Which parliamentary candidates will fight for a fairer, stronger and greener local economy for Bristol?

The Bristol Pound asks candidates for Bristol West and South how they will support a strong local economy.

The people of Bristol are gearing up for the final round of campaigns before we hit the ballot box on Thursday 8th June, and it’s a general election like no other.

The emphasis of party campaigns has been centred around important national and global concerns, but in such turbulent political times, it’s easy to lose sight of the local issues affecting the communities we know and love. Before you nail your colours to the mast, what do you really know about Bristol’s candidates’ policies on our local economy?

The UK’s economy has transformed beyond recognition over the last 30 years, from an economy centred around manufacturing to one profiting from its massive financial sector. The UK can now be seen as a playground for multi-national corporations, with the lowest corporation tax rate in the G20. The current financial system has given birth to all kinds of issues, the housing crisis being just one that has severely affected Bristol.

Whatever your political affiliation may be, the arguments for building a strong local economy are genuine; stimulating employment growth, procurement of local products without large carbon price tags and reducing inequality are just some of the things we can achieve by a fairer local economy.

I asked Bristol’s main candidates for South and West how they planned to create a fairer, stronger and happier economy in Bristol, and here’s what they said…

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5 ways to help you be a hero this Christmas – take the Bristol Pound Christmas Challenge!

There’s no denying it: ‘tis the festive season. And for many of us that means getting gifts for loved ones and gathering goodies to enjoy over the festive period. Bristol’s streets are a-buzzing with merriment.

There’s something you can do to make the season of gift-buying and goodie-gathering a whole heap more fun for you, better for Bristol AND the global economy.

Use Bristol Pounds!

Take up the challenge and spread the love this season. Switch that Sterling for beautiful Bristol Pounds, then when you go spend it you’ll be building and protecting what we all love about Bristol, and helping make our city fairer, greener and more vibrant.

Here at Bristol Pound HQ we want to make this as easy as possible for everyone so we’ve put together 5 ways to help you be a hero this Christmas. I’ve added links, so if you like what you see, give it a click to find out more:

  1. The Bristol Pound advent calendar. We’re putting together a giant advent calendar and popping it in the St Nicks Market foyer. Each day, we’ll open the next door to reveal a special deal for Bristol Pound users to help you with your shopping! What’s that? You won’t be able to join us in the St Nick’s foyer every morning throughout December? Well okay, we’ll post it up on social media each morning too! Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter to keep up-to-date.
  2. The Bristol Pound Christmas market. We’re arranging a day of festivity on the 10th December at the Bristol Energy Hub on the waterfront. We’ll have: local craft and produce stalls; live music; free mince pies; Caring at Christmas are doing a wrapping service; you can win a Real Economy hamper; you can pick up the latest Bristol Pound business map and you can find out more about all the things you can do with Bristol Pounds (I can guarantee you don’t know all the things you can do with Bristol Pounds!). Plus, we’re right next to the Harbourside Market, where plenty of folk take the Bristol Pound. More info here.poster-for-christmas-market-620px 
  3. Our new Bristol Pound Map of central Bristol – more detailed than ever, stretching from Temple Meads to the Grain Barge and from Wapping Wharf to the Bear Pit, you’ll find 128 shops, pubs, cafes, hair dressers, homeware stores, florists, and much, much more. We’ll be handing them out at the market, but also sending one out to every Bristol Pound member.img_20161122_122219
  4. Indies in Bristol – a brand-new, city-wide event to celebrate Bristol’s amazing independent businesses and encourage Bristolians to shop local for Christmas. The main hub is in the Station courtyard (The Old Fire Station) in the city centre, where a central traders market of gifts, street food and a bar will be based. We’ll have a Bristol Pound ‘bank’ at the entrance of the event for your to switch to Bristol Pounds. Plus, we’re also doing a talk at 12.45. See you there! More info here.indies-in-bristol-poster-web-620px 
  5. Bristol Pound Trail – as part of the Indies in Bristol event, we’ve put together a pretty special little trail for you to follow – it’s a neat little trip in and around St Nick’s Market. Start at Beast Clothing to pick up your Bristol Pounds (they’re a ‘cash point’) – you can switch Sterling notes, pay on card or withdraw from your Bristol Pound account. Then visit a bunch of businesses waiting to give you discounts and offers if you use Bristol Pounds! More info here.bristol-pound-trail-banner-620px 

It’s easier than ever to do the Bristol Pound Christmas Challenge this year – so let’s change our money, change the world and have ourselves a jolly good time doing it.

