A new campaign to raise safety awareness among those enjoying Bristol’s nightlife has been launched as the sector continues to recover from the restrictions imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bristol Rules – a collaboration between the city council, universities and venues across the city – will focus on five themes, offering advice and support to those enjoying the night-time economy, some for the first time.
Timed to welcome the student community to Bristol for the new academic year, the campaign will offer insights into drugs and alcohol harm reduction, women’s safety, looking out for your friends, river safety and stopping harassment. It also aims to improve confidence in the night-time economy which reopened on 19 July, after restrictions were lifted under step 4 of the roadmap, for the first time since March 2020.
More than 1,000 billboards and posters will be placed across the city, and the content will be shared on social media to raise awareness and direct people to the campaign website for resources and support.
Supported by the Reopening High Streets Safely/Welcome Back programme, with funding from the England European Regional Development Fund, Bristol Rules has been championed by the city’s Night Time Economy Advisor, Carly Heath, to support the recovery and ensure party-goers can enjoy a good night out.
The pandemic lockdowns and closures mean many young people will never have socialised in bars and clubs before and may be unaware of the risks of going out at night.
Carly Heath said: “Bristol’s vibrant night-time economy is one of the many reasons why students choose to move to our city. Fresher’s season is usually a flurry of activity in our pubs, clubs and bars, but after 18 months away due to the pandemic, we want to empower new visitors to the night-time economy to have a safe and drama-free night out.
“Many of us are excited to be back out with friends old and new, but we’re out of practice going out to socialise and tolerances may have reduced. The campaign messaging is there to welcome people back and to act as a reminder for people to take it easy, take care of themselves and the people they are with and keep an eye out for others to make sure everyone is having a good time.
“This is the first time the venues, festivals, council and our charities have worked together on one campaign to target the priorities for helping people feel safe on our city’s streets after dark.
“Whilst we cannot solve every issue in a city the size of Bristol in one campaign, we can unite as a night-time community to make people feel welcome and highlight where to turn for help.”
Councillor Asher Craig, Deputy Mayor and Cabinet Member for Communities, Equalities and Public Health, said: “We are delighted that the night-time economy has reopened after the lengthy closures and restrictions during the last year. Supporting the recovery and prioritising safety is essential as we rebuild Bristol’s reputation as a leading, internationally celebrated destination for both residents and visitors to enjoy.”
Marti Burgess, who sits on the Bristol @ Night panel and owner of Lakota, said: “As a nightclub, the safety of both our customers and staff is of paramount importance to us. It is our view that everyone within the night-time economy has a role to play, thus Lakota fully supports this campaign and will continue to work together with all participating venues and stakeholders within the night-time economy to ensure that Bristol nightlife offers the best experience possible for customers.”
Michael Kill, CEO of the Night-Time Industries Association (NTIA), said: "During the pandemic over 850,000 youngsters came of age across the UK, but due to public health restrictions over the last 18 months have been denied the opportunity to truly experience the amazing night-time economy that this country is renowned for. As businesses have opened many have suffered the consequences of naivety and inexperience.
“Bristol is one of the UK's leading lights and has an amazingly diverse and creative tapestry which attracts students to study and creatives from all corners of the world. This fantastic initiative sets a precedent for cities across the country, setting clear expectations which will set the tone, and protect the future of this community for years to come."
For more information, visit the campaign website www.bristolnights.co.uk
Notes to editors
- Bristol’s night-time economy incorporates all businesses that operate between 18:00-6:00. It supports over 91,000 jobs, a third of our workforce.
- The project is part of activities delivered with £831,570 of funding from the European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (and in London the intermediate body Greater London Authority) is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund. Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding
- Carly Heath started as Bristol’s Night-Time Economy Advisor in April 2021. Sitting in the City Office, Carly works closely with the Mayor’s Office and city partners and has taken over the chairing of the Bristol @ Night group. With more than 20 years of experience, Carly is passionate about the businesses that operate from 18:00-6:00 and in helping guide Bristol’s night-time economy as we move on from the challenges of lockdown.
- Bristol @ Night group is an independent advisory panel first set up to tackle the challenges facing the sector, to make sure the way Bristol functions at night is considered in decision making. The panel is made up of representatives from the Bristol City Council alongside representatives from some of Bristol's largest venues and operators.
- Bristol Nights is the new industry-facing website to support the night-time economy with resources, information and opportunities. The website will expand over the next few months in line with new campaigns and to support the needs of the city.