We Are Bristol

As Westminster readies itself to be lit up in red, white and blue, and Brexit Party MEPs frantically wave their Union Jacks, I am looking to Bristol and our citizens.

What does leaving the EU mean for our city? And most importantly, what does it mean for our people?

From tomorrow we won’t notice an immediate difference; travel will at first remain the same, trade will continue without additional checks, and freedom of movement will still be allowed. But tomorrow is the first day of a long journey that we have numerous hurdles to overcome.

This is not a time for gloating. There are no winners or losers. It now doesn’t matter how you voted. What is important is that as a city, and as a country, we pull together. Brexit hasn’t caused divisions, they were there already and have been years in the making. But Brexit has given opportunity for divisions to deepen and given voice to those who use the guise of democracy to propagate hate speech.

Please know this: If you are an EU citizen that has chosen Bristol as your home, then we are honoured. You are welcome, you are valued, and you are as much of a Bristolian as those who were born here.

If you are not a UK citizen and you haven’t already, then please make sure your future rights are protected by applying for the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS). We offer support with this at the Customer Services Point on Temple Street.

Look to your neighbours, friends and family. If you know someone who is an EU citizen and may be feeling vulnerable or might need help applying for the EUSS then please step up and help them.

We can all play our part. Bristol can lead the way by showing the UK how kindness can bring the country back together.

CAZ Update

Poor air quality in the UK has an effect equivalent to 40,000 deaths a year, and is the largest environmental risk to public health in our country. Research by Centre for Cities estimated that air pollution causes over six million sick days a year, it is a contributing factor to heart disease and impairs lung development in children. In Bristol round 300 deaths each year  can be attributed to exposure to nitrogen dioxide and fine particulate matter (PM2.5).

Earlier in the week I spoke at the launch of Centre for Cities 2020 Cities Outlook, their annual health check on the state of the UK’s largest cities and towns. The 2020 edition had a special focus on air quality in cities. The invite specifically highlighted that “Bristol is leading the way when it comes to cities taking the tough decisions needed to tackle air pollution.”

I understand that many people across the city are keen to get an update on how we are progressing with the clean air plans. Let me reassure them that we are making good progress on refining the plans and hope to be able to flesh out more of the details in the next couple of months.

We know that the menu of options made available to us by government don’t give us much flexibility, but our plans for a charging zone for non-compliant commercial vehicles and a small area ban for privately owned diesel cars 7am-3pm meant that we could meet the Government directive of achieving compliance quickest but also having the least impact on low-income households.

This is a very complex project and we are working with Government because it’s vital that we get it right. This will take time, but ultimately the priority for us is to meet the legal direction of delivering air quality compliance over the shortest period of time.

Following the submission of the Outline Business Case (OBC) in November last year, the team has been working hard on further developing the plans to go into the Full Business Case (FBC). They have been in regular discussion with the Government’s Joint Air Quality Unit (JAQU), but we are still waiting for their formal direction on the next stage of our plans. We will hopefully get this in the next few weeks.

An important part of the refinement has been discussions with key stakeholders across the city about how best to minimise the impact of the plans. These discussions have led to us making some adjustments to the diesel ban area. This includes:

  • Adjusting to allow for diesel cars to travel from A370 to A4

The planned boundary of the Diesel Ban area cut off a route for people who wanted to skirt round the zone from the south to the north, and vice versa. We have therefore altered the boundary giving access via Plimsoll Bridge and Portway.

  • Adjusting to allow access to Cabot Circus for diesel cars

A challenge was put to us that the planned boundary of the Diesel Ban area would restrict access to Cabot Circus and result in shoppers potentially going to Cribbs, negatively affecting Bristol’s economy. We have worked with Cabot Circus and have amended the boundary so the car park can be accessed by those who want to drive and shop.

  • Removal of the plans for a weight restriction on Marlborough Street and Upper Maudlin Street

Following extensive modelling it was agreed to remove the weight restrictions because this didn’t contribute to achieving compliance any sooner than if a weight restriction was applied.

