Bristol Young Heroes Awards


Nominations Close for Bristol Young Heroes Awards on Saturday 22nd December.

Every year Bristol holds a gala dinner and awards ceremony called the Bristol Young Heroes Awards (BYHA) which pays tribute to the young people of the city aged 11-19 who are overcoming challenges to achieve something amazing in the face of adversity.

BYHA was founded in 2013 to highlight the incredible things Young People are doing in the city and to counter the surge of negative press they were getting, especially after the riots in 2012.

The event has grown year on year and has now recognised over 120 young people.  The aim is to not only have a one-off event to give a pat on the back and thank these amazing young people, but to partner with local businesses and programmes in Bristol to mentor and support the nominees after the awards to achieve their full potential and fulfill their dreams… whatever they may be.

The Bristol City Youth Council play a large role in choosing the nominees and the Youth Mayors will be presenting an award at the 2019 awards which will be held on Friday 5th April at We the Curious.

To nominate a Young Person or find out more about the event please go to or contact Holly Maurice at

These Walls Must Fall – Full Council Motion

Hundreds of people marched through Bristol on Saturday to demand an end to immigration detention.

Almost 30,000 immigrants and asylum seekers are held in detention centres every year. Conditions inside are prison-like, with inmates kept behind bars in units (including former high-security prisons) ringed by barbed wire and patrolled by guards.

Detainees have committed no crimes – but unlike prisoners, they often have no idea about when they can expect to be released. That’s because the UK is the only country in Europe not to have a time limit on how long immigrants and asylum seekers can be detained.

Tonight at Full Council councillors called on the Government to end this cruel system. A motion, passed by 48 votes in favour with 11 votes against, called for the Government to change the law to introduce more humane alternative and re-stated Bristol’s commitment as a City of Sanctuary and signatory to the Dignity not Destitution Pledge.

Councillors spoke powerfully about the brutality of the current system.

In some cases, Home Office officials arrive at asylum seekers’ homes in the middle of the night, force them into cars and transport them to other parts of the country. They can be placed many miles from loved ones – separated from friends and family just at the time they need them most.

The toll this takes on detainees was spelled out by an All Party Inquiry into Immigration Detention which found that the lack of a time limit had “a considerable mental health cost…detainees are left counting the days they have been in detention, not knowing if tomorrow their detention will continue, if they will be deported or if they will be released.”

The report also found a lack of adequate healthcare in centres, poor access to legal representation and particularly poor conditions for women, who report a lack of privacy and feeling intimidated by male staff.

There is not just a strong moral case for overhauling immigration detention – there is a financial one too. As the These Walls Must Fall campaign, who organised Saturday’s march, point out, the £125m spent every year on keeping open the UK’s eleven detention centres is both a terrible waste of money, and a waste of lives.

The motion passed tonight calls on the Government to enact in full the recommendations of the All Party Parliamentary Inquiry. We called on Ministers to change the law so that:

  • There would be a time limit of 28 days on the length of time anyone can be held
  • There would be a presumption in favour of community-based resolutions and against detention
  • Decisions to detain should be for the shortest possible time
  • The Government would introduce a much wider range of alternatives to detention

On the streets and in the council chamber this week, Bristol has spoken out in favour of a fairer, more humane system of immigration detention. We hope other cities and councils will follow our lead and help put pressure on the Government to recognise that the current system must be overhauled.

World Human Rights Day

Today marks UN World Human Rights Day. This year’s Human Rights Day is especially significant because it marks 70 years since the day the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. Motivated by the experiences of the preceding world wars, the Universal Declaration was the first time that countries agreed on a comprehensive statement of inalienable human rights. Seventy years later, the rights set out in the declaration remain as relevant as the day it was published.

