Bristol’s response to the cost of living crisis

A national cost of living crisis has struck Bristol, and once again it is our poorest communities that are facing the biggest impact.

Driven by rising prices, with high inflation at 9.4% in the year to June, the inequalities of our country are worsening. Wages are stagnating and welfare support is far behind inflation while our energy bills, petrol prices, national insurance contributions, food costs are getting steeper.

Child poverty rates are stark, our own assessment shows almost a quarter of children in some Bristol wards are living in poverty. As the world’s fifth largest economy, Britain cannot continue to accept this as reality. National government urgently needs to do more to support our most deprived communities in particular. But in Bristol we are already making plans for the immediate future.

Our challenge is tackling a complex issue exacerbated by the pandemic and compounded by rising costs of living and relative wage decreases year on year. Although the cost of living crisis is acute, many people in Bristol have already been living in a crisis for years.

The Fuel Bank Foundation predicts the energy price cap will rise to £2,800 in October 2022. This would mean that an average prepayment customer will need to top up their meter by £391 per month. We will see more people pushed into fuel poverty: similar to the increasing numbers of people using food banks, accessing Local Crisis Prevention Fund (LCPF), struggling to pay rent, and using public services to avoid using energy at home.

So we are proactively organising a city-wide network of warm places “Welcoming Spaces” for people in Bristol to keep warm over the winter. We will use community spaces, council owned buildings, and will draw on community infrastructure strengthened during the pandemic such as volunteer groups and facilities. These will offer vital warm spaces for those residents that are forced to choose between heating their homes and putting food in their cupboards.

We have other programmes aimed at the immediate crisis of holiday hunger and provide opportunities for people to enter work. We continue to support low-income families with our £40 million Council Tax Reduction Scheme, Local Crisis Prevention Fund, and do what we can to ensure those who are entitled get access to the welfare support they need. The Community Resilience Fund sees a one-off capital funded £4 million pot shared with groups based in and working with the most deprived areas of our city.

These measures cannot be seen as long-term solutions. We strive to develop inclusive economic growth, working with community groups, businesses, universities and schools, and Government—to build a city of hope for all those who live in Bristol, including young and old, native Bristolian and newcomer, family or single living.

Making Bristol a Living Wage city is a key platform for this aim. Supported by unions we have worked with employers to ensure their staff earn a wage that meets costs and pressures they face in their everyday lives, resulting in over 40,000 workers in the city in Living Wage accredited jobs.

We know there is still more to be done. The government must provide more opportunities and solve some of the systemic problems such as inflation and low paid work so that families can escape poverty.

In its report Centre for Cities calls on government to increase benefits to bring them in line with inflation, reintroduce the £20 uplift for Universal Credit for the 5.9 million people currently on benefits, and provide those living in homes below EPC band C with a one-off payment to help face soaring energy bills.

To deal with rising fuel costs, the National Energy Action research highlights the need to switch pre-payment meters users to smart meters. The government must launch an independent review into Ofgem’s lack of regulation in the energy market and for an energy consumer duty as called for by Citizen’s Advice.

The government must invest more in our communities. They need to reverse their 12 years of national austerity, that has left our infrastructure weak and communities vulnerable. People need support now, the current situation demands immediate steps to alleviate the effects of the cost of living crisis and high inflation.


Becoming a ‘Zero Exclusion City’

Bristol's Youth Mayors, Jeremiah Dom-Ogbonna (left) and Anika Mistry (centre), standing in the Mayor's Office with Mayor Marvin Rees. Behind them, books and awards are visible on shelves.
Today’s guest blog is by Anika Mistry and Jeremiah Dom-Ogbonna, Bristol’s Youth Mayors

Over the past few years, with the disruption of the pandemic, we as a nation have been reminded of the significance of education and know that it is crucial to children and young people. This is not only for our personal and academic development but also for our happiness and wellbeing.

However, for some students, school feels like a prison, where often the decision for an exclusion from school isn’t justifiable and concerns have been raised about the link between exclusions and race, where institutional racism could be a factor. We feel that we all should take action and campaign for Bristol to become a ‘Zero Exclusion City’, where our schools understand and respect young people and make them feel appreciated and valued, both in and out of school. 

What does it mean to be a ‘Zero Exclusion City’?

