Category Archives: All

Building homes for Bristol

Aerial view of Mead Street, showing the river and train station in the middle, with the city centre to the top of the images and land around Mead Street and Windmill Hill below
(c) Blurstudio.co.uk

Bristol is a growing city, and we are ambitious for its future. The city’s population is expected to grow by 20 per cent in the next 20 years. By 2036, the council, its partners and private developers will need to deliver at least 33,500 new homes and all the employment, community and transport infrastructure that goes along with that. At the same time, we must tackle the challenges of the Climate and Ecological Emergencies.  

Bristol is a city of 42 square miles. This may sound a lot, but the space to build the right homes in the right places, while protecting our green spaces, is limited. Our approach is to build more densely, which sometimes means building taller buildings. Without doing this, then we would have to build-out, threatening our precious nearby greenbelt and ecology. And building in the right places isn’t just about protecting greenspaces. It is also about ensuring new homes are close to jobs, amenities and sustainable travel options. We need to reduce car dependence and create communities near to the places people want to be for work and leisure. Building densely helps to achieve this.  

Bristol City Council has launched a consultation about potential development at Mead Street, which is located between Bedminster and Temple Meads and part of the wider Temple Quarter regeneration area. The consultation will inform a development framework that will guide future change in the area.   

Mead Street, the wider Temple Quarter area, and nearby Whitehouse Street and Bedminster Green, all meet this need and have been identified in Bristol’s Draft Local Plan as areas for mixed-use development with new homes, workspaces and transport routes. They are extremely well-connected, are all very close to Bristol Temple Meads station, the city centre and Bristol Airport. They are also on previously developed ‘brownfield’ land that is not currently used to its full potential. This makes them suitable places to build much-needed homes, reduce carbon-use, promote sustainable travel and protect greenspaces around the city. It is also an opportunity to support the local economy, protecting existing blue collar jobs and creating new jobs and retail opportunities through in the first phase of the Temple Quarter project, and strengthen East Street’s important economic and social role for existing and future communities in South Bristol. 

We’re aware that this consultation, and recent community engagement and consultation on plans for development at Whitehouse Street and at Bedminster Green have given rise to concern locally about the scale and pace of change in South Bristol.  

By keeping a holistic view on how Mead Street, Whitehouse Street and Bedminster Green can complement each other, we are working hard to create a series of well-connected sustainable, low carbon communities that will benefit local people, where it is easier to walk, cycle or catch public transport to jobs, education, training, shops and hospitality. 

As all these changes come forward, we will continue to give residents and businesses a voice so that they meet the needs of the current as well as future communities.  The draft Mead St development framework has been informed by local community and business engagement. At Whitehouse Street, the council has worked together with Action Greater Bedminster from the start. AGB wrote, with community input, a “Community Manifesto” and this has guided the emerging regeneration framework for the area.  

Cities are complicated with competing demands and delivering the homes and economy Bristol needs is not easy. It demands challenging constructive debate – we can’t please all of the people all of the time.  We encourage all residents and businesses to be a part of the ongoing dialogue in these areas, so that we can create successful new homes and communities that work for Bristol now and in the future.  

Bristol’s Big Tent: a festival of debate

I’m delighted to welcome Radix Big Tent to Bristol this June. I want as many people as possible to attend this ideas festival where subjects debated will include inclusive growth, the impacts of new media and culture, and better public services.

It’s the first time Big Tent has been held in a Core City and what better place than Bristol? Big Tent is a festival like no other, where audiences are expected to challenge and national politicians can escape the Westminster bubble to hear what people think about some of the UK’s biggest policy challenges.

A big challenge for Bristol and the rest of the UK’s Core Cities is becoming carbon neutral. Cities are at the heart of the Net Zero agenda. They are where more and more people live – the Core Cities are home to 20 million people – and where the innovation exists through universities and businesses to bring new solutions to some of our toughest challenges. Cities are leading the way when it comes to climate, where local authorities understand the contexts in which they’re operating and can be more agile and efficient than national government, particularly around issues like insulation and heat pumps.

