World Diabetes Day

Today is World Diabetes Day, a global campaign to raise the profile of the condition, which is expected to affect more than four million people in the UK by 2025.

We are facing a huge increase in the number of people with diabetes, partly because of our ageing population, but also because of rising numbers people who are overweight and obese. In Bristol, as nationally, numbers continue to rise, but one in two people with diabetes don’t know they have it. This has to change.

Many people are unaware that risk of type 2 diabetes is linked to ethnicity. Type 2 diabetes is up to six times more common in people of South Asian descent and up to three times more common among people of African and African-Caribbean origin.

As a diverse city, we need to come together to support all communities, enabling them to take preventative action and manage the condition if they are diagnosed.

Diabetes is a serious condition, but the good news is that the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, and of complications for those with the condition, can be reduced with simple lifestyle changes such as maintaining a healthy weight and increasing physical activity.

As a city, we are taking action. Bristol was one of the first places to achieve Sugar Smart City status two years ago, and the Council has since been running the Bristol Eating Better Awards to help local restaurants and takeaway to offer healthier options. We’re also looking to increase the exclusion zone around schools and youth clubs for new fast food places through the review of the Local Plan.

There are a number of organisations doing fantastic work across Bristol to offer much-needed services to people with diabetes and their carers. One such organisation is Bristol Community Health, who recognise that language barriers can prevent people from BAME communities from accessing care. That’s why they work with Health Link translators to reach those groups most as risk. Diabetes UK is another, with a local network of support groups in different parts of the city who meet monthly to learn more about the condition, share experiences and support one another.

This World Diabetes Day, we want you to join us in taking action. The first step to preventing type 2 diabetes is knowing your risk, and I want to encourage more people to find out theirs using the International Diabetes Federation’s online interactive tool.

For more information on the symptoms of diabetes and what to do if you think you might have the condition, visit the NHS website.

By working together we can close the gaps between rich and poor in Bristol, address health inequalities experienced by different communities and make sure everyone can enjoy and experience life to the fullest.

Bristol Young Heroes Awards 2020

Lauch photo with 2019 winners

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

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

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

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

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

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

Marvin, Joe & Amy

How to nominate a young hero

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mental health in the workplace: it’s time to take action

Today’s guest blog is from the Deputy Mayor, Councillor Asher Craig, who is responsible for communities, equalities and public health.

Talking about mental health was once completely taboo. Thanks to the work of a lot of people over the past few years, that’s beginning to change. But there is still more to be done.  

Mental wellbeing is a key focus for the One City approach; the overarching goal for wellbeing in the One City Plan is that by 2050 everyone in Bristol will have the opportunity to live a life in which they are mentally and physically healthy. For this to happen, we need a city-wide effort made up of individuals, organisations and sectors across Bristol joining forces to help everyone have good mental health. That’s why I was delighted to join employers from Bristol’s businesses, public and voluntary sector at this week’s Thriving at Work conference.

Thriving at Work is part of a ten year programme, Thrive Bristol, developed to improve everyone’s mental health and wellbeing, as well as interventions for people experiencing mental illness. The key focus for today’s event was sharing the next phase of the Thriving at Work Bristol programme where local organisations, including Bristol City Council, will be putting in place new support to improve the mental health and wellbeing of their employees.

We will be testing what works, learning together and then looking to scale up the interventions which have the best results across the city and region. We think this is a first nationally, and we are delighted that partners have been so keen to get involved. Deloitte, Hargreaves Lansdown and OVO Energy are chairing the programme which will offer more support for local companies to make improvements in their workplaces. This in turn could have a meaningful impact on the wellbeing of thousands of employees across our city.

The event also saw the launch of our Thriving at Work Bristol report – the product of over a year’s collaboration from 25 local organisations. In the report, they shared what they have learned about the best practice in place locally, as well as the challenges these organisations have encountered when trying to improve employee mental health and wellbeing.