We made clear when we first revealed the plans in the Outline Business Case that the boundaries of the two areas will be subject to change as things progress, and as this is an ongoing process, it will be some time before we can provide the final street by street information.

CAZ boundaries updated

Many people are asking about exemptions and of course, we are acutely aware of the need to help vulnerable groups across the city. A key reason for this taking time is to ensure that these plans didn’t unfairly impact on lower earners. Discussions about this form a large chunk of the ongoing work, but unfortunately it’s not a simple process, as it all needs to be worked through. Sadly it’s not as easy as just granting exemptions, as every change to the plans need to be analysed in detail to check it doesn’t impact on the overall compliance.

We are now very close to agreeing a package of exemptions and mitigation measures that we feel will help lessen the impact. This is likely to include, amongst others:

  • exemptions for disabled passenger vehicles and blue badge holders
  • exemptions for low income households
  • exemptions for patients needing to access the hospital

We are exploring replacing the proposed scrappage scheme with a grant and loan system. Other councils are doing  a lot of work in this area and we are going to consider a number of potential options.

We continue to work with the government to secure the powers for a diesel ban, but this is part of our conversation about getting the best result for Bristol.

We have a moral, environmental and legal duty to clean Bristol’s air. We have been clear from the start that we want to do this in a way that looks after Bristol’s poorest and most vulnerable people while doing so in the fastest possible time, as directed by Government. In a city with many competing issues and priorities we recognise that actions can have unintended consequences. Within our work to develop the mitigations we go a step further.

Making Inroads

Today, 15th January 2020 is the sixth National Pothole day, where campaigners raise the need for funding and resources to make sure Britain’s roads are up to scratch.

It’s appropriate for us in Bristol today as we had to warn residents that a section of Bishport Avenue in Hartcliffe was closed to resurface a section damaged by the recent poor weather.

Potholes and poor road surfaces are a frustration for motorists and cause serious damage to cars. They can also be especially dangerous for cyclists and motorbikes. We also know that the repair works themselves can be frustrating – causing delays on our network and inconvenience while our teams and contractors repair road surfaces.

It’s a huge challenge for councils across the country and Bristol is no different. In fact, here we repair over 5,000 potholes every year. Our highway network is the largest and most visible publicly owned asset in the city – it covers over 1,100km of carriageway, as well as our popular cycle routes and pedestrian footways. It is used daily by the travelling public for commuting, business, social and leisure activities.

Although it might be taken for granted until it goes wrong, our network is fundamental to the economic, social and environmental wellbeing of local communities and to the prosperity of the city as a whole. This is why we will robustly monitor the conditions and always look to ensure the safety of our staff, contractors and the general public through the active promotion of a positive health and safety culture.

The ongoing upkeep of our highways never stops and we are continuing with preventative work such as surface dressing and repairing defects before they cause potholes. It is key that we get ahead and take action early. Anyone who spots a pothole can report it online here or by calling 0117 922 2100.

This month also means the start of a new way to manage road works and reduce the amount of time our network is disrupted. A new system of streetworks permits will reduce traffic congestion and enhance air quality by introducing conditions on the times during which work can take place, helping to improve people flow and reduce congestion. It will also allow us to take action against companies who take too long to complete their works. This is part of our active roadworks approach to make sure roadworks are as efficient as possible.

Last year I saw some Bristol based innovation with plastic waste tarmac roads at the new housing development Ashton Rise. Willmott Dixon were incorporating tarmac roads into Ashton Rise’s development by replacing carbon intensive bitumen found in Tarmac with non-recyclable waste plastic.

Waste plastic was collected from Ashton Rise’s construction site through the waste management company ETM and processed it into a plastic polymer to replace the need for bitumen in the asphalt mix of tarmac roads, creating a ‘circular economy’ for plastic waste. By repurposing non-recyclable plastic that would otherwise go to landfill or incineration, Ashton Rise has prevented 1.3 tonnes of carbon entering the atmosphere or the equivalent of 146, 262 plastic bags being produced.