But decarbonising our growing cities will come at a huge cost. Building the green infrastructure we need, for example electric vehicle charging points or district heat networks, will cost billions, far beyond the capacity of either the local or national state.


That’s why Core Cities UK is sponsoring a session at Big Tent with national and local leaders on who should pay the final bill and why we cannot rely on outdated models of grant funding or private sector largesse.

The UK Cities Climate Investment Commission (UKCCIC) of which Core Cities UK is a founder member, brings a different approach to this question. It looks at ways we can bring together private and public finance to help meet costs that we expect to rise to over £200 billion. It will map out a pipeline of possible projects, for example large scale battery/solar projects or improved public transport/cycle networks, that have private investment potential.

With investment comes risk, so we have developed a concept of blended finance to drive investment across five different areas in cities. Investment from the smaller scale projects will then be re-invested into bigger ones.

The UKCCIC uses the concept of place as a starting point. There is a tendency among policy makers to think about tackling climate change in technological silos. The Commission puts forward a new approach: that we need to join our interventions up at the level of place to make sure they work together so that no neighbourhood is left behind.

For example, a residential street could be the subject of several projects, all designed to cut  carbon emissions, from roof cladding to air source heat pumps. It will minimise disruption and reduce cost if we can do all of these at a local level at around the same time. If we can scale this up, making an attractive proposition for investors, then we may even remove the need for households to pay up front, a key barrier to action right now.

The UKCCIC model offers a refreshingly different take on an issue all cities are grappling with. We think it has tremendous potential and colleagues from the commission are looking forward to sharing it with the audience at Radix Big Tent 2022 in Queen Square this June. 

Big Tent Ideas Festival is coming to Bristol this Saturday 11 June at Queen Square. You can see the full programme and buy your tickets here.

SANDS Awareness Month 2022

Today’s blog is by Charlotte Coombs, Bristol Sands Chair

June marks the start of SANDS (Stillbirth and Neonatal Death charity) Awareness Month, an opportunity to talk about the work SANDS do nationally and at a local level here in Bristol. This year’s campaign focuses on Together, #WeAreSands, to highlight how the charity is made up of many volunteer groups around the country. Bristol Sands are part of this community and is made up of a group of volunteer bereaved parents, who offer support to anyone who has experienced a similar loss.

Sadly, the loss of a baby at any stage of pregnancy, or shortly after birth, is a subject many would consider taboo and shy away from discussing. This can often leave bereaved parents feeling isolated and alone, as they negotiate their journey through grief. It’s precisely for this reason we have an awareness month to enable us to talk about the support SANDS can give, to breakdown the taboo and make baby loss a subject we should all be talking about.

On average every day in the UK 13 babies die either before, during or shortly after birth. Read that number again. 13. It’s a figure that thankfully has decreased over the years, partly due to contributions charities like SANDS have made, but is still overwhelmingly and heartbreakingly high. Only by talking and raising awareness of baby loss can we ever help to reduce that figure further.

At Bristol Sands, we offer support in the form of our monthly meetings. These meetings are an opportunity for bereaved parents to come together and talk about their baby, their experience, their grief, absolutely anything that may be on their mind. It can be a comfort to just be in the same room as someone else going through the same thoughts and feelings. Sometimes words are not necessary, just being there helps. We also hold monthly meetings for those going through pregnancy after loss. A joyful occasion often surrounded by anxiety, worry and fear. We are here to listen and provide emotional support.

Our remembrance events held throughout the year are another form of support, offering moments to pause, come together and remember. Our family friendly events are a chance for everyone to feel supported: siblings, grandparents and wider family members, all are welcome. During many of our services, a roll call of babies names is read out, as we remember those we have lost. Often this can be the only time parents will hear their baby’s name said aloud. A simple act that means so much.

We are also linked to Sands United Bristol FC founded in 2019 as a way for Dads to come together and support each other through sport.

