The British Council and Bristol Cultural Development Partnership today launched a call for applications for the second round of Social Innovation Grants for people in Bristol to explore international partnerships and projects as part of Festival of Ideas 2020. 

The scheme aims to tackle social problems and better meet social needs by connecting people and cities through face-to-face and digital activities. The grants were run for the first time in 2019 and are used by individuals and organisations based in Bristol to develop international networks, knowledge and partnerships.

In 2019, the British Council chose Bristol as a trial location having been a partner in the Global Parliament of Mayors Summit hosted by Bristol City Council in October 2018. From over 40 submissions, 14 were awarded micro-grants of between £250 and £1,000. The British Council has provided further funding this year, with a focus on supporting projects that help to find solutions to the world’s biggest problems.

We were very excited at the high quality and huge variety in the applications in 2019 and knew that there were many more people and projects that we could work with if there was additional funding. We’re hoping to support projects across a mix of sectors, some individuals and some organisations, from different parts of the city with a huge range of international reach. For us, it is vital that we draw on the creativity of citizens and international collaboration to address the enormous challenges we face in the next ten years. This scheme is a small ripple in a pond, but last year we found that the people used their international connections to create the most extraordinary impacts for Bristol and places all around the world. We think the scheme can be very powerful in 2020, as we work towards addressing the grand challenges in the Sustainable Development goals

Kathy McArdle, British Council

Andrew Kelly, Bristol Cultural Development Partnership added:

There are many challenges facing the world. It’s not hard to identify many of these. What is hard is to identify the solutions, gain wide agreement for them, and take necessary action. Bristol Cultural Development Partnership is working to identify the challenges; promote debate about them; solicit the widest range of responses; and debate the solutions at a special Festival of Ideas gathering in November 2020. Thanks to British Council people from Bristol can work with global partners for inspiration and ideas. 

Last year’s winning projects developed links with Beira, Berlin, Chicago, Dakar, Dublin, Hamburg, New York, Puerto Morazán and Sulaymaniyah, among other locations. Projects included pioneering an online trauma awareness training programme to meet the needs of those providing refugee services; an innovative approach to food and horticulture production and community action; seeing how the legacies of slavery are handled in other cities; and exploring potential eco-friendly tourism projects.

Participants attended international conferences including the European Forum Primary Care conference in Paris; the Social Enterprise World Forum in Addis Ababa; the AfroTech2019 Conference in Oakland; and the AGM of the Association of Significant Cemeteries of Europe in Ghent to deepen their understanding of a wide range of social issues, share ideas and best practices with others and develop new collaborations.

I’m delighted that Bristol is again at the forefront of the British Council’s Social Innovation Grants Scheme. It reflects the diverse and international nature of individuals and organisations collaborating within the city to bring positive impacts to our communities. Past grants have gone towards promoting arts and culture projects, sustainability and strengthening links with our twin cities – with visits to Berlin, Chicago and our twin city Beira – and I’m confident the second year of the fund will encourage an even more diverse range.

Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol

Applicants must live in or be based in Bristol. Those applying on behalf of an organisation are eligible only if the organisation has an annual turnover of less than £500,000. Interested applicants are invited to submit an application of no longer than 2 sides of A4 to amy.obeirne@businesswest.co.uk detailing:

·         An outline of the activity to be funded

·         The difference that this will make to your practice or professional development

·         A short budget

·         References

The deadline is 5pm on Friday 6 March 2020, with decisions due the following week.

Full details and terms and conditions are in the document below. Please read this before applying.

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Festival of the Future City
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