And I’m thrilled that Bristol is the first city to make the Mental Health at Work Commitment. It is linked with the national Thriving at Work Leadership Council, the Department of Work and Pensions, the Department of Health and Social Care, and mental health charity Mind. This commitment provides a simple framework with six standards businesses and organisations can follow to help employees thrive at work. Locally, a range of employers are making the commitment – from large companies like Burges Salmon to smaller organisations like Windmill Hill City Farm. And we are inviting every employer in Bristol to get involved and make the pledge.

For more information about Thrive Bristol and to read the Thriving at Work Bristol report visit: https://www.bristol.gov.uk/mayor/thrive-bristol

The Thriving at Work Bristol initiative focuses on improving mental health and wellbeing across our workplaces. It builds upon the independent review of mental health and employers that was published by Mind CEO Paul Farmer and Lord Stevenson[1] in 2017, and seeks to implement the six mental health core standards set out in their report across local workplaces.

For information on the Mental Health at Work Commitment and to join, visit: www.mentalhealthatwork.org.uk/committment


[1] Stevenson D, Farmer P (2017), Thriving at Work The Stevenson /Farmer review of mental health and employers. Available at: http://www.gov.uk/government/publications/thriving-at-work-a-review-of-mental-health-and-employers

Our Journey to Clean Air

We have a simple choice ahead of us for a legally required clean air zone. 

The hybrid plan tabled to Cabinet for a commercial vehicle charge and small area diesel ban.

OR

A large area charging zone, for all vehicles.

Let me explain…

I will start at the beginning:

Bristol is one of many cities that have been tasked with producing a clean air zone.  The drive for this is obvious, that NO2 particulates in the air cause health concerns and illnesses and must be improved.   NO2 is predominantly produced by motor vehicles and diesel vehicles are the biggest producer.

We have a moral, ecological and legal duty to clean up the air we breathe.

The legal duty is now captured under UK and European law.  Bristol, like other cities has to become compliant on air quality levels in the shortest possible time – a very important phrase because that is the legal test we have to meet.

So, we asked transport and clean air experts to work together to calculate how Bristol would reach compliance to meet these tests.  Unsurprisingly, the city central area has the worst air quality and so to bring down NO2 to legal levels, it is in that area where we need the clean air zone.

The experts calculated, and those calculations have been agreed by government, that the route to reach compliance in the quickest possible way is the proposal, tabled to cabinet as an outline case.

This is a CAZ C zone where commercial vehicles, buses and taxis that are not compliant to legal emissions (DIESEL Euro 6 or PETROL Euro 4, depending on the vehicle), would be charged to enter.  The theory here is to encourage a change of behaviour and indeed we have been working with First Bus and our taxi drivers to have legally complaint vehicle emissions. This zone would have no impact on private car drivers and commercial drivers who have paid the charge will be free to enter the diesel ban area.

Added to this zone, is a small area diesel ban in the most central area. This will be in place 7:00am-3:00pm each day.  This will ONLY apply to privately owned diesel cars. Together these are the hybrid option that, when combined, meets the legal requirement.

The only other option that would reach compliance in a similar timetable is a larger area charging zone for all vehicles, called a CAZ D.

Charging private drivers to come into the city gets us to compliance later and so doesn’t meet the legal tests and also, significantly, is proven  to disproportionately impact on the lowest income families.

The hybrid plan, tabled to cabinet and recommended by the experts, is the quickest route to compliance and charges NO private vehicles.

For people who do not support the current proposal, including the small area diesel ban, you are left with having to implement a larger area charging zone that reaches compliance later.

Many questions are being asked about the details but we are still working through the processes that will answer them.  Many people are asking about exemptions and of course, we are acutely aware of the need to mitigate hospital visits, disabled travellers, protect the local economy and jobs but this is all contained in the next part of the work.  If cabinet agrees this outline business case and government has agreed the principle of the zone and implemented the secondary legislation required, we will do the work required to look at potential exemptions, including the impact on people who live in the zone and the examples listed above.

We will also be hoping to introduce a scrappage scheme to allow people financial support to change cars to a compliant model.

As part of our work, we will be improving public transport through our bus deal, improved cycling and walking infrastructure and of course, progress our work towards the mass transit, underground system.

By March 2020, we hope to be able to publicise the final plan, having consulted on mitigations, exemptions and requirements.