It means to be a city that doesn’t give up on young people. A city that sees the best in our young people, even in the moments where they don’t see it themselves. A city where all young people are given a chance to be who they want to be. A city where young people aren’t written off before their stars shine brighter than they ever could imagine. We want young people to be appreciated and feel that they have support when they need it rather than becoming isolated.

We’ve seen too many stories where young people have been put into Isolation – short and long term – where this isn’t warranted. This isn’t ok. A situation that should have been easily resolved, by just speaking and letting the students know their wrongdoing, has escalated leading to irreconcilable damage, not just to their education, but to their future as a whole.

What is the prize of being a ‘Zero Exclusion City’?

It means that we set the pace for others to follow, we are the example for other cities all over the UK. It means that we see young people who are less likely to go down the wrong path, to be able to access all that life has for them. This consequently leads to more young people who can have more of a stable environment for them to develop in regard to their education, away from all the vices that are a constant afterthought in many communities across the UK.

Already, the One City Plan, written by the city, aims that, by 2030, Bristol is in the top quarter of Local Authorities in England for school inclusion and attendance, and where restorative approaches are put in place as a first response to conflict management in schools. By 2034, Bristol aims for schools in our city to have fully implemented a zero-exclusion policy. As co-chair of the One City Children & Young People Board, Jeremiah is working to help develop and deliver this work.

What does this mean for young people?

This means that young people are offered support when it is seen they’re going off track, instead of negative and overactive discipline. It means that young people are in the classroom, learning, which is the most integral thing. Teachers who are better placed to understand their students better. And most of all, we have young people who truly are global citizens, doing their part to make the world a better place.

Sometimes young people are criticised; sometimes we are humiliated; and sometimes it may feel like school just isn’t able to accommodate us despite trying our best, even though teachers may not realise it. Bristol is a place of community, inclusion, and respect, where everyone is valued. As Bristol’s Youth Mayors, we want to work towards a city where school exclusions both permanent and short-term shouldn’t occur. We would love it if you could help us with this, to share our proposal and encourage others to reduce and get rid of exclusion – to make Bristol into a ‘Zero Exclusion City’. A city that doesn’t give up on young people; that sees the best in everyone and a city that ensures young people have the opportunity to let their stars shine. 

To get in contact with the Youth Mayors, contact ywparticipation@bristol.gov.uk and follow us @BristolYMayors, @AnikaYouthMayor and @OgbonnaDom.

Sustainable transport on Muller Road

Today’s blog by Councillor Don Alexander, Cabinet Member for Transport and Labour Councillor for Avonmouth & Lawrence Weston

Construction work will get underway this summer on highway improvements to Muller Road, including installing a 24-hour bus lane to help make bus journeys quicker and more reliable.

With serious investment in Lockleaze that will see around 1,000 new homes and a new secondary school built, we need to make sure our local transport network can keep up with this level of growth.

Muller Road runs alongside Lockleaze and is well used by people travelling from north Bristol to the M32 and our city centre. It’s a busy road that often gets congested, so back in 2019 we carried out community engagement on how to improve bus journeys and make walking and cycling safer along this route.

Based on this, we have designed a scheme and will start work in August on improvements to Muller Road, including the introduction of a bus lane between Downend Road and Ralph Road. This will feature a bus gate to improve priority for buses at the Ralph Road junction. We’ll use a section of land that runs along the entrance to Lidl, which is part of the original planning agreement, to make space for this. 

Our plans also include resurfacing Muller Road, between Downend Road and Ralph Road, installing signals at Muller Road’s junction with Ralph Road, and creating modal filters on Springfield Avenue, Draycott Road and Brent Road to stop traffic other than bicycles using them as cut throughs.

These improvements are part of our Lockleaze Sustainable Transport Infrastructure project, which is being funded from the Housing Infrastructure Fund, provided by Homes England.

The project focusses on mitigating the impact that development and growth will have on the local area. It is a considerable investment in our transport infrastructure and one in a series of major transport corridors that we are working to improve.

A photo looking north along Muller Road, with vehicles on the left and a  bus on the right.

This is a big project that we anticipate completing in the spring of 2023. As you might expect, it will cause some disruption for anyone travelling through the area.

To make sure our contractors can work as efficiently as possible, Ralph Road will need to close temporarily towards the end of August. The diversion will take you via Ashley Down Road, Gloucester Road, Filton Avenue, and Muller Road.

