Category Archives: Homes and Communities

Building Bristol – our vision for growing construction skills and employment

Councillor Asher Craig and Tom Renhard, smile in a group of Building Bristol employees.
Today’s blog is from Councillors Asher Craig, Deputy Mayor with responsibility for Children’s Services, Education and Equalities and Tom Renhard, Cabinet Member for Housing Delivery and Homes – seen on the far left and centre of the picture

Bristol’s construction industry is booming, cranes are on the horizon. We are responding to the growing needs of our city, enabling new developments, offering much needed accommodation, health facilities, hospitality sites, education facilities, and workspaces. Our planning department reviews and approves over 100 major applications a year.

Without a doubt, we need the homes, schools, hotels, entertainment, and health facilities. But it is not just the finished product that matters. What our city also needs is skills development, training, and employment opportunities and we recognise that local developments and their associated construction projects can offer these opportunities. That is why we are now requiring that all major planning applications include an Employment and Skills Plan (ESP) for the construction phase and, where appropriate, the end use phase. While this might seem like an unnecessary extra step, there is huge value in these requirements. And contractors and developers are not on their own to meet the obligations. We have launched Building Bristol, a support service for the industry to guide developers and contractors every step of the way, helping put together and evaluate the ESPs.

Why the change, some might ask. We recognise that there are many opportunities presented by construction developments in our city during the build and the end user phase. These opportunities can greatly improve local employment, training and skills offers and, therefore, it is important that all of those involved in shaping our city play their part in maximising such employment opportunities for local people. Through Building Bristol, we can also connect applicants and developers with a wide range of services to help meet the agreed targets. All this means that there are huge benefits for our city’s workforce.

A Building Bristol employee smiles with a window behind him. His hat has the Building Bristol logo.

And vitally, we want to make sure the changed requirements are of benefit to the construction trade too. We have recently appointed John Boughton, Regional Managing Director for Wales and the South West of Bouygues UK, as the Chair of Building Bristol Board. John’s expertise, as the lead of the board’s key partners which include business, education, training, employment support, voluntary sector, trade unions and construction support, will help us make sure that we are further helping the construction industry.

So what does it mean in practice? Our Building Bristol Coordinator is on hand to support contractors, developers and end employers with developing their Employment and Skills Plans and delivering their agreed targets. By working with all major developments, there are also opportunities for shared events and campaigns to boost local recruitment.

In our city, construction is a career choice for plenty of young people already. We run our own On Site construction apprenticeship scheme which supports innovative apprenticeship and work-based learning programmes. We are proud to say over the last 25 years the programme has been running, it has delivered 2,500 apprenticeships. In Bristol, there is also our new £9 million state-of-the-art City of Bristol College Advanced Construction Skills Centre for students aspiring to a career in construction, which we helped secure the funding for. But we would like to go further. Building Bristol aspires to change the perception of careers in construction, to open up more opportunities for young people, women and those with barriers to employment, and to help close the skills shortage within the construction industry. We hope the scheme will complement the work we are already doing and further aid us in making construction a more attractive and attainable career for people in Bristol.

Two Building Bristol employees wearing High visibility jackets look out the window. The Building Bristol logo sits on their backs.

Our commitment to support the construction industry is continuous.  Previously, we had signed a Unite Construction Charter committing to working with Unite in order to achieve the highest standards in respect of direct employment status, health & safety, standards of work, apprenticeship training and the implementation of appropriate nationally agreed terms and conditions of employment.

The launch of Building Bristol isn’t the first time we have strived for local people to experience the wider benefit from new construction developments. For example, Goram Homes in partnership with Bristol City Council, will be launching a Skills Academy for its One Lockleaze development in the early part of next year, an innovative training programme designed to create opportunities for local people to gain work experience and vocational qualifications.

