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Project aims to give a voice to people tackling health inequalities in Bristol

THE inspirational new Expert Citizen pilot project will give local people with first-hand experience of issues around health and wellbeing the opportunity to have their say in important decisions about where funding will be spent. This is part of a new City Funds grant programme focusing on health and wellbeing in Bristol.

Bristol’s City Funds – a partnership between Quartet Community Foundation, Bristol & Bath Regional Capital and Bristol City Council – is working to solve some of the biggest challenges facing the city through a combination of grant funding and social investment. City Funds will soon be distributing £1.35m in grant funding for health and wellbeing, thanks to a Quartet-managed fund created by Bristol Community Health, as part of its legacy to community health in Bristol. To help with the programme, City Funds has enlisted the expertise of The Care Forum, the lead umbrella organisation in Health and Social Care across the South West of England, to recruit 5 volunteers with lived experience from their networks. 

The volunteers will receive a full package of training and support, before joining their first funding panel meeting. One of the Expert Citizen’s taking part said that they were looking forward to being involved in the project to support efforts in “advocating for social justice and equity for communities marginalised by health inequalities.”

Andy Street, Chair of City Funds said:

“The views from the ‘Expert Citizens’ will be critical in informing the funding decision process, ensuring that the Health and Wellbeing grants awarded will make a powerful and positive impact on the communities of Bristol that need it most. It’s so important that the City Funds grant funding panel is inclusive and reflects our society. Genuine transformational change in our city cannot happen if decisions are only made by a few individuals in authority in a ‘top-down’ approach. City Funds recognises the need to place the views of people who have gained expertise through experience at centre-stage, and so we’re hugely grateful that The Care Forum is helping us to do this.

Kevin Peltonen-Messenger, The Care Forum CEO said:

“Part of The Care Forum’s mission is to improve health and care and reduce inequalities. I’m really proud of this piece of work because it puts local Bristol people at the heart of decision making about investing in Bristol charities. I can’t wait to see the benefits for our city and am pleased to be developing our partnership with Quartet and other partners through the City Funds work”.

The City Funds Bristol Community Health – Health & Wellbeing Grant Programme is now open, inviting applications for funding from voluntary, community, charity and social enterprise organisations, based and working in the Bristol local authority area which provide health & wellbeing services. More details can be found on the Quartet Community Foundation website: https://quartetcf.org.uk/grant-programmes/bch/.

Grants will be awarded to transform and strengthen local organisations or to deliver activities that will create positive change for local people. City Funds welcomes the participation of the ‘Expert Citizens’ who will be able to draw on their life experiences and challenges to contribute to and influence funding decisions.

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