Although we’ll continue to prioritise early intervention and innovation for our network, we are hopeful that the Government’s promised National Infrastructure Strategy will include a pothole filling programme to help support stretched council budgets to maintain this important infrastructure.

Temple Island – The Future

Today’s guest blog comes from Pete Gladwell, Head of Public Sector Partnerships at Legal and General.

Today is a big day for Legal & General’s work in Bristol.  I’m very excited to have reached this key point in drawing up proposals for the redevelopment of the landmark Temple Island site.  A lot has happened since we started speaking to the Council nearly five years ago about working more closely for the good of the city, and Temple Quarter in particular.  The University Innovation Campus and commitment by all parties including the Council, Network Rail, and Homes England to work together to reconfigured and refurbished Temple Meads Station has given huge impetus to the development of the rest of Temple Quarter. We have appointed a full design team, including world-renowned architects, and have agreed a draft working protocol with the Council.

If you’d like to find out more about our vision for this historic site, here’s a preview of the development principles we’ll be adopting if the Council’s Cabinet agree to dispose of the site to us. We’re looking forward to presenting these to the Council’s Scrutiny Committee this evening and engaging proactively and positively with the local community over the coming months to shape the scheme.

Legal & General is a long term investor, who will have a long term stake in seeing Temple Quarter become a thriving place that both we and the city can be proud to call our own.  We’re determined this place will be an exemplar of sustainable development, putting the climate and ecological emergency we are facing at its heart, whilst providing the affordable housing that the city desperately needs.  It will be an iconic and vibrant place to live, work and do business; incorporating conferencing, a hotel, and quality public space. Legal & General has 116,000 customers in Bristol – many of whom have entrusted their savings and pensions to us.  This is about enabling them to have a positive impact, by investing back into their city.

We are looking forward to receiving the views of the Scrutiny Committee later on today.  Equally importantly, if this is to be a really inclusive place, we’ll need the help of people and community groups locally to welcome the new residents to the area.  They will be from a whole range of demographics and backgrounds, thanks to the mix of affordability points that Temple Island will offer.  We’re looking forward to speaking to people locally to understand how we can shape something that serves their priorities and to help us bring forward a truly exciting scheme for the city.

09.01.2020-Proposal for Temple Island_LG-FINAL

The E-Bike Challenge

I recently had the pleasure of riding an electric bike, loaned to me by Volt Bikes UK, for the ‘Mayor’s e-bike challenge’. The challenge was for me and a member of my team to use e-bikes to travel to as many of my appointments around Bristol as possible.

In any given day, I might have to travel to destinations as far apart as Whitchurch and Avonmouth, so it’s easier said than done to ditch the car to get to my engagements on time. A member of my team always accompanies me to my appointments, to take actions and follow up with the people I meet, so this adds another caveat – we have to get to our destination in time, looking tidy and in one piece.

Apart from a couple of trips on my mum’s, I haven’t ridden an electric bike before. I must say, it was great.

My first long trip was from City Hall to Brislington trading estate to visit Hamilton Litestat. It was a breeze. Enough effort to feel good about moving but not so much required that you end up covered in sweat. It’s a great feeling when you peddle and the power kicks in, pushing you along at a gentle 15mph.

cycling 3You have to get on top of the battery charging. It’s a liberating feeling when its fully charged, but there was a day I had plugged it in without realising the socket had not been switched on. I put the battery back into the bike later that day, full of confidence and optimism for my ride home. The power died a couple of minutes in. That was a heavy ride, all up hill. But that was down to me. The e-bike was great.

Let me take a little space here to share that one of the best features of the bike wasn’t actually the tech. It was the fixed mudguards. I’d never had mud guards before – leaving me trying to avoid puddles on those wet days or falling prey to the brown mud line up the back and the splashed socks and trousers. I have tried those fix yourself rear mud guards but never managed to get on top of how you stop them eventually spinning out of place, sticking out to the side of the bike. In the end, I always just take them off.

cycling 2I did come across a situation that disappointed me. I was on the railway path around school home time and a father was standing on the side with his two children waiting to cross. He had an arm stretched across their chests. People just rode past. I stopped to let them cross, and someone behind me gave me a mouthful about stopping on the railway path. I advised the chap to ride a little slower and anticipate he might have to stop, especially in a shared space, especially when there are primary aged school children or other vulnerable children in that shared space.