At a time in which national government is no longer equipped with the tools to address the challenges posed by the modern world, it is more important than ever for cities to play a leading role in advancing the human rights. For years, cities have come together to tackle specific challenges such as climate change and migration. But the world is facing a new type of threat. Resurgent nationalist and extremist politics, fed by new digital communication tools, are polarizing divided and angry societies. In fact, the recent proliferation of threats to democracy and human rights show that continual human progress on these themes cannot be taken for granted. This progress is not always linear. From Brazil, the US and the UK to Hungary, Poland and Sweden, populist nationalist politics threaten human rights progress and the democratic structures upon which this progress depends.

Cities working together across international boundaries have the potential – even the duty – to assume a leadership role to safeguard our democracy. National political structures are demonstrating that they are vulnerable to populist takeover and ill-equipped to take on the challenges of social and economic inequality and the political exclusion that the populists are exploiting. I am convinced that we need to start an action focussed debate about a new architecture for global governance in which our cities and city networks are sitting alongside national leaders as equal partners in shaping domestic and global agendas. We need to strengthen human rights and democracy from the bottom-up.

I recently hosted the third annual gathering of the Global Parliament of Mayors in Bristol with precisely this aim in mind. We brought together nearly 100 mayors and leaders of city networks to explore how we can better work together to empower city leaders to drive change from the local to the global levels. Uppermost on the minds of many city leaders was finding ways to counter the nationalist impulses of their national governments – key to protecting the hard-fought rights of citizens. It was a powerful gathering, but I am acutely aware of how far we have to go.

In Bristol, we are playing a leading role in helping to protect the rights set out within the Universal Declaration. For example, Article 14 states that ‘Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution’. Bristol is proud to be a City of Sanctuary, recognising the contribution of asylum seekers and refugees to the city and seeking to include them as fully as possible in all aspects of social and economic life. This month we will be welcoming a group of asylum seekers to City Hall as part of a programme offering them work taster sessions in order to prepare them for employment. Bristol City Funds is exploring ways to invest in refugee entrepreneurs so that they can start and grow businesses which bring prosperity to their new communities. And the Council is proud to work alongside the many civil society organisations supporting and empowering refugees and asylum seekers in the city. We are making huge strides in helping to deliver Article 24 – ‘everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment’ through an array of mechanisms, including our inclusive and sustainable inclusive growth strategy and our WORKS programme. Article 25 sets out that ‘all children shall enjoy the same social protection’, with our own Children’s Charter setting out our commitments to our city’s children. The charter is a set of ten pledges formed by various partners across the city, which puts the human rights of children first priority in decision-making processes.

70 years on from the adoption of the Universal Declaration, we need to summon up the same energy and bravery as those who wrote it in order to safeguard our shared human rights. These rights cannot be taken for granted, and progress towards their delivery needs to happen from the bottom-up, rather than the top-down.

Industrial Strategy

A couple of hundred business leaders, academics and government representatives from across the country came together yesterday at “We The Curious”. They were in Bristol at the behest of Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy to mark one year since the publication of the Government’s Industrial Strategy, and engage in its continued development.

This is a vital piece of work. In Bristol we have set out to write a City Plan in the name of setting out our city’s future before it is handed to us by people and events that are not under our control. I understand the Industrial Strategy the same way – an attempt to be intentional about how we grow and strengthen our economy. It identifies four grand challenges:

  • Artificial Intelligence and data
  • Ageing society
  • Clean growth
  • Future of mobility

The argument is that successfully tackling these will put the UK at the forefront of the industries of the future. The Industrial Strategy also provides a mechanism for Government to support innovation, and our city’s success in this area is being noticed, with the Secretary of State Greg Clark publishing a new Aerospace Sector Deal yesterday providing £15m of investment for GKN’s new Global Technology Centre in Bristol.

We were broken into small groups to discuss the strategy’s development to date and the key challenges for our respective parts of the country. I took the opportunity to stress the importance of the strategy explicitly recognising the interdependence of social and economic outcomes.

In the short time I raised a number of points:

– I want the Industrial Strategy to make an explicit commitment to inclusive growth. I don’t mean we do the “serious” job of growing the economy and then run a project to get poor people involved. I mean unlock the challenge of developing an economic culture and machinery systemically includes and reduces inequality.