The zone, once agreed, will go live in April 2021.

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1.5000 Clean Air Zones 2019-Oct.jpg

Taxi Conference 2019

Today’s guest blog is written by Cllr Ruth Pickersgill, Chair of the council’s Public Safety Committee.

On Wednesday, taxi drivers and operators and city partners from across Bristol came together for Bristol’s third taxi conference at City Hall, chaired by Alex Raikes of SARI (Stand Against Racism and Inequality).

As Chair of the Public Safety Committee and the Taxi Forum, I regularly meet with drivers and understand the huge barriers and frustrations they face in this economic climate and with many national out-of-date regulations. Drivers were really pleased to hear directly from the Mayor, Marvin Rees, that he is committed to supporting them, and the clear message from all speakers was that we must work collaboratively to develop a taxi system that is a safe and accessible part of our public transport network, and contributes to our ambitious targets for improving air quality.

I was pleased to be able to outline some of the progress made since the last conference on refurbishing and improving the signage on existing ranks, as well as introducing a new ‘super rank’ on the Centre, and starting the process to establish new ranks in key areas suggested by the Trade.  We have also improved the licensing regime to make the team more accessible to drivers with queries, and have reduced the average waiting times for licenses to 7 days for new drivers and less for renewals. Drivers are pleased that communication has improved and they now get regular newsletters and WhatsApp messages from the ‘Taxi Cop’, and they appreciate his vigilance in dealing with illegal activity. They also really appreciated the support of SARI who support drivers who suffer hate crime or discrimination.

Following the announcement the day before of our proposals for a Clean Air Zone in Bristol, ahead of Cabinet on 5 November, the drivers raised important questions over how this would affect the trade. Marvin reassured drivers and operators that as long as their vehicles are Euro 6 diesel or Euro 4 petrol standard and above, which our licensing policies have already moved them towards, they would not be charged to enter the Clean Air Zone. Any non-compliant taxis would be liable for the £9 daily charge to enter the zone. Taxis are not affected by the proposed diesel ban area. They will be able to operate as usual within the proposed zone. They are recognised as an essential element of public transport, particularly for older and disabled people without cars, and we are committed to continuing to work with the taxi trade as we look at the detail of the plans.

Questions were asked by the first Hackney Carriage driver with an electric vehicles about the charging infrastructure. Cllr Kye Dudd, our cabinet member for transport, reiterated our commitment to social as well as environmental justice – meaning we’re making  switch to ultra-low emission vehicles as accessible and achievable as possible. We have recently secured more than £300,000 to install four rapid charging units near the M32, and are offering subsidies of up to £3,500 for drivers who wish to retrofit their vehicles. There is still work to be done and we hope to take learning from other cities on how we can improve our electric vehicle offer to the taxi trade.

Another key discussion point was the issue of cross-local authority border licensing, and the fact that the number of private hire vehicles licensed in South Gloucestershire, for example, has gone up 305% in 3 years. I was able to talk about the recommendations of a national Task and Finish Group, chaired Professor Mohammed Abdel-Haq, which recommends that all journeys should start and/or finish in the area they are licensed, and also for the introduction of national minimum standards for licensing which, if adopted by the Government, would address the most pressing concerns of the Trade. I urged them to keep lobbying MPs, as I often do, to get these issues tackled quickly by bringing in the legislative changes we need.

I am passionate about the rights of drivers to make a decent living and to have reasonable working conditions, and want to work with them to address some of the barriers they face. I am also proud of the high standards we have in Bristol for safeguarding passengers through rigorous checking and training of drivers and vehicles, and of the key role our drivers play in keeping people safe (particularly in the night time economy). We won’t let our standards drop, but have to continue to press the Government to act to ensure others are forced to improve theirs.

World Cities Day

Today is United Nation’s World Cities Day. This year’s title is “Changing the world: innovations and better life for future generations” focusing on the role digital technologies play in enhancing the quality of life, the environment, and promoting social inclusion.