Some residential roads may close at their junctions with Muller Road while the works take place to avoid traffic using them as rat-runs. There will also be temporary traffic lights in place on Muller Road throughout the works. 

We will do all we can to keep disruption to a minimum and make sure the scheme is completed as quickly as possible. 

The new bus lane and gate, together with improved walking and cycling infrastructure, will result in better connections for Lockleaze residents and anyone travelling through the area.

By improving the reliability of bus journeys and making walking and cycling safer and more attractive, we are going some way to rebalancing Bristol’s streets, giving people good alternatives to car-use, especially for shorter journeys.

We need everyone to embrace sustainable transport if we are to reduce our carbon footprint and make the air we breathe cleaner, while realising our ambition to create an inclusive and connected city.

Bristolians really care about the environment, and the recent heatwave is a warning sign to us all that we need to work together if we are to reach our city’s aspiration to be net zero by 2030. Work like this is essential to delivering on that commitment.

New job for council’s chief executive

Today I want to take a moment to reflect on the news that Mike Jackson, Bristol City Council’s Chief Executive, will soon be leaving us to take up a fantastic CEO opportunity in a shared role between the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and the London Borough of Wandsworth councils. Subject to formal confirmation by the Full Councils of those authorities this week, he will be leaving Bristol this October.

Like many people in the council and across our city partners, I am really pleased for Mike whilst also being sorry to see him move on. His new role spanning two major London councils is a tremendous opportunity, one that was too good to say no to, and fulfils an ambition Mike and his family have always had to revisit life in London. 

I’ve worked with Mike for many years making the council a better development organisation: one that prioritises the personal and professional growth of its people, and it is fitting that even at the very top our people can benefit from the Bristol experience and move on to even bigger roles. As we consider our next steps for leadership, you can be sure that we’ll look for every opportunity to grow and develop our current and next generation of leaders. 

For the last four years Mike has been an incredible leader for Bristol, initially as Executive Director for Resources and Head of Paid Service, and then as Chief Executive. In that time, he has led a committed, resilient and high performing team through the most difficult of circumstances, not least the organisational response to Covid-19. He has brought grip, pace, professionalism, and personal warmth to one of the toughest jobs in our city and should be proud to leave Bristol in a stronger, more stable place than he found it. 

He will be a hard act to follow but I know that his departure will inevitably create some fresh opportunities for other talented people to step up and into new career challenges. I’m working with Mike to consider all of the options that are open to us now, and we’ll share more before too long.

For now I wanted to make space to acknowledge all that Mike’s done for Bristol and to wish him well in another top job.

Imperial Sports Ground’s Super Sense Room

Today’s blog is by Lee West,
Trustee at Imperial Sports Ground

As for many organisations it’s been a challenging time, for the sports centre especially so. The fire in 2018 brought everything to a sudden halt.  But through these times we are beginning to see fruit of the redevelopment and our most recent being our SuperSense sensory room.

On 24 June we officially opened our state-of-the-art sensory room and it’s a true example of how more powerful it is for charities and people to come together, with a common goal, for the right reasons to develop a unique but much needed facility in Bristol.

The sensory room is the largest in Bristol and is based in the heart of the community, within transport links to ensure impact is maximised.

As a charity we have the ethos that “Any child with SEND has the right and ability to develop into adulthood, capable of taking an integral part in a wider society. The Imperial Sports Ground as a Bristol based registered charity has the responsibility to give them every opportunity to succeed.”

We strive to look at wider opportunities to impact people’s lives and provide a safe place to grow; we understand there are many deprived families in Bristol that would benefit from this facility and we’re keen to ensure this is a facility for all; unfortunately, it’s been difficult to find these families but we’re confident in the next few months this will be achieved.

I’m personally working on another project, developing a SEND outdoor play park for Adults and Children, this is another example of how thousands of people can benefit from a life changing facility. We’re on a mission again to raise funds.  As a society we all want to be inclusive but whilst this is the common end goal, we also must acknowledge our unconscious bias. Making these steps, through generations we will be going in the right direction.

I want to take this opportunity to thank Venturer’s Academy, SEN SOS, Incredible Kids, Autistic associations, Quartet and individual donors for their support.

Celebrating Bristol apprenticeships on World Youth Skills Day

In 2014, the United Nations General Assembly declared 15 July as World Youth Skills Day: a day when people across the world people highlight the importance of equipping young people with skills for employment, decent work and entrepreneurship. 