– Social immobility is an economic liability. It leaves unquantifiable amounts of talent undeveloped in a world in which skills is an essential component of any successful city. When we fail to access a diversity of thought, we lose access to the different world views, questions and creative tensions that can be a gateway to innovation and new business opportunities. Moreover, leaving people behind through growing inequality in the face of great wealth creation can result in the kind of social fragmentation, political disillusionment and polarisation that results in instability and further lost talent.

– We should have as high a regard for social policy expertise as an exportable technology as we do for things such a AI and big data capability. Cities across the world are grappling with the challenges of rapid urbanisation and searching for the policy mix that will enable growth without increasing population sickness, gentrification, environmental destruction, food instability, loneliness and many other challenges. While we want to take advantage of robots and AI, we must be careful we don’t end up using technology as the “easy” response to social failures resulting from bad economic growth. The challenges of an ageing society may, for example, be met in part through robots, and the event included an impressive demonstration of an experimental robot providing care support for adults with limited mobility. But longer, healthier more productive lives are also delivered through stronger human relations.

Our job in Bristol is to work with the Industrial Strategy because it present many opportunities in line with Bristol’s strengths, and we are currently working with our partners in the West of England to write a Local Industrial Strategy, to be published next year. As part of that we will ensure we test all assumptions and are explicit about the kind of economic development we need to flourish.


30 years of the Initiative in Bristol

Today’s guest blog is from James Durie, Chief Executive of Bristol Chamber and & West of England Initiative.

James Durie

2018 marks thirty years since a group of civic minded business leaders came together to form the Bristol Initiative –which I am now the Chief Executive of.

The Initiative is unique in the UK. A network of civic, business and community leaders, united not by profit, politics or the achievement of personal ends, but the quest to make Bristol a better place for everyone.

Founded in 1988, the Initiative’s premise was (and still is) based on the notion that businesses don’t exist in a vacuum, rather they are part of the fabric of civic life, and therefore have a responsibility to preserve and protect it.

The Initiative started in testing times – in the aftermath of the St Paul’s riots. This was a flashpoint in our city’s history in which trust in the system and trust in the Local Authorities’ ability to provide people a better life had reached an all-time low.

People were angry. Angry at being excluded. Angry at being overlooked by mainstream society. And angry that no one seemed to care. The Initiative’s founders were angry too.

They were angry that the living standards enjoyed by residents in Clifton didn’t reach as far as St Paul’s. They were angry at a lost generation of Bristolians. They were angry that the council didn’t seem to care. They were angry that businesses felt powerless to do anything about it, and in response they formed the Initiative.

As successful businesspeople, they weren’t naïve enough to think that they could change the city’s fortunes overnight. The Initiative’s founders were acutely aware of the importance of engaging key city partners, from local government and civil society, and uniting them behind a shared vision for the city region.

This was sorely needed at the time because Bristol’s reputation was seen as a place where good ideas came to die, where vested interests, in-fighting and apathy got in the way of positive change and the common good.

In the immediate years after the Initiative was formed, a partnership between council and commerce began to emerge. A partnership I am delighted to say remains to this day.

While at first the Initiative’s projects were largely concentrated in south Bristol – one of the group’s earliest projects was to establish Hartcliffe Leisure in 1989 – over the past 30 years the Initiative’s impact has steadily grown across Bristol, Bath and the West of England, duly recognising the value of working together at both city and regional level.

For 30 years the Bristol, Bath and West of England Initiative has had a role, whether large or small, in inspiring and delivering a series of successes throughout the region, each time working in partnership with a range of other organisations.

One of the Initiative’s most notable achievements in its first few years was the role it played in securing approval for Bristol’s Harbourside development. A derelict and unloved patch of wasteland splitting the city in two, was turned around with the work of key city partners. Since then this part of Bristol has changed beyond all recognition, and I am immensely proud of the part we have played in this.

For all this, problems remain in our city.

