What is 'Our Neighbourhood' Community Festival?

'Our Neighbourhood' Community Festival is a week of community activity across Bishopston, Cotham & Redland. 

The festival is coordinated by the BCR Neighbourhood Partnership, with many of the events being run by different local groups and businesses. The aims of the week are:
•    To encourage people’s engagement in and contribution towards the wellbeing of their neighbourhood - helping it to improve
•    To create opportunities for people to get to know other local people, and to learn about and celebrate their neighbourhood and what it has to offer
•    To increase awareness of the BCR Neighbourhood Partnership and other community groups, the work they do for local people, and to inform people as to how they can find out more and get involved.

Who are the BCR Neighbourhood Partnership?

The Neighbourhood Partnership is run by and for local residents, in partnership with the council and local police. Our role is to get things done in response to issues raised by the local community.

The festival is coordinated by the Communications & Engagement Group of the Neighbourhood Partnership - a small group of local resident volunteers and a couple of council officers.

Tell me more about the festival

We want the festival to be as inclusive as possible, so we aim to develop a festival programme consisting of a variety of events and activities, providing appeal for a wide sector of BCR society, and enabling people to get involved in different ways. 

The festival is about celebrating our local area and the talent of local people, so we are keen for events to be run by local people as far possible. 

The festival is not a money-making venture - its aims are community orientated.  Most events and activities are offered to participants free of charge, and any essential charges should cover costs alone.
'Our Neighbourhood' Community Festival first took place last year, in May 2013.  Far surpassing expectations, the festival programme comprised nearly 40 events over 8 days - public meetings and workshops; markets; street entertainment; volunteering sessions; walks and nature trails; children's activities, and music, dance, sport, health and lifestyle taster sessions.
The week kicked off with Sustainable Redland's Farmer's Market on Whiteladies Road, and there were 'anchor' events at each end of the week - the Redland May Fair on May Bank Holiday Monday and - our headline event - a "Super Forum" public meeting the following weekend.  In 2013 the Super Forum included a speech from the mayor, a debate about resident's parking, a discussion about the challenges facing our local high streets, and an interactive session identifying local priorities.

What do you want from me?

The festival is run by and for local people.  We want everyone to have a chance to be involved as much or as little as you wish - whether that means running an event, helping to organise and promote the festival, inputting ideas, lending your time, skills or contacts, donating goods or services, or simply helping out at some of the events.

Just over half of the events in 2013 were put on specifically for the festival.  If you're willing to put on an event, whether individually or as part of a group, the door is wide open for you to offer whatever kind of event or activity you'd like to run, on pretty much whatever day and time you'd like to do it (we only ask that you avoid the time of the Super Forum).  We'll do our best to support you in planning, delivering and marketing your event if you need us, however it will be largely up to you and your contacts to work together to make it happen. 

If you are already planning an event during the festival period, you might like to consider branding it as part of the festival.  As part of the festival your event could benefit from the extra publicity it receives, and we would benefit by having you ‘on board’.  You might also consider going further - e.g. offering a discount to people bringing a copy of the festival programme.
If you are not willing to put on an event, but are prepared to offer an activity, service, venue/refreshments or other items as part of another event, or perhaps in another way (e.g. a raffle prize), do let us know.
And if you'd like to join our committee, or just offer some of your time to help us - e.g. distributing flyers and posters, or helping out at one of the events - you'd be welcomed with open arms!

What will the Neighbourhood Partnership do to help me?

It's our job to pull the festival together.  This means putting out a call for events and activities, stimulating ideas, offering advice, and compiling a busy and exciting programme. 

If you have an idea for an event or like the idea of running one but are not sure how to shape it, we may be able to help you plan it and/or put you in touch with people with the skills to work with you. 

If there is anything preventing you from delivering an event, talk to us and we'll see if there's anything we can do to help.  We will do our best to support you in planning, delivering and marketing your event.

It is also our job to promote and advertise the festival.  Last year, we did this through posters, flyers, promotional articles, websites, and printed programmes.

OK, I'll run an event. What do I need to think about?

Think about who might be interested in the kind of event you have in mind.  If it's too niche, held at the wrong time, or in the wrong place, or advertised in the wrong way, you might get very few participants. 

Think about how many people are likely to attend your event.  If your venue has limited space, you might want to ask participants to email you to reserve a place.  Make sure your venue has toilets and is accessible to people with buggies or limited mobility.  Consider whether it is easy to find, and put up signage to confirm your location.  Think about whether you need to offer refreshments.

It is festival policy to make events as inclusive as possible.  This means ensuring your event is open, accessible and welcoming to all.  For example, we ask you to try to use an accessible venue, and that you do not bar anyone from participating, other than for reasons of safety.

Generally speaking, it is up to you to determine an appropriate day and time within the festival for your event.  We do ask however that you avoid the time of the Super Forum - our headline event (afternoon of Saturday 10th May).  Depending on the ideas and offers that come forward, we might also need to orchestrate event timings to avoid clashes and/or commission events to fill gaps and make sure the festival is as inclusive and varied as possible. 

In line with our desire for inclusivity, it is festival policy for the vast majority of activities and events to be offered free-of-charge to participants.  We do not wish to hear of events making a healthy profit as that would not be appropriate for a community event.  That said, we appreciate that you may incur costs in running an event.  Some events will serve as advertising for your group or service, however if you feel the need to charge participants, we ask that you keep such charges minimal to cover your costs only.  Do come and talk to us about costs if you have any concerns.

So that we can put the programme together in time for printing and distribution, we need to finalise all event details by mid March.  We'll need an event title, timing and location (inc Satnav postcode), any admission/booking information, and an enticing one-liner description of the event.  Also send us your logo if you have one.

Alongside our efforts to advertise the festival as a whole, we will ask you to promote your event, for example through your own networks and mailing lists.  Think about your target audience when you determine your advertising methods - are they likely to hear about your event?

We ask that festival events are branded as part of the wider festival.  This includes displaying the festival logo (alongside any of your own) on your advertising material.  We ask you to mention the festival in any narrative promotion you do, and in any introductory words spoken at the event.

If possible and with your agreement, one of our committee may come along to your event, wearing our Neighbourhood Partnership branded T shirt.  If appropriate, we may like to say a few words about the partnership and the festival, and/or may hand out festival programmes to promote the other events on offer.

Any questions?
Do get in touch - via email or Facebook, give us a ring, or come and see us at one of the regular Neighbourhood Forums
(dates on our website 

Alice, Nick, Alison, Gavin, Andrew & Lynn
Festival Committee
Bishopston, Cotham & Redland Neighbourhood Partnership

Alice: ,  0117 9444307 / 07811 699043
Nick:  , 0117 3306095
         BCR Neighbourhood Partnership