Kicking off in the rain on Bristol Giving Day 2019
The power and positivity of Bristol Giving Day’s ‘Kick-Off’ event succeeded in clearing the heavens on a very damp 9 October (even encouraging an appearance from the sun, later in the day). Musicians from Access Creative College’s accompanied the launch event beautifully as the group of VIPs, business people and charities gathered to take part in a ‘taster’ mini-walk involving four of the 45 charities and their matched bridges on the Temple District Route. Local author, Jeff Lucas wowed the crowed with his wealth of historical knowledge and four amazing local causes inspired us all.
We started the walk at the stunningly modern Castle Bridge, just metres upstream from that most historical of bridges, Bristol Bridge. Emma Murray of Bristol North West Foodbank spoke about the numbers of people they’ve succeeded in helping over their 8 year history…the answer is an astounding 32,250 people. You might think that supporting so many would involve the most basic of food. In reality they also provide gluten free food for those who can’t survive without it. Food for thought!
Moving on we encountered Castle Ditch Bridge. As Jeff says, it’s the “last visible “echo” of the castle moat”. Fortunately this poor reflection of a proud history was countered very successfully by local cause, Full Circle and their stirring presentation about their work with young people in St Paul’s. They are so accessible to the local community that they recently stepped in after a misunderstanding with police resulted in a young person being arrested. Full Circle sorted legal representation, and successfully mentored and encouraged the young person to attend their youth club and engage in positive, life-changing activities.
St Philip’s Bridge was next on our itinerary. Opened in 1841 by the Lord Mayor, it was again graced by the presence of a Lord Mayor, but over 100 years later. As happened during the opening celebration, VIP’s also took part in a procession of sorts, as our tour participants included The Lord Lieutenant, the High Sheriff and the Metro Mayor. Self Injury Support was the cause highlighted here. Their pioneering work with women and girls affected by self harm and trauma includes having supported the development of the distrACT app. This app has won the British Medical Association ‘Patient Information Award’ in the wellbeing category.
The last stop on our journey of discovery took us back to the beginnings of Bristol, Bristol Bridge. Here we heard from local charity, All Aboard Watersports. They aim to make ‘watery domains’ accessible to all, essential in a port city. Watersports are often considered ‘luxurious’ by some, but this is what one participant had to say: “All Aboard has been an amazing experience and as well as helping me build confidence and recover, it has also encouraged me to get out and be social and take part in new things.”