Category Archives: Health and Wellbeing

A Christmas gift for Bristol’s foster carers

Councillor Asher Craig, smiling, with a bush behind her.
Councillor Asher Craig, Cabinet Member for

Some Bristol residents are currently having to choose between heating their homes and putting food in their cupboards. The impact of the current cost of living crisis is being felt right across the city.

Our foster carers are amazing, providing a safe and nurturing home to children in Bristol – sadly, we know the cost of living crisis is causing further anxieties for them on top of the challenges they already face.

In April we raised the allowances and fees for our foster carers, who now receive up to £458 a week for each child they look after as well as extra for birthdays and holidays.  

However, with inflation and interest rates going up, we knew we wanted and needed to do more.

We are providing foster carers with a one-off payment of £400 in the lead up to Christmas, to give them a helping hand going into the festive period.

We hope this will take some of the financial pressure off, while we explore more ways to further support our amazing foster carers.

Welcome payment to new foster carers

A carer opening a Christmas present with a young boy.

The main reason carers decide to start fostering, is because they care about and want to help children in Bristol.

Deciding to open your home to a child, or children, who need help is a huge decision to make. Financial planning is an essential part of this process.

Here in Bristol we desperately need more people to come forward to foster, helping us to keep children that need our support close to their communities, schools and people important to them.

As an added incentive, we have agreed a grant of £500 for all our new foster carers when they start caring for their first child, as a welcome to the council’s fostering community.

We understand how tight household budgets are, especially for carers. We hope this will encourage more people to consider starting their fostering journey with us.  

Budget consultation

A foster carer and young girl smiling, whilst opening Christmas stockings.

In light of Bristol City Council’s budget consultation, highlighting the need to reduce our costs and generate more income, some people might be asking if now is the right time to offer new and existing foster carers more money.

The answer is yes. Foster carers play a vital role in our city, caring for children when their own parents or family are unable to.

If fostering becomes unaffordable, we run the risk of losing our valued foster carers and letting children down who are in need of our support.

If we can’t place children with our own foster carers, we need to use more expensive, independent fostering agencies that often place children outside the city.

Our foster carers also have access to a raft of support, training and development, and are part of a wider network of local carers, giving them the right skills and support to be able to care for the children we place with them.  

We are incredibly proud of all our foster carers and so grateful for all they do. We wish them and their families a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

You can find out more about fostering with the council on our Fostering Bristol website where you can make an enquiry and order an information pack. You can also call our fostering team to have an informal chat by calling 0117 353 4200.

If you are struggling with the cost of living, visit for advice and guidance. You can also call the We Are Bristol helpline for free on 0800 694 0184, Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 5pm.

You can give your views on our budget proposal until midnight on Friday 23 December 2022 online via the council’s website. To request an alternative format, contact our Consultation and Engagement Team by emailing or by calling 0117 922 2848. 

World AIDS Day

This World AIDS Day, I will be thinking about what HIV in Bristol could look like in 2030. 

On the 1st of December in eight years’ time, I want us to be able to come together as a city to celebrate a year where that has been no new HIV transmissions here – or anywhere in the country.

This might sound like a pipe dream, but it’s achievable. Medical advances mean that people living with HIV on effective treatment can live long, healthy lives and can’t pass on the virus to others. We also have PrEP, the prevention pill that stops people acquiring HIV. These remarkable advances put ending new HIV transmissions within reach.

The science can only take us so far though. This game-changing treatment and prevention only reaches people who know they are living with HIV or think they could be at risk. The collective memory of the AIDS crisis in 1980s means that many gay and bisexual men are often proactive about getting tested and protected. Even then, with our sexual health services at breaking point from government cuts, many people wait months to get on PrEP and even more don’t know they could benefit from it.

To get to zero, we need to also reach another group – people who don’t know they have HIV. It’s estimated that 4,400 people in England are ‘undiagnosed’, meaning they are living with untreated HIV that is damaging their immune systems and could be unknowingly passing on the virus. We can only find these people through HIV testing all across our healthcare system. Whenever someone in Bristol has blood taken, they should be tested for HIV. It has to become normal. That’s the only way we can break the stigma of HIV and get everyone on treatment.

Routine HIV testing is already happening in hospitals in London, Manchester, Blackpool and Brighton. Government funding for this ‘opt-out’ testing has supported these areas to test everyone who has their blood taken in emergency services in very high prevalence areas. The results have been phenomenal. In just 100 days, 128 people have been newly diagnosed with HIV and a further 63 were found who had been lost to care and could be brought back on to life-saving treatment. Many were already unwell but hadn’t been offered HIV tests elsewhere.

It’s no coincidence that people diagnosed through opt-out testing are disproportionately likely to be Black Africans, women or older people. All are less likely to feel that sexual health clinics are for them or to even be offered a test if they get to one. In the first trials of opt-out testing, 54% diagnosed with HIV were Black African, Black Caribbean or Black ‘other’, more than twice as many as the nationwide average of 22%.

So we know that opt-out testing works. It’s combatting health inequalities. It’s recommended by the experts (NICE, the British Association of HIV and the British Association of Sexual Health and HIV). It’s also saving millions of pounds. In fact, the £2 million spent so far on opt-out has saved the NHS between £6-8 million in costs.

That’s why the Government can’t stop here. Bristol is one of 29 places with a high prevalence of HIV that could benefit from the scheme. In February this year, I wrote to the Health Secretary Sajid Javid to ask for the funds to bring opt-out testing to Bristol. In October, I wrote again to the new Health Secretary Steve Barclay to ask for the money to start the scheme. In Bristol we are ready to get going. The Council and our hospitals have come together to make sure we have laid the groundwork. We have a business case agreed.

So why the delay? I think the four changes of Health Secretary this year might have something to do with it, but we’ll keep making the case for Bristol until we get a response.

It’s not too late – if the new Health Secretary acts now, we could be up and running with opt-out by the spring. Not just in Bristol, but across the country – from Birmingham to Milton Keynes, Liverpool to Southend. Every day that goes by is another wasted opportunity to find people living with HIV in these cities.

On World AIDS Day we stop to remember those who have lost their lives to AIDS-related illness. Many of those people – who died before there was even a test for HIV, let alone treatment – couldn’t have dreamed of ending new transmissions even being a possibility. We owe it to them to seize this opportunity now.