To mark World Youth Skills Day, I want to reflect on the progress and impact of apprenticeships in Bristol and celebrate those who both provide opportunities and those making the most of their new roles.

There are still high levels of young people who are out of education, work or training programmes across the UK, including in Bristol. Without the possibility of accessing these opportunities. Getting our young people into good jobs is one of the biggest challenges we face as a city and one we have to do more to address.

That’s why we are working hard to ensure there has been an ongoing upward trend in youth employment opportunities through local coordination and support for paid work experience and trainee programmes. This is building towards our one city goal, having 100% of young people under the age of 18 being able to access meaningful work experience that has helped them prepare for future employment and/or learning by 2048.

Bristol apprenticeship’s have made a strong comeback post-pandemic. Over the past two years we’ve seen over 200 new apprenticeships begin at the council with 272 apprentices currently active across all services. We’re spending over a million pounds a year to fun these roles and are seeing the rewards of that investment each time an apprentice qualifies and takes on a permanent position in the workforce. We’re keen to share this success too by providing over £400,000 of funding a year to support local SMEs, partner agencies, and the voluntary sector to make use of apprenticeships too and expand the opportunities available to those living in Bristol.

Charlie stands (right) fixing an electrical unit on the wall.

We should celebrate the impact our apprenticeship schemes have made to young people lives and we want to highlight examples of this incredible work.

Like many students in Year 11, Charlie May Haim didn’t know what she wanted to do with her career. She had applied to several different courses, including a Beauty course at her local college because that’s what her friends were doing. It’s only after having a conversation with On Site, she started thinking about the possibility of a job in construction.

In 2016 Charlie became an On Site Bristol Electrical Apprentice with Bristol City Council’s Responsive Repairs Team. Charlie is now a fully qualified Electrician and loves her job. Bristol Apprenticeships opened up a career path she never knew was open to her whilst in school.

Bristol City Council’s Responsive Repairs Team has been working in partnership with On Site Bristol for 13 years to support their annual Apprentice recruitment Programme. 

The Responsive Repairs Team employs over 420 staff including multi-trade teams, trade apprentices, surveyors, and both managerial and back-office support. Each year the Responsive Repairs Team employ between six to ten apprentices across all trades. All apprentices are assigned a mentor to support and guide them in the practical aspects of their role.

Zara Naylor, Head of Service, Responsive Repairs Team says, “Our apprenticeship programme is of great importance to our team and to the residents we serve. A key requirement for us is to increase diversity within the apprenticeship workforce and we do this by taking positive action and recruiting from underrepresented groups.  Apprentices bring with them an enthusiasm, a zest for learning, a fresh perspective and IT skills which greatly benefits other construction colleagues. Apprentices that have been trained by us are loyal and committed, and 95% of our Apprentices secure permanent roles with our team as they become available.”

Seven people from the Council's Responsive Repairs Team stand in a car park

Apprenticeships enable the Council and local employers to provide good quality routes into work with the promise of developing people’s skills and knowledge. In turn, apprentices offer employers the talent and creativity every workplace needs to ensure it reaps the benefits of a modern, diverse workforce.

They also provide opportunities to support communities often let down by “traditional” routes into work such as care leavers, equalities groups, and those living in areas of high deprivation. These communities are often less likely to have the opportunity to enter further education and get access to the funds needed to sustain lifelong learning. For these groups, apprenticeships are accessible means of putting individuals and households on a route towards greater prosperity.

Apprenticeships allow us to break down gender barriers and improve social mobility, providing job access for those that would never usually get the chance and opening young minds to peruse a career they never thought was possible for them.

I want to encourage Bristol’s young people to investigate local apprenticeship schemes, expand your horizons, learn new skills, you are never fully aware of what you are capable of! Find out more here.

Help us improve the way we let our homes

Today’s blog is by Councillor Tom Renhard, Cabinet Member for Homes and Housing Delivery and Labour Councillor for Horfield.

We all know that our city is facing a housing crisis. There are rising numbers of people becoming homeless and the increasingly unaffordable cost of housing in Bristol is creating more demand for social housing and increasing pressure on HomeChoice Bristol – the system we use to let social housing in our city. And latest Census data shows that the city’s population has grown over 10% in the last decade, as pressure grows on limited city land and budgets.

