Monday, 30 June 2014

Support Independents Day on 4th July

Council press release, copied verbatim
30 June 2014
For immediate release

Bristol celebrates Independents Day - July 4


The Bristol Independents Campaign is urging Bristol's shoppers to "shop independently" on July 4th - Bristol Independents Day.

Twenty thousand Bristol Independents Day cards are being distributed around the city, encouraging shoppers to shop independently on July 4th and to discover a range of special offers and surprises in Bristol's independent businesses.

In some shops, these cards can be shown at the till in order to claim an Independents Day discount or special offer.

In other shops you'll need a certain codeword, or to be paying in Bristol Pounds in order to make your claim - details of all of these offers are on the website at

Elsewhere in the the city, you can find special events, or Bristol-themed delights on the menu for one day only. These offers and events are updated regularly so please keep an eye on the website for the latest information.

How can Bristol shoppers can celebrate Independents Day?

Grabbing a sandwich for lunch or popping out for a coffee? Why not give the chains a miss for a change, and check out an independent sandwich bar, café or takeout.

While you’re there, why not try some local produce? – we all know Cheddar from Cheddar, but what about Somerset Brie, Mendip Halloumi or Bath Blue?

Need to find a birthday present? Why not seek out something more individual from one of Bristol’s many designers, artists and craftspeople?

There are some great quirky stores and pop-up shops around town, where you can buy direct from makers.

Buying something for yourself? Skip the chainstores, and experience the staff expertise of an independent bookstore, record stall or hardware shop. Stand out from the crowd – you’ll find something different in the city’s great independent clothes shops.

Going out for the evening? What about some independent entertainment at an independent cinema, or pub theatre? Why not try a local cider in an independent pub or bar.

Who wants to eat and drink exactly the same things, wherever they go in the country? Celebrate Independents Day by raising a glass of something brewed in Bristol.

Why shop independently?

Bristol's independent retailers keep our high streets alive, diverse, and interesting. They stop Bristol from looking just like everywhere else. They help make Bristol special.

Bristol's independents also help support our local economy. Every pound spent in a local retailer selling local things, puts twice as much money back into the local economy as a pound spent in a national multiple - because local traders tend to use local services supplied by other local traders.

But it is easy to forget the great contribution which Independents make to Bristol - they're always there - till the next big supermarket comes along. 4th July is a reminder to us all to support Bristol's great Independents, and to explore a bit further around the city to discover some other hidden gems.

Bristol's high streets and local shopping areas have changed a lot over the past few years - if you haven't visited them lately, you're likely to be surprised by just how well some of them are flourishing.

Who's involved?

Bristol Independents Day is a joint campaign, involving the Bristol Pound, Bristol City Council, Your Street Gift Cards, City of Bristol College, The Federation of Small Businesses, alongside Bristol Independents.

On the day, some of the participating organisations will be staffing a stall opposite the Hippodrome, where people can come along to find out more about business support for start-ups and existing businesses. (10am-3pm Friday, July 4)

Councillor Gus Hoyt, Assistant Mayor with responsibility for Neighbourhoods, said: “Bristol has an excellent range of independent traders, offering something to everyone, from those who just want something tasty to eat or drink to the casual and serious shopper.

“Independent businesses are the back-bone of the city’s unique rich and diverse character that has seen us named as the best city to live in the UK. Let’s all help to keep it this way and on Independents Day, show our support.”



Save Show of Strength from funding cuts

Arts funding – Show of Strength

As ward councillor for Southville, I urge the mayor to reconsider the proposal to cut the funding for ‘Show of Strength’.

I have lived in Southville for 24 years and in that time seen various incarnations of ‘Show of Strength’ at the Tobacco Factory, Hen and Chicken and elsewhere. In particular, more recently, I have seen ‘Show of Strength’ put on plays in the local shopping street. This is a win-win, in that it benefits the local economy thrice – traders benefit, the theatre company benefits, the community benefits. I have also seen plays which have a historical aspect, thereby bringing local history to the attention of the local community. I have further seen plays which are based on contributions from local residents – giving their memories of local traders.

‘Show of Strength’ preceded the Tobacco Factory by a number of years, contributing to the regeneration of the local area, and have continued to make a fantastic contribution in these innovative, accessible and collaborative ways.

Green Party colleagues advise me that the proposed cuts have not been scrutinised. I urge the council delay its decision until scrutiny has taken place, but, more to the point, to support this fantastic local enterprise.

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Time to abolish myself

The Green Party, now we are 6, has been offered places on a number of external bodies.

So I got on the Bristol Buildings Preservation Trust, and attended my first meeting this morning. (I found out about it last night, but that's another story).

Anyway, the lead item was the Lower Lodge in Bower Ashton, and discussions of plans (and bids for funding) to save it.

But the last item of business was to vote to change the make up of the board. It is currently 10 politico's and 5 experts.  The proposal was to make it the other way round.

Unanimously agreed.

I find myself somewhat amused to finally get on one of these positions to immediately abolish myself......

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Lets 'Make Sunday Special' in places other than the city centre

I am in the process of submitting a statement to - well, I think it is 'members forum' to - support a request from the Bedminster Town Team and GBCP for 'Make Sundays Special' to travel around the city.

Statement re ‘Make Sundays Special’

I attended a meeting of the Bedminster Town Team board a few weeks ago.

At that meeting, a trader pointed out that he closed up on the one Sunday a month when ‘Make Sunday Special’ was on in town, because he did not get enough trade to justify remaining open.

At the Town Team meeting, he made a suggestion that a request be made to move ‘Make Sunday Special’ around the city, with a view to holding  events in Bedminster.

Subsequently, the Greater Bedminster Community Partnership adopted a motion supporting the proposal.

We welcome the recent celebratory Sunday events in Bristol City Centre, but are concerned that they may be damaging trading activity in the Bedminster high streets by drawing large numbers of people away from BS3.    Several traders have reported a decline coinciding with city-centre events.   We therefore think that the celebrations should be more evenly spread across the city, with several events per year being held in out-of-centre areas such as Bedminster.

As one of the ward councillors, I would also like to place on record my support for such an idea, to ask officers to investigate it, and to let us know the outcome.

Charlie Bolton
Southville ward