I had some interesting feedback on social media. Some suspected that like the 1969 moon landing, my e-bike challenge had been faked. They cited evidence such as my wearing work shoes – apparently it’s too difficult to ride with work shoes. Someone pointed out it wouldn’t be possible to fit my black jacket over a suit jacket. One person attempted to lead people to conclude that my engaging in the e-bike challenge was evidence I don’t ride a bike any other time. I don’t often directly engage with online conspiracies but this one has the potential to get out of control so I want to put on the record – I did ride the e-bike and it wasn’t the only time I have cycled.

Other feedback criticised me for the clothing I was wearing, or not wearing. There were occasions I’d worn a black jacket (the same black jacket that could not fit over a suit jacket) and on a couple of occasions I hadn’t had a helmet on – to be honest this also makes my wife a little irritated although she just told me rather than taking to social media.

cycling 1This question of kit is an issue. We want more people on bikes. One of the challenges is to get to a point where people can feel welcomed to ride bikes without having to become fully fledged cyclists. It means that for most people, a bike will be a means of transport. I had a chat with someone from Sustrans about this the other day. It’s a quick statement, but it is important. And probably a discussion for another occasion.

I know that e-bikes are not for everyone. They’re significantly heavier than regular bikes, can be bulky to store inside small terraced houses or flats and charging can be tricky depending on the way the battery is stored. This has been a real challenge for my mum who is now in her 70s. They’re also expensive, meaning they can be out of reach for those on lower incomes.

Fortunately, in Bristol we have an e-bike loan scheme so you can give one a try without the commitment. Better By Bike loaned 180 bikes in the Bristol area last year, including e-bikes. They do require a £250 deposit, but there is no charge for being loaned the e-bike itself.

We will be exploring more avenues of making e-bikes more accessible because with all of our city’s hills, they will be a key part of our future transport solution.

Ofsted SEND Report: Our response

Today we published the findings of the Ofsted and Care Quality Commission’s (CQC) local area inspection of Special Educational Needs and/or Disability (SEND) services across Bristol.

We made the decision to publish before Ofsted and the CQC because we feel it’s important that the inspectors’ findings are known and discussed before the Christmas break. Families and practitioners have been through enough and should have the chance to see their concerns confirmed by Ofsted and know what we intend to do to respond.

The findings are there for everyone to see and they confirm what we already know about the state of SEND services in Bristol. Over nine years of government and local failings building up have shaped a system that, for too long, has let down children, young people and families. I apologise for the part we have played and for responding too slowly to the concerns of those affected.

These challenges are well known and I won’t take up this blog going over them again – Ofsted’s report does that in detail. What I will do is make a commitment that the green shoots of recovery inspectors found to be taking root will be supported to deliver real change for children and families. It is encouraging that our city’s children centres, and the support we offer to young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities into employment through the ‘Bristol Works for Everyone’ initiative, were identified as particular strengths by inspectors. We will continue to support these vital services which make such a difference to children, young people and their families across Bristol.

This has already begun with additional investment in SEND services, with a particular focus on Education Health and Care Plans. Twenty four new staff have being recruited to work in SEND, with 23 specifically working on these plans to help tackle both the backlog of overdue assessments that need to be completed, as well as the new plans coming in. This additional resource will help us better cope with demand but the effects won’t be felt immediately by families, parents and carers.

We share this responsibility for improvement with our partners in the health and education sectors. It’s only through working together, and in co-production with parents and carers, will we fix the system locally and continue to challenge government to fix the system nationally.

