Workshops on topics such as homelessness, mental health and environmental sustainability formed part of an evening that asked what could be done to make Bristol a better place.
An evening of discussion took place at the Paintworks Event Space to mark the beginnings of Better Bristol.
The feedback from the event is now being collated along with the results of our short survey.
In the coming weeks, the team at Bristol24/7 will be revealing more information about our forthcoming social impact work, and giving updates on projects that have sprung out of the Better Bristol launch.
Guests from charities and organisations around the city, including Bristol City Council, Ujima Radio and Street2Boardroom, enjoyed food from For Mice and Men and Riceminster in a space full of impressive artwork created by service users at Milestones Trust for their Expressions exhibition.
Following a short speech by Catherine Frankpitt, director of corporate communications and creative strategy at UWE Bristol, the key partner of the Bristol24/7 social impact programme, guests were welcomed to the space by Bristol24/7 Managing Director Ben Wright.
Ben than introduced the evening’s three workshop leaders: Chris Johnson, co-founder, operations director and sustainability lead for Shambala festival; Richard Drake, a trustee of Julian Trust; and Beth Hendry, a poet, playwright, performer and mental health nurse who leads the Expressions festival and arts programme for Milestones Trust.
Chris Johnson said that the focus of the round-table discussion that he led was how we can help to make the changes we want to see.
“I ended with the mantra that however cliched it seems, every step we take is worthwhile, and as individuals we must avoid setting the bar too high in the changes we intend to make and engaging in the guilt cycle,” Chris said.
This theme of being the change was also visible in one of the breakout spaces. A booth full of pages that attendees could fill out asked the question: what one thing would you change about Bristol?
Responses ranged from better cycle paths to more Christmas lights, cheaper and more accessible housing, helping the homeless, reducing the numbers of cars on the road, installing more drinking fountains and building a chairlift on Park Street.
Workshop leader Beth Hendry was still deep in conversation with attendees as the evening wound up, having run a poetry session that helped people to think about the use of arts and creativity as part of a therapeutic mental health recovery programme.
“Art is an incredible way to take something you feel inside and shape it externally to see yourself on the outside,” Beth said.
“It helps others to understand your personal story and creative curiosity helps us develop awareness and empathy, which are essential for productive and prosperous communities.
“At the Better Bristol workshop, participants considered areas in their own lives where they could be kinder to themselves. Then they thought about how these areas could be used to support others where they live, and we created poems about emotions and communities.”
Thank you to the supporters of the Better Bristol event: UWE Bristol, Resonance, Bristol Beer Factory, Mallets Cider, Budvar, Jongor, Workbrands, Shambala Festival, Julian Trust and Milestones Trust.