World AIDS Day Activities in Bristol – get involved:

East Trees Health Centre: Thursday 1st December 9.30am – 3.00pm

Join Terrence Higgins Trust Bristol at East Trees Health Centre where they will be handing out ribbons and offering sexual health testing, advice and information.

Sparta: Thursday 1st December, 3.30 – 6.30pm

Terrence Higgins Trust will be offering sexual health testing, advice and information throughout the afternoon at Sparta Sauna.

University of West England, Frenchay Campus

Terrence Higgins Trust Bristol will have a World AIDS Day stand at UWE Bristol Student Union building, to hand out read ribbons and information about UNITY Sexual Health Services. They will also be offering sexual health testing and advice.

Priscilla Queen of the Desert at The Watershed

The Watershed and Terrence Higgins Trust Bristol have partnered for World AIDS Day to present a special screening of The Adventures of Pricilla, Queen of the Desert.

You can follow all these activities on Facebook, Twitter and Instragram @Unitysexhealth

International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women 2022

Major sporting events are often occasions when we see a mix of joy and disappointment spread across the country depending on how well your team does. But these events are sadly often associated with a surge in domestic violence. As the world’s attention turns to the latest Men’s FIFA World Cup, we are also thinking of those will experience violence and abuse during this time, especially today, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and Girls, which marks the beginning of the annual campaign of 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence.

Violence against women and girls can mean different things: including domestic abuse; sexual violence and rape; coercive control; stalking and harassment; trafficking of women; Female Genital Mutilation; intimidation and harassment at work, in education, or in public; forced prostitution; forced marriage; and ‘honour’ crimes. Whatever shape it takes, it is unacceptable.

Here in Bristol, we have made a commitment, through the work of the Mayoral Commission on Domestic Abuse, to make our city a zero-tolerance city, where domestic abuse and sexual violence is not tolerated, and where survivors are supported.

It is estimated that around 67,150 individuals aged 16 or over will have experienced domestic abuse over their lifetime in Bristol. We want to end violence against women, this year we have put in place more services and initiatives where survivors can speak up and disclose their experience whilst also making sure we call out perpetrators for their harmful behaviour.

Next Link relaunching as Next Link Plus

Mayor Marvin Rees, Councillor Ellie King and Councillor Helen Holland stand alongside members of next link and others. They are standing in front of Bristol city hall with signs, marking International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

We have been working with Next Link for over 23 years and recently they have been recommissioned to continue to provide domestic abuse services in Bristol for the next four and a half years.

As lead provider, Next Link have joined with Nilaari, Off the Record, Bristol Drugs Project, 1625 Independent People, St Mungo’s, Victim Support, and the deaf health charity Sign Health to form Next Link Plus, a new partnership that will offer more specialist support to all adults and child survivors of domestic abuse in Bristol.

This broader support for domestic abuse victims is needed now more than ever. The COVID-19 pandemic was especially difficult for victims and survivors for many reasons, victims were being trapped in their homes with their abusers and not being able to easily access the services where they can get help. Now it’s the cost-of-living crisis that is having a major impact on many people’s lives. Next Link Plus is seeing an increasing number of people experiencing economic abuse, which makes it harder for them to leave their abusive partners.

IRISi new intervention ADVISE

When domestic violence and abuse is disclosed, the information is often shared with a health professional, but many do not feel confident providing support. To make sure more professionals are comfortable doing so, together with South Gloucestershire Council, we have launched a new service in local sexual health clinics.

IRISi Assessing for Domestic Violence and Abuse in Sexual Health Environment (ADViSE) programme is delivered at Unity Sexual Health clinics. Women affected by domestic abuse and sexual violence are three times more likely to have gynaecological and sexual health problems. Therefore, they present at a sexual health clinic more often. In response, staff have been trained to identify and respond to the signs of both domestic and sexual violence and abuse and directly refer patients to a specialist service for support available on site.

Respite Rooms

Working with St Mungo’s and Next Link, we opened Respite Rooms back in October 2021. The Respite Rooms offer immediate safe spaces for women who have experienced domestic abuse, violence, rape or sexual assault, sex work or exploitation and who are sleeping rough or at risk of doing so. This service offers short term intensive support and emergency accommodation for women who other refuge provision may not be appropriate for and who need more specialised, trauma and gender informed support. Women are then supported to move on to what best suits their needs and to access appropriate services moving forward.

The opening of the Respite Rooms has been heralded as an exemplar, and we recently had the pleasure of showing the Domestic Abuse Commissioner for England and Wales, Nicole Jacobs, the great work the rooms are doing for survivors.

A lit candle in the dark, at Next Links vigil for International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

Survivors Forum

The Keeping Bristol Safe Partnership’s Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Survivor Forum has been set up to hear and respond to the experiences and needs of women who have lived through domestic abuse and sexual violence.

The DASV Forum meets fortnightly with leading professionals from Avon and Somerset Police, our Public Health team, and other statutory services to explain to professionals the real impact of domestic abuse on individuals and families. The Forum is made up of a diverse group of incredibly courageous women, and works hard to educate, improve and challenge systems, services and responses to domestic abuse and sexual violence in Bristol.

Bristol Nights Women’s Safety Charter and It’s Not OK campaign

Back in March, Bristol Nights launched a Women’s Safety Charter, working alongside the council, Bristol’s Violence Against Women and Girls specialists, night-time venues and Avon and Somerset Police. Most women surveyed by Bristol Nights said they have experienced some level of harassment on a night out. The Women’s Safety Charter calls on all organisations to join in tackling gender inequality and make Bristol a fair and inclusive city. By coming together, we can make a joint effort in improving the safety of women, and everyone, at night.

Bristol Nights also launched their It’s Not OK campaign at the beginning of the year – a campaign designed to call out bad behaviours and communicate Bristol’s zero-tolerance policy to harassment of women.

Remembering the lives that have been lost

As we work towards making Bristol a zero-tolerance city, it is important that we remember and honour those who have sadly suffered gender-based violence. Yesterday, Next Link Plus and I, held a candle lit vigil which started at Queen Square before making their way to College Green.

City Hall was also lit up yesterday, alongside the vigil, ahead of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and to remember the women and girls who have lost their lives.

We are proud of all the work that we have supported and achieved this year. We can only hope that by encouraging more people to speak out when they face abuse and providing services where they can reach safety and support, that it will bring us a step closer to becoming a city that is safe for all.