Children are at the heart of this administration.    We were the first city in the UK to launch a Children’s Charter and make bold commitments to develop a city where children can fulfil their potential. Across the board we are delivering for children and young people – the number of apprenticeships on offer is up, we’ve saved children’s centres, there’s more school places, fewer children are going hungry during school holidays – these are all contributing to a brighter future for most.

Whilst we hold our hands up and agree that the delivery of SEND services has been far from acceptable let’s acknowledge the positive work Cllr Godwin and Cllr Keen have undertaken along with their Cabinet colleagues, council officers, partners and communities.

We have a dedicated and committed SEND team and I am confident we have the right people in place to move forward with our plans for improvement. We will not rest until children young people, parents, carers and practitioners all have a service and the tools they need to flourish.

Building a Reputation for Innovation

This week we have received highly positive feedback on Bristol City Council’s joint bid with British Research Establishment (BRE), a centre of building science, and a consortium of partners to the UK Research and Innovation agency.

Following a successful submission, the project builds on the work of the Bristol Housing Festival to showcase and facilitate delivery of Modern Methods of Construction. The proposal has been selected for the 2nd stage of the Innovate UK call, closing in on the consortium’s £2m bid. zed-pods-1

Modern Methods of construction, the term for off-site or factory built homes, are part of the Festival’s innovative approach to finding solutions to the UK’s housing crisis. The Festival is about making the city a living exhibition of the latest and most inventive approaches to housing and the launch has set the scene for our unorthodox approach. The Bristol Housing Festival sets out our aspirations to showcase the city’s determination to lead and deliver on one of our key priorities.

Innovate UK is a government agency which looks to support research and help innovation to flourish. They work with partners to benefit everyone through knowledge, talent and ideas and have invested in projects worth over £4.3 billion over the last ten years. Their competition looked for 10 world-leading practical demonstrator projects which must establish improvements in productivity, quality and performance of the UK construction sector.

The bid scored very high marks and feedback, so we are now even more optimistic that this bid will be successful and secure additional funding for the council. It will help with increased staff resource and additional expertise, so that a fully funded programme could commence in April next year.

jezJez Sweetland, the director of the Festival said ‘We are delighted that the bid has received such a positive response – the ambition of the bid and its collaboration across 15 partners is great testament to the ambition, scale and opportunity that is being shaped in Bristol.’

The next stage is an interview and presentation in London at the start of January, which will be attend by BRE, Bristol City Council and Bristol Housing Festival.

We then expect to hear about the result later next month. We know that the Housing Festival, Bristol City Council working in collaboration with the right partners have so much more to do if we are to overturn decades of failure to build homes, but this shows the progress being made and the scale of ambition. Getting external praise is encouraging and shows our commitment to ensuring Bristol is a place with a reputation for innovation and getting stuff done.

I’d like to thank everyone involved in the project to date and wish them good luck for the next stage.

Mobile People in a Warming World

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In the run up to the General Election, people might be thinking short term. So it was hugely refreshing to welcome over 120 people to City Hall on International Human Rights Day to discuss two of the issues that will define our lives over the coming decades – climate change and migration.

The event, titled ‘The Climate and Our Community’, was organised in partnership by the Mayor’s Office, Bristol Green Capital Partnership, Bristol Refugee Rights and Bristol City of Sanctuary. Its aim was to open up the conversation on climate change to all of Bristol’s diverse communities, and to explore the links between our changing climate and the growing number of people who are forcibly displaced around the world.

To kick off the event I wanted to emphasise the context within which this conversation was happening. We have a long history of work on these issues in Bristol and plenty more planned in the years ahead. Through our international engagement Bristol has played a significant role in the development of the UN Global Compacts on Migration and Refugees. Now through my place on the Leadership Board of the Mayors Migration Council we have the opportunity to keep making the links between city discussions about migration and the work of C40 and others on helping cities tackle climate change. And as we seek to have a global impact, we need to make the most of our globally-connected population. Bristol’s many diverse communities are a key strength of our city, and this event was an important contribution to ensuring that discussions of social justice are fully inclusive of the communities affected. I wanted to highlight to all those present that the discussions today will help to set the agenda for me, for Bristol, and for others around the world as we seek to address these issues over the long term.