Innovation is a key theme of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  Cities are proving to be laboratories for SDGs innovation, showing how these goals are being turned in to real action locally in cities irrespective of delays and barriers at the national and international level. Bristol has been actively adopting the UN Sustainable Development Goals since 2016. Along with New York and Helsinki, Bristol was one of the first cities across the globe to carry out a review of how it is delivering on all 17 of the Sustainable  Development Goals locally (Bristol Voluntary Local review), with goals ranging from tackling climate change, poverty and reducing inequality. In September, our city was one of the first cities to sign the Voluntary Local Review declaration.

This year Bristol was one of six European Cities to win the European Capital of Innovation funding bid for its ‘One City’ approach which brings together a huge range of public, private, voluntary and third sector partners with the shared aim to make Bristol a fair, healthy and sustainable city.  An example of a One City project is Period Friendly Bristol, a city-wide project to end period poverty ensuring that everyone has access to sanitary products through a dedicated digital app and to drive a more mature conversation about period dignity.

Last month, Bristol publically launched its ‘Connected City’ strategy which sets out the city’s ambitions for laying the digital foundations that will help the city achieve its ambitions and ensure that citizens feel they are contributing to, and benefit from the social and economic advantages of digital technology. The strategy will ensure that technology is driven by city challenges important to citizens; that we have high quality, secure and reliable digital connectivity; involve communities and individual entrepreneurs as well as the public sector institutions and ensure that we do not lose sight of the social benefit an public good brought about by technology and innovation.

It has been said that the Sustainable Development Goals will be lost or won in cities. We will be actively using innovation, working with partners locally and globally, to ensure we successfully implement the sustainable development goals and ensure that no-one in Bristol is left behind.

Lessons from the Women’s Homelessness Roundtable

Today’s blog comes from Penny Walster, hub manager at Shelter Bristol.

We at Shelter are only too keenly aware of how women are particularly vulnerable to abuse when battling homelessness. The deep and lasting trauma of being homeless is yet another hurdle to add to an already long list of barriers that many women need to overcome, in order to move on with their lives after a period of having no permanent home to call their own.

These barriers were the focus of a partnership event organised by Shelter together with St Mungos, Next Link, Missing Link, Safe Link, One25, DHI and many other specialist women’s support organisations.

Mayor Rees joined us to hear from women about the issues they are facing.

By bringing together women using those services, together with local politicians and professionals, we are looking to address those barriers for homeless women in Bristol. This roundtable event was the first step to realise our joint ambition to properly amplify the voices of homeless women in our city; working together to overcome the barriers that prevent women from moving on to stable homes.

“I moved from the street to living in a hostel with people I didn’t know, I wanted to feel safer than when I was on the street, but I didn’t.”

It was clear from the personal testimonies that we heard, that moving into accommodation does not by itself address the effects of poor mental health, substance misuse, past abuse and trauma that many women have experienced as part of being homeless. Many of the women we heard from talked about adjusting to changes at the same time as coping with ongoing mental and physical health conditions. It was clear that bringing together supportive groups of women can work wonders to help with the transition from living on the streets to living in settled and permanent accommodation. Our task now is to increase these networks and support groups, by working together to create safe spaces for them to grow.

“I was really nervous about coming along today but I’m glad I did, I just wish there was a way my friend could have come too.”

Many of the women at the event wanted to make sure that they and others they knew could contribute to the planning and actions sparked by our conversation. Lack of childcare options, problems getting to work, and keeping multiple appointments with housing offices, advice services and others were just some of the barriers that often prevent women’s voices and experiences from being heard. Through this roundtable and its follow up actions, we are looking forward over the next year to amplifying the voices of homeless women across Bristol.

“I’m waiting to move into my forever home, I feel nervous and excited… it feels like a second chance, but I know I couldn’t have made it without support.”

This need for joint support and better partnerships came across from all the groups at the event. We know that the housing crisis has dramatically increased the numbers of homeless people since 2010. As a result of all these groups coming together, we’re motivated to keep the momentum going, and to keep highlighting and overcoming the barriers that homeless women face.

To learn more about Shelter Bristol and their services, visit their webpage here.

