One City Gathering; How do we build a more inclusive and sustainable Bristol?

Amy Drummond
Senior Communications Manager | Business West
29th November 2023

Last Friday, more than 300 people gathered to discuss Bristol’s One City Plan. The original plan was written in 2019 and is regularly reviewed. It describes the Bristol we want to be by 2050 and how we can get there. It is closely aligned to the UN’s sustainable development goals. This event was a chance to review how we are doing against those goals. 

Our host, Poku Osei, who is the founder of Babbasa, a Bristol-based social enterprise, and is also our Non Exec Director, asked us all to consider how we, as individuals and collectively, can help build a better, more inclusive and sustainable Bristol.

The Mayor, Marvin Rees, explained how government and business need to work together to reach the One City goals. For example, health outcomes are not just dependent on NHS services, they are also dependent on what people experience at work and in education. 

“Bristol is a collective act” he said. 

A Just Transition was a core focus of the event; discussing the existential threat of climate change, and how interventions, such as clean air zones, disproportionately affect the poor. Bristol’s Just Transition Declaration contains 10 principles that everyone working on climate change and nature loss in the city can use to make their plans as fair as possible. 

Victoria Matthews, our Bristol Director, explained how businesses need to be part of the community and how Business West must continue to lead by example. She discussed the OurCity2030 initiative that aims to support young people from low-income households, starting from inner city Bristol, to secure a median salary role by 2030. This is a social mobility initiative that Business West is proud to support. 

Victoria said that skills, recruitment, and retention is vital to Bristol’s success in achieving its goals. She talked about the popularity of Bristol; more than 80 Londoners move to Bristol each week and how the city has one of the highest retention of graduates. Professor Palie Smart said University Students don’t just come to Bristol to study but to engage with the city and everything it has to offer. Clearly, Bristol has a lot going for it, but it needs to tackle the inequalities and other challenges to really deliver on the One City Plan.  

Tom Stratton from RSA explained how investment into Bristol needs to be high, but the rewards could be huge. 

It was abundantly clear how interdependent the different elements of the One City plan are; health, economy, transport, housing, skills, all impact each other. For example, providing greater skills and training opportunities will help lift people out of poverty, enabling them to afford better housing and health outcomes. A mass transit system would help people get to work more easily, drive trade and help to lower emissions. 

The mayor is right, Bristol really is a collective act.

You can sign up to the OurCity2030 initiative here


Image credit: Andy Council  A depiction of a Just Transition in Bristol 2030

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