“52% of our citizens help out in their community at least 3 times a year. To make community action more accessible, we have opened the website, Can-Do Bristol, a digital platform designed purely for communities to help themselves, connecting people and businesses to projects looking for help.” Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol
Can Do Bristol is a solution for social action that is underpinned by our Made Open platform. The platform was originally intended to support the City Council’s citywide volunteering strategy – an initiative from the community development team to connect volunteers with volunteering opportunities at a city scale. However, the full range of Made Open features has opened up new possibilities for creating a functional region that is drawing interest from both community and economic development teams within the Council, as well as a number of partners from the voluntary and private sectors.
The platform enables individuals, groups and organisations from across the city to share ideas, raise money, find volunteers, pledge resources and earn credits by exchanging their time, talents and treasures with others. The Community Exchange, for example, provides communities with an incentive to engage via timebanking and bartering, and provides organisations with opportunities to contribute their resources too. This is potentially very important to cities with a need to engage citizens and build stronger communities.
A key challenge for Bristol City Council, and the city as a whole, is to accelerate solutions where local assets and resources are mobilised to meet immediate needs (e.g. freeing up a bed in hospital). Our vision for creating a system that cares about people has been instrumental in helping our clients to develop their thinking in this area; and our engagement with key stakeholders has helped to shape the ‘Can Do Bristol’ approach.
Whilst conversations continue, we are currently exploring the concept of a “Volunteer Bank” with key stakeholders and communities in Bristol. The Volunteer Bank will enable individuals, groups and organisations to volunteer their skills and experience to the community in a way that is convenient to them (as opposed to an individual simply responding to an advertised volunteering opportunity). Voluntary sector organisations will be able to identify volunteers who have suitable skills / availability and pitch a request for support to a specific user. Government and private sector organisations will be able integrate their Employer Sponsored Volunteering schemes into the Volunteer Bank; and monitor the value and contribution of their employees to the community. All volunteers will be able to earn credits, which they can trade or donate to others within the Community Exchange.