This award is to celebrate an organisation or group, that by its actions has improved the health and well-being of [a group of] people in the city. This could be through any one of a range of activities such as arts, play, sports, or advice.

Voting has now closed. The winner will be announced at the Voscurs Awards Ceremony on Thursday 30 November 2017. Click here for more information and to book your place.

Windmill Hill City Farm | Bristol Pound Members | One25 | Friends of Kingsway Youth | The Marmalade Trust | Healthy Alternatives - social prescribing for North Bristol | The WECIL Peer Support Community | Dhek Bhal | Brigstowe's Positive Voices | Lazyboys Basketball CIC | The Lockleaze Litter Pickers

Windmill Hill City Farm

Why should this group/organisation win the award?
Engaging with nature is great for wellbeing. In an urban environment, city farms provide a fantastic space for people to engage with nature, get their hands into the earth and to experience the joy of growing plants and nurturing animals. Windmill Hill City Farm has a long and successful record of helping people with mental health issues, learning difficulties or recovering from addictions with hundreds of clients a year benefiting from the range of activities offered. Alongside the health and social care programmes, the farm provides a green oasis where volunteers and visitors alike benefit from active engagement with nature. This award would recognise the beneficial work of the staff teams at the farm who provide care for people in distress; create an environment in which all people can improve their wellbeing through contact with nature; and provide a place where animals, plants and most importantly people grow.

Tell us about the work that it has done to improve the health and wellbeing of either a group of people in the city or for the people of Bristol as a whole
People come to the farm through many routes to find a place that can help to rebuild lives; promote recovery and independence; and enrich people’s lives. Health and social care clients are all interviewed before they join the farm to find out their areas of interest, existing skill set and their ambitions. A programme of activity is developed with them to meet their needs and interests.
Working in the farm, gardens and other areas of the organisation gives people new knowledge and skill that builds their confidence; it gives opportunities for friendships to develop; and the active connection with nature improves wellbeing. Professional staff guide and monitor people’s progress and lead volunteers support – often sharing lived experience with newer clients. The wide programme of activity at the farm provides an open and inclusive space for people to grow and to develop a route to greater happiness.

Give details of how the work that was carried out has made a difference to the health and wellbeing of people in the city
Many clients at the farm have transformed their lives through their interaction here. Some move on into jobs, study or other volunteering roles; some remain to continue their engagement on a long-term basis. We supported 134 people with specific needs last year logging over 6000 hours of service provision.
The stories of how individuals develop are heart-warming. Eg, R has been in mental health services for 10 years since his first drug induced psychosis age 18. His mental health is now managed but he lacked motivation and structure to his week. By volunteering in the café (he found a particular skill in baking) he developed his confidence with customers and is now looking for work.
J was a recovering alcoholic. She took a role supporting the older people’s group and found caring for others really motivated her. She went on to train as a nurse and has a successful career.

Bristol Pound Members

Why should this group/organisation win the award?
I am nominating every member of the Bristol Pound - both individual members and business members. The Bristol Pound is a means for anyone to volunteer as a financial activist. Members have taken time out their lives to set up an account and go to the trouble of using an entirely separate currency every day. They do this for several reasons: to support local independent businesses; to reduce fossil fuel emissions (since local businesses have much shorter supply chains); to keep money in the real economy in Bristol and out of tax havens and the financial markets; to work towards reducing inequality by keeping money away from corporates and by using Bristol Pound’s partner organisation Bristol Credit Union who offer access to finance to those not catered for by mainstream banking. Bristol Pound members volunteer every day to improve the health and happiness of the whole of Bristol.

Each Bristol Pound member has had to open a separate account with the Bristol Credit Union. Several have set up with their employer to receive their wages in Bristol Pounds. Businesses have had to adjust their accounting to allow for this second currency. Members go out of their way to find ‘Cash Point’ businesses rather than use Sterling ATMs. Then they use the Bristol Pound directory, app and maps to find Bristol Pound business members, walking past chain stores to find Bristol independents. It’s a big behaviour change to use Bristol Pounds and members have done it all voluntarily. There is no incentive, but the health and happiness of Bristol and the world.

Using Bristol Pounds increases the health and wellbeing of Bristol in several ways: local independents tend to offer healthier food from more local suppliers, reducing emissions and increasing air quality. Money spent in independents goes towards family and friends in Bristol, rather than a CEOs second home. Members report an increased sense of place as their culture is represented on the money in their pockets. Interactions are happier since both parties share a sense of being in the Bristol Pound community.


