Featured Image: the Beaches of Weston-super-Mare

Bristol; an Extraordinary City, Rich in Diversity and Ingenuity.

Bristol, a city of 90 villages, is a fairly ‘unique’ region. Alongside the City of London, it is the only city that is a county.

Bristol was elevated to the status of a county in 1373 – considered a reward from Edward III for vital assistance during the 100 Years War, in particular the Siege of Calais.

At that time, Bristol was only a town, eventually becoming a City in 1542.

The left-most picture depicts the earliest known map of any English town, created by Robert Ricard in 1478.

Other than the city of London, Bristol is the smallest English county by geographical size.

1974 witnessed the creation of the region Avon, an amalgamation of the comprised districts South Gloucestershire (formerly Kingswood and North Avon), North Somerset (formerly Woodspring), Bath and Northeast Somerset (formerly Bath and Wansdyke), and Bristol. This action proved deeply unpopular across the local population, and Avon was subsequently dissolved into its constituent parts in 1996.

“Take something of your life into the lives of those you meet.”

Chief Constable of Leicestershire and Rutland at the High Sheriff Seminar, Burghley House, 2019

Whilst performing his duties as Virtual High Sheriff of the City of Bristol, our Founder and CCO, John Manley, came across an issue when visiting the Bristol North West Foodbank during the COVID-19 pandemic (March, 2020). The charity highlighted a number of ‘needs’ they required in order to continue fulfilling their commitments to the local community, including increased food donations, cash to purchase petrol for delivery vans, new volunteers capable of lifting heavy loads, and new cardboard boxes. Half a mile away, John called upon the services of the Foundation for Leadership Through Sport, whom, by contacting the Managing Director of Accolade Wines, were able to provide the Foodbank with roughly 800 cardboard boxes to be used in helping deliver their vital charitable services.

This interaction served as the platform to consider a few key questions:

•…the asker didn’t know who to ask.

•…the giver didn’t know their boxes were needed.

•…the ask was quite specific.

•…the SuperConnectivity of Bristol was key.

•…it’s not all about money(!)

•…’small’ asks can be transformational to small charities and voluntary groups.

And thus, the scenario sparked a broader consideration of the asking landscape, with Greater Bristol serving as a home to roughly 4,300 registered charities. This number does not include the voluntary groups associated with the 250 green spaces within the City of Bristol, nor the numerous community, faith, and interest-based organisations providing important community-based work in their respective areas. In practice, the number of voluntary groups exceeds the number of registered charities, posing a significant question:

how do these voluntary groups access the support they need in order to continue thriving?

The Bristol North West Foodbank Film, January 2018

Our First Primary Ambition:

To truly democratize asking, giving and connecting in Bristol…

… to the benefit of the askers, their communities, the givers and the City.

Our Second Primary Ambition:

To create the world’s first HyperConnected City…

…with a profound impact on social cohesion and equality.

Our Third Primary Ambition:

To re-define ‘Levelling Up’ in the Third Sector…

…by helping charities access the resources they would otherwise not encounter.

'Social Infrastructure Platforms' - Professor Martin Parker's (University of Bristol) Academic Publication on AskingBristol is Live.