This is just the start of the process, and we’ll be sharing stories of partners and their experience with Building Bristol.  For now, more information about the service is available here: Building Bristol

Building a better Bristol

Bristol is a rapidly growing city. One of the fastest growing areas in England and Wales, our population has grown by 10% in the last decade. We need to work together to make sure that Bristol grows well, with local communities benefiting from the change happening on their doorstep. Regeneration will bring city-wide benefits so that everyone can thrive.

To ensure these changes are as positive as possible, we have a vision to create vibrant communities with sustainable, inclusive economic growth. Quality affordable homes and job opportunities will be in locations where we can have reliable, frequent public transport connections and be within walking and cycling routes.

As I shared at last month’s State of the City Address, we are elected to shape the city and the outcomes we want for it. The changes coming for Bristol cannot be left to the chances of a developer aligning with an out-of-date Local Plan and a quasi-judicial process. So, we work to push the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, affordability targets, mixed tenures, modern methods of construction, and active frontages. We want to make sure the changes happen as coherently as possible. It’s essential we work in partnership with landowners, developers, and local communities, to create development frameworks which will set out the principles that will guide and inform how change will take place in an area.  

A map of Bristol with highlighted areas showing regeneration projects across the city. Western Harbour is highlighted pink, Bedminster Green is highlighted green, Southmead is blue, City Centre is purple, Whitehouse Street is deep blue, Frome Gateway is orange and Temple Quarter is red.

Bristol’s transformation is already in progress. Our regeneration programme stretches from Bedminster to Temple Meads, St Judes’s to Broadmead, and includes Western Harbour, Hengrove, and Southmead. This can seem overwhelming, especially after decades of under-delivery by the Council, but we have to recognise the changes are a key part of delivering much needed housing, transport infrastructure, and low carbon energy systems. We have to work with existing communities to manage Bristol’s inevitable growth and plan for it.

We need to deliver thousands of new homes by 2036 to match continuing population growth. We also need to invest in transport networks and infrastructure so people can work and learn. We all need to have access to green spaces, and community spaces. What’s more, we need to do this in a way that will help us be a carbon neutral and climate resilient city by 2030 while also improving wildlife and ecology. We have ambitious plans to support these goals.

We’re developing the District Heat Network, connecting energy users across Bristol to a ready supply of affordable, low-carbon heating. The District Heat Network includes the installation of new energy centres at Whitehouse Street, Frome Gateway, and the City Centre. Our Heat Hierarchy will be adopted by every developer when new housing projects are confirmed, energy efficient homes will make residents use of heat more efficient, lowering the cost.

The rivers Frome, Avon, and Malago run through some of the regeneration areas, but in many parts the Frome and Malago are hidden or unloved. Working alongside developers and landowners we have the opportunity to recover and restore these precious habitats. In Bedminster Green, the River Malago will be ‘daylighted’, uncovered from underground tunnels and its natural features restored. Restoring the river brings great benefits; improved flood resilience and biodiversity throughout the river’s course and new green public spaces for people to enjoy. 

We’re focusing on keeping the roots and history of Bedminster and making sure the heritage of industrial space works in harmony with the need for housing, jobs, and our response to the climate emergency to create a modern, thriving neighbourhood. 

We are creating new communities and revitalising Hengrove, with 1,435 new homes being built at Hengrove Park, 50% of these will be affordable. This means more homes for households who cannot afford to pay market rents or buy homes at market value.

To revitalise the local economy and help businesses on East Street, we are making sure that 5,000 residents in new housing in Bedminster Green and Whitehouse Street have easy access to shops with new walking, cycling and public transport routes. A few minutes more travelling will bring residents to the city centre and beyond.

We’re to create a network of low-carbon transport routes, which will make car-free travel in Bedminster and the surrounding areas easier and excellent public transport links connecting people to Temple Quarter. In June, we secured £95 million to kickstart its first phase of delivery around Temple Meads station. 