Getting help

If you or someone you know is or has been affected by domestic abuse, you can access support via:

  • Next Link Plus service 0800 4700 280
  • National Domestic Violence Helpline 0808 2000 247
  • Always call 999 in an emergency

Halloween marks the launch of Bristol Good Food Hub

This Halloween, Bristol is in for a treat: we can celebrate the launch of the Bristol Good Food Hub. The new online tool will help citizens and organisations find and access affordable and healthy food, cookery courses, and free child-friendly events and activities, alongside resources, news, and stories from around our city.

The hub, developed by Bristol Food Network with support of Bristol City Council, will bring together organisations and residents involved in Bristol’s thriving food scene to explore how we grow, buy, cook, eat and throw away food.

This has been made possible by The Bristol Good Food Partnership, a collection of organisations working together, behind the website, to deliver ambitious action plans which aim to make change across our whole local food system. Almost 30 organisations have helped develop the action plans including Feeding Bristol, Bristol Food Producers, University of Bristol, Resource Futures, Bristol Waste, The Community Farm, Square Food Foundation, Bristol Green Capital Partnership, and many more. Bristol Good Food is coordinated by Bristol Food Network, with the support of Bristol City Council.

The hub launches against the backdrop of the national cost-of-living crisis, with many people struggling with food insecurity and alongside the climate and ecological emergencies that we are tackling in our city. The hub focuses on making sure Bristol’s food systems work for communities, climate, and nature.

Food plays a key part of Bristol’s story and culture. It filled me with pride to see the unified city approach to getting food out to those who needed it during the pandemic. Seventy groups co-produced our Food Equality Strategy which was launched during Food Justice Week.

Our commitment to tackling food insecurity amongst young people is unwavering, and this half term we’re again providing vouchers to families that receive free school meals to help with school holiday hunger and rising living costs. We also continue to run our free Your Holiday Hub programme over the main school holidays where children attending are provided with nutritious meals and food education.

A photo of a pie with text reading: Bristol Gold Food City.

It was the collective bid from organisations and citizens that led to Bristol being the second UK city to win the Gold Food City award and the community groups that are growing peat-free vegetables and fruit to provide foodbanks from the Blaise Nursery plant donations.

Earlier this month, the Bristol Eating Better Award was relaunched and opened out to schools and early years settings across our city. This is part of our work towards ensuring more children have healthy, sustainable food.

Throughout October we’ve been encouraging citizens to try and choose low carbon foods, and dispose of food waste properly so it feels fitting to end the month with a celebration of the Bristol Good Food Hub. Please head on over to the hub and take a look at the latest news and events, and share your own food stories.

New support tackling domestic violence and abuse

Lucy Downes IRIS Network Director smiling
Today’s guest blog is from Lucy Downes, IRIS Network Director

Survivors of domestic sexual violence and abuse can experience major impacts on their physical and mental health. The signs of this trauma can easily be missed by health care professionals during consultations.

Some survivors of domestic violence would like to disclose information to a health professional, but often do not feel confident or comfortable raising concerns on their own. Many even fear they will not be believed. Attempting to change this, IRISi have launched a new intervention, called ADViSE, which is now running in sexual health clinics across Bristol and South Gloucestershire.

ADViSE stands for “Assessing for Domestic Violence and Abuse in Sexual Health Environments”. As it suggests, the programme supports sexual health staff to identify and respond to the signs of both Domestic and Sexual Violence and Abuse – and enables them to directly refer patients to a specialist service for support.

It builds on the successful evidence-based model, ‘IRIS’ (Identification and Referral to Improve Safety), which is IRISi’s flagship programme in GP practices nationwide. This new service is jointly commissioned by Bristol City Council and South Gloucestershire Council and will be delivered locally at Unity Sexual Health clinics in collaboration with Next Link, a local specialist domestic abuse support service.

According to a study published by the World Health Organisation in 2012, women affected by domestic abuse and sexual violence are three times more likely to have gynaecological and sexual health problems. Another paper, “Domestic violence in a genitourinary medicine setting–an anonymous prevalence study in women”, reports that 47% of women attending sexual health services will have experienced domestic abuse and sexual violence at some point in their lives and these services can be the first point of contact for support.

While we know that domestic and sexual violence are gendered issues that predominantly affect women, violence can occur in all relationships, across all genders and sexualities. Sexual Health clinics are safe places for LGBTQ+ communities, who may not feel comfortable attending their GP or non-specialist health settings. So, ADViSE is essential in addressing domestic and sexual violence and abuse within these settings.

ADVICE services leaflet. On the right is an image of a medical professional writing on a note pad. On the bottom right of the image is the IRISi Interventions logo. The top left corner has the ADVISE logo, with text reading Assessing for Domestic Violence and Abuse in Sexual Health Environments. Text in the centre reads: ADViSE is running in Bristol and South Gloucestershire - The pilot project aims to help survivors to confidentially disclose their experiences with staff, who can then offer referrals for specialist support.

But how does it work?

ADViSE provides a holistic approach based on on-going training and support for sexual health clinic staff, giving them confidence and knowledge to spot the signs of domestic sexual violence and abuse.

A domestic and sexual violence expert, called an ‘Advocate Educator’ (AE), works alongside an ADViSE clinical lead (CL), a sexual health practitioner committed to improving the response to domestic abuse and sexual violence. Together they provide specialist training for the sexual health clinic staff, teaching them to create an environment that is a safe space for survivors to be heard and to disclose experiences.

The AE also provides advice and consultancy for the sexual health team, they are also the point of contact for patients who would like support and advocacy around domestic abuse and sexual violence. The AE becomes embedded in the sexual health clinics, thus giving patients essential access to both health and domestic abuse and sexual violence services.

This service is available to all Unity Sexual Health clinics across Bristol and South Gloucestershire, serving a population of nearly a million people. The launch of ADViSE means more survivors will have access to vital support. It also shows the importance of commitment from public investors to establish a robust and well-integrated model to address the needs of domestic abuse and sexual violence survivors in a holistic and sustainable way.

Welcoming Spaces open their doors for Bristol residents

A sign hanging on a pole, with chalk text reading: Welcome please come in.

As we start to feel the cold of the winter months, some people across Bristol will be deciding between heating their homes and putting food on the table. This is an incredibly challenging place to be in and a place I wish we weren’t. With energy bills and other costs rising, we want to make sure that the Bristol residents most impacted by the national cost of living crisis have access to help and support.

