We have a city here in Bristol that for centuries has been successful in creating wealth and success in all its forms and through trade, commerce, innovation and lots and lots of enterprise. The city was famously mentioned, of course, in “Treasure Island” and it’s a place that has amassed treasure and wealth since Roman times.
In lots of places around our city you see the evidence of this history giving a sense of the past but actually in a city (despite all the challenges out there) heading for a green and prosperous future. It is true that not all our past is glorious but I believe the present is vibrant and entrepreneurial with so much talent and world-leading businesses based here, enjoying the opportunities and quality of life & work that Bristol provides. But the opportunities are not equally available to everyone.
There are areas of affluence and areas of deprivation, pockets of poverty where people struggle and I know from my work in the Chamber & Initiative working with all sorts of businesses and business people every day that they – you – are aware of how you can play your part in supporting people who are less fortunate.
Quartet calculate that businesses across Bristol, Bath and the West of England give around £28 million to charity each year – which is great. But most of this money goes to larger, brand-name charities, and only a small amount of this precious treasure filters down to good causes and people here.
Our local charities, community and voluntary groups are hugely important to making our City a better place for everyone here. These groups need support to enable them to keep helping others; businesses want to help but often find it very difficult to locate the local causes to give to. Through Bristol Giving Day we can bridge this gap.
And it’s for reasons of enlightened self-interest that you should do this. We all know that when our employees are happy and productive the whole businesses benefits – not just in profits but through the community support, employee empowerment, satisfaction, fun and energy that comes from giving.
We know that staff who feel fulfilled by their work are more engaged and more loyal to the business so again, Bristol Giving Day will help our businesses connect our people with the places they care about.
It is great that Mayor Marvin Rees, Quartet Community Foundation's Sue Turner and Bristol and Bath Regional Capital are creating the Bristol City Funds so we can help tackle some of the City’s most difficult issues. Supporting local causes allows supporters to see and experience the impact of their giving first hand. It’s a win-win for everyone.
All of which is why we Bristol Chamber of Commerce & Initiative are backing Bristol Giving Day – as you’ll hear, it’s a very easy way for your business to support small, local good causes and have fun too. Every pound donated is truly appreciated and goes a long way to giving more people a fair chance of a good life.
So what will you do on Bristol Giving Day? I’m looking for ideas otherwise my team tell me I’ll likely end up in the bath of beans!