Why should this group/organisation win the award?
One25 is the specialist Bristol charity for women facing street sex-work. They are some of the most vulnerable people in Bristol: almost all were abused as children, 99% are addicted to drugs or alcohol, 80% are homeless and all suffer chronic health problems.

Over 22 years, One25 has helped hundreds of women break free from violence, poverty and addiction and build new lives away from the streets. We partner with over 100 specialist organisations to provide a one-stop-shop tailored for their needs.

The Voscurs could make a powerful statement about the values Bristol holds by choosing One25. We work with deeply vulnerable and hidden people, for whom violence, poverty and prejudice are daily struggles. In times of rising homelessness, and recognition of the effect on society of violence against women and trauma from childhood abuse, One25 work to redress the balance and end street sex work for good.

One25’s life-saving nightly outreach van drives around the red light areas bringing food, condoms, warm clothes, and a safe space. Our afternoon drop-in offers home-cooked meals, showers, benefit advice and GP without an appointment. As women come to trust us, six specialist caseworkers work with them to access services they find impossible to navigate, including support into rehab, find a safe home or escape an abusive partner.

One25 is the main stakeholder for this hard-to-reach group, and its multi-agency approach is widely evidenced as the most effective way to tackle complex needs. Probation, midwifery, complex-needs housing or scripting; caseworkers build effective agency relationships and provide training (e.g. police, prison and housing staff) so each woman can get the right help at the right time. We are also currently running the Pause Bristol pilot, supporting 20 women to break the devastating cycle of having children removed from their care.

Each woman’s journey to safety and recovery from abuse and addiction is unique and can only happen at her pace. One25 works holistically to get each woman whatever help she needs, whenever she’s ready, without time limits.

When One25 first meets women on the street, they have rock-bottom self-esteem and believe change isn’t possible for them. Last year, we worked with 227 women, 127 of whom were working the streets. We helped a third gain control of their lives and addictions enough to stop street sex work for six months or more, and 39 were prevented from starting in the first place. 72 were supported after an attack, and 63 to maintain their recovery journey to become mothers, volunteers, chefs, social workers and more. One25 works with women for as long as they need to support their recovery.

Friends of Kingsway Youth

Why should this group/organisation win the award?
Friends of Kingsway youth support people from different backgrounds, age, abilities in all areas of Bristol. They have created a lovely allotment with volunteers, and members, teaching the community about the different types of fruit and vegetables plus learning to cook with fresh food. The members have learnt the stages of how to develop their own gardens and to show care for all living things.

Tell us about the work that it has done to improve the health and wellbeing of either a group of people in the city or for the people of Bristol as a whole
Friends of Kingsway Youth have worked with the community to grow their own fruit, veg and flowers. The members have learnt how to harvest and cook new recipes with their own fresh vegetables. The group works with vulnerable adults who enjoy learning new skills and meeting new friends, which has boost their confidence and self-esteem. The friends of Kingsway youth now is in the progress of development an art group to including batik for beginnings, and sewing.

Give details of how the work that was carried out has made a difference to the health and wellbeing of people in the city
The community has learnt how to grow fresh fruit and vegetables, and watch the stages of growth. They have learnt to make cheaper meals with fresh vegetables and fruit. Enjoy making friends and taking pride in a project of their choice. Also the group had just attended a ceremony and won a reward for Bristol in the bloom gardens level 3.

The Marmalade Trust

Why should this group/organisation win the award?

The Marmalade Trust is a Bristol based charity set up to raise awareness of why loneliness matters, and to take direct action to help connect those in greatest need in our city.
We all know what it is to be isolated at times, whether through bereavement, illness, the effects of aging, or simply through circumstance such a moving to a new job in a big city. We know how easy it can be to slip through the cracks and how hard it is to 'admit' (why that word?) that there are times when we feel lost, and a smile or a chat from a fellow Bristolian makes such a great difference to our day. Marmalade asks us to think how we can help bring others back into the swing of our great city, and especially to find and help those most cut off from simple basic human interaction, Bristol’s own Eleanor Rigby’s.

