Regional institutions including the South West’s leading educational institutions and employers have today signed an agreement to address inequality and deprivation for Bristol’s low income communities, providing a model for other UK regions. 

The Bristol-based social enterprise Babbasa is partnering with nine leading regional institutions to end the cycle of inequality and deprivation for the next generation, and support the bold long-term vision of advancing 2,030 underrepresented young people from low income households to secure a median salary by 2030.

The institutions which now make up the advisory board are Arup, Babbasa, Black South West Network, Bristol & Bath Regional Capital, Bristol City Council (acting through the One City Office), Business West, Cabot Learning Federation, University of Bristol and UWE Bristol. The board will now work to convene community partners, businesses and funders to help achieve the vision for the city region, and safeguard the next generation from social immobility and inequality.    

The OurCity2030 initiative, which has been in pilot over the past 12 months, has already supported 229 young people to achieve employment outcomes, with 78 of these advanced into career-oriented work. OurCity2030 is underpinned by an in-depth socio-economic analysis which has identified the challenges and opportunities facing young people in Bristol’s inner-city wards in the regional labour market. 

The initiative will now support up to 600 young people a year, facilitating paths into the sectors which are thriving across the South-West, such as the technology and creative industries, while supporting employers to create inclusive work environments. 

Poku Osei, Founding Director of Babbasa, said: “This is a momentous occasion, not just for the city of Bristol, but for other cities too, to realise what can pragmatically be done at a city level to unlock talent if we are intentional – particularly at a time when we’re losing bright young and able minds to a life of crime, gangs and despondency. It’s special to be able to have an agreement for a city model that brings together influential cross-sector institutions to tackle the problem head on.”

Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, said: “It has been fantastic to see Bristol’s businesses, universities and institutions come together to support Babbasa and OurCity2030 so far, with today marking an important milestone in unlocking the next stage in the programme. This initiative showcases what Bristol can achieve, with partners collaborating and driving forward a vision for a truly inclusive city economy.”

Nina Skubala, One City Office: “City Office is delighted to be supporting and working with OurCity2030. Bristol is a growing city home to many successful industries, but we need to make sure that everyone shares in that success. We know that access to these exciting roles is not yet equitable – that’s why we need this programme, to give our talent the opportunity to succeed.”

Phil Smith, Business West: “Many talented young people from some of Bristol’s most deprived communities struggle to find well paid employment in our economically vibrant city and yet many of Business West’s Bristol-based member businesses are screaming out for talent; it cannot be right that both of these facts are true at the same time. OurCity2030  is linking both needs, satisfying both parties. Business West is delighted to play our part in breaking this cycle of inequality and supporting businesses to grow”

Maria Vitale, Arup: Social value is at the heart of all we do at Arup and championing our local communities is a key part of that. As a Core Partner of an initiative as important as OurCity2030, we’re excited to be supporting a more equitable future for Bristol. We are proud that our socioeconomic research will contribute to the OurCity2030’s mission of increasing social mobility for minoritised young people, as well as shape meaningful change for others in the community.”

Professor Palie Smart, University of Bristol: “Our city’s future depends on the success of our young people and so the University of Bristol is delighted to be working in collaboration with partners to support OurCity2030.  By coming together across different sectors, including public, private and not for profits, we take a shared responsibility to reduce inequality and make Bristol an even better place.”

Tracey John, UWE Bristol: “UWE Bristol are delighted to be part of this important strategic partnership initiative, harnessing collective and unified action, resource and expertise to address city-region inequalities.  We look forward to mobilising and leveraging our support through the partnership for inclusive social and economic impact outcomes”

Ed Rowberry, Bristol & Bath Regional Capital: “This is a great day for Bristol. With these core partners on board, OurCity2030 can unleash a lot of energy and resources, enabling young people who have too long been left out to participate in the city’s labour market in a meaningful way.”

Derek Tanner, Black South West Network: “Black South West Network is proud to support OurCity2030, helping to improve the situation for communities in Bristol. As well as supporting skills development, we are enabling access into high-value, future-focused jobs for Bristol’s young people.”

If your organisation would like to get involved in the OurCity2030 initiative, please register your interest at www.ourcity2030.com