Adam and the Bristol Pound team

 

Bringing Bristol Pound to Massive Attack at the Downs

IMG_277127,000 Bristolians braved the storm on Saturday to watch Massive Attack perform at the Downs and we were very proud to be there promoting a fairer economy to soggy gig-goers. We sold a whopping £B4,284; breaking the record for most cash in one day since our launch in 2012.

The ethos of the festival was political, outlining the 21st century chaos of Brexit, racism, plight of refugees and growing inequality. We felt really encouraged by the response from the crowd, who listened and understood our message; if we change money, we can change the world.

So massive thanks to Team Love for inviting us to be the official currency of the festival. Also, a thanks to Fairphone for being our card payment tech and to Bristol Wood Recycling Project for pallets that were our ‘bank’ counter. Most of all a huge thank you to Bristol for being such a progressive, open minded city looking for a fairer, more equal future.

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Can you help shape the Bristol Pound?

Bristol Pound are inviting our individual users to join a new Users Group to give feedback and opinions on Bristol Pound projects and initiatives.

Bristol Pound user group

Where: Upstairs hub room, Roll for the Soul, 2 Quay St, Bristol, BS1 2JL
When: Thursday 23 June 2016
Time: 19:30 – 20:30

Join our User Group and get experience influencing Bristol’s alternative currency scheme.

The first group will meet on 23th June and will be made up of a group of representative individual users from across the city. Any member can join the Users Group, though space will be limited in order to create a good quality, intimate discussion.

The Users Group will be a space for collective leverage over our local currency, making the Bristol Pound more responsive to our users. It will also be a great place to network and meet other Bristol Pound users who share an interest in improving our local economy.

During this first meeting, we will discuss what format we want the group to take, give updates on ongoing and upcoming Bristol Pound projects and gather feedback. A format for the group will be suggested and agreed by consensus and we hope that members of the group will be happy to meet three times a year.

Light refreshments will be available and space is limited to 15 attendees.

If you’d like to be involved please RSVP by email to Ruby at ruby@bristolpound.org

 

Event: Introduction to ethical finance for businesses

Prospects Network - Bristol Pound

Bristol is a hotbed of alternative ways of doing things – that includes finance for small and medium size businesses. Bristol Pound members are coming together to hear how they can benefit from using the many ethical finance options available in the city – and you’re invited.

What: Introduction to Ethical Finance for Small & Medium Size Businesses
When: Wednesday 8 June, 10am – 1pm
Where: Tobacco Factory, Raleigh Rd, Bristol, BS3 1TF

Book your place now

Bristol Pound are working with the city’s sustainability champions, Go Green, for this morning workshop at the Tobacco Factory to help you join the dots between your company’s values and the financial services you use.

Speakers include:

Wren Aigaki-Lander – Within People
Alex Higgins – Triodos Bank
Steve Clarke – Bristol Pound
Vicki Woolley – Bristol Green Capital Partnership
Jack Farmer – LettUs Grow

The agenda

Enjoy a tasty, sustainably sourced breakfast with like-minded local businesses and learn how you can align ethical finance with your company’s purpose.

Hear how values are integral to decision making at Triodos Bank.

Find out how Bristol Pound’s new Prospects Network for SMEs can benefit you.

Get practical tips to help you identify the positive difference your company’s financial choices can make.

Investigate if crowdfunding could suit your business.

This is a great opportunity to complement your business’ ethos with your finances – and reap the benefits of doing so. Discounted places are available for Bristol Pound members but they’re limited so book now:

Book now

Together we’ll explore the unique opportunities Bristol businesses have to shape their world and grow their business by choosing from the ethical finance options the city has pioneered.

 

5 top festivals taking place in Bristol this summer

When it comes to festivals, the people of Bristol are pretty spoilt for choice. With a different one taking place almost every weekend over the summer, it’s a hard job to work out which are the best ones to go to – but thankfully we’re here to help. Here’s Bristol blogger BrizzleKezSays’ top pick of the 5 best festivals that are taking place in Bristol this summer.

Love Saves The Day

One of the city’s most popular music festivals returns for its fifth stint in Eastville Park this May. Combining the best of Bristol’s underground music scene and big-name acts such as Dizzee Rascal, Hot Chip and Everything Everything, if you love Dubstep and Electro then this is the festival for you. There is often some stall holders that accept Bristol Pounds too – great news for when you decide to tear yourself away from the music for a bite to eat! Taking place over the last May bank holiday (Saturday 28 and Sunday 29), tickets for the weekend and the Sunday are already sold out. However, if you fancy going there are still day tickets available for Saturday at £43.45 each including booking fee – but be quick, we’re sure they won’t be around for long!