Tell us about the work that it has done to improve the health and wellbeing of either a group of people in the city or for the people of Bristol as a whole

- charity set up from scratch to expand and increase the reach of this work, in reponse to a flood of referrals and massive demand from GPS and other health professionals hearing about its work
- team of volunteers organised to fundraise, to pick up and drop off otherwise housebound Bristolians at social events
- inaugurated UK's first Loneliness Awareness Week launched at Bristol Fire Station this June, together with a short film commissioned to highlight the problem of loneliness
- raising awareness of the huge costs, physical and financial, of not addressing social isolation

Give details of how the work that was carried out has made a difference to the health and wellbeing of people in the city

- 60 of our most isolated and vulnerable Bristolians taken to one of three venues around Bristol for Christmas lunch on a day they would otherwise have seen no-one and then following up with other links and support; those alone on that day from whatever religious or other background tend to be acutely lonely the rest of the year
- a whole host of volunteers enjoying the very real pleasure of bringing enormous joy for very little personal investment; remembering to give a smile, stop for a chat, give a small donation or give up some time to bring otherwise housebound people to share tea, or a meal together
- schoolchildren learning it is ok to say when we are lonely, and ok to notice, and help those who seem lonely, even just with a look and a smile; giving them tools for life that will make them more resilient
- raising awareness for us all, especially business people, health professionals, planners about the massive financial impact of loneliness [better connected people take fewer meds, see their GP less often, have shorter hospital stays].

Healthy Alternatives - social prescribing for North Bristol

Why should this group/organisation win the award?
Healthy Alternatives has gone from strength to strength over the past 2 years. Southmead’s community plan identified that residents would value a social prescribing model being made available to enable and equip them to access groups, activities and support locally. Southmead Development Trust developed a holistic social prescribing model for Southmead (subsequently expanding to cover a wider area of North Bristol), enabling link workers to get to know those referred on a 1:1 basis. The service has the local community at its heart and staff with the vision of reducing the health and wealth inequalities of residents of North Bristol, whilst seeing local people as assets who are able to take control of their own health and wellbeing. It is wrong that where we are born too often determines where we end up in life, and Healthy Alternatives is determined to challenge this alongside those most negatively affected.

Tell us about the work that it has done to improve the health and wellbeing of either a group of people in the city or for the people of Bristol as a whole

Link workers meet clients 1:1 who have been referred by their GP due to a wide variety of reasons. These could be due to needing help with welfare benefits forms, an inactive lifestyle, struggling with depression and anxiety or recent bereavement to name but a few. Along with assisting in practical ways (e.g. with form filling), link workers support clients with emotional barriers that they may have to being able to access groups, activities and support to enhance their health and wellbeing. The asset of Greenway Gym further enables the service to support residents as the service is able to support them to access a 12-week supported exercise programme, along with specialised classes. Healthy Alternatives is also responsible for identifying gaps in local service provision and supporting the community fill these gaps where there is need and demand. This could be through mentoring support or support with funding applications etc.

Give details of how the work that was carried out has made a difference to the health and wellbeing of people in the city
The service uses the Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing scale to measure improvements in the health and wellbeing of those accessing the service, and exit and follow-up questionnaires show a marked improvement. GP questionnaires show a reported reduction in GP attendance for those who have accessed Healthy Alternatives – suggesting that patients are feeling more able to take control of their own health and wellbeing and access more appropriate sources of support. In the words of clients of the service:
‘You gave me options.’
‘You’ve drawn me out of my shell.’
‘With these meetings I have achieved more than I have over the last 5 years.’
‘Until now I’ve only had support with my medical condition, but this service has opened my eyes to the possibilities that are out there for me.’
‘I don’t feel alone anymore.’
‘I was feeling I wasn’t good for anything. Now I feel that I can take part.’

The WECIL Peer Support Community

Why should this group/organisation win the award?
The WECIL Peer Support Community is a group open to all disabled people in Bristol and the surrounding areas. They deserve to win the award as they are a great peer led support network who have worked together to dramatically reduce social isolation and promote wellbeing by creating a strong and active community through a series of events and regular activites.
They don’t just find opportunities for people to get out of the house, they give people a reason to go out and get involved. To be able to run a variety of opportunities the Peer Support project has the advantage of focusing on peoples’ interests rather than what they feel able to do. The community encourages inclusivity by creating a space that supports disabled people to get involved in something because they want to.

