March 2017: Mayors Column

February 24 2017

By the time this comes through your door, Bristol may well have confirmed a new budget for the coming year.

Sport for all is a winning idea

 By the time this comes through your door, Bristol may well have confirmed a new budget for the coming year. 

We have had to make some really tough decisions over the past few months to get to this point, setting a corrective budget to help us get a grip on our huge financial challenges. There will be an impact on many services and you can still be part of helping us decide how we implement some savings plans, rather than if we should make the saving. To be part of it, visit our Consultation Hub at bristol.citizenspace.com over the coming weeks and months.

Our future isn’t just about our financial challenges though. We’re still working hard to build a better Bristol which has aspiration and equality at its heart. One of the commitments I’ve made is to make Bristol a place where sport can be accessible to all.

With spring just around the corner, now is a perfect time to start thinking about getting active. Bristol is a formally recognised European City of Sport for 2017, and throughout it we will be celebrating the role that sport and active recreation can play in our lives. I hope that it will encourage more people to get involved.

Across the city we have one of the highest participation rates in sports and active recreation of any of the major cities in the country, but this is not the case for all of our local communities.  There are still large areas of the city where we find people are less active and less likely to join in with sport.  

We need to address this. 

Not only is sport and being active a great way of improving our physical health but it has also been proven to improve our general mental wellbeing.  It can improve our mood and outlook on life, developing the aspirations of our children and helping us to focus during the day. It doesn’t have to cost a penny, with our many parks and green spaces within reach of most people’s doorsteps. 

There are many opportunities to get involved, including trying out a new sport with one of Bristol’s many and varied sporting clubs.  We are lucky to have a wealth of smaller community run clubs which are often open to anyone who wants to take part.

To help you on your way, we’ve pulled together a list of sport and activity clubs from every ward in the city.  Between them they cater to a wide range of different ages and abilities.  You can access all of these on our European City of Sport pages at www.bristol.gov.uk/cityofsport2017. You can like and follow the Bristol – European City of Sport 2017 Facebook page too.

Bristol is a passionate and energetic city and this year we’ve got a great excuse to channel that in to sport and recreation. 

Not only can it make you personally happier and healthier, but in tackling obesity, preventing chronic health conditions and improving mental health it can also help reduce demand for health and council care services, something which is absolutely vital given our long term financial challenges.