Our ambition for the Frome Gateway area, located in St Jude’s to the east of the city centre, is for an exemplar neighbourhood. We want it to be recognised for its unique identity, ability to support healthy sustainable communities, and high-quality and sustainable design. Regeneration there, as across Bristol, must include our commitment to retaining a range of employment to help ensure a diverse and growing economy. 

We know the community is strong and but also faces some of the highest levels of socio-economic deprivation in the city. Regeneration will need to provide meaningful opportunities to improve quality of life for the local community and access to opportunity. St Jude’s is also more vulnerable than other parts of the city to flood risk and heat wave caused by climate change and responding to this is a key priority. Our Bristol Avon Flood Strategy, in cooperation with the Environment Agency and developers, will deliver flood defences that work for Bristol: better protecting homes and businesses near our city’s rivers.

Change at Frome Gateway is not driven solely by Bristol City Council. We have to work with the network of landowners, existing businesses, community groups and cultural facilities. We’ve also partnered with South Gloucestershire Council, Wessex Water, and the Environment Agency secure funding to deliver the River Frome restoration project. 

In a similar way, the Council’s city centre team is working with businesses and other stakeholder groups to revitalise the city centre through the City Centre Development and Delivery Plan’. They told us what was important to them now and in the future looking at the centre’s character, economy, housing, movement, streets, parks, green spaces, and climate change, and our design proposals will focus on this guided by the ‘Citizens Brief’.

By planning and co-ordinating development we’ll able to think strategically about how a city impacted by the pandemic can recover and thrive with a modern, vibrant, commercial centre everyone can access.

Bristol will always be changing and growing in different ways, and we have to adapt and seize the opportunities this will bring us. By having a clear vision of the future we want, with sustainable and inclusive growth at its heart, we can build it together.

Want to know more?

Details about all the regeneration projects can be found on their websites.  

All our regeneration work is in service of the Bristol Local Plan, which Cllr Nicola Beech, who has responsibility for Strategic Planning, Resilience and Floods, talked about recently

We will soon be asking what people think of draft Whitehouse Street framework when the consultation opens on 17th November.

If you would like to help us shape these projects, or receive regular updates on project developments and engagement opportunities, please take a look at the websites and sign up to our mailing lists: 

Bedminster Green

Whitehouse Street

Frome Gateway

City Centre

Temple Quarter

Western Harbour

Southmead 

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:

Ashley

  • 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

Bedminster

  • 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

  • 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

Central

  • 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

Cotham

  • 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

Filwood

  • 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)

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

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

  • 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

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

  • 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.

Redcliffe

  • 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

Redland

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

Shirehampton

  • 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

  • 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

Southville

  • 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

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

  • 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.

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

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.

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.

A place to call home – our vision for children’s homes across Bristol

Image of a red heart, with white outlines on a yellow background.

Making Bristol the best place for children to grow up in is something we’re passionate about. This is even more important when it comes to children in care. We want the children in our care to have a place they feel they can call home.

The circumstances in which children come into our care are often varied and complex. It’s vital we ensure no child is disadvantaged no matter their background or situation. Our teams are focused on ensuring the best possible homes are identified for them – this could be with a foster carer or in a children’s home.

In Bristol, we are working hard to increase the number of children’s homes we have locally so that children do not have to move away from the city and can stay close to their families, friends and schools. 

This is why we have set out a vision for our children’s homes across Bristol which involves focussing on opening smaller homes across the city to help children feel at home.

Our vision

We want our children’s homes to be homely and nurturing. We also strive for the children and young people who live in them to be looked after by kind, knowledgeable and experienced teams. The children should have lots of opportunities growing up, making sure they have access to the best education possible and giving give them the same or better opportunities as their peers so they can enjoy new and fun childhood experiences.

We also aim for the teams caring for children to have the supervision, support, training and development so that the care they provide is of the highest quality and they feel valued.

To help support this vision, we are currently re-profiling our existing homes by closing some of our larger homes and opening smaller homes for two to three children. This allows us to provide children with an environment that feels more like a home and gives them a better quality of care with more one on one support from our dedicated team.