Tell us about the work that it has done to improve the health and wellbeing of either a group of people in the city or for the people of Bristol as a whole
Community wellbeing has been improved through members having fun, enjoyable experiences, learning new skills, going on regular trips and social events. The committee find out what people will like to do, what will encourage participation and then work together to create the opportunities.
The community has done lots of work organising a variety of activities that can appeal to disabled people from all backgrounds. The community is an Intergenerational group; it’s not age specific and their activities are open to anyone who wants to give it a try.
Events the community have organised include day trips to Weston, a bushcraft day, film and food nights, regular drop ins and regular activity groups as diverse as archery and chemistry!
The community’s work has given space for friendships to form and reduced social isolation & anxiety among a large group of people in the city.
“I always felt anxious going out, but Peer Support gives me something to look forward to and a reason to leave the house”.

Give details of how the work that was carried out has made a difference to the health and wellbeing of people in the city

The work has made a difference as it is ‘friends supporting friends’. It has given space for friendships to form and for people to check up on each other and support each other to do things, both as part of the project and outside of it.
“I haven’t left my house apart from medical appointments – and I’m here today!” K, a Creative Writing Workshop attendee
“I was very nervous but it’s so great to be here with people who understand where I’m coming from.”
A big part of the difference is in understanding - members know that they can dip in and out of the community, people support each other as much as they can and WECIL as an organisation are able to give people the space to let this happen.

Dhek Bhal

Why should this group/organisation win the award?
Dhek Bhal began began as a small organisation catering for the needs of people from South Asia primarily, who require care for a variety of reasons. I have personal experience of this organisation, as they have been the sole carers to both my parents for the past 3 years. Neither of my parents were able to attend the many activities Dhek Bhal organises for its' users, but each carer, without exception, brought fun, joy, care and support well beyond anything that could be included in a job description, when they came to care for them. Right up until my father passed away, these exceptional carers brought light into an increasing darkness as my family and I prepared ourselves for his passing. The support they individually and collectively gave to my family was outstanding.

Tell us about the work that it has done to improve the health and wellbeing of either a group of people in the city or for the people of Bristol as a whole
Aside from the care package each carer has to deliver in accordance with the needs of each of their customers, what makes Dhek Bhal stand out from many other care agencies, is the genuine, sincere commitment and interest the whole organisation gives to its' customers. They go the extra mile at every visit - for example, in the care of my parents, they took an interest in my father's poetic achievements and one of the carers would read Urdu poetry to him every morning to encourage him to respond. In amongst my father's difficult last day's of life, he was still able to respond, and i believe this was because of the carers looking after him so well. They gave such a bespoke service to my parents - it was as though they were our extended family members,

Give details of how the work that was carried out has made a difference to the health and wellbeing of people in the city

I witnessed first hand Dhek Bhal's high standard of care towards the people they care for, in my own home, towards my dear parents. The personality, character, genuiness and total commitment shown whether I was present or not, convinced me that if the same standard is being delivered to all their other customers, then Bristol can glow in the knowledge that there are many loved and well cared for elderly people in the community. Why does Dhek Bhal stand out? Every carer without exception is punctual, reliable, never absent, knows their customers really well, takes an interest in them and goes the extra mile at every opportunity. This is modelled by the vision and standard displayed by the management team who dedicate part of their working week to visit our home as befrienders to each of my parents. My Italian mother, who has vascular dementure, felt as included and taken an interest in, as photos were shared and stories were exchanged, which encouraged her to talk about her life. There could have been many obstacles due to cultural differences, but the carers made my mother feel special and valued and my mother regards them as family.
Dhek Bhal provided support throughout the last stages of my father's life; visited every day until the funeral, which the management team and carers attended and continues to be a support for my family during our grieving.
This isn't solely my experience of Dhek Bhal. I am aware of many other service users who have expressed the same.
Dhek Bhal is a shining light and excellent role model - not just for the South Asian community; not just for Bristol, but for the Care industry as a whole.
We have a great deal to learn from them.

Brigstowe's Positive Voices

Why should this group/organisation win the award?
Brigstowe's Positive Voices program has allowed people living with HIV to share their personal experiences and knowledge around their condition to help and support people struggling to come to terms with their own diagnosis, through a program of peer mentoring, group workshops and public speaking. This has made a huge difference to the lives of people who need to see a positive future for themselves after diagnosis, as well as building confidence and knowledge amongst the peers, and allowing them to engage directly with their own HIV status. As well as this, Peer mentors have gone into prisons, universities and medical environments to teach those who may come contact with people living with HIV, and support them on the best approach through facts and personal stories.