There are currently nearly 18,000 households on the housing waiting list in Bristol, and more than 1,100 households in temporary accommodation. As we continue to work to get Bristol building 1,000 new affordable homes a year by 2024, we also need to review how social housing is let in our city.

Our aim is to ensure that people are housed in homes that meet their needs, giving priority to those in greatest need, and making the application process easier for everyone to follow.

The review gives us the opportunity to look at who is housed, and why, and to develop options for how to let social housing in the future. The aim is to find the best way to create and support mixed and balanced communities, without disadvantaging those people in the greatest need.

One of our greatest challenges is balancing the very high need for homes in Bristol, against a very limited pool of available properties. As we continue to add to the 9,000 new homes of all types built in Bristol since 2016, we need to make the best use of all properties in our city and have to manage the expectations of people on the register. We will keep working to turn round any empty council homes even quicker – with council properties requiring extensive major works already re-let within two and a half months, compared to two years for privately owned properties.

We want to make the housing letting process fair, easy to use and transparent for all who use it, and give people choice wherever possible in meeting their housing need.

We need to hear from people across our city, including people living in social housing or currently on the waiting list. 

It is vitally important that we get the views of people who are on the waiting list, or have recently been housed, to make sure they agree with what is being proposed following our extensive research phase.

We have already done a great deal of work to get to this point. The review process originally began in 2019 with a survey and four community events, however it was put on hold because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since we restarted the review, we have held a number of engagement events, working with tenants and those with experience of using the register, the advice and voluntary sector, and other industry experts. Their input has been vital to help shape the set of proposals we are now taking out for public consultation. We have also done extensive research into how the challenges are being addressed elsewhere across the country. 

Ideas being consulted on include:

  • Moving to a ‘managed choice’ system where the council can be more proactive in helping someone find a home.
  • Extending the use of local letting policies.
  • Changes to priority groups, including giving top priority to care leavers and under-occupiers.

The review is part of Bristol’s Big Housing Conversation, which aims to give people across our city, particularly council tenants, a greater say in how the housing system is run.

The survey will be open until Friday 7 October. To find out more and to give your views please visit www.ask.bristol.gov.uk/housing-allocations

Feedback from the consultation will be used to refine proposals which will be taken to Cabinet towards the end of the year.

Harbour Fest back this weekend!

As preparations continue around the docks and excitement builds ahead of this weekend’s Harbour Festival, I’m sharing my foreword from this year’s festival booklet.

Welcome to this very special Bristol Harbour Festival – the first since the start of the pandemic.

Since 1971, communities from across Bristol have celebrated the special setting of the harbour and docks. Five decades on, our city’s diverse and creative talent comes together for one of the biggest outdoor family events of the year.

Here in Bristol, we take huge pride in our local artists and growing number of community groups, all at the beating-heart of this world class creative event. Free to enjoy for all, the festival brings together some of the best of our city’s exceptional culture, as we share in our sense of community and place.

From its unique maritime history, to its role today as a working harbour and wonderful place for Bristolians and visitors alike to enjoy, our docks remain integral to the very fabric of our vibrant city. Over 50 years since the first Harbour Festival, I am very much looking forward to our city coming together to celebrate once again- and enjoying some great local food and drink!

I wish you all a fantastic, safe, and enjoyable 2022 Bristol Harbour Festival.

#ThisIsBristolCalling

It was wonderful to see everyone in person in such fabulous weather on Saturday for Bristol Pride, after two years of the festival happening online due to the pandemic. I want to send again my thanks to the organisers for two weeks of brilliant events, as well as Saturday’s parade and festival on The Downs.

At the festival just before Carly Rae Jepsen took to the stage I announced another opportunity for Bristol to come together again.

Despite winning the Eurovision Song Contest in May, incredibly sadly, Ukraine won’t host the contest in 2023. The BBC have been asked to take on Eurovision next year.

We know that decision has come as a real blow to the people of Ukraine, and so we need to reflect that this opportunity for the UK has come as a result of a war where we have seen suffering and loss.

The custodian of next year’s contest has to reflect this context. It needs to honour Ukraine’s victory, and put those who have been forced to leave their homes at the heart of the event.

As a global and diverse City of Sanctuary that has for many years extended the hand of welcome to those fleeing conflict, Bristol can be the caretaker of next year’s Eurovision Song Contest.