Children are already benefitting from this strategy – we have opened three smaller homes across Bristol which currently care for seven children in total, with a fourth smaller home opening in autumn 2022. We also plan to open at least another three smaller homes in the next three years.

A photo of two houses next to each other, with the sky in the shot behind.

Positive feedback from Ofsted during a recent visit

Recently we have had the opportunity to share our plans with Ofsted. Ofsted’s National Director for Social Care Yvette Stanley, Ofsted’s Chief Inspector Amanda Spielman, and HMI Social Care Inspector Anna Greville visited one of our newer smaller homes and met with the Service Manager Tara Parsons, three of our registered managers and the therapeutic lead for the service. They also met with Mike Jackson, Chief Executive at Bristol City Council, and Gail Rogers, Head of Children’s Commissioning at Bristol City Council. During the visit we received very good feedback. Yvette Stanley said: “It was good to spend time with the residential staff teams who proudly shared their expertise and passion for their work and their children.

“It was also really helpful to meet the Chief Executive and senior managers and to hear about their plans for more therapeutic residential provision so that they can keep more children safely within their communities. Our thanks to all for their warm welcome and best wishes for their future plans.

My recent visit

I too had the pleasure of visiting one of our new children’s homes recently. There were a few things that I took from my visit.

The first is how being a city in which children have a home is a collective responsibility. These children have already been through a lot in their short lives, and they deserve to have somewhere they call home and stay in the city they are from.

The move from large to smaller family homes is welcome. This means more dedicated care and the creation of a more homely environment for the children.

Finally, I need to mention the commitment of the staff at the home I visited. They work tirelessly to make sure the children are well cared for and have access to lots of opportunities. Their situation means they won’t have a childhood like many of their peers, but the staff work to make sure they lead full lives and feel cared for.

Why not join the team?

If you want to be a part of the journey of our children in care, why not join our team during this exciting time?

We currently have vacancies for three Senior Residential Child Care Workers and one Residential Child Care Worker. The vacancies Senior Residential Child Care Workers close on 6 October 2022 and the vacancy for Residential Child Care Worker closes on 4 October 2022.

Food insecurity and the cost of living crisis

Mali Sion Evans smiling standing in a forest with trees surrounding her.
Today’s guest blog is from Mali Sion Evans, Feeding Bristol Community Project Developer

When times are hard, having to choose between paying bills and eating is routine practice for some Bristol residents. Food should be a source of connection, celebration and comfort. But it’s becoming a cause of stress and anxiety for many people during the current cost of living crisis.

1 in 8 households in Bristol’s most deprived areas are experiencing food insecurity and by all predictions this is likely to increase substantially over the coming months.

Vulnerable groups and communities are considerably less protected when it comes to economic shocks, we are witnessing an increasing number of individuals and families being affected.

Bristol, as this map shows, has inequality of access to food. Seeing the numbers of greengrocers and cafes in some areas of the city, you would struggle to believe that food banks were commonplace in adjacent wards. The areas that are most and least effected by the cost-of-living crisis exist side by side, hiding food insecurity in plain sight.

A new and emerging crisis

Public awareness of food poverty has increased significantly in recent years, but so has the use of emergency food aid such as food banks. In the first 11 weeks of lockdown, the number of people receiving emergency food support in Bristol rose by 400%. Free school meal applications increased by 250% in the same period.

This was an unparalleled crisis which initiated an extraordinary response; we saw Bristol’s true spirit. From community centres to cafes, farms to mosques, people all over the city set out to bring food to their neighbours and provide lifelines for those who needed support.

The word ‘unprecedented’ was used repeatedly over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. But here we are again; volunteer shortages, increasing energy costs, rising inflation and supply chain disruptions are creating a perfect storm. This will intensify food insecurity to unprecedented levels across Bristol, yet again.

