strategy (or SDS) and is not being progressed by the Combined Authority. Because of this we have decided to revise our local plan along a similar timeline as our neighbours in South Gloucestershire and in Bath & North East Somerset beginning later this year.

We will be working together closely with our neighbours on our local plans to make sure they harmonise with each other and fit together seamlessly. Many rapidly growing cities when faced with the challenge of where to build decide to spread outwards, which can lead to the destruction of their nearby greenbelt land and fragile local ecology.

So how do we decide where to put our children’s and our grandchildren’s homes and workplaces? How can we provide for ourselves and future generations yet still build sustainably for Bristol?

Well to start with we could build affordable homes close to where there are jobs, shops and sustainable travel routes. This means that Bristol’s answer to these questions will likely mean building more densely and this will sometimes mean taller buildings. But if we are to reduce car dependence and help people to create communities near to the places citizens want to be for work, as well as to spend their leisure time and rest, then building densely is surely the only way to achieve this. We have little choice but to build sustainably upwards on available brownfield land close to the rich culture and entertainment hubs of our city centre.

Our revised Bristol Local Plan will set out new policies for a sustainable future. This means the new plan will promote the most sustainable forms of heat and power. It must not just consider the carbon emissions associated with each new development but the carbon emitted during construction and manufacture, also known as ‘embodied carbon’. We also intend to revise our plan so that it will support new health infrastructure close to new planned developments. This means considering the future health needs of our growing city at the same time as other considerations.

We intend to restart the review of the latest version of the Bristol Local Plan in November this year. We’ll need your views first during a phase of consultation and engagement. Once this is complete we expect to potentially have a refreshed local plan in place by early Autumn 2024.

The estimated timescale to get to our new local plan is as follows:

• November 2022 – further consultation on the plan’s policies and proposals

• Summer 2023 – plan published for representations

• Early 2024 – examination by planning inspector

• Autumn 2024 – new local plan adopted

Please do take the time to contribute and have your say on what is one of the most crucial issues for Bristol’s future. As one of the fastest growing cities in the UK, Bristol needs to rapidly embrace new jobs and homes in the right places to protect our fragile environment.

£15 million plan for Education investment in Bristol

We all want children to have the best opportunities in life, no matter their background. That’s why we’re supporting the opening of new schools and expanding existing ones to make sure we meet the growing demand for school places in Bristol. 

In 2020, we made a commitment to increase spending for children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) to enable us to expand classroom spaces and improve SEND facilities. Through careful planning, plans to invest another almost £15 million from the Department for Education into SEND schools to create an additional 204 specialist places in Bristol by 2024.

The SEND projects funded through phase two of the council’s Education Capital Programme would lead to major improvements to current special schools and many mainstream schools to meet the needs of more Bristol children, through refurbishment and new builds, including a new Independent Living Centre at the City of Bristol College (Phase 3 of ‘Project Rainbow’).

The photo shows the aerial view of plans for the new school on Daventry road. The photo as houses circling around multiple sports fields at the bottom of the image and 5 main buildings that take up the north part of the site.
Plans for Oasis Academy Daventry Road

We are already making significant investments in our SEND provision with the first phase of our ambitious Education Capital Programme, which is on track to create 142 places by February next year. A new £8.5 million state-of-the-art school, Elmfield School for Deaf Children, is already underway and due for completion around Easter 2023. The new and refurbished school buildings, specifically designed for the sensory needs of deaf children, will be co-located with the adjacent Upper Horfield Community School.

I’m also thrilled that, working in partnership with the Department for Education, two new secondary schools are expected to open in Bristol next year, ready for the new school year in September 2023.

Feasibility works are currently underway to open the new Oasis Academy Daventry Road in temporary accommodation on the existing site of Oasis Academy John Williams in Hengrove from September 2023. The school’s permanent purpose-built school on Daventry Road in Knowle is expected to be completed in September 2024, and work is currently in progress to prepare the site for construction.