Tell us about the work that it has done to improve the health and wellbeing of either a group of people in the city or for the people of Bristol as a whole
This program has helped over 38 people come to terms with their diagnosis, and go on to realise they can lead happy and fulfilling lives beyond HIV. It has provided an outlet for more than 30 mentors, who are managing their conditional well, to engage and support others. Alongside this, reaching out and providing education and knowledge to make sure other support organisations can understand and appreciate the challenges faced by those living with HIV in Bristol.

Give details of how the work that was carried out has made a difference to the health and wellbeing of people in the city
Peer mentors are trained and receive ongoing support through Brigstowe, who matches them up with mentees who are finding their diagnosis difficult. This means that mentees are more likely to have positive outcomes and manage their treatment, allowing them to lead stable and healthy lives, as well as having the knowledge of their condition to make sure others are safe too. Group training sessions allow newly diagnosed people to attend information and education sessions to provide them with correct and appropriate information in an safe environment with people who have gone through the same ordeal. Outreach to other organisations leads to a better understanding of HIV for those who may have affected clients who need support from them.

Lazyboys Basketball CIC  

Why should this group/organisation win the award?
Since 2012 Lazyboys Basketball CIC has utilised humour as a means to get lazy guys off the couch and onto the court.
We are proud to be a leading innovator in community health. During times where the non-profit and 3rd sector has struggled under the weight of austerity, it is increasingly important to recognise local innovative business models which have created growth, enjoyment, and social value in our great city! Getting this award would help encourage others to adopt our highly successful approach, one which has been recognised at the School of Social Entrepreneurs!

Tell us about the work that it has done to improve the health and wellbeing of either a group of people in the city or for the people of Bristol as a whole

3 in 4 suicides are by men...inactivity costs the wider economy £7bn per year...we find ourselves in the midst of a mental and physical health epidemic amongst men in our communities.
Since 2012 Lazyboys Basketball CIC has utilised humour as a means to get lazy guys off the couch and onto the court.
With our totally unique approach to community sport, we have not only changed the lives of hundreds of members (many of whom have quit smoking, lost weight, and improved their mental health) we have also raised £8k to transform the basketball facilities at The Park in Knowle.
Too often Public Heaalth campaigns are dull, lifeless and ultimately ineffective. We are proud to be a leading innovator in community health.

Give details of how the work that was carried out has made a difference to the health and wellbeing of people in the city
Our achievements are nothing short of remarkable, testament to the collective efforts of staff, coaches, volunteers and members.
Last year we raised £8k to totally transform the basketball facilities at The Park, Knowle, upgrading the equipment for the first time since the 1970s! This has attracted more clubs to use the facilities, helped to promote basketball as part of Bristol's sporting heritage, and resulted in local investment and growth in community sport.
Our bold, fresh, innovative model proves that non-profits can bring enormous social and economic value to our city simultaneously! It also proves how humour can be used to encourage individuals to make meaningful changes in their lives for the better of their health and wellbeing. We believe that health - and regular physical exercise - is central to overall mental wellbeing. We believe it because we witness it on the court 3 times a week. With the recognition of this award we could drive additional benefits to Bristol by combating inactivity in our communities.

The Lockleaze Litter Pickers

Why should this person win this award?
This is a group of young people working from the Vench in Lockleaze. They recognise the issue in the area around litter, rubbish and general mess in the area. But they wanted to do something and campaigned for funding for their own litter pickers and equipment. They took on training and now every month they organise a litter pick of the area. They are young - from the age of 8 but recognise the area and the commitment to keep it clean. They are all keen and now challenge others who drop litter in the area.

Please tell us the impact of this person on their neighbourhood or the city
They have made a huge impact - they are setting the scene for the future by creating a social responsibility on tither area. They say they love Lockleaze and don't want to see it decline. They are ready to challenge and make sure the area is a great place to live.

Please tell us about this person's volunteering activity, campaigning or other activity
It’s a regular activity now and involves the young people getting out with bags, litter pickers and reporting bulky dumped waste.

The winner will be announced at the Voscurs Awards Ceremony on Thursday 30 November 2017. Click here for more information and to book your place.