As well as the support aspect, we also work within the Bristol area, providing support packs for parents and funding bereavement suites within the local hospitals. We’ve worked on projects to add a private room within the Early Pregnancy Unit at St Michael’s Hospital, as well as placing a memorial in Arnos Vale Cemetery to mark the area where babies were historically buried in unmarked graves.

None of this work would be possible without the generous contribution of our amazing supporters who have completed hundreds of different challenges, to raise money for Bristol Sands. One of our main fundraising events will see us return again to the Great Bristol Run on 25 September, where Team Bristol Sands will complete 10k and Half Marathon distances. If you are already running in this event and would like to support us, or you would like to enter and join the team, please get in touch, we’d be happy to hear from you.

Our support is available to anyone, regardless of how long ago you experienced your loss, it’s never too late to reach out for support. All information about our group can be found on our website.

We are here for you.

Addressing the Cost of Living Crisis as One City

This morning the City Office held the 11th bi-annual City Gathering. Hosted by Andrea Dell and Sandra Meadows, over 250 individuals came together to understand what the Cost of Living Crisis looks like for Bristol and how we can meet the challenges it poses.

The City Gathering provides a vital opportunity for the private, public and voluntary sectors to come together to address a crisis that is larger than local government and has no clear solution. We cannot combat this crisis in silos, but we can capitalise on the culture of collaboration that the One City Approach has fostered to become more than the sum of our parts in the impact that we generate.

This Gathering was split into three sections focusing on:

  • the scale of the challenge locally, nationally, and internationally
  • an overview of the ongoing work on the ground in Bristol
  • how we can face this challenge together as a city over the coming year

We had a phenomenal and varied line up of speakers who highlighted how this crisis will impact every sector and everyone. The international picture was contextualised for us by Alice Charles (World Economic Forum), Robert Muggah (SecDev), and Rachel Locke (The University of San Diego) who spoke about the future challenges facing cities.

James Smith (The Resolution Foundation) and Annabel Smith (The Inclusive Growth Network) outlined the national perspective, and 20 different representatives highlighted Bristol’s local issues in the realms of health, housing, young people, refugees, and climate among others.

We were also lucky to hear from speakers such as Dominic Elison (WECIL), Sue Cohen and Diane Bunyan (Bristol Women’s Commission) and Heather Williams (Knowle West Healthy Living Centre) all of whom gave a voice to the marginalised communities who will be most impacted by the Cost of Living Crisis.

Thank you to everyone who spoke at and attended the City Gathering today and for standing up to this overwhelming challenge. If you would like to follow up on the connections made during the gathering, or contribute your own offer and ask to the city, please get in touch with Bristol City Office. I have full confidence that together we can overcome the challenges ahead as One City.

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

Mayor’s Annual Address

*Check against delivery; above, from 1:25:05*

I am one year into my second term following my re-election last May.

The promise I made was to continue to deliver change for our city and that is what I will continue to do. 

We need to keep delivering in the next two years but also put in place the foundations of key achievements that will be delivered in the immediate years and decades following.

We all need to understand what Bristol is – the challenges and opportunities we’re facing.

Bristol is a major UK city, with a global role. It’s not a village.

We have a £15 billion economy; are a world leader in media and tech, with two world-class universities; people with 180 countries of origin, 91 languages, 45 religions.

I’m now chairing the Core Cities and the Local Government Association (LGA) City Regions Board, and represent the LGA on the Commonwealth Local Government Forum.

We are also founding members of the Western Gateway, UK Cities Climate Investment Commission, and Mayors’ Migration Council; and members of EUROCITIES and the Mayors’ Taskforce for Climate and Migration at C40.

The challenge we face:

Bristol covers an area of 42 square miles.

We have a population of c.460,000; predicted to grow to 550,000 by 2050.

We are grappling with interconnected social challenges

More than 16,000 people are on our waiting list for housing, with almost 1,000 families in temporary accommodation.

15,400 children under 16 (18%) live in relative low-income families.

In 2015, the Runnymede Trust ranked Bristol as the 7th worst area of England for racial inequality.

Educational inequality sees almost every teenager in Clifton progress to university – whereas only 1 in 12 from Hartcliffe will do so.