The temporary location of the new Oasis Academy Temple Quarter secondary school has also recently been announced. The new school will be based temporarily on Spring Street in Bedminster while the permanent, purpose-built school is constructed on Silverthorne Lane. Feasibility works including surveys are currently underway at the Spring Street site ahead of an expected opening in September 2023. 

The photo shows plans for Oasis Academy Temple Quarter school building. There is a road running from bottom right across the bottom of the image, with the main building sitting in the centre. On the right there is a brick archway leading to a car park.
Plans for Oasis Academy Temple Quarter

The council owns the site on Spring Street and is already leasing a small separate section of it to Help Bristol’s Homeless, a charity who support homeless people in our city. Once the school has opened in Temple Quarter, Goram Homes will progress its plans to build much needed affordable homes on the Spring Street site. A regeneration framework for the area around Whitehouse Street is currently being prepared and this will be used to help shape future planning applications for the site, alongside further consultation and engagement with the community.

The permanent site of Oasis Academy Temple Quarter on Silverthorne Lane was granted planning permission in April 2022. The school’s permanent building is expected to be completed in September 2025, and work is currently underway preparing the site for construction.

If you have a child that was born between 1 September 2011 and 31 August 2012, you will be able to apply for a secondary school place at Oasis Academy Daventry Road and Oasis Academy Temple Quarter from 12 September 2022.

Oasis Community Learning will be hosting events for families to find out more about the new schools and how they can apply for a place throughout September and October 2022. Applications in the first year will be managed directly by Oasis Community Learning.

The image shows a sketch of the Oasis Academy Temple Quarter building, it has trees and buildings surrounding it on either side.
Sketch of Oasis Academy Temple Quarter

To find out more:

  • Oasis Academy Daventry Road
  • Oasis Academy Temple Quarter

GCSE and Level Two VTQ Results Day

Congratulations to all the young people who have received their GCSE and Level Two VTQ (Vocational Technical Qualifications) results today (25 August).

Results day can be a very exciting but very stressful time, especially when the past two years haven’t been easy.

With home schooling and virtual learning playing a significant part in your education due to national lockdowns, you have had to overcome some unusual obstacles during the last few years. I hope you take the time to celebrate and recognise what you have achieved.

If you didn’t get the results you were hoping for, don’t give up! These results are just the beginning.

Marvin is sat on the right of the image with the pupil on the left of him. The pupil is holding a book that Marvin is pointing at. Behind them both is a light brown bookcase full of books.
Marvin reading with a pupil on a school visit

I ended up getting five Cs and a D in GCSEs myself, but I didn’t let that knock me back and through hard work I was able to eventually go to university. No matter the outcome of today, you can still do well in the future. There are many different options available to young people. You may wish to start a vocational course or continue to study towards A-Levels, while others may step into the working world through an apprenticeship. It may take you time to decide your path and that is also ok.

If you didn’t get the results you were hoping for or you need help or advice around exam results and next steps, you can contact the National Careers Service Exam Results Helpline on 0800 100 900. The free helpline is now open from 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday, and 10am to 5pm on Saturdays. For mental health support and information, please visit www.youngminds.org.uk.

There is information available about Post 16 pathways and options on the Post 16 Participation website www.bristolesl.com/bristolpost16. Or you can contact Bristol City Council’s Post 16 Participation team on post16participation@bristol.gov.uk or 01173525750.

The Post 16 Participation team are also running an event on Wednesday 31 August from 1-3:30pm at The Station on Silver Street (BS1 2AG), where you can get advice on what to do next and join in with CV and interview skills workshops. More information here – www.bristolesl.com/bristolpost16/2022/08/step-to-future-post-exam-result-event/.

To the older people reading this, I would like to echo what I said in my A-level blog. Now that we are living with COVID-19, it doesn’t mean that we have seen the end of the impact that the pandemic has had on the education of our young people, and it is important that we continue to support them following these difficult times.

Marvin Rees, the elected Mayor of Bristol, standing on College Green, Bristol.