Feeding Bristol event, volunteers give out food to residents who need support. The table is full of canned food and fruit being handed out to those who need.
Feeding Bristol

Working together is Bristol’s greatest asset

Hundreds of people all over the city are working hard to try and ease the impact of this crisis. Food banks and community food services are already doing their best to prepare for the worst-case scenario. Dozens of organisations are working together to find ways to extend support and encourage social action. And hopefully, we’ll see this city’s caring and generous energy galvanise to support fellow Bristolians, yet again.

Having published the Food Equality Strategy this summer, Feeding Bristol is currently working with Bristol City Council to develop a Food Equality Action Plan. The aim is to co-create a document of workable actions with citizens, organisations and local authority so that food equality can become a reality in Bristol.

Share your ideas and help shape the Food Equality Action Plan by completing this short survey.

Visit Bristol City Council’s cost of living support webpage for more information about food services, plus advice on benefits and financial help, employment and skills and mental health and wellbeing.

How can I access food support?

How can I save money on food?

  • Plan ahead – buying food for the week helps to cut down on impulse buys
  • If you can, buy big bags of rice, pasta etc – they can be cheaper per 100 grams than smaller bags
  • ‘Reduced to clear’ foods can help save money – but think about when/how you’ll eat them before you buy
  • One of the best ways we can save money on food is to reduce food waste. The Love Food Hate Waste website has tips on how to store food and cook with old food
  • Buy what you need – buying loose fruit and vegetables can help you save money by purchasing only what you’re going to eat

What can I do to help in my community?

Update on Twinnell House

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Great Big Green Week – Blaise Plant Nursery

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Volunteer with Can Do Bristol

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

We are facing a challenging autumn and winter. The rising cost of living is affecting a huge number of people in our city, as the prices of energy, food and other essentials continue to increase. We are launching this callout to ask for volunteers to come forward to be part of Bristol’s shared response to this crisis. 

Bristol’s volunteer response during the pandemic was inspiring and demonstrated the can-do attitude of our residents. Bristolians came together to help their communities. We learned that volunteering is crucial when it comes to building the strong, community-led support that’s needed at a local and city-wide level. We would love to see the same happen again now as we face a different, but equally important challenge.

The council is taking a One City and community-led approach to the cost of living crisis. The aim is to support residents and community organisations across Bristol to take action in their neighbourhoods to make a difference where it matters most. This will continue to bring our communities together, build relationships and strengthen our neighbourhoods. 

Communities rely on volunteers and the goodwill of people to get us through situations like these. You can get involved by volunteering with a local organisation to help them respond to the needs of the community.

Everyone has something to offer, whether it’s your time, your talents, or your enthusiasm to do something positive. There are a huge range of volunteering opportunities available on the Can Do Bristol website, including providing essential advice to residents, cooking and serving food, general admin support or even helping at one of our welcoming spaces. You can find a full list of opportunities on Can Do Bristol’s website.  

Volunteering is an incredibly rewarding experience and is great for our health and wellbeing. Not only are you meeting new people, learning new skills, and gaining different experiences you are contributing to community life and building a better city for us all to live in.

Remember, you don’t have to be a registered volunteer to help in your community. Small actions like checking on neighbours can make a big difference. Consider offering them a lift to the shop, cooking them a meal, asking them if they need anything from the shop, offering a lift, or seeing if they would like some company. If you can, you could also donate to local charities or a foodbank, who are always looking for kind donations to continue supporting others.

If you are part of a community organisation in the city and need volunteers to help you reach your local residents and neighbourhood, you can post a volunteering opportunity on the Can Do Bristol website for volunteers to sign up to. 

If you need advice or guidance for yourself or someone you support, we have also launched a cost of living support hub online, providing guidance on topics such as housing, bills, benefits, employment and skills and mental health and wellbeing. Please share this webpage with others and encourage anyone who needs support to reach out.  

Together, We Are Bristol.