Since April I have been having regular conversations with community partners, and it was clear back then that we needed to be ready for a gear change in autumn as the cost of living continued to increase. Until recently people haven’t needed to put the heating on much but, as the colder months begin, things will get more difficult for many. 

As part of these discussions, the concept of warm, Welcoming Spaces was developed. The first of these spaces are now open. We want to support residents struggling with rising energy prices without stigmatising people. We’re already seeing that some people who haven’t face financial challenge before now are, and it’s important to us that everyone feels welcome.

A Welcoming Space is a place that is already established in the community, for example a community centre, care home, children’s centre, or places of worship, where people can meet up, socialise, keep warm and if needed access support with the cost of living crisis. These spaces are inclusive, accessible and about communities coming together.

Venues will be responding to community priorities which means what happens in each space will vary, but is likely to include Wi-Fi, access to electrical charging points, activities and community meals. There will be support provided by city-wide organisations including practical advice about money and finance, emotional wellbeing, mental health support, and employment and skills.

We have created a map of the Welcoming Spaces which are currently operating and will add more as they open their doors in the coming weeks.

The map shows where all the Welcoming Spaces are in relation to Bristol wards.
The map of Welcoming Spaces across Bristol

Bristol is a city that will continue to step up and support each other in difficult times. Welcoming Spaces have been made possible because of our incredible community, voluntary, and faith organisations, as well as city council services responding to this crisis. They draw on a community infrastructure that was strengthened during the pandemic, including volunteer groups and facilities. It is for all of us to get behind them and do what we can to make them a success.

If you have a venue that meets the criteria of a Welcoming Space please let us know by filling out our online form. A Cost of Living Social Action Small Grant is available from Quartet Community Foundation to help organisations offer a space in their community.

There are already several city organisations working together to coordinate help for the Welcoming Spaces. If you could play a part and support Welcoming Spaces please complete the form on our website. This could include providing equipment or transport or support for advice on money, welfare and mental wellbeing.

If you’d like to make a difference in your community during the cost of living crisis and you have some time to spare there are also a range of volunteering opportunities available through Can Do Bristol, from befriending and peer support, to cooking and driving. It is now well established that volunteering has real benefits for our health and wellbeing.

We know we cannot solve the cost of living crisis, but by adopting a One City approach, everyone is able to come together and help reduce cost of living pressures in their communities. The One City cost of living plan is available on the council website.

On Tuesday 11 October, a group of Bristol leaders, including myself, wrote to the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Simon Clarke MP to outline our partnership approach to supporting residents during the cost of living crisis and inviting government to visit to engage with us on how we’re responding. The letter also calls on government to improve the level of crisis funding available to local authorities to enable them to better plan support with partners.

If you or someone you know needs support, please reach out. Our We Are Bristol helpline is available for calls Mon to Fr 8.30am to 5pm – 0800 694 0184.

Welcoming Spaces List:


  • Bristol Citadel Salvation Army, 6 Ashley Road, BS6 5NL, Bristol, Tuesday to Thursday 3pm to 7pm, 0117 992788 – Food, Hot Drinks, Signposting, Community Activities and Wifi
  • St Werburghs Community Centre, Horley Road, St. Werburgh’s, Bristol, BS2 9TJ, Monday to Sunday 9am to 9pm, 0117 955 1351 – Wifi, computers, St Werburghs Food Share and SEND Activities for Families

Avonmouth & Lawrence Weston

  • Avonmouth Community Centre, Avonmouth Road, Bristol, BS11 9EN, Monday to Thursday 10am to 4pm, Friday 1pm to 5pm, 0117 9827445 – wifi, hot drinks, signposting, community activities, digital services and Wednesday Soup Lunch (£3); Thursday Lunch Club (£5 two courses meal, booking needed)
  • The Rock Community Centre, St Peters Hall, Ridingleaze, Avon, Bristol, BS11 0QE, Monday to Friday 9am to 1:30pm, 0117 9384636 – Access to advice support, community activities and wifi
  • Shirehampton Methodist church, Junction of the High Street and Penpole Avenue, BS11 0DY, Monday to Thursday 9am to 3:30pm, 07305 066478 – advice support, food and hot drinks
  • Port of Bristol Sports & Community Hub, Nibley Rd, Shirehampton, Bristol BS11 9XW, Monday to Sunday 9am to 10pm, 0117 9823927 – signposting, community activity, hot drinks, wifi, charging points
  • Ambition Lawrence Weston, Long Cross, Lawrence Weston, BS11 0RX, Monday to Friday 11am to 4pm, 0117 9235112 – access to advice support, signposting, community activity, hot drinks, wifi and digital services
  • St Andrew’s Church, Avonmouth Road, Bristol, BS11 9EN, Monday to Friday 10am to 2pm 0117 325 8720 – Hot drink and wifi


  • Bedminster Children’s Centre, South Street, Bristol, BS3 3AU, Monday to Friday 8am-4pm, 0117 3746362 – access to mental health wellbeing support, food bank, food club and access to advice support.


  • Bishopsworth Children’s Centre, Lakemead Grove, Bristol, BS13 8EA, Tuesday to Friday 8am-5pm, 0117 9781028 – access to mental health wellbeing support, food bank, food club and access to advice support.
  • Zion Arts Space, Bisopsworth Road, Bristol, BS13 7JW, Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm, when the café is open, Tuesday until 7pm, 0117 9231212 – Wifi, hot drinks, access to advice support and Saturday 12-2pm community café.

Brislington East

  • St. Anne’s Park Children’s Centre, Lichfield Road, Bristol, BS4 4BJ, Monday to Friday 8am-5pm, 0117 3773189 – access to mental health wellbeing support and advice support.
  • Broomhill & St Anne’s Park Children’s Centre, Broomhill Infants School, Fermaine Avenue Bristol, BS4 4UY, Monday to Friday 8am-5pm, 0117-3534276 – access to mental health wellbeing support, food bank, food club and access to advice support.
  • St Peter’s Methodist Church, 170, Allison Road, Brislington, BS4 4NZ, Tuesday 11am to 2pm, 01227 459449 – Food club, hot drinks and wifi
  • Bricks – St Anne’s Community Living Room, St Anne’s Road, Brislington, BS4 4AB, Thursdays 10am to 5pm, 07709 264 201 – Food, Hot Drinks, Signposting, Community Activities, wifi and charging points


  • Redcliffe The Hub, 4, Waring House, Redcliffe, Bristol, BS1 6TB, Monday to Friday 8.30am – 10.30am and 1pm – 3pm with one evening session on Thursday – Wifi, Hot drinks, Community Activities, hot meals and computers


  • Everyone Active – Kingsdown, Portland St, Bristol, BS2 8HL, Monday to Sunday 9am to 3pm, 0117 9031633 – Free showers and free guest pass
  • St Mathews Church, Cotham, BS6 5TP, Saturday 9:30am to 12:30pm, 0117 944 1598 – food, hot drinks, wifi and charging points.