Mass transit: Bristol’s underground studies

The mass transit plan, including going underground, is Bristol and our wider region’s only real option for a future transport system that works. Bristol has been left behind on transport while all other big British cities have built and modernised mass transit: our city has delivered nothing in recent decades. 

Those of us old enough can remember the endless announcements for tram lines, the announcements of transport systems of the future, and political promises that offered 21st century travel options. The reality is nothing was delivered and Bristol commuters continue to crawl. 

We have made real progress since first announcing our aspirational plans, and remain unapologetic about our ambition for Bristol. There is no time to fail and no time to delay.

Today, ahead of the Strategic Outline Business Case and a West of England Combined Authority consultation on options, we’re publishing the executive summaries of two major studies into the potential of mass transit for our city and region. The next stop on our journey to mass transit follows on from us securing further funding in February for more studies to continue building the detailed case for mass transit in Bristol.

The first study, by CH2M and Steer Davies Gleave, agreed that the idea was worth pursuing. It said that an underground system moving around 3,000 passengers per hour per direction would be deliverable. For a growing city of 472,000 people, with 1 million people here during the work and school day, this is not at all a big ask. We should rise to the scale of the challenges we face, not limit ourselves with the failed thinking of previous administrations.

The second study, by Jacobs and Steer, said that an underground is a reasonable prospect, which could deliver value for money and “transformational” economic benefits for the city and region. It emphasised that an underground, unlike un-deliverable above-ground trams which councillors forewent in the early 2000s, would avoid the disruption and destruction of having to knock down one side of buildings along key yet narrow arterial routes like Church Road or Gloucester Road.

These expert studies demonstrate that delivering an underground transport system for Bristol isn’t some grand design. It’s us punching at, not above, our weight, in line with Newcastle, Liverpool, and Glasgow. We’re a core city, and a global city, not a village. We need a modern, low carbon transport system, yesterday.

159 years after London opened the world’s first underground, they’re still expanding its network through the £19 billion Elizabeth Line (Crossrail) across the capital. It’s more than time for Bristol and the West to get our fair share too.

We are part of the combined authority and are working with Metro Mayor Dan Norris and his team, as well as the leaders of South Gloucestershire and Bath & North East Somerset to deliver a genuine transformation of our transport.

We must keep this project on the rails and finally transform the way we travel in and around our city.

£95,000 for groups taking climate and nature action

Councillor Kye Dudd, stands in the foreground of the image smiling, with a blue suit and red tie. In the background are trees and grass with two blurred out people on his right wearing a red and blue coat.
Today’s blog is by Councillor Kye Dudd, Cabinet Member for Climate, Ecology, Energy, and Waste.

A total of 25 Bristol community groups and non-profit organisations have been offered grants of up to £5,000 towards their work reducing carbon emissions or supporting nature recovery in our city.

Some of the applicants that have been offered a grant include Ambition Lawrence Weston, Bristol Somali Youth Voice, WECIL, Filwood Residents Group, Horfield Methodist Church, and Easton Community Children’s Centre.

I’m delighted that so many community organisations, some which often don’t get access to this kind of funding, were able to apply for – and win – a grant to enable the brilliant work they’ve been doing across the city. The breadth of applications received demonstrates that the climate emergency is a city-wide concern, and communities all across Bristol are taking climate action.

The grants form part of the council’s overall programme in response to the climate and ecological emergencies; they sit alongside the council reducing its own climate footprint, improving its land for nature and big investments in infrastructure for the future of the city.

As part of our One City Climate and Ecological Emergency Strategies, we invited groups and not-for-profit organisations working to apply for a grant of up to £5,000 support the work they’re doing to either reduce emissions that cause climate change, or makes changes that benefit wildlife in Bristol.

We announced the grants earlier this year with an online Q&A session, which was followed up by an outreach programme of events across our city. The outreach work aimed to make the grants accessible to all communities and those often excluded from funding opportunities.