Lets Rock Bristol

Another big-profile music festival to hit Bristol this summer is Lets Rock Bristol. This 80s-themed retro extravaganza promises to bring a sense of nostalgia to fans of the decade’s music. Taking place at Ashton Court from Friday 3 – Sunday 4 June, this year’s line up features Jason Donovan, Sinitta and Paul Young. Tickets are still available, with day tickets costing £49.50 each including booking fee.

Grillstock

If you love all things BBQ, then you need to get yourself to Grillstock, which takes over Bristol’s harbourside on Saturday 2 and Sunday 3 July. Described as “Meat, Music and Mayhem”, it’s fairly safe to say that this isn’t the festival for vegetarians and you should be able to use your Bristol Pounds to buy meaty treats from some of the stallholders too. Created by the team who run the city’s restaurant with the same name, think eating competitions, BBQ demonstrations, plus a great range of live music from bands such as Levellers and The Stranglers.  Day tickets cost £33 for Saturday or £24 for Sunday, or if you think you can handle it a weekend ticket costs £45.

Harbour Festival

One of the UK’s largest public festivals, Bristol’s Harbour Festival takes place from Friday 15 –  Sunday 17 July. Celebrating the city’s maritime history, this family-friendly festival has something for everyone – including food and drink, markets, live music and entertainment. One of the highlights of the festival is the fireworks that take place on the Saturday night, when the whole harbourside area comes alive with a fantastic display. But best of all, the festival is working in partnership with Bristol Pound to make it a truly local experience – so if you have Bristol Pounds then this will be the perfect opportunity for you to spend them, with Bristol Pound cash points located across the festival site.

Bristol International Balloon Fiesta

Bristol’s famous International Balloon Fiesta hits Ashton Court from Thursday 11 – Sunday 14 August. A proper Bristol institution, this festival is now in its 39th year. The free event includes mass balloon ascents over four days, a fairground, food stalls, live entertainment in the main arena and promises a load of fun for the whole family.  The highlight of the event is the night glows which take place on the Thursday and Saturday night – the sight of seeing the balloons light up in time to music is a must see in my opinion!

Keri Beckingham is a lifestyle blogger, a proud Bristolian and freelance writer who loves shopping/gigs/cooking/meals out/a good read/all things vintage. You can read her blog BrizzleKezSays here.

How sharing can help Bristol

A special speaker is coming to Bristol tomorrow to discuss how sharing can help cities progress.

Julian Agyeman

Professor Julian Agyeman is the co-author of the book “Sharing Cities: A Case for Truly Smart and Sustainable Cities” – in which he explores how sharing offers cities the opportunity to connect smart technology to justice, solidarity and sustainability.

He will be joining Bristol’s Friends of the Earth group to discuss these innovative ideas and to see how Bristol can make the most of them.

Sharing Cities – a Case for Truly Smart and Sustainable Cities
When: Tuesday 10 May from 7.30pm to 9.15pm
Where: Watershed Cinema, Harbourside, Bristol, BS1 5TX
Book now: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/sharing-cities-a-case-for-truly-smart-and-sustainable-cities-tickets-24785074826

Julian brings a wealth of examples from every continent to show how innovations in sharing are working in practice to make cities fairer and more sustainable places – that includes the Bristol Pound.

So come prepared to listen, learn and engage about the potential of the sharing economy across our city.

Spaces are limited so please book your place now.

 

 

Listen again: Bristol Mayor candidates on local economy and sustainability

Candidates for the job of Mayor of Bristol were at the Arnolfini on the Harbourside last week to answer questions from over 200 residents and businesses.

Bristol mayor hustings panel

Listen again to the two hour debate with Ujima Radio’s podcast:
http://www.ujimaradio.com/2016/04/mayoral-candidates-answer-questions/ 

The sold-out event was organised by the Bristol Pound with Bristol Green Capital Partnership CIC, Bristol Cycling Campaign, Friends of the Earth and Sustrans. BBC Radio Bristol presenter Laura Rawlings chaired the debate with candidates George Ferguson (Independent), Kay Barnard (Liberal Democrat), Tony Dyer (Green Party) and Marvin Rees (Labour Party) in attendance.

The local economy section was kicked off with the question:

The council spends over £350 million of public money each year and lots of it is spent with businesses outside Bristol, including large multi-nationals. What practical steps will you take to increase the amount of money staying in Bristol?