Almost 10% of all households are estimated to experience fuel poverty already, and 4% of households experience moderate to severe food insecurity.

There is a gap in healthy life expectancy of over 16 years between people living in the 10% most deprived and 10% least deprived areas in Bristol.

Here’s the thing.

These social challenges are getting more acute, both because of the consequences of covid and the national cost of living crisis.

We’re meeting these challenges in the context of a climate and ecological emergency, where the actions we take will determine the price the planet pays.

That is why we’ve focused on delivery. Our city needs us to carry an ambition that is characterised by inclusion, sustainability, and resilience.

To that end, we’re going to continue to focus on our priorities we were elected to deliver:

Arena – on target for delivery in 2024 at no cost to the public, putting Bristol on the map for major acts such as Queen. At the time of making the decision about Temple Island, people were saying I was “under pressure” – but “the show must go on”, and it did. Last night proved that we’ve broken free.

We’re continuing to take forward the mass transit system, doing our best to work with our partners in the Combined Authority to get people back on the buses to build the case to transform the way we move around  our city. We’ve secured millions of pounds of funding from the City Regions Sustainable Transport Settlement to build a network fit for the future, and we’ve been selected as a Zero Transport Emissions City to develop more projects to eliminate emissions from transport.

City Leap – we’re delivering over £400 million of clean energy investment, delivering the pace and scale of change Bristol needs to be a carbon neutral, climate resilient, and wildlife-rich city by 2030.

Temple Quarter – kickstarting the biggest regeneration project outside of London in a generation, delivering 10,000 new homes, creating 22,000 new jobs, and bringing in £1.6 billion of annual income to the city’s economy.

Western Harbour – delivering sustainable affordable homes the city needs in an active travel area, made possible through a modernised transport network and modern flood defence system.

A City Centre fit for the future – bringing forward homes, supporting jobs, and bringing families back to living in the heart of our city. Just finished taking comments from the city to understand what people would like to see, but it will be more mixed, with destinations and retail alongside residential.

Restoring the city’s fundamental infrastructure – not least the bridges that hold the north and south together, along with the flood defences to protect our city and free space for development and homes.

A new recycling and reuse centre in South Bristol as part of a better relationship to waste and recycling. Promised decades ago, delivered by us.

Project 1,000 – ramping up to our manifesto commitment of 1,000 new affordable homes being build per year. We’re delivering affordable and social homes in Hengrove Park, Castle Park Energy Centre, Bedminster Green, Romney House and Dovercourt Road in Lockleaze, Elderberry Walk in Southmead.

Driving forward our work as a Living Wage-accredited city as part of an inclusive economy – real action to help people meet the rising cost of living. 3,400 people working in Bristol had pay rises up to the Real Living Wage between January 2020 and April 2022. There are now over 40,000 workers in Bristol guaranteed at least the real Living Wage.

Night time economy – continue to support Bristol’s cultural and entertainment sectors, while continuing our work to make sure our nighttime economy is safe for everybody – particularly women and girls.

Alongside this we’ve set up a living rent commission – working to develop recommendations for government to give us the powers and controls to improve the Private Rental Sector in Bristol.

Modernising social care through Better Lives at Home, helping people live independently in their own home for longer, playing a leading role in the development of the Integrated Care System.

New schools at Silverthorne Lane and The Park – making sure everyone gets off to the best start in life

Leisure centre investment – harnessing investment from operators to update facilities and focus on improving the offer.

We’ve also transformed the way our city is led. A senior army officer friend of mine says “make a plan, any plan, just make a bloody plan.” When we came in, Bristol had no plan. Our city came together to write a plan – setting out what we wanted Bristol to be in 2050, and what we need to collectively deliver between now and 2050 to become that city.

The One City Approach is underpinned by a simple understanding that what people get from Bristol is not the result of any single person’s or single organisation’s decisions.

Bristol is a collective act. It is shaped by the council, health service, criminal justice system, voluntary sector, schools, faith groups, trade unions, business, and any serious attempt to lead Bristol must convene all of those decision makers and create a space for them to work together towards shared aims.

