Bristol Women’s Voice launches City Listening Project

City Listening Project launch by Bristol Women's Voice
15 August, 2019


Bristol Women’s Voice (BWV) has been chosen to lead a transformative project with UK government funding from the Equalities Office, giving a voice to 400 women currently out of work in Bristol.

A launch event at City Hall was led by Debra Newrick, City Listening Project Manager, with insight from Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol; Councillor Asher Craig, Deputy Mayor; and Penny Gane, Chair of BWV and the Women’s Commission. Attendees included Bristol Black Carers and Voscur.

BWV wants to find out the views of 400 of the most disenfranchised women in Bristol who are currently unable to work for a number of reasons: maybe due to the cost of childcare, having non-transferable qualifications, language barriers or a lack of self-confidence after a period out of work.

“Many women have amazing career backgrounds but the faintest voices,” said Councillor Asher Craig.

The City Listening Project will get women to engage and open up in focus groups, exploring the barriers they face and sharing their perspective. A steering group of key stakeholders, including local universities, Bristol City Council and BWV, informed the approach.

A successful pilot project from BWV, called the Women of Lawrence Hill, suggests the City Listening Project will work. Explaining the pilot, Debra Newrick said:

“The Women of Lawrence Hill involved interviewing 100 women on their barriers into work. Childcare was a huge thing – it is either overpriced or just not there. Somali women in Lawrence Hill had amazing qualifications but needed self-confidence and mentoring.

“We worked in a consortium to develop a Somali women’s community hub, enabled six women to do research, and one woman to accelerate her filmmaking business.”

Speaking at the launch event, Ros Ball, the Head of the Listening Platform Team at the government’s Equalities Office, said:

“This funding lets women facing multiple barriers tell us what the solutions might be. Bristol will work with excellent local organisations to focus on empowerment; women themselves will share the results of the project, and we can all learn from them.”

If your VCSE organisation would like to be involved in running one of the focus groups, or you’d like to find out more, please email or