Applicants had to demonstrate that their activities from their grant would result in either:

  • a clear reduction in carbon dioxide emissions, for example by encouraging a switch to means of transport that don’t use fossil fuels, making community services less reliant on fossil fuels, or encouraging reuse or repair activities
  • physical changes that benefit wildlife in Bristol, for example through improving an area of land for wildlife or creating a new area of wildlife habitat
In the foreground of the image you can see 5 rows of black solar panels that are placed on a roof f a building on Temple Street. In the background you can see a row of building including St Mary Redcliffe church that pokes out above the rest of the buildings, with trees in-between. A blue sky with a few small clouds is at the top of the photo.
Solar panels on Temple Street

Since being the first city in the UK to declare both climate and ecological emergencies, we’ve worked tirelessly to bring the whole city on board to meet the challenges these crises bring. There’s already hugely impressive work going on in the city, but to meet our ambitious targets of being climate neutral by 2030, we need everyone in the city to play their part. From businesses signing up to the Bristol Climate Ask and declaring their net zero ambitions, to individuals making changes to their lifestyles, and community groups, such as the successful applicants to the grant.

I’m looking forward to visiting some of these projects and hearing how the funding has made a difference.

If you’re feeling inspired to start taking climate action and making space for nature, Bristol Climate Hub has ideas and suggestions for individuals, companies and communities.

Remembering Roy Hackett MBE 1928 – 2022

Deputy Mayor Asher Craig smiles in front of trees.
Today’s guest blog is by Deputy Mayor Asher Craig

Many plaudits have been written about Roy Hackett since his passing, so there is no need for me to repeat what we already know about this humble, resilient and at times very funny human being. When Roy spoke, people listened and we saw this in action as he played a pivotal role in the 1963 Bristol Bus Boycott which paved the way for the first Race Relations Act of 1965.

I first met Roy Hackett, when I was appointed to the Board of Trustees of Bristol Council for Racial Equality, in the late 1980’s. I was representing St Paul’s Community Association, now better known as the Malcolm X Community Centre.

Roy was always elegantly dressed, – suit, tie, and that recognisable trilby hat. Roy was sat next to Owen Henry and also in the meeting was Prince Brown, Barbara Dettering, Olive Osbourne, Shivranjan Singh (the Chair of BCRE), Bhupi Bowri, Carmen Beckford and Fred Walcot. They were amongst many other leading black and Asian race equality activists and civil rights campaigners, who paved the way and passed on the mantle for people like me to step up and be counted. I was by far the youngest on the Board, but it was the best school I went to as my journey as a young black activist and agitator kicked in.

Roy Hackett stands on the left side of the photo with Asher Craig on the left they are holding a flag reading Celebrating the Windrush Generation. In the background you can see the moat and steps of Bristol City Hall.
Roy Hackett with deputy mayor Asher Craig on Windrush Day 2020

Today we marked the 60th Anniversary of Jamaica Independence at City Hall. For as long as I can remember, Roy always attended this annual event that has become a staple in the Civic Diary. He was a proud Jamaican and today his place in hoisting the flag alongside the Lord Mayor, was taken by his grandson and great-grandson. A fitting tribute was paid to Roy by the Lord Mayor of Bristol and in time this city will pay its own tribute to this Son of Jamaica, and proud citizen of Bristol. This year’s diamond jubilee celebration was observed under the theme ‘Reigniting a Nation for Greatness’, Roy was an example of this countries true greatness.

Roy was already a living legend so his legacy, is already documented but there is so much more to this great man than what we hear about him in the media or in books. Roy was a husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, friend, and colleague who continued to fight against racism and inequality until his passing.  Many of us will continue his work and many young people will be inspired by Roy’s story and will pick up the mantle as we continue to strive towards the elimination of racial discrimination in both this City and around the world.

Throughout my own journey in this city, I have had the privilege to have known and stood on the shoulders of many great giants – black activists, campaigners, and pioneers – Mr Roy Hackett MBE, is one those giants. Thank you for your service to this city Roy – your legacy will live on.