Over the next two years we’re going to continue to invest in the relationships we’ve built with those city partners to make sure Bristol’s leadership is as inclusive and joined up as it needs to be.

Fifty years of fun at Felix Road

Mayor Marvin Rees hangs on a playground zip wire, with children playing on/around a wooden playground behind him

I am delighted that Felix Road Adventure Playground in Lawrence Hill is celebrating its 50th birthday this year. As a child I used to play at Felix with my friends and I still love going there now.

Felix Road is a true Bristol gem, an amazingly inclusive and diverse community space where children can play, parents and grandparents can meet and chat, and where the community can sit down together and share food. Felix Road and the other adventure playgrounds in Bristol have been providing those services for generations of Bristolians for over 50 years.

A black and white photo, showing children playing on a wooden playground in 1972

Adventure playgrounds are such unique community spaces. They are a chance for inner city children to play in an adventurous way that is so important for a child in a city. Whether it’s swinging high on a big swing, digging and planting vegetables, or building and climbing a high tower adventure, playgrounds give children courage, resilience, and community wisdom that stays with them for the rest of their lives!

#FelixAt50 is going to be marked with a programme of events including a children’s tea party in June, an evening of films and talks in July, a food festival in August, and a children’s festival in September. These events will be complemented by a new mural outside the building celebrating the women who have watched over the playground and the children who play there for the past 50 years, and a new play structure designed by the children.

Two children stand, with their arms crossed, in front of a white wall covered with brightly coloured mural writing

Felix Road Adventure Playground has been open since 1972 and the local community have loved and protected this space for the past 50 years. In 2020, the playground became part of Eastside Community Trust, who also run Easton Community Centre and Up Our Street magazine, and are a key organisation providing spaces, connection and opportunities to participate in Easton and Lawrence Hill.

We are privileged as a city to have rich and vibrant assets in our neighbourhoods run by trusted community organisations supported by passionate people, like Stacy Yelland, Marg Hickman, and Mandy Watson, and Manu Maunganidze. Eastside Community Trust is one such organisation that Bristol is lucky to have.

I encourage you to find out more and get involved. Congratulations and Happy Birthday Felix Road – here’s to the next fifty years! 

Park Life

Our city is bursting with life as we head towards summer. It’s a time of getting together, picnics in parks and walks in our city’s vibrant green spaces. So let’s hope we get the weather to enjoy it!

In addition to being places for us to enjoy, our hundreds of green spaces – no matter how big or small – provide vital habitats for nature. We know how important this is. Since 1970, around the world we’ve lost 60% of wild invertebrates and up to 76% of insects. In Bristol, songbird populations, like swifts and starlings, have dropped by more than 96%.

That’s why back in February 2020 we became the first local authority in the country to declare an Ecological Emergency, and we’ve been working with city partners to take action. Our One City Ecological Emergency Strategy includes commitments to manage 30% of Bristol’s land for the benefit of nature, reduce pesticide use by 50% and plant thousands of trees, with more than 9,000 planted last year alone and some 70,000 planted since 2016.

To enhance our habitats, we are cutting grasses less frequently where appropriate, which will support our invertebrates, some of which require long grass over winter in order to complete their lifecycle. Similarly, we are looking to reduce the frequency of cutting native hedgerows where this won’t impact on footpaths. This will increase the availability of berries for birds and other wildlife.

We are also exploring where we may be able to introduce long grass margins alongside hedges and woodland edges to provide a valuable transition between habitats that supports a diversity of wildlife.

Wildflowers growing in long grass, in front of Bristol Cathedral on College Green
Wildflowers growing in long grass, in front of Bristol Cathedral on College Green

Our Meadow Bristol project has been increasing the number of urban meadows in Bristol in recent years, which provide an important food source for pollinators which is crucial all year round, not just today on World Bee Day. We manage over 154 hectares of native wildflower meadows across Bristol, and you may well have seen the section of College Green where wildflowers have been added, the green roofs in the Bearpit, or pockets of longer grass and wildflowers in your local park.