While economic growth and prosperity have transformed neighbourhoods such as St Paul’s, Stokes Croft and Easton from no-go areas to some of the most desirable in the city (because of their local communities not in spite of them), we have a rising number of rough sleepers on our streets. Educational attainment among BAME children may be at the highest it’s ever been, yet air quality is worse now than it was during the industrial revolution.

We are one of the most liveable cities in the UK, but many people cannot afford their own homes. How can our young people set down roots and build their futures here? Where will civic leaders of tomorrow come from without stability at home?

The election of a city region ‘Metro Mayor’ in 2017 marked a new era in terms of devolution from Westminster and the capacity for civic and business leaders to make a difference at a local level on some of these issues.

Working with our city mayor Marvin Rees and our local and combined authority leaders, my colleagues and I are committed to following an agenda which seeks to get the very best out of the public and private sector working together for this city region. Working together to play an active role in the development of this city region for all.

As we reach our forth decade of work, we’re in better shape to meet the challenges of the future than ever. More than 600 people from more than 200+ organisations are active participants or members of the Initiative. We have some strong local leadership and an economy that is growing and aiming to outperform the rest and realise more of its potential.

In these uncertain times, we must continue to stand together as a city region and get behind a bold and inclusive vision for the future. So if like me you love Bristol, partner with us to help make the next thirty years in this city even more special than the last.

Mayor Marvin Rees is attending the Initiative 30th anniversary event at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre on 6th December 2018 to speak of the contribution the Initiative has made and is making to Bristol and the wider area and how we need to work together.

For more information on the work of the Initiative visit:

Bristol & Bath Regional Capital third birthday

Edward-RowberryToday’s guest blog comes from Edward Rowberry, Chief Executive of Bristol and Bath Regional Capital, following their third birthday celebrations last night. 

For the last decade, cities across the globe have been performing a juggling act. On the one hand, the need for strong city leadership and services has been expanding: increasing social and environmental challenges require cities to act locally, nationally and internationally. On the other hand, funding for these activities has become more and more unstable and less secure. In response, the more innovative cities around the globe—where I count Bristol—have begun a shift from being primarily a service provider to becoming more of a service enabler.

There will always be services that only the public sector should provide. Yet there are others that could be part of the private or voluntary sector, supported by a city that is both a convener and a collaborator. In this context, the source of funding to do the work becomes paramount. Typically, we are only used to thinking about two forms of money: tax money that the state uses to perform services at a loss, and investment money that banks use to maximise profit. But there is another form of money emerging. This type seeks to create a positive social or environmental outcome while also creating a modest return that can go on and fund the next thing – a financial version of the circular economy.

When looked at through the lens of the city, this could be termed place-based investing. That is, using investment for the good of a particular place. In our case, Bristol and Bath Regional Capital CIC (BBRC) was created to use money for the benefit of our region: to see our local economy thrive financially, socially and environmentally.

Recently, we celebrated our third anniversary with our partners and fellow city innovators at Leigh Court. There, we released our first-ever impact report, detailing how we’ve been able to secure £27 million of place-based investment into the region so far. This included providing 161 new homes on the Dunmail school site in the area of Southmead, of which 34 were discounted for keyworkers and 27 were for ethically rented homes. We also helped raising £1 million to build 6 5-a-side football pitches for South Bristol Sports Centre for the community to enjoy. Some of our investments have been as small as £5,000 through our Community Innovation Fund pilot programme.

Through these successes we have also come to a realisation that so much more needs to be done. One of the things that I love about Bristol is its entrepreneurial and collaborative nature. This extends across the city, and is at the heart of City Funds, a new place-based investment fund due to be launched next April. The fund is unique globally in that it is a partnership between an impact investor (BBRC), a grant maker (Quartet Community Foundation), and a public body (Bristol City Council). This partnership will allow us to bring investment, grant, community assets, resource from business and knowledge together to create bespoke packages for change makers working towards the goals of the city. As far as I’m aware, there’s nothing like it in the world—a testament to Bristol’s creativity.