We’re working in partnership with YTL Arena Bristol on a bid to bring Eurovision to the Brabazon Hangers. We have the perfect site, where we can custom-build the perfect Eurovision Song Contest, with sustainability, inclusion and legacy at its core.

As I said on Saturday – we’ve got the space, man.

The city and region’s tourism and hospitality sector would benefit from such a huge event, and we’re committed to build a legacy for the whole of Bristol.

Bristol is ready with a really strong bid, and we need you to help us bring this home.

Please share the video on social media (it’s on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and embedded below) and tell the world how much you want Bristol to be the next home of Eurovision using the hashtag #ThisIsBristolCalling.

27 years on: Remembering Srebrenica

A black flag with a white and green logo, reading Remembering Srebrenica, flies against a blue sky.
Today’s blog is from the team at Remembering Srebrenica, the UK
charitable initiative which commemorates the 1995 Srebrenica Genocide

This week we commemorate 27 years since the Srebrenica Genocide, an atrocity described by the United Nations as the ‘worst crime on European soil since the Second World War’. The Remembering Srebrenica flag has flown outside Bristol’s City Hall all week, and the building was lit up in remembrance on Monday evening.

On 11 July 1995, Bosnian Serb forces overran and captured Srebrenica, a town in Eastern Bosnia which had been designated as a UN Safe Area. In the days that followed, 8,372 Bosnian Muslim men and boys were systematically murdered, with their bodies concealed in mass graves.

Srebrenica was the culmination of a campaign of ‘ethnic cleansing’ used by Bosnian Serb forces during the conflict from 1992-1995, aiming to create ‘Greater Serbia’, a region free from non-Serbs. Throughout Bosnia, up to 50,000 women and girls suffered sexual violence, a weapon of war utilised to ethnically cleanse the region and terrorise the populace. Concentration camps were established in the Prijedor area, with huge numbers of Bosnian Muslims becoming internally displaced or refugees after being forced from their homes.

A Remembering Srebrenica graphic reads: Combatting Denial, Challenging Hatred. It includes their website: www.srebrenica.org.uk

Every year, Remembering Srebrenica selects a theme that reflects an aspect of the genocide that needs to be commemorated, but also speaks to communities here in the UK. The theme for 2022 is ‘Combatting Denial: Challenging Hatred’

The killings at Srebrenica have been classified as genocide by both the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Tribunal of the former Yugoslavia. Despite this fact, denial of the Srebrenica genocide and other crimes against humanity committed across Bosnia remains prevalent at the highest levels, including from the Mayor of Srebrenica and current political leadership of Republika Srpska. These attitudes are also supported by Russia which, in 2015, vetoed a UN resolution to condemn the killings at Srebrenica as a genocide.

Graves at the Srebrenica Memorial site.
Credit: Rooful Ali

In the UK, communities are only too aware of the damaging impact that denial can have for individuals and community cohesion. Divisive propaganda and misinformation are thriving, and clear and established facts are denied and manipulated, frequently resulting in minority communities being scapegoated and vilified to create mistrust and promote hatred that threatens community cohesion. Home Office figures have revealed that the number of recorded hate crimes have doubled in the space of five years. Since last year, numbers of recorded hate crimes have increased by 9% to a record 124,091, with nearly three quarters of those incidents being racially motivated.

We therefore hope that this year’s theme will help empower individuals and communities to better understand and confront the denial which emboldens perpetrators and gaslights their victims, to help create safer, stronger, and more cohesive communities.

A memorial stone reads: Srebrenica juli 1995.
Credit: Rooful Ali

As we move back to a fully in person Srebrenica Memorial Week, we are pleased that there will be two national Srebrenica Memorial events held on the 12th and 13th of July. Two receptions will be hosted by the Speaker of the House of Commons, The Rt Hon Sir Lindsay Hoyle MP, and the Secretary of State for Education, The Rt Hon James Cleverly MP. We are delighted that His Excellency President Šefik Džaferović, Chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina and His Excellency President Željko Komšić, Member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, shall be attending both events alongside MPs, faith leaders and diplomatic staff representing countries around the world.

Equally as importantly, we anticipate a continuation from previous years of more than 1000 memorial events, community activities and acts of commemoration right across the UK. Events will be held in councils, police forces, community centres as well as faith and educational institutions right across the country. We pay thanks to the work of our 1,450 Community Champions, 8 regional boards and 3 country boards whose hard work makes the UK the largest commemorator of the Srebrenica Genocide.