Ending Holiday Hunger

On Friday I was invited to a breakfast event at Burges Salmon to celebrate the work Feeding Bristol are doing to tackle holiday hunger. The purpose of the event was to share the findings of their Healthy Holidays impact report – and they’ve already achieved so much for the city. 

In Bristol, more than 11,500 children qualify for free school meals. When the school holidays come around, the families of these children are left struggling to afford the food they need to buy to plug the gap, which can equate to £30-£40 a week per child.

The Healthy Holidays project aims to tackle holiday hunger by supplying food and meals to existing clubs and programmes. They target their work in the areas of greatest need and source healthy and high-quality produce to ensure children experiencing deprivation have access to nutritious and balanced meals.

They do this by collaborating with FareShare, who provide logistical support to get surplus goods from the food industry, mostly at no cost, to the community groups and programmes with links to children and their families. Zest Catering have also been key to the success of the project, assisting with food planning and catering on the ground.

What struck me on Friday is how Feeding Bristol is a clear example of what we’re trying to achieve on the most pressing issues through the One City Approach. They started with a vision, which I share, that no child should go hungry. To achieve this vision, they’re engaging with community groups, private sector organisations and local government to leverage the resource and the connections required. In practice, this equates to hundreds of volunteers using corporate volunteering days to support the project, and 68 charitable and community groups offering access to those children most in need.

Feeding Bristol demonstrates that this approach works. Through their Healthy Holidays project, 53,000 meals were provided across the city in the school holidays, reaching more than 5,000 children. Crucially, 75% of these children receive free school meals, indicating that Feeding Bristol is succeeding in reaching those experiencing the highest levels of deprivation.

I want to create a city in which no parent has to worry about where their child’s next meal is going to come from. With central government failing to protect the most vulnerable in our society, it falls to communities to pull together to deliver the change we need.

I’m proud that, in a time of so much division, people and organisations from across Bristol are coming together to tackle social injustice – it gives me real hope for our shared future.

Thank you to Burges Salmon, who have been great supporters of this work through corporate volunteering and who are targeting their charitable work this year in the area of child hunger, for providing the venue for this event.

You can find out more about Feeding Bristol and how you can support their work here.

World in Motion

Dan DeeksToday’s guest blog  is written by Dan Deeks, MD of Motion Nightclub. 

Motion brings more than 200,000 people to Bristol every year. It is a cultural hotspot that provides people with a place to lose their inhibitions and leave their daily worries behind. If you have visited our venue for one of our signature Drum & Bass or Techno Events you will understand the environment and what we do.

As in so many cases across the UK, Motion, our home, is under threat due to development near to the venue. Our concerns exist for many reasons. Many stem from the fact that Agent of Change, which could in theory offer protection, is a fairly new planning principal. Agent of change means that those bringing about a change take responsibility for its impact. In our case, it is the developers around us that are bringing change to the area.

That said, the question remains: if people moving in to new developments close to our venue complain about noise, are we adequately protected or could this still impact my business? The answer is yes. And it is this answer that has led me to campaign for something called Deed of Easement, which I believe would offer us stronger protection.

We want our venue to survive the changes going on around us, and think it can do. So, last week we submitted our Community Right to Bid application to Bristol City Council to make our intention clear that if our landlord decides to sell our building we want to buy it. This is a positive move for us, safeguarding jobs and valuable income to the local night time economy.

The Community Right to Bid allows communities to nominate buildings or land for listing by the local authority as an asset of community value. If the assets come up for sale, the community can ‘pause’ the sale and take up to six months to find the funding required to buy the asset.

The last few months of working to find a solution with developments next door have made me more determined than ever to keep going to protect our club and culture. I have always been highly focused on my role, which is very much away from the public eye. Seeing a lot of the comments from the public and customers have given the whole team so much drive.

Cllr Nicola Beech and Mayor Marvin Rees have supported us throughout our recent work, pushing through measures to protect us from new residents moving in and working out sensible solutions. I cannot express enough how important it is to support these people in the future. They are working to protect Bristol nightlife and expand it in the future. I am positive that with their support we will find the right solution.

Rave culture has been such a massive part of my life and for so many others. Please support our petition.

