Making change happen in Bristol: A NEON report

dreamstime_xs_54516588Moving Forward

‘We need to get smarter – how do we exercise our power? There are loads of us’  – Sarah Pugh, Shift Bristol

We need to work collectively across issues – everyone is becoming insular because of the lack of funding and insecurity… we need to move beyond this. – Sado Jidre, Black South West Network

There was a strong shared sense across interviewees about what might move things forward for work to unlock the local economy in Bristol.

1. Devolution

There seems to be a strong desire to alter the political system to give people more control over the decisions that affect their lives. At a workshop on this theme, community groups, the mayor, academics, and individuals were keen to have conversations around the nature of decision-making at a local level, who should have power and over what.

2. Better collaborative structures

In order to overcome the siloed nature of many activities in the city, some have suggested that fostering a more collaborative working culture across and between projects would lead to greater success on the major challenges the city faces.

3. Breaking socially constructed silences about divisions

A need was felt to have more conversations that break socially constructed silences e.g. around racism, inequality, and economic growth. Many change initiatives do not acknowledge the role of class, race, gender, geography in their own process as well as the proposals they seek to make. Breaking these silences would radically alter the scope and nature of change in the city.

Kat Wall is a local organiser at the New Economy Organisers Network (Neon) in Bristol

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