For the most recent City Challenge, University of Bristol students helped local organisation Heart of BS13 to come up with ideas to promote the opening of a new cut flower farm, focusing on sustainable growth, soil health, and biodiversity.
Heart of BS13 is an organisation founded by BS13 residents with the aim of addressing specific health problems through increased connection with the local environment. Their projects also cover mental health support, targeted nutrition and cooking activity, and a focus on social enterprise.
A group of 18 Student Volunteers arrived in Hartcliffe on a cold Wednesday afternoon to brainstorm ideas to best help support the heart of BS13’s fantastic projects. They developed ideas based around four key projects: biodiverse soil, the cut flower farm, vegetable boxes, and workshops for the local community. Members of the Heart of BS13 charity, including a professional florist, were on hand to help and guide the students.
The day started with a tour of the no-dig garden, including the closed-loop composting area, the vegetable patches, and seeds growing as we enter spring.
The no-dig market garden offers vocational training and volunteering (including placements, volunteering days, and a business volunteering scheme) to produce vegetables, flowers, and herbs that generate income to sustain the work of Heart of BS13. With one in eight households reporting food insecurity in BS13, the kitchen sent out 40,000 meals to over 400 households as part of their food response during lockdown. Their Pay It Forward range continues this great work with each purchase supporting a household of four people to have delicious, high-quality food plus additional professional support to tackle the challenges they face.
After the tour, students worked together in four teams to tackle how to increase engagement for the four key projects and got a chance to test out their teamwork and presentation skills to pitch their ideas to the charity, who will be able to act on these ideas.
Anushka Goel, who attended the day said:
“It has always been an amazing experience to be a part of the City Challenges! This one, organised by the University of Bristol Careers Service Community Engagement Team and Heart of BS13, has been my favourite so far because it was all things organic and sustainable and included a tour of the flower farms! If you are a student and you have the time, I would recommend going to the City Challenges and contributing your ideas for the betterment of society.
I had my assignments and was so stressed but had the most amazing time chatting with people and sharing amazing moments; it was very refreshing! It is a great experience to explore the new areas of the city, network with like-minded people and give back to the community. Thanks for providing such a fun activity; looking forward to the next City Challenge.”
City Challenges is a programme of volunteering events, run by your Careers Service, where you get the opportunity to work on real-life challenges posed by local community organisations.