Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees yesterday delivered his annual State of the City Address at the Wills Memorial Building. Facing myriad difficulties, a vibrant and coordinated VCSE sector is vital to Bristol's sustainable and equitable future.
That the cost of living crisis dominated the opening remarks was to nobody's surprise. Welcoming Spaces, an initiative which provides warmth and support to those most in need, serves well to demonstrate the critical utility of local authority tapping into the existing infrastructure and expertise of community organisations. These spaces require volunteers; if you have the capacity to lend your time to this most urgent cause, please visit the Can Do Bristol website here.
Mr. Rees identified housing as a key intervention in diminishing the troubling reality that growing up in an area of multi-deprivation remains a strong predictor of life expectancy and health outcomes. The necessity of building at density and height, to contend with the daunting prospect of housing within a 42 square mile city a population expected to increase to 550,000 by 2050, was stressed by the Mayor.
Pending environmental disaster, soaring energy bills and a growing population reflect but a few of the obstacles we face. The nuanced interaction of these problems with each other makes their solution more complex. 70,000 Bristolians live within the 10% most deprived areas of England, but Mr. Rees emphasised that any attempt to tackle this must fall within the limits imposed by the climate emergency. From sustainability charities to housing associations, the strategic innovation of third sector organisations is pivotal in overcoming these barriers.
“It was clear in the Mayor’s annual address, that the city faces significant difficulties within the international, national and regional context. The centrality of VCSE organisations in addressing the coming challenges is clear. Our sector's insight, creativity and resilience demands our equitable involvement at all levels of planning, strategy and working with partners. As we approach the transition from the Mayoralty to Committee structure at Bristol City Council, Voscur looks forward to working closely with city partners and the wider VCSE sector to confront the many challenges ahead, whilst continuing to recognise and support Bristol’s diverse VCSE sector."
Mark Hubbard, Development Director
Voscur is liaising with Bristol City Council about the change from the Mayoralty to a Committee Structure, and will update the wider VCSE sector shortly.