Bristol gives back: Freedom of Mind Festival, Bristol Giving and Social Saturday

Image Credit: 
Jon Tyson via Unsplash
24 September, 2018


Three big community-focused events are coming up in the next few weeks that you don’t want to miss out on.

Freedom of Mind Festival, from 5-12 October, focuses on mental health and wellbeing with a range of affordable daytime and evening events. Bristol Giving Day, held on Wednesday 10 October, is a brand new event that celebrates the relationship between businesses and community causes. Fast-forward to the weekend and you’ll find Social Saturday (Saturday 13 October), a national campaign to get the public buying from social enterprises nearby. Here’s how you can get involved.

Freedom of Mind – 5-12 October

Bristol has a packed festival calendar, but Freedom of Mind is a little different: it highlights mental health awareness in everyday life, from our relationship with pets to our attitudes to body image, exercise and even homelessness. The festival also overlaps with World Mental Health Day (10 October).

Freedom of Mind is a community interest company and Voscur member which was founded in 2016. Its very first festival attracted 800 people, far surpassing the organisers’ hopes and proving that the people of Bristol want to put their mental wellbeing first. This is particularly important, as Thrive Bristol has reported city residents have a higher than average rate of diagnosed depression (8.8% of Bristolians, versus a national average of 8.3%), and 9,000 local children are likely to experience a mental health problem.

With festival venues including Barton Hill Settlement, Hamilton House, and Watershed, there’s bound to be something happening near you, whatever your age or interests, shattering the stigma of mental health issues in your area. There are also reduced price or even free tickets for those on lower incomes.

Bristol Giving Day – 10 October

This is the perfect opportunity for businesses to show their corporate responsibility, by fundraising for a local cause of their choice. Fundraising activities will take place around the city, such as traditional money-spinners in the office (cake sales, raffles, or a dress down day for staff) and community outreach (companies offering their usual paid services for free, in return for a donation).

The day is being led by Voscur members Quartet Community Foundation, but they are keen for businesses to raise money for any Bristol charity or local group. You can also get insight from Quartet Community Foundation at Voscur’s annual fundraising conference, Fund It, on 7 November.

If you’re part of a VCSE organisation and would like to benefit from Bristol Giving Day, contact Quartet for more information, and encourage nearby businesses to sign up – talk to those who have fundraised for you before, speak to your staff and volunteers about any connections they might have, and don’t be afraid to approach companies you’ve never previously spoken to.

The odds are in your favour – according to research by the Greg Secker Foundation and YouGov in 2017, if it was revealed that a company donated 5% of its profits to charity, 43% of consumers would have a more positive opinion of that company, and 20% would choose this company over its competitors. 25% thought offering pro bono services was a good way to give back, and 19% suggested staff give their time to volunteer.

Social Saturday – 13 October

Across the UK, social enterprises will take centre stage in mid-October as the public is encouraged to buy products and services from them. The initiative was created by Social Enterprise UK in 2014.

Last year’s event was the biggest ever - actor Michael Sheen, an ambassador for SEUK, starred in the promotional video, and 100 events were held nationwide, with Bristol just one of the cities to get involved.

Browse the Buy Social Directory to find a list of social enterprises in Bristol, which includes many Voscur members. Here are just some of the ways you could do your bit on the day:

Don’t forget to join in with these events on Facebook and Twitter and tag Voscur in your posts.

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