In the same vein, BBRC’s successful collaboration with Cheyne Capital Property Fund, United Communities and the Council on the Dunmail housing scheme has paved the way for an imminent second project. Endorsed by the Mayor at our anniversary gathering, we continue to work hard with public and private partners to create another much-needed mixed-tenure development in Bristol. We continue to pursue this co-designed and co-owned strategy because we know it works, especially here.

In my work, I speak to lots of people about money, and what money can achieve if it’s given the right constraints and the right motivation. And I’m proud of what we’ve been able to do with the money we’ve invested. But in these three years, what I’m most proud of is being part of a wider city culture that seeks to collaborate towards solutions. It’s this attitude that will drive the investment, and the city, of the future.

If you would like to find out more about BBRC click below to read our 2018 impact report.

BBRC Impact report 2018

Breakfast Clubs

Today’s blog comes from Cllr Anna Keen, Cabinet Member for Education and Skills

Cllr Anna Keen

Breakfast is often described as the most important meal of the day. We all know that if we want to be at our best at work or with our families, we need to start the day well. This includes eating a healthy meal, as well as starting the day as we mean to go on – by interacting with our friends, family and colleagues.

During the 2016 elections in Bristol, we pledged to do all in our power to ensure that ‘no child goes to school hungry.’ Feeding Bristol, the charity I helped to start, has this as one of it’s key aims. As a mum and a teacher, I see first hand the benefits to a child’s attitude, behaviour, learning and overall wellbeing that eating a good breakfast makes to children.

Sadly, for many families in our city, simply feeding your children each day is a huge challenge. We believe that this is unacceptable and have therefore worked with the charity Fareshare to set up free or low-cost breakfast clubs in many of our schools. The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, with several of our schools extending this to the whole family and using the early mornings to work on nutrition and cooking skills. It also helps our children get into school on time each day. We would like to see this offer extended to all our schools and last week, Fareshare invited our city’s business community to commit to sponsoring a club in a local school.

You can find out more about how to get involved here:


Bristol’s Festive Markets & Fair Saturday

As we move closer to the festive season, Bristol’s high streets, markets and shopping centres become decorated and lit up thanks to partners such as Destination Bristol and their Christmas switch on. It marks the start of Christmas shopping and a period of hard work for traders looking to do as much business as possible to offset leaner periods.

We are tuned in to the challenge facing our high streets due to the growing retail crisis. We have identified this as a priority and have launched work looking at Bristol’s High Streets and retail sector and created the City Centre Revitalisation Group.

We have welcomed the recent announcement of WECA funding of £10m to help our high streets and revive town centres. We have selected Bedminster as our trial, focusing in and around East Street. The criteria used for selecting the High Street was based on a number of factors including; vacancy rate, strategic importance, availability of opportunity for intervention/change and potential for positive impact on Bristol’s most deprived communities.

We expect there to be a number of other High Streets supported after Bedminster and we will further develop criteria. (The proposals will be agreed at the West of England Combined Authority committee meeting on 30th November).

At Christmas it is clear larger companies play a huge role in our economy, substantial revenues flow into Bristol through the big commercial organisations and they help drive our economic success. But I also want to pay tribute to the many small and independent traders operating in our city. Small businesses in the form of stall holders, shops, street food producers and concession holders are a vital part of our economy and street scene; they also form part of what’s uniquely ‘Bristol’ – our culture and style.

The appeal of small scale trading is clear at St Nicholas Market. Our award-winning Corn Exchange market, with its famous traders’ “nails” standing on Corn Street, is buzzing with activity most days but at Christmas comes into its own. 60 stalls are in the covered section and from Wednesday 12 December special themed markets will operate outside – ‘Vegan and Wellbeing’, ‘Farmers and Producers’ and ‘Christmas Street Food’. St Nick’s is celebrating 275 years of trading this year and will be open every day from Sunday 18 November to Christmas Eve.

It’s that culture/commerce balance that is the focus of Fair Saturday, an initiative I’m proud to support – it seeks to promote cultural activity and empathy as a balance to global commerce.