Easton & Lawrence Hill

  • Kensington Baptist Church, Stapleton Road, Easton, Bristol, BS5 0NX, Saturday 12-2pm, 0117 951 1202 – wifi, hot drinks, charging points, Saturday 12-2pm – community café.
  • Bannerman Road Children’s Centre, All Hallows Road, Bristol, BS5 0HR, Monday to Friday 8am-4pm, 0117 9030269 – access to mental health wellbeing support and advice support.
  • Eastside Community Trust, Easton Community Centre, Kilburn Street, Bristol, BS5 6AW, Monday to Friday 8am-6pm, 01179 541409 – wifi, hot drinks, community activities, Super Supper Club Wednesday evenings and charging points.
  • St Mark’s Community Café, St Marks Road, Bristol, BS5 6HX, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, 9:30am – 4pm – Wifi, Hot drinks, community activities and Washing Machine/Tumble Dryer
  • Welllspring Settlement Centre, Barton Hill Settlement, 41 – 43 Ducie Road, Bristol, BS5 0AX – Monday to Friday 8:30-5pm, Welcome Café: Tuesday and Thursday 11am-2pm, 0117 9556971 – wifi, hot drinks, signposting, community activities, access to advice support and Community Eat Well Café.
  • Bristol Somali Resource Centre, Barton Hill Settlement, 41 – 43 Ducie Road, Bristol, BS5 0AX, Monday to Thursday 3pm to 5pm, Friday 11am to 4pm, 0117 9077994 – Wifi, charging points, advice support and hot drinks
  • Refugee Women of Bristol, Easton Family Centre, Easton, Bristol, BS5 0SQ, Thursday (Term-time only) 9:30am to 2.30pm, 0117 9415867 – advice support, mental health & wellbeing support, signposting to other services, community activities, hot drinks and wifi
  • Church of God Prophecy, 2 Tudor Road, Easton, BS5 6BN, Wednesday’s 11am to 2pm – wifi, hot drinks, food and charging points
  • Tawfiq Masjid and Centre, Aiken Street, Barton Hill, BS5 9TG, Monday to Friday 12:30pm to 8pm and Saturday to Sunday 9am to 8:30pm – wifi, hot drinks, direct access to mental health and wellbeing support, signposting, community activity, digital services and direct access to advice support
  • The Assisi Centre (Borderlands), Lawfords Gate, BS5 0RE, Monday and Tuesday 10am to 2pm, Wednesday (Bookings needed), Borderlands | Refugees | Charity I Bristol I England – Access to mental health support, Signposting, Community activity, Food, hot drinks, wifi and contact the venue for more information about activities
  • Shahjalal Jame Mosque, 468 Stapleton Road, Eastville, BS5 6PE, Monday to Sunday 3pm to 6pm, 0117 9519988 – Community activity, hot drinks, wifi and open to worshipers


  • Knowle Children’s Centre, Leinster Avenue, Bristol, BS4 1NN, Monday to Thursday 8am-4pm; Friday 8am-3:30pm, 01173532036 – access to mental health wellbeing support, food bank, food club and access to advice support.
  • Inns Court Christian Fellowship, Marshall Walk, Knowle West, BS4 1TR, Thursday 9am to 6pm, 0117 3771048 – Hot drinks and wifi
  • Inns Court Community Centre, 1 Marshall Walk, Bristol, BS4 1TR, Thursday 1pm to 3pm, 0117 9041220 – food club
  • Salvation Army, Padstow Road, Knowle West, BS4 1EN, Monday 10am to 2pm, 0117 9631655 – Advice support, hot drinks and wifi
  • Knowle West Healthy Living Centre, 2 Downton Rd, Bristol, BS4 1WH, Monday 12 noon to 2pm, 0117 9030018 – signposting, community activity, Hot drinks, Wifi and digital access
  • RE:WORK at Re:Store, 17-19 Filwood Broadway, Bristol, BS4 1JL, Monday to Friday 2pm to 4pm, 0117 9530689 – Community activity, food and hot drinks
  • St Barnabas Church, Daventry Road, BS4 1DQ, Thursdays 9:30am – 2pm – hot drinks

Frome Vale

  • Oldbury Court Children’s Centre, Frenchay Road, Bristol, BS16 2Qs, Monday to Friday 8am-5pm, 0117 3532899 – digital access to mental health wellbeing support, food bank, food club and access to advice support
  • Bristol charities (Vassall Centre), Unit 1, The Vassall Centre Gil, Avenue Bristol, BS16 2QQ, Monday to Friday 8:30am – 5pm, 0117 965 9630 – Wifi, Signposting, Computer, Hot Drinks, Direct access to advice support and charging points
  • Brunelcare: Colliers Gardens Extra Care Home, 16 Colliers Gardens, Bristol, BS16 2NA, 0117 958 6336 – hot drinks and community activities

Hartcliffe & Withywood

  • Brunelcare: Waverley Gardens Extra Care Home, Waverley Gardens Queens Road, Bishopsworth, Bristol, BS13 8EL, 0117 964 1888 – hot drinks and community activities,
  • Withywood Church, Withywood Centre Queens Road, Bishopsworth, Bristol, BS13 8QA, Monday to Friday 8am – 5pm, 0117 987 8400 – wifi, hot drinks and signposting.
  • Hartcliffe Children’s Centre, Hareclive Road, Bristol, BS13 0JW, Monday to Thursday 8am-4pm; Friday 8am-3:30pm, 0117 9038633 – access to mental health wellbeing support, food bank, food club and access to advice support.
  • South Bristol Methodist Church, South Bristol, Methodist Church Hall, Mowcroft Road, Bristol, BS13 0LT, hot drinks, Food Club, tea coffee (Friday 10am-12 noon); Community Meal (last Wednesday of the month 5pm – 6:30pm)
  • Hartcliffe and Withywood Ventures Ltd, The Gatehouse Centre, Hareclive Road, Bristol, BS13 9JN, Friday 10am to 12pm – signposting, food, hot drinks, wifi and charging points

