Belonging Strategy 2021-24: Putting children and young people at the heart of our recovery

Belonging Strategy 2021-24: Putting children and young people at the heart of our recovery

The new One City Bristol Belonging Strategy for Children and Young People 2021-24 launches today (18 October), setting out how the city will begin to recover from the pandemic, aiming to build back better within a generation.

18 October 2021

Launched by Deputy Mayor, Councillor Asher Craig, Cabinet Member for Children, Education and Equalities at the One City Children and Young People’s Board, the event showcased a new documentary film by Bristol Old Vic, featuring young people speaking candidly about what ‘belonging’ means to them.

The new strategy supports the One City aim that everyone in Bristol will have the best start in life, gaining the support and skills they need as they grow up to thrive and prosper in adulthood. It also sets out a collective vision to ensure the voices of Bristol’s children and young people are heard in the city.

Councillor Asher Craig said: “There is now an opportunity to ensure children and young people, their experiences and perspectives, are centre stage in all aspects of our recovery. This means bringing our collective resources together to be ambitious for every child, and so that we get it right for those who were already disadvantaged and ensure the basic rights of a good childhood. We want all agencies and organisations in Bristol who work with children and young people to read this strategy and really hear what they are telling us.”

Mayor Marvin Rees said: “We must build a city which celebrates and empowers those growing up in Bristol. Children and young people should have the support they need to achieve their potential and have their unique voices heard and valued.

“No single organisation can deliver this alone. We must work together, investing in our children and families to build a socially and economically inclusive city that works for all children. This strategy challenges us all to go further and achieve more to help every child have the best start in life.”
There are currently 94,016 children under 18 years living in Bristol, which is 20% of total population.

Co-constructed with children, young people, their families, and city partners, the aims of the strategy are based on what young people say ‘belonging’ means to them, for example at school, in their family and in their communities.

The over-arching vision of the strategy is supported by four pillars which will deliver on the intentions of the Bristol One City Plan, the Bristol Children’s Charter (PDF) and the Bristol Equality Charter:

A new documentary film by Bristol Old Vic highlights some of the engagement sessions where young people from schools across Bristol were asked about what ‘belonging’ means to them.

Hattie De Santis, Engagement Producer for Bristol Old Vic said: “Using the Belonging Strategy as a stimulus, we unpicked how young people across Bristol feel they belong in this city.

“Through creative exercises and play we heard first-hand what young people think and feel about the community they live in. We hope the Belonging in Bristol documentary captures the extraordinary work these young people created in these challenging and every-changing times.”

Peter Stables, age 19, was part of the Old Vic youth consultation board and features in the documentary. He said the group sessions had a wide range of diverse young people with their own experiences and opinions: “It was good that they asked what younger people think. It’s been really tough with circumstances changing so rapidly and there are huge expectations on young people.

“The best thing about these sessions were the people, the conversations and the community we established. They gave us the freedom to really say what we thought and what matters to us and it felt like I belonged. It felt like an incredibly relevant subject to discuss.”

The new Belonging Strategy documentary film by Bristol Old Vic will be showing at the Millennium Square screen in city centre of Bristol. You can view the One City Belonging Strategy Documentary film on YouTube.

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