10 ideas for change: Bristol

A ‘bear’ in Bristol’s Bearpit community action zone

6. Bearpit Community Action Zone: From eyesore to community space

Bristol’s first community action zone is located in the pedestrian access area of a 1970s city centre roundabout. A community interest company, the Bearpit Improvement Group, has worked with locals to turn the unloved space into a public area for events and food. A Bristol double decker bus was craned into the space last year and is now a burritos café called Bearritos. A people’s garden has been created and market stalls and art workshops have taken place.

7. Make Sunday Special: Creating space for fun and community

Introduced by the mayor George Ferguson, Make Sunday Special is a programme of events across the city on Sundays during the summer months. Streets are cordoned off to traffic to allow events from street parties to BMX-biking and dancing to take place. Last year one of the city’s streets was taken over by a water slide for the day.


8. Hartcliffe and Withywood Ventures: Tackling long-term unemployment in deprived areas

Set up in the 1980s to tackle unemployment in some of the most deprived wards of Bristol, HWV now owns and manages the Gatehouse Centre, from which it runs a training and skills programme. Over the years it has worked closely with employers coming into the local area including with Morrisons in Hartcliffe to help ensure that newly created jobs were made available to local people.


9. Real Economy: Creating neighbourhood food buying groups across the city

A Bristol Pound initiative, the Real Economy is bringing people together in their neighbourhoods to buy their food directly from local producers. Groups are now active in a number of areas including Avonmouth and Bedminster and the initiative is also hoping to stimulate the creation of new local enterprises to build the market.


hanhamhall110. Hanham Hall: England’s first large-scale zero carbon development: With a total of 187 new homes on a former hospital site on the outskirts of Bristol, Hanham Hall has been called the UK’s first eco-village. The homes are super-insulated and were built using energy efficient materials and the development includes wildlife meadows, allotments and a community centre.





Clare Goff is Editor at New Start magazine

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