The conference continued with some presentations that brought home the scale of the challenges that we are all facing. Dr Jo House from the University of Bristol shared some of the latest science on the impacts of climate change, and its connection to displacement. From sea level change to heatwaves, from food insecurity to natural disasters, the impact of climate change will be widespread and irreversible. And one of the biggest impacts will be a dramatic rise in the number of people forced to leave their homes and communities due to climate-related disasters and the destruction of their livelihoods.IMG_0092a

The International Displacement Monitoring Centre has declared that in the first six months of 2019 a record 7 million people were displaced by extreme weather events. The human impact of such a shocking statistic was brought home through a presentation from Dominik Byrne from the charity Bristol Link with Beira. They help facilitate the friendship agreement between Bristol and Beira in Mozambique. Mozambique has been designated as the 3rd most vulnerable country to climate change in Africa, with 60% of its population living in locations prone to natural hazards. So it was sadly no surprise when Beira and its 500,000 population were devastated by Cyclone Idai in March 2019. Over 90% of the city collapsed, causing $800 million in damage and destroying 104 of the city’s 150 schools. Bristol Link with Beira has played a key role in facilitating the rebuilding work since this terrible tragedy, and this city-to-city link is a great example of the way that global solidarity can be made real in the face of the devastating consequences of climate change.

April Humble, a researcher on climate change migration and border security, helped put the discussion into historical perspective with an overview of human mobility over time. This helped highlight the reality that people throughout time have always moved, that people in from the UK have been especially mobile around the world, and that the realities of globalisation and climate change will see more people than ever on the move in the future. Whilst national leaders debate how to fight against this reality, it will be up to cities and communities to advance a conversation about how we can adapt to the future with compassion and justice.

As well as informative presentations, the conference also created  opportunities for participation, through discussions in pairs and at tables but also through an interactive storytelling session looking at the myths surrounding Bristol’s geography – the story of our land.

Perhaps the highlight of the conference was the contribution of those who are experts through experience when it comes to climate change and migration. Ahmed Aden and Xhemile Kaza both shared their personal experiences of coming to the UK as asylum seekers and the role that climate change had played in their journey. They highlighted both positive and negative elements of their experiences in Bristol, challenging us to live up to our status as a City of Sanctuary. In doing so they exemplified the huge asset that our refugee and asylum seeking population represent to Bristol. Their contribution also sparked a broader conversation about how we think about refugees and asylum seekers, and whether national and international rules need to change to encompass those displaced by climate change.

The conference ended with a discussion on Bristol’s climate change strategy, emphasising the practical work that is happening and that needs to happen to adapt to our changing climate. Many of the actions require partnership working through our One City Approach, highlighting the responsibility of everyone in the city to step up to the challenges before us.

These challenges can be daunting, but the diversity and quality of contribution throughout this event give me great hope that Bristol can play a world-leading role in addressing the great issues of our time.

Cistern Change: World Toilet Day

Today’s guest blog comes from Deputy Mayor Cllr Asher Craig.

Today is World Toilet Day, a United Nations initiative. It highlights that Sustainable Development Goal 6 – sanitation for all – is still essential when globally 4.2 billion people live without safely-managed sanitation.

Here in the UK we are able to take this for granted, but over the past decade we have seen a reduction in the number of council run toilet facilities. This BBC News article attempts to show the national picture of council run toilets.

In Bristol, as a result of decreasing funding in December 2017, we took the difficult decision to end funding for 14 public toilets across the city. Although we were able to continue with 9 toilets in our parks and we transferred the toilets on the downs to the downs committee and the Clifton Suspension Bridge Trust, we know that people we concerned about the impact it would have. Many older people and disabled people are particularly need access to toilets.

That’s why we asked the city and local business to join our community toilet scheme to replace, improve and expand our offer.

I am pleased that it has been a huge success. Today there are over 100 community toilets that are part of the scheme, 85% of which are accessible, and all toilets are open to members of the public without discrimination. It is considered one of the most successful schemes in the country by the British Toilet Association.