Tony Dyer pointed out the increasing problem with tax havens, but offered his solution: “We have a big problem with tax avoidance and lots of money going overseas – however none of them accept Bristol Pounds. If you are spending your money with Bristol Pound, you are stopping tax avoidance and bringing money back into our local economy.”

George Ferguson believes in the benefits of using Bristol Pounds and encourages the audience to invest themselves and spend across the city: “I want to see Bristol Pounds become more available across institutions and businesses to use across the city, whether it be paying for a council tax bill, energy bill or your bus fare.”

Marvin Rees stated Bristol is one of the more prosperous city’s in the country, yet the gap between the rich and poor is growing: “People are feeling excluded. To drive a good economy, we need to equip young people for work. There are practical things we can do; plan ahead, have apprenticeships in place, skills pipeline in place and of course, pay the living wage.”

Kay Barnard, also in favour of more apprenticeships in local businesses to address social exclusion. “One of the main problems is smaller, local business are excluded from local procurement in favour of big, national companies.”

Read more from the hustings:
http://bristolgreencapital.org/what-bristols-mayoral-candidates-had-to-say-at-our-sustainability-themed-hustings/

Free marketing for growth workshop for Bristol Pound business members

The Bristol Pound team are excited to bring a Get Set for Growth workshop to Bristol Pound business members.

Get Set for Growth - Bristol Pound business event

Get Set for Bristol – Marketing for Growth
When: 10th May 2016, 9.15 – 11.45am
Where: Folk House, 40a Park St, Bristol, BS1 5JG
Book now: http://getsetforbristol.eventbrite.com 

We speak to our network of over 800 local, independent businesses every day and we know that competing with the marketing budgets of large businesses can be a tall ask. Get Set for Growth’s expert team will deliver a practical and insightful workshop to help you market and grow your business.

This is a Bristol Pound members-only event so it will be an excellent opportunity to mingle with other like-minded businesses, share challenges and create opportunities.

What’s planned on the day

9.15 Registration, refreshments and networking
9.45 Introductions and welcomes – Emily Hazell, Partnership Manager, Bristol Pound
10.00 Growing your Local Business – Fiona Fraser, Marketing Advisor, Get Set for Growth
Covering:
Introducing Get Set for Growth
Marketing for Growth
Break out group & discussion
11.30 Q&A and feedback
11.45 End and networking

Book your place now:
http://getsetforbristol.eventbrite.com

About Get Set for Growth

Get Set for Growth is a specialist service offering funded marketing and finance expertise to ambitious businesses with the potential to grow, thanks to the Regional Growth Fund. Growing your business requires money and customers: Get Set for Growth is a unique service that helps you get both through a combination of finance and marketing expertise. The West of England team have been live in Bristol for just over 6 months and have recently celebrated the enrolment of their 200th client.

Another year but not just another festival – Bristol Food Connections 2016

Bristol Food Connections festivalBristol Food Connections 2016 is just around the corner, starting on Friday 29th April and running until 7 May 2016. This is the third year the city will be transformed, bringing good food and people together over a nine day period, and it’s bigger than before.

We’re excited to be working with Bristol Pounds, which will be accepted throughout the festival, at the Bar in College Green and along the Bristol Food Trail throughout the festival.

The Bristol Food Trail embraces Bristol’s independent spirit, supporting farmers, chefs, food projects and businesses that work tirelessly to put good food on our plates. Following The Food Trail you can visit, shop and eat at some of the city’s best independent food establishments over the festival period and try something you haven’t tried before.

The Bristol Food Map clearly highlights which shops offer vegetarian, vegan and glutton-free options and, for the first time this year, which also accept the Bristol Pound – it really is about staying local and supporting our home grown talents.

This year, there’s also a Bristol Food Card which will unlock over 90 different discounts and offers from food trail participants, ranging from a free croissant with your coffee to speciality meals and discounts off food purchases. It’s an A-Z of independent cafes, restaurants, shops and bars, from Adelina Yard to Ruby & White, from The Better Food Company to Thali Cafe.

Ethical eating can be easy in our vibrant independent minded city, as farmers, producers, chefs, restaurateurs, local community groups and all those interested in food come together for this unique event. Whether you’re looking for big, celebrity chef banquets or brain-food debates, cooking demos or foraging walks, there’s something across the nine days for everyone.

Look forward to seeing you there with your Bristol Pounds in your pockets.

Bristol Food Connections is a unique citywide food festival that aims to bring people and good food together. It’s running from Friday 29 April to Saturday 7 May 2016 at venues across the city.