Henbury & Brentry

  • Henbury and Brentry Community Centre, Machin Road, Bristol, BS10 7HG, Monday to Friday 9:30 am – 7:30pm, 0117 9503573 – wifi, hot drinks, community activities, digital access to advice services, charging points, Community Fridge (Monday 10:30 -2pm; Thursdays 11am – 2pm); Cafe and Community meal (Tuesday and Friday 10:30am-2pm; Thursdays 4pm-7pm)); Breakfast (Saturdays 10am-1pm)
  • Everyone Active – Henbury, Avonmouth Way, Henbury, Bristol, BS10 7NG, Monday to Sunday 9am to 3pm, 0117 3532555 – Free showers and free guest pass
  • Branch Community Church at Emmanuel Chapel, Satchfield Crescent, Henbury, BS10 7BN – lunch box and hot drinks

Hengrove & Whitchurch Park

  • Brunelcare: ABC Extra Care Centre, 56 Beech Croft Kylross Avenue, Bristol, BS14 9LZ, 01275 540177 – hot drinks.
  • St Augustine’s Church, 2 East Dundry Road, BS14 0LL, Wednesdays 10am to 4pm, Saturday breakfast 10am to 12 noon, Sunday hot drinks 3pm to 5pm, 01257 891154 – food and hot drinks
  • Christ Church, Petherton Road, BS14 9BP, Thursday 10am to 1pm, Fridays 1pm to 4pm, Sundays 11am to 12noon, 01275 891310 – Food and hot drinks


  • Hillfields Community Hub, Thicket Avenue, Bristol, BS16 4EH, Monday, Tuesday and Friday 11am – 3pm, 01179657711 – Wifi, hot drinks, signposting, community activities and phone charging points
  • Friends of Hillfields Library, Summerleaze, BS16 4HL, Monday 12:15pm to 18:00pm – access to advice support, signposting, community activity, hot drinks, wifi and digital services

Horfield & Lockleaze

  • Ebenezer Church, 286 Filton Avenue, Bristol, BS7 0BA, 0117 9791399 – Wifi, charging points, Foodbank Outlet (Thursdays 1-3pm), community activities, access to mental health wellbeing support and Taste community cafe. (Thursdays 10.30-12.30pm
  • Everyone Active, Dorian Rd, Horfield, Bristol BS7 0XW, Monday to Sunday 2pm to 4pm and Shower 7pm to 9pm, 0117 9031643 – Hot drinks, free showers and free guest pass
  • Lockleaze Neighbourhood Trust, 1 Fedden Buildings, Gainsborough Square, Lockleaze, Bristol, BS7 9FB, Monday to Friday 9:30am to 3:30pm, 0117 9141129 – advice support, signposting to other services, food, hot drinks and wifi
  • Lockleaze sport centre, Bonnington Walk, Lockleaze, Bristol BS7 9XF, Monday 11:30am to 13:30pm, 01174568955 – food and hot drinks
  • The Vench, Romney Ave, Lockleaze, Bristol BS7 9TB, Tuesday 9:30am to 3:30pm, 07710392078 – Food and hot drinks


  • Knowle Methodist Church, Knowle Methodist Church, 9 Redcatch Road, Knowle, BS4 2EP, Monday 11am to 2pm – wifi and hot drinks
  • Totterdown Baptist (Jerman Hall), Wells Road, BS4 2AX, Fridays 2pm to 6pm – community activity, food, hot drinks and wifi
  • Redcatch Community Garden, Broadwalk Redcatch Park, Knowle, BS4, Monday afterschool to 5pm, Tuesday 12pm to 5pm – Food and Hot Drinks.
  • Redcatch Community Church, Broadwalk, Knowle, Bristol, BS4 2RB, Friday 10am to 4pm – signposting, community activity, food, hot drinks and wifi


  • The Hub, 4 Waring House, Redcliffe, Bristol, BS1 6TB, Monday to Friday 8:30am to 10:30am and 1pm to 3pm, Thursday 6pm to 8pm, 07928 249523 – Community activities, Food, Hot Drinks, wifi and computers


  • Cairns Road Baptist Church, Westbury Park, Bristol, BS6 7TH Tuesday 6pm to 9pm, 01179425669 – Hot Drinks, Wifi and Charging points


  • Shirehampton Library, Station Road, Shirehampton, Bristol, BS11 9TU, Tuesday 3pm to 5pm – Food, Hot drinks, wifi and computers
  • Shirehampton Public Hall, 32 Station Road, Shirehampton, Bristol, BS11 9TX, Thursday 10am to midday – Community activities, hot drinks and wifi
  • Cotswold Community Association, Dursley Road, Shirehampton, BS11 9HX, Thursday 10am to 12pm – signposting, community activity, hot drinks, and wifi


  • Southmead Development Trust, Greenway Centre, Doncaster Road, Bristol, BS10 5PY, Monday to Friday: 8:30am to 8:45pm and Saturday to Sunday: 9am to 5pm, 0117 950 3335 – hot drinks available
  • Shahporan Islamic Centre Bristol, 3 Doncaster Lane, BS10 5QD, Monday to Sunday 4pm to 8:30pm, 07764 280004 – wifi, access to mental health wellbeing support, signposting, community activity and direct access to advice support


  • BS3 Community Development, The Southville Centre, Beauley Road, Southville, BS3 1QG, Monday to Thursday: 8am to 8pm; Friday 8am-6pm, 01179231039 – computers, hot drinks, outreach activity, access to mental health wellbeing support, signposting, community activities, digital services, access to advice support, Bedminster Food Club (at United Reformed Church on West Street); Café open from 8-5 daily (introducing pay it forward)