The Launch

Today’s blog is written by Bristol Housing Festival Project Director Jez Sweetland as they start their second year of events.

When the Bristol Housing Festival was launched on the 19th October 2018 with an exhibition on Waterfront Square, Councillor Paul Smith said; “We are at the beginning of a revolution in housing design and construction.” That revolution is presented in the context of modern methods of construction (MMC) and modular housing – ways to build using new technology and engaging in our urgent need for quality, affordable and highly sustainable homes. Of course, modern methods of construction are not a panacea to the housing crisis but they have real potential to provide some of the answers and the process of innovation itself gives us an opportunity to review our processes and objectives to ensure we are working together to build the housing that the city actually needs. That’s why we are keen to look at issues such as intergenerational living and co-living – mindful that housing should also focus on the mental, emotional and physical health of the population. As a partner of the One City approach we are committed to the overarching goal that by 2050 ‘everyone in Bristol will live in a home that meets their needs within a thriving and safe community’.

These are high ideals, but to be worked out in a challenging context; the inherent complexity of housing and the urgency of the climate crisis means the need to think differently is even more pressing. Perhaps for too long we have been fed a binary diet of press cuttings suggesting ‘good housing development’, or – in the main – ‘bad housing development’. All too often the story is unhappy, either the developer is to blame for greed, or the council are to blame for incompetence. If only housing was that straightforward. We need a new narrative on housing to work together and build trust around shared objectives whilst acknowledging the realities and limitations. Modern methods of construction give us an opportunity to rethink and create those new collaborations. The Bristol Housing Festival intends to help enable the testing and learning process as that technology is deployed with an ambition of building trust between the wider public, industry and government as we all learn together.

To address the chronic housing shortages (both in social housing and in the private market), perhaps we, as the people who make up this city, also need to think more strategically. For example, should public consultations for new housing aimed at those living in the immediate locality (who will have legitimate concerns and opinions that need to be carefully considered) also be aimed at those in our city who are all too often voiceless; those that are without a home, or desperately trying to secure their first rental or purchase. We need to talk about the outcomes for all those affected, not just the ‘neighbours’, but the whole ‘village’. It’s been interesting to see the ‘YIMBY’ (Yes In My BackYard [for new housing]) campaign becoming increasingly high profile – perhaps an example of compassion and generosity to those that are without from those that have.

The experience of the last year working closely with Bristol City Council has given me great encouragement. It is heartening to see the commitment, vision and passion within the numerous teams, where officers are working hard to ‘unlock’ land for homes and to deliver great social housing, within the realities and limitations of economics and planning frameworks.  Whatever your political colour, housing is and will remain a long-term priority for the city, and those officers will continue to be on the front foot. For that, I think we should all be grateful.

October 2019

For the Bristol Housing Festival showcase this year we are excited to be hosting and promoting a fascinating programme of events. We are looking forward to welcoming a group of fantastic speakers and experts to Bristol alongside a host of local speakers from a variety of organisations – including some of the great stories of community led housing being pioneered in Bristol.

We will also be hosting an exhibition at the Architecture Centre from 21st October – 3rd November which will include details of projects recently approved and those planned for the not-so-distant future. Visitors will be given an insight into some of the work going on behind-the-scenes in the city and how these new housing projects are seeking to improve the lives of the people who live here.

A year on and we have been reflecting on the progress we have seen over the last year. We think it is fair to say that this ‘revolution’ is gathering pace and gaining momentum across the country and we believe that Bristol is set to be help lead on that innovation.  The projects that are moving forward are attributable to the vision, talents, courage, and efforts of countless individuals and partner organisations, we have no qualms in shouting about them. Quite the opposite, we’d love you to join us in celebrating some of the highlights as we offer you an opportunity to share, celebrate and contribute to the progress that is being made by the hard work of so many.

All the details for the showcase and the series of talks are available on our website. Please do come along and celebrate with us and together we can re-imagine the future of housing.

So, a year on, a chance to pause and reflect on the progress made but also to acknowledge that we are still just at the beginning.

https://www.bristolhousingfestival.org.uk