It’s been heartening to see more buzz and excitement return throughout Bristol this summer, with a variety of events and activities bringing Bristolians and visitors together in the city.
The £4.725 million funding secured last year is now helping Bristol’s high streets and our city centre recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the city starting to experience the benefits.
We have made a wide range of grants available to support local organisations in running events and activities and to bring a diverse range of traders to our local high streets and Bristol city centre.
The investment is focussed to increase the number of people visiting our high streets and city centre, as well as the amount of time they are spending there. Ultimately we hope to see more people shopping locally which will build stronger and more resilient independent businesses that are supported by their own communities.
The recent St Nick’s Night Markets; the Old City tour by Little Amal, the 3.5m tall puppet of a young Syrian refugee child; and most recently the Luminarium on College Green significantly boosted visitor numbers, supporting local businesses and the economy. All of these events were supported through the first round of our City Centre Culture and Events Grants.
Further free-to-attend events funded through the programme are planned for August. Overstory, the summer art installation from leading contemporary artists Ivan Morison and Heather Peak, will take root in Broadmead from 19 to 30 August. The event is our city centre’s first headline cultural project commission for 2022/23, awarded to The Natural History Consortium, the charity behind the city’s Festival of Nature. Hanging high above Broadmead in two locations, the artwork will temporarily transform Broadmead, with visitors invited to enjoy the installation alongside a programme of engaging, fun and free activities involving art and nature.
On the third Sunday of the month we’ll welcome the return of the Better Sundays at Broadmead market. Taking place on Sunday 21 August from 10am to 5pm, the market will include workshops, entertainment and activities for all ages, and an exciting mix of market stalls offering local, sustainable and ethical food and goods.
There are still opportunities to apply for funding. We are inviting expressions of interest from organisations with experience of working with the community and other stakeholders through our Priority High Streets Culture and Events Grant, to co-design and deliver culture and events activity to help to bring residents together, and attract and welcome visitors to our high streets, is open to applications until 22 August.
The second round of the City Centre Culture and Events Grants scheme is also open to applications from Bristol based organisations looking to run events or cultural activities across four locations in the city centre: Old City, King Street, Park Street and Queen’s Road, and Broadmead.
Since the launch of the Vacant Commercial Property Grant Scheme, 31 grants have been approved, directly supporting businesses in the retail, hospitality, creative and digital, hair and beauty, health and fitness, property and education sectors. Funding of £2,500 to £10,000 is still available through this grant to bring vacant commercial properties back into permanent or temporary use.
We also have a team of Business Development Officers that regularly visit business on all high streets across the city, to provide the latest information and business support available via the council and partner organisations.
I also recommend that all businesses sign up to the council’s weekly business newsletter to get the latest news, grants and funding opportunities, business support, training and networking opportunities: https://www.bristol.gov.uk/businessnewsletter