St. George

  • Speedwell Children’s Centre, Speedwell Road, Bristol, BS5 7SY, Monday  to Friday 9am-3pm, 0117 9030206 – access to mental health wellbeing support, food bank, food club and access to advice support.
  • Siri Guru Singh Sabha Gurdwara Bristol, 301-307 Church Road, St George, BS5 8AA, Monday 10:30am to 11:30am, Tuesday 10:30am to 11:30am ad Sunday 10:30am to 2pm – wifi, community activities, charging points, food and hot drinks
  • The Beehive, 19a Stretford Road, Whitehall, Bristol, BS5 7AW (St George), Monday, Wednesday and Friday 9am to 12:30 noon, Tuesday and Thursday 9am to 4pm, 0117 9354471 – signposting, Community Activity, food, hot drinks, wifi and charging points

St Paul’s

  • St Paul’s Nursery School and Children’s Centre, Little Bishop Street, Bristol, BS2 9JF, 0117 9030337 – access to mental health wellbeing support, food bank, food club and access to advice support.
  • St Agnes Chruch, Thomas Street, St Pauls, Bristol, BS2 9JF, Monday to Friday 8am to 4pm, 0117 9030337 – advice support, mental health support and food club
  • Everyone Active – St Paul’s, Newfoundland Rd, St Paul’s, Bristol BS2 9NH, Monday to Sunday 9am to 3pm, 0117 3773405 – Free showers and free guest pass
  • A.P.E Project CIC / St Paul’s Adventure Playground, Fern Street, St Pauls, Bristol, BS2 9LN, Thursday and Friday 3:15pm to 7:00pm, Saturday 1:00pm to 5:00pm, 0117 9542145 – signposting, community activities, food, hot drinks, charging points, open to children, families and young people.


  • Stockwood Children’s Centre, Whittock Road, Bristol, BS14 8DQ, Monday to Thurs 8:30am-3:30pm, 0117 3533506 – access to mental health wellbeing support, food bank, food club access to advice support.
  • BS14 Youth Club, Stockwood Lane, Stockwood, BS14 8SJ, Monday, Wednesday and Friday 10am to 1pm – community activities, hot drinks, wifi and charging points

Westbury-on-Trym & Henleaze

  • Trinity-Henleaze United Reformed Church, Waterford Road, Henleaze, Bristol, BS9 4BT, Tuesday 2pm to 4pm and Friday 10am to 5pm, 0117 9623431 – hot drinks

The cost of living crisis is affecting more of us – including our pets

Coralie Farren, Chief executive of Bristol animal rescue centre posing with a dog in front of a wall with graffiti.
Today’s blog is from Coralie Farren, Chief Executive, Bristol Animal Rescue Centre

This winter is going to be challenging for everyone, as the rising cost of living continues to affects us. Pets might also suffer, as families struggle to afford their care.

Bristol Animal Rescue Centre has been helping, healing, and homing the city’s pets and wildlife since 1887, but our 135th year – has presented us with new challenges to overcome as the cost of living crisis, combined with a rising numbers of animals in need of our care, continues to impact us.

We’ve been working hard to ensure Bristol’s vulnerable animals receive the care they deserve, but we’re faced with many obstacles as we strive to deliver these vital services. From offering free and low-cost access to vet care for low-income pet owners at our Outreach Clinics, to donating pet food to local foodbanks, or caring for pets whose families are forced into the heart breaking decision to sign them over to us – our community needs us now more than ever.

Marvin Rees standing with Bristol Animal rescue Centre employees.

A recent national RSPCA survey found that 78% of pet owners think the cost of living will impact their animals, while 68% expressed concern that the cost of care was increasing. In addition, 19% were worried about how they’ll afford to feed their pets.

Here in Bristol, we’re seeing that this is a reality, from January to May this year, the number of consultations our Outreach vets & nurses did was 1,529, up from 990 for the same period in 2021. Our team is forecasting an even bigger leap over the winter months as the knock-on effects of the cost of living crisis further affect pet owners across Bristol.

Our own energy bills are estimated to go up by around £17,000 this year – a figure which could have been so much worse had we not fixed our tariffs earlier in the year. But who knows what the figure will be next year?

Ultimately all of this will put more pressure on our already stretched team. As we are a charity that relies almost entirely on donations from the local community to keep going, fundraising is tough for us in the current climate, when everyone is feeling the pinch.

A cat being cared for at Bristol Animal Rescue Centre.

For us, the welfare of our animals comes first, so we will do everything we can to continue to offer the exceptionally high standard of animal care that we already do. We’ve been supporting animals in Bristol for 135 years and weathered all sorts of challenging situations in the past. We are determined that we will continue to do so – but we need support to do it.

Anyone wishing to support our work can make a donation here:

Better Lives at Home – a new journey at Addison Apartments

Councillor Helen Holland, smiling.
Today’s guest blog is from Councillor Helen Holland, cabinet member for Adult Social Care and Integrated Care System

Supporting young people who are autistic or have physical or learning disabilities to live independently is so important. I recently visited Bristol City Council’s new and innovative Addison Apartments in North Bristol which reaffirmed this for me.

The development of five, affordable homes at Addison Apartments, Sea Mills features fully adapted, self-contained flats designed to meet the housing and support needs of young people with complex physical and learning disabilities. The apartments, completed by the council’s Housing Delivery Team in partnership with Adult Social Care services, enable young people to live as independently as possible, in the right environment adapted to meet their individual needs.

Three of the new apartments are now home to three young people. They are homes for life, with no end of tenancy – the choice to move rests with the tenants and their families. Delivered as part of the council’s Better Lives at Home programme and offered at affordable social rent levels, the apartments offer so much more than a roof over the heads of these young people. They are specially designed to maximise tenants’ independence and offer easy access to local shops, parks and transport links. It’s anticipated the final two tenants will move in by the end of the year.

The tour group, including Cllr Helen Holland and Cllr Donald Alexander stand in the garden of Addison apartments. Behind them is the apartment.
Addison Apartments

During the tour with local ward Councillor Donald Alexander we saw the many features in the apartments that support residents’ needs. This includes the state-of-the-art nurse call systems, which residents can use to urgently alert onsite staff if they need help, these also link to emergency and detection devices. There are also specialist, adaptable kitchens and bathrooms, and an integrated track and hoist system throughout each apartment. The communal lounge and kitchen area encourage residents to socialise, while the beautiful communal gardens will undoubtedly be a popular feature and play a part in enabling people with disabilities to live well in their community. Councillor Alexander is also working with local community organisations to offer opportunities to these new Sea Mills residents.