Not only have we got more toilets available for use, but many are open for longer than the public toilets were (including one open 24hrs a day), but because the premises are in use they are much better cared for than some of the locations which they replaced.

We are working to make sure the whole city has coverage, and there is a community toilet in 26 of the 34 wards of Bristol. We are focusing on finding additions to the scheme near to transport hubs and bus routes. The public toilet map shows opening times, types of facilities and location of toilets in Bristol and you can find toilets with adult changing facilities on the Changing Places website.

We also co-produced a paper brochure with Bristol Ageing Better because we know that some people don’t have access to the internet. For those that do, there is a smartphone app for finding the nearest toilet to you.

We are so grateful for the support of people that have joined the scheme and helped make Bristol a better place for people to enjoy. It has been a whole city response to what is a national problem. It shows how business, with the support of the council, can help during a time of reducing council footprint in the city.

To sign up for the Community Toilet Scheme or to find out more about what is involved, visit www.bristol.gov.uk/communitytoilets .

Bristol Young Heroes Awards 2020

Lauch photo with 2019 winners

Since 2013, the Bristol Young Heroes Awards has celebrated young people in Bristol who have overcome adversity to achieve amazing things.

Every year the awards have become bigger and better, celebrating ever more young people who have gone above and beyond to do something positive for their community.

To mark the start of another year of awards, last Wednesday I joined organisers Community of Purpose alongside previous Young Heroes, sponsors and key supporters – including local actor Joe Sims – at City Hall.

Last year’s Environmental Hero was 15-year-old Catherine Rowe from Bedminster. Catherine told me about the support she received after getting her award and how since that night she has joined Bristol’s Youth Council and gained work experience at GKN Aerospace – an incredible achievement.

Catherine is just one of many of the inspirational young people who are working hard to contribute positively to their city. I am sure this year the awards will continue to showcase how important their success is for our city.

Wednesday’s event also saw the launch of nominations for 2020’s awards. For the next five weeks, the people of Bristol can nominate outstanding young people in their community for an award in one of eight categories. If you know a young person who has positively impacted their community and the people around them, don’t hesitate to put them forward for the recognition they deserve.

Marvin, Joe & Amy

How to nominate a young hero

If you know a young person aged between 11 and 19 who you think deserves to be recognised, you can nominate them for one or more of the eight categories by filling out the nomination form here. The categories are:

  • Action Hero: a young person who has made a contribution to the community by volunteering
  • Arts & Culture Hero: a young person who has exceeded expectations and accomplished something brilliant in the arts
  • Caring Hero: someone who looks after a relative and has sacrificed a lot by putting another’s needs above their own
  • Enterprise Hero: a young person who has identified a need and found an enterprising approach to filling it
  • Learning Hero: a young person who has exceeded academic expectations and achieved success in education
  • Sporting Hero: a young person who exceeded expectations to triumph in sport
  • Super Hero: someone who has gone above and beyond the call of duty to display an act of courage, or someone who has overcome adversity through illness or disability
  • Team Hero: a new addition to the awards, which recognises the amazing work done by an organisation or group which supports Bristol’s young people

There’s also the coveted ‘Overall Hero’ award chosen from the eight category winners and the ‘High Sheriff’s Award’, given to someone that has shown dedication to serving young people.

The five-week nomination window is now open, and closes on Friday 13th December. After that, a panel of judges will choose the winners. The awards ceremony takes place at We The Curious on Friday 1st May.

All nominees are invited to the gala evening with two guests of their choice. To make the event feel even more special for these outstanding young people, local charity organisers Community of Purpose have arranged for them to each have a £100 spending budget for a glamorous outfit for the evening. Hair and make-up will be done for free by local businesses and the budget can also be put towards suit hire.

I feel lucky to be able to join not only our outstanding young people for these awards, but also the local sponsors and programmes that support nominees after the awards to help them reach their full potential.

For all the latest updates, follow Community of Purpose on Twitter,  Instagram and Facebook.