We’ve launched a new £200,000 fund to support community action that reduces greenhouse gas emissions or makes changes that benefit wildlife in Bristol. The grants are for community groups or small not-for-profit organisations based and working in Bristol. You can apply from 9 May until 23 June 2022 for the Bristol Climate and Ecological Emergency Community Grants of up to £5,000 on the Quartet Community Foundation website.

There are lots of competing pressures on our city’s space and we must balance the needs of our communities with those of our nature. Our hundreds of green spaces are the lungs of our city, a space to exercise, socialise and seek sanctuary when the stresses of life get the better of us, as well as providing habitats for wildlife. We are working to protect and enhance nature across the city including in existing and new green spaces. In doing so we will benefit people: providing trees for shade, cooling our city and addressing inequalities in tree coverage and access to green space.

We can all play our part, and hope that International Day of Biological Diversity on Sunday helps highlight how. If you have a window box, garden, balcony or verge, consider letting it grow wild or allowing a variety of plants to grow that support pollinators. Avon Wildlife Trust have a great guide to get you started, as does Bristol Climate Hub.

It’s also a time to celebrate those from all walks of life who are championing nature, like Sumita in Sea MillsMinnie & Olly in Lockleaze and Denice in Hartcliffe.

26,500 people supported by 12

Today’s blog is by Markus Bell, Marketing and Operations Manager at Nerve Tumours UK

The Neurofibromatosis Association, trading as Nerve Tumours UK, supports those who have been diagnosed with Neurofibromatosis (NF), together with their carers, families, and wider support network.

Neurofibromatosis, the umbrella term for a group of genetic conditions (Neurofibromatosis Type 1 (NF1), Neurofibromatosis Type 2 (NF2) and Schwannomatosis) and literally translating to mean “nerve tumour increase” is one of the most common neuro-genetic conditions, causing tumours to grow on nerve endings. It has many associated medical, physical and psychological conditions: 60% of those affected have learning disabilities, and up to 75% are registered as disabled. People with NF live in constant pain, can be vulnerable and are often isolated.

More people are diagnosed with NF than those with Hereditary Muscular Dystrophy, Huntington’s Disease and Cystic Fibrosis combined, yet few, including many medical professionals, have heard of the condition.

Nerve Tumours UK provides support and advice for people with NF, and the medical professionals involved in their care, through a Specialist Support Network comprising of regional nurses and advisors, a national helpline, a fully accessible website, regional information days, medical guidelines and much more. Following on from a regional information day held in Bristol in 2019, we now hope to be able to introduce a Specialist Neurofibromatosis Nurse’s post into Bristol, similar to our other regionally based posts located in other neuroscience centres around the country.  There are more than 26,500 people in the UK diagnosed with Neurofibromatosis, and yet we only have a frontline team of 12 specialists. Therefore, we need to provide more support , and you can help us to do this by becoming a supporter or by making a donation. To find out more, go to nervetumours.org.uk

Shining a Light in 2022 and celebrating 40 years of Nerve Tumours UK

We are turning 40 this year! Founded in 1981 when Trish Green and Clare Pepperell were brought together by a BBC radio programme called “Does He Take Sugar”, both parents had been trying to find other families affected by Neurofibromatosis.

Initially called “Link: The Neurofibromatosis Association”, the organisation was first registered as a charity in 1982, and since then, the charity has evolved to become Nerve Tumours UK, the leading voice and support network for people living with Neurofibromatosis in the United Kingdom. We need to ‘Shine A Light’ on World Neurofibromatosis Awareness Day in 2022, highlighting our work and support services. By joining a global campaign initiated by the Children’s Tumor Foundation, our US counterpart, Nerve Tumours UK has secured over 200 locations across the UK and Ireland to light up in blue, and so help us achieve our goal of raising awareness.

Tonight, Bristol’s City Hall will be lit up in blue to Shine a Light to mark Nerve Tumours UK’s 40th anniversary and World Neurofibromatosis Awareness Day.