The kitchen of Addison Apartments.
Inside the kitchen of Addison Apartments

Milestones, a local care and support provider, operate the buildings and have a 24/7 presence, offering residents reassurance that help is on hand should they need it. This is a strong example of a fantastic partnership with a shared vision.

I’m incredibly proud of this initiative, which is already making a huge difference to some Bristol residents, who are most in need of our support, and will be a model we hope to copy elsewhere in the city in future.

World Cerebral Palsy Day

Karen Mathie from Cerebral Palsy Plus, smiling in front of a brick wall.
Today’s guest blog is from Karen Mathie of Cerebral Palsy Plus

Every year on 6th October, the world comes together to raise awareness of Cerebral Palsy and to celebrate and support those living with Cerebral Palsy, and the individuals and organisations who support them. 

The movement was started in 2012 by the Cerebral Palsy Alliance. It is now supported by 450 Cerebral Palsy organisations, universities, parent groups, research institutions, student groups, schools and hospitals from over 100 countries. 

What is Cerebral Palsy

There is no cure for Cerebral Palsy, it is a lifelong disability affecting around 17 million people throughout the world. It is complex and varies significantly from one individual to another, with symptoms ranging from a weakness in one hand to a complete lack of voluntary movement throughout the body.  

In addition to physical symptoms, the complexities of Cerebral Palsy can also leave many people feeling lonely, isolated and socially excluded, which are important issues that can be extremely detrimental to peoples welfare.

Supporting people with Cerebral Palsy in Bristol

Cerebral Palsy Plus is a small independent charity based in Bristol.  We provide a wide range of services for people of all ages with Cerebral Palsy (CP) and their families and carers. Anyone living in a BS postcode can access support from our charity.

We currently support 375 members which is more than ever before. We have 160 adult members and 215 family members with a child with CP who is under 18 years of age.  Our main aim is to improve the lives of people living with Cerebral Palsy in our local community and help people to live as independently as they wish.

Services available in Bristol include, a weekly Friendship Club for adults, a children’s swimming club and activities for young adults. We also delver a number of social, leisure and sport activities throughout the year, from our annual accessible sailing day, to outings to the cinema or bowling. In addition, we operate a small grants scheme, which offers financial assistance to our members. This can help them with the purchase of items such as mobility or communication aids and sensory toys.

Two people are in a sailing boat, with red and blue sails. This is one of the activities provided by Cerebral Palsy Plus.

Going Green for World Cerebral Palsy Day

Green is the colour for the World Cerebral Palsy Day campaign, as it is associated with new growth and vibrant lives. Around the world several landmarks will illuminate green, helping to raise vital awareness for Cerebral Palsy, which is one of the most common but least understood disabilities.

We are delighted that the Mayor of Bristol is supporting this year’s campaign by illuminating Bristol City Hall green on the evening of the 6th of October. The City Hall will join a number of other UK landmarks including Swansea Guildhall, Harlech Castle and Blackpool Tower. 

Cerebral Palsy Plus are excited to have joined forces with National Charity Scope and Cerebral Palsy Adult Advice UK to arrange for a record braking number of landmarks to illuminate green this year.

To find out more about the services Cerebral Palsy Plus offer visit –  or to find out more about World Cerebral Palsy Day and how you can get involved, visit

Temple Quarter regeneration project picks up steam

We are seeing really exciting progress on one of Bristol’s most important regeneration areas, with plans to bring the historic train station at its heart into the 21st century.

When I last wrote about the Temple Quarter regeneration project back in June, I said the £95m of government funding the project had received would “kickstart” it after nearly a decade of preparation and planning. Now work is been happening at pace to deliver the first phase of the project, including new entrances at Temple Meads station, infrastructure and public realm improvements around the station.

The new Eastern Entrance will open into the University of Bristol’s Enterprise Campus, making the station more accessible, and will include welcoming public spaces for everyone to make use of and enjoy.

Combined with improvements to Station Approach and the surrounding areas, the project will create a world-class gateway to the West of England, set against the backdrop of Brunel’s historic Grade 1 listed station.

The concept image is of the new North Entrance, with people walking in and out of the station. With trees and buildings in the background.
How the North Entrance might look

My cabinet meeting this week will formally enter a collaboration agreement with the three Temple Quarter partners – Homes England, Network Rail and the West of England Combined Authority. While we’ve already been working together for some time, this agreement will formalise the relationship for the next phase as each partner takes on responsibility for different elements of delivery, working collectively towards the transformation of 130 hectares of central Bristol. New agreements will be put in place, enabling the council and Network Rail to receive and spend the funding given to the project by government, working through WECA, in June.

While this funding is for regenerating the areas in and around the station, we are also planning for the longer-term changes. Part of the agreement, and another benefit of the collaborative partnership approach, is that any income from land sales will be reinvested by the partners into later stages of the project in St Philip’s Marsh.

Because of our population growth, we know that many parts of Bristol will see a lot of change over the years to come. St Philip’s marsh will see even more than most, so it is important that we manage this dramatic change to get the best outcomes for existing residents and businesses.

A concept drawing of Temple Meads Midlands Shed View. the image shows the future Midlands Shed View with people walking through the station waiting areas.
Temple Meads Midlands Shed View

Works are soon to begin on Temple Island too. To enable new development here, brought forward by L&G and including homes, commercial space, and a much-needed conference centre for central Bristol, the council and its partners are preparing the site for development. You might have already seen workers dangling off the historic river wall to check its condition this summer. You can expect more activity on Temple Island in the coming weeks and months as the exciting plans begin to take shape.

Temple Quarter is one of the UK’s largest regeneration schemes, there is a lot to take in. Some changes will feel incremental, while others will be transformational in their scale and scope. As I wrote in my June blog, the size of our ambition at Temple Quarter highlights the importance of working in partnership with other public sector organisations, as well as continuing to work with the community to manage this transformational period of change to the benefit of as many people as possible.

We’ve been meeting community groups, business representatives and individuals to tell them more about the project and hear their early views on what we’re proposing. Temple Quarter is going to be a long process, with many smaller milestones along the way. We’ll be out there throughout, meeting with you, hearing your ideas, hopes and concerns, and bringing you all the latest news. We know the easiest way to understand something is to see it first-hand. We’re soon to start regular walking tours of the Temple Quarter sites. These will be open to all and will help to give a better idea of what change is proposed and where.

Sound interesting? You can sign up to hear more on the Temple Quarter website.