Fair Saturday is a perfect fit for Bristol as an outward facing, global city proud of both its cultural offer and the engagement of its citizens. It is a city that strives for fairness in the context of the challenges and opportunities facing us. So this weekend, Bristol leads the way again by hosting the first official Fair Saturday in England. Originating in Bilbao, Spain, Fair Saturday is part of a global movement that aims to be a creative response to Black Friday. Alongside 100 cities worldwide, Bristol artists, performers, communities and social causes are coming together to create and reflect on what it means to be a fair society, while supporting social causes in the process.

More than 40 activities have registered and are taking place across the city. From the UK’s only (and Bristol-based) fully integrated orchestra, Paraorchestra & Friends performing at Motion night club on Friday 23 November, to 91 Ways celebrating and raising awareness of Bristol’s rich cultural diversity with ACH Housing and Tribe of Doris arts collective, these events demonstrate Bristol culture, and its social conscience, in action. Fair Saturday is a great example of our wide-ranging, inclusive cultural offer and I am pleased that there is something for everybody in the city to participate in if they want to.

The markets are also supporting Fair Saturday on 24 November with a special artist’s performance within the St Nicholas market complex. I urge everyone to drop by and support your local independent traders this season.
How to find out more:
Fair Saturday Bristol events are taking place throughout Saturday 24th November in venues and locations across the city, including museums, markets, cultural venues, cafes and night clubs. There’s something for everyone, whatever your age or interest. Follow #FairSaturday on social media.

All events are listed and located on the Fair Saturday app which can be downloaded to smart phones here.

Printed trail maps will also be available from Friday at Colston Hall Foyer, Spike Island, Central Library, Vestibules at City Hall, and Hamilton House.

Fair Saturday programme for Bristol:

Visit Bristol’s Christmas markets and attractions in detail.


International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and Girls 2018

This Sunday (25 November) marks the United Nations (UN) International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and Girls. It is vital that the day is used to highlight the scale of an issue that is too often hidden. Globally, 1 in 3 women and girls experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetime, most frequently by an intimate partner.

On our part, Bristol City Council is in the process of reviewing its domestic violence and sexual abuse strategy. But this is not an issue we can address in silos. In Bristol we are working collectively with a range of partners, including Avon & Somerset Police, NextLink, SARSAS, BAVA, and Women’s Aid to tackle domestic violence and sexual abuse against women. It is clear that a life course approach needs to be adopted, addressing the ways in which children are impacted by domestic violence and sexual abuse, and the intergenerational dimensions of this. I’m proud that Bristol is the only Core City with a Cabinet Member for Women, in the excellent Councillor Helen Godwin. Helen is addressing domestic violence across generations by leading on a city-wide campaign to make Bristol an Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Aware city, which will be launched at a conference in January 2019. You can read more about ACEs and why breaking the cycle of harmful behaviours here. Helen and I recently visited One25 , a charity specialising in enabling women to break free from street sex-work, addiction and other life-controlling issues and build new, independent lives. What struck me the most was how vulnerable the women One25 work with are to violence. Their Pause programme, funded by Bristol City Council, works to halt the cycle of adversity by supporting women to keep children in their care and move on as parents.

To truly tackle the devastating impacts of domestic violence and abuse, we need to think long term. In 2015, a new UN global development agenda was accepted by all countries and is applicable to all. Through its 17 goals, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, an agenda for global action for the next 15 years, addresses the three dimensions of sustainable development: the economic, social, and environmental. The Agenda recognises gender equality and the empowerment of women as a key priority, pledging that “no one will be left behind”. Goal 5 of the agenda aims to “Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls” and includes specific targets to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls. I see the sustainable development goals, including that of gender equality, as central to delivering a city in which nobody is left behind. This is why we are working to embed them in our One City Plan, which sets out our ambitions for the city with a clear action plan for how to achieve them to 2050. It is evident that there is a long way to go to achieve gender equality, but I am glad that Bristol is at the forefront of this.