Mayors Blog: April 2017

March 24 2017

Mayors Blog: April 2017

Sport will show way

We’re now in April and spring is truly upon us.  We have agreed our budget for the next year and are looking to the future to see how we can put our ideas for making the city a fairer place into action in what are difficult circumstances. 

The Bristol Impact Fund is a significant part of that work. Last month my Cabinet approved £3.29m worth of grants for charities and organisations around the city that do essential work to help support our communities and some of the city’s most vulnerable people, including grants for 23 groups who have not benefitted from any council funding previously.

 These grants have been spread across the city with a focus on 49 different life-improving projects targeting support where it is most needed. I am confident that the successful organisations will deliver the best outcomes for Bristol, but am also conscious that unfortunately it is a limited pot and not everyone who applied could receive funding. In these cases we are arranging to meet with these organisations to talk about their applications and try to hook them up with other potential funders. To see a list of which projects received funding, visit news.bristol.gov.uk

Another way we will be working with communities throughout 2017 is through our year as a European City of Sport.  We want to use this award as a platform to help bring more world class sport to Bristol and encourage more home grown talent.  To do this we need to make sure that the city as a whole city feels enabled to get involved in sport and to get more active.

 Not only is sport and being active a great way of improving our physical health but it can also improve our general mental wellbeing.  By encouraging and inspiring more people to take part we will be helping to improve the health of our city and reduce the demand on health and care services. 

On Sunday 2 April, we are holding a family fun morning with our sports partners from around the city at Eastville Park.  Everyone’s welcome to come and try a range of sports including basketball, football, rugby and tennis for free. There will also be some cricketing and we’ll be bringing along the ICC’s Women’s World Cup trophy, promoting the upcoming tournament fixtures hosted by Bristol in the summer. 

The fact that Bristol is a host for one of the biggest events in the international cricketing calendar just goes to show Bristol’s potential to draw in world class sport.  I am working with organisations around the city to see how we can make the most of Bristol’s potential.  I have already held two conferences with members of our local sporting community to discuss this and look forward to seeing how these ideas develop as the year progresses.

 Elsewhere in the region, big changes are underway.  On Thursday 4 May you will have your opportunity to vote for who you think should be elected as the Mayor of the West of England Combined Authority. The Combined Authority will have new powers and direct control of funding previously controlled by Westminster. Our deal is worth over £1bn over 30 years, meaning you’ve got a billion reasons to get out and vote. If you’re not registered to vote in elections you’ll need to do so by midnight on Thursday 13 April. Just visit www.gov.uk register-to-vote.

 Whoever you choose as Mayor of the West of England will work alongside me, Cllr Tim Warren (Leader of Bath & North East Somerset Council) and Cllr Matthew Riddle (Leader of South Gloucestershire Council) as members of the Combined Authority, working alongside our business community and other partners as we manage new powers over regional transport, housing, adult education and skills. For more information, head to the West of England website at www.westofengland-ca.org.uk.