As the Bristol City Centre Business Improvement District (BID) approaches its second birthday, it will outline key achievements in making the city centre an even better place to live, work and play at its annual meeting this week (Wednesday 9 October 2019).
Among its proudest achievements this year it will highlight work to reduce rough sleeping and homelessness achieving an average saving of 40% for businesses taking part in the City Centre BID’s collaborative waste contract through Veolia, along with significantly increased recycling rates and the introduction of 35 new street planters into the city centre. In addition, the BID has funded and commissioned more than 7,500 hours of additional street cleaning and attracted more than 10,000 visitors to events in the city centre.
Bristol City Centre BID represents 760 businesses and organisations to make the city centre safer, cleaner, more attractive and welcoming. Successful initiatives include the first ever deep clean of the centre to remove graffiti and chewing gum, followed by additional regular cleaning plus the installation of new on street planters growing free, fresh produce for businesses and passers-by.
Improving and promoting night-time safety is another major priority. Two safeguarding marshalls now work through the night on weekends and holidays to help and support people who may be vulnerable or in need of assistance after a night out in the city centre. Alongside Bristol street pastors, who are also supported by the BID, they offer a friendly face and can report issues and incidents to get them quickly resolved.
In June the Bristol City Centre BID became one of the first cities in the UK to install more than 35 street planters growing free fruit, vegetables and herbs in partnership with Incredible Edible Bristol. The BID is also reviewing further options to improve air quality and urban greening.
Attracting more visitors to the city centre is a key objective and this year saw the second Old City Street Party which brought music, food and children’s activities to Corn Street and the surrounding area in a joyful celebration of one of the oldest and most atmospheric quarters of Bristol. Visitors also enjoyed the new-look Christmas lights complete with special-effect snowfall and an interactive light installation on College Green. New for 2020, in February the City Centre BID will host the city’s first ever Bristol Light Festival bringing an innovative display of colour and light to the streets at a traditionally quiet and dark time of year.
Like many cities in the UK, homelessness and rough sleeping has been identified as a growing issue in need of investment and solutions by City Centre business and levy payers.
In partnership with homelessness charity Caring in Bristol, the City Centre BID has launched ‘TAP for Bristol’ – the UK’s first-ever contactless donation system to raise money for homelessness prevention services as well as directly supporting people who are currently homeless.
Speaking ahead of the annual meeting, which is being held at VWV Solicitors, Narrow Quay House, Narrow Quay, Bristol on 9 October 2019, Keith Rundle, operations director at Bristol City Centre BID said:
“Our second year has seen us build great momentum to deliver key projects making a real impact on behalf of the city’s businesses and organisations.
“Bristol is a fantastic city – much loved by those who live, work and visit here, and increasingly much admired by people and cities around the country and indeed the world.
“And there is much more we can do, both to build on and celebrate that success, but also to address some of the very real challenges. I am hugely proud of the new TAP for Bristol contactless donation scheme raising money for homelessness prevention and support. We are delighted to have doubled business recycling rates and found such significant savings for our members with the collaborative waste contracts. And as part of our work to welcome more people to the city centre, I’m really excited about the new Bristol Light Festival launching in February next year, curated by and featuring the work of local internationally recognised artists.
“After just two years in existence, we hope this is just the beginning, as we have a great deal more ideas and energy to improve safety, promote success and improve the look and feel of Bristol city centre.”
Bristol BID is funded by city centre businesses and is one of five BIDs in Bristol and one of 300 across the country. Nationally BIDs generate over £750m which is invested in delivering local initiatives and improvements above those mandated by local authorities.