Saving lives: Bristol’s drug checking service

We have to deal with the way the world is, not as we want it to be. That especially true at a city level, when we have to pragmatically take on challenges and causes of harm in our communities and look for solutions. That’s why I am proud Bristol will become the first UK city to host a regular drug checking service.

We know we have drug use problem in Bristol, with higher-than-average number of drug deaths. Every one is a tragedy. Last year we sadly saw another fatality and several people hospitalised when using a suspected lethal batch of drugs in the Bristol area. Deputy Mayor Craig Cheney spoke at cabinet (from 36:34) about the loss of his own friends to drug use and how we cannot underestimate the impact of these avoidable deaths.

Drug checking services provide a vital opportunity for people to access accurate, timely, and relevant information to make more informed decisions about drugs. Service users give their substances for laboratory analysis by chemists and then discuss the results as part of a personalised health consultation with a health professional. As Councillor Ellie King explained, this isn’t about condoning drug use, but informing people and keeping them safe.

It’s important that we don’t ignore the fact that drug use is happening and take an outdated approach to this subject. This service doesn’t take anything away from work underway to support those with substance addictions, it will provide communities with access to factual, scientific, evidence-based information about drugs they may consume and that may be in circulation throughout the wider city.

It shouldn’t be forgotten that there are people who will have concerns about this approach, and some may have questions about how it might directly impact their communities. We’ll work with the service provider to make sure they consider local people as part of their approach, working pro-actively to try to prevent drug-related issues compounding for individuals, families, and communities. After all, the dogmatic approach that says drugs can be eliminated from our city, with a “war on drugs” that is somehow winnable through attrition, has been proved unrealistic. This service, alongside the proposed one-on-one trained healthcare consultations, will empower people to make safer, informed decisions which will reduce harm to users and save lives.

Drug checking services have operated successfully across Europe for four decades, and we have already piloted this work at events and know that they protect people. Meanwhile, we continue to lobby national Government to enable us to pilot safe drug consumption rooms in our city.

Bristol is leading the way in this public health approach to keeping people safe around drugs and shows that, as a city administration, we put our people’s wellbeing at the forefront of pragmatic decision making.

Foster Care Fortnight

Today’s guest blog comes from Sarah Parker, Director of Children’s Services at Bristol City Council.

Fostering makes a tremendous difference to a child’s life. In Bristol we have 335 children who are in the care of our city’s foster carers. There are a myriad of reasons why children cannot live with their birth families, but when that does occur, we have the most wonderful people who are willing to step in and help.

For the next two weeks (9-22 May), we are shining a light and celebrating the amazing people across our city, and across the UK, who open their hearts and their homes to children who need a nurturing and loving home. Every year, we pause to recognise and thank our foster carers for the opportunity, support, and happiness they create for our children in care.

This year’s theme is #FosteringCommunities to celebrate the strength and resilience of fostering communities and all they do to ensure children are cared for and supported to thrive. Our Bristol fostering community is a big supportive family in itself. Our city carers – also referred to as our city ‘VIP’s’ not only care for our children, but also support each other and share skills and expertise across the network, like an extended family would. Our city carers also know how to have fun! Only last month our carers arranged a big city wide foster carers afternoon tea, and earlier this month was the annual foster carers dinner.

Our carers are a very diverse group – single men, same sex couples, retired people, black carers, they all represent the diversity of our city – and we are tremendously proud of each and every one of them, not only in how they support our children but also how they support each other as a community

Foster care is at the heart of our communities, enabling our city children to stay with foster families, local to everything they are familiar with already; their school, friends,  routine and their city.  

Whether you’re a foster carer, a social worker, young person or supporter of foster care you are part of a community making a real difference to the lives of young people, and we want to celebrate the impact you all have. 

So, thank you – to our foster carers, during this fortnight – in celebration of you all, in your care and love of our children and each other.

If you are considering fostering and would like to have an informal chat with our Fostering Team, please call 0117 3534200 or visit our website for more information.