A city with a thriving third sector, there are over 1,500 registered charities, organisations, services, voluntary groups, and social enterprises in Bristol. The range of causes covered by these organisations is vast, from helping the homeless to helping to save the environment. Popular charity events in the area include the Bristol 10K Shine Night Walk for Cancer Research UK, The Great Big Green Week and Stomp.
Charities in Bristol:
Bristol Soup Run Trust
The Bristol Soup Run Trust coordinates a homeless outreach service in Bristol city centre, every night of the year. Around 20 teams provide food, drink and other essential supplies, free of charge, to homeless people and others in need on the streets of Bristol. The teams also help to signpost people to other sources of help in Bristol.
The size of the teams varies. Some are large and well-resourced, often church-based, others are smaller independent groups. Some operate once a week, others once or twice a month. Whichever group does the Soup Run, the same locations are visited at the same times.
People turn up at the Soup Run for many reasons: hunger, loneliness, companionship, advice. Whatever the reason, the teams are not there to judge but to provide food, refreshment, a sleeping-bag, a pair of socks, toiletries, advice if needed and, above all, a friendly smile and a willing ear.
Changes Bristol provides peer support groups in Bristol and online for anyone aged 18 or over, offering a safe and friendly space for people to share any worries they might have. Groups are free to access, confidential, with no referral needed and no diagnosis required.
As well as this support, Changes Bristol offers one-to-one phone befriending for new and existing members, a large number of volunteering opportunities and workplace training in mental health awareness.
Weekly meetings offering encouragement, support and guidance are run throughout Bristol and online providing support for adults suffering from mental distress. The meetings help people to set individual goals so they can start to make small but measurable steps towards being well again and helping to equip them with the tools needed to enable them to make some positive changes in their lives.
Caring in Bristol
Established in 1987, Caring in Bristol is a charity that works in creative and imaginative ways to help reduce homelessness and make a lasting change in Bristol and beyond. The charity engages with people who are either experiencing or at risk of homelessness, as well as community partners and the general public, to provide support and shelter.
Caring in Bristol’s vision is to bring the city together to help those in need long term, rather than just creating short term solutions. This vision is laid out in the organisation’s ‘Blueprint for Change’, a strategic plan to make Bristol a city empowered to solve homelessness by 2025.
In May 2021, Caring in Bristol sent a copy of its Blueprint to the Mayor of Bristol and every councillor in every ward, in addition to 40,000 postcards that were sent to addresses across Bristol. The charity believes now is the time for action.
Refugee Women of Bristol
The only multi-ethnic, multi-faith organisation which specifically targets the needs of refugee women in the city, Refugee Women of Bristol is governed directly by women of the refugee and asylum-seeking communities.
Founded in 2003, the charity provides services to those considered to be over and above the generic category of ‘refugee’, and routinely reaches groups of women that other service-providers overlook or are unable to access. Refugee Women of Bristol offers support in a number of different ways, including online resources, life skills classes, information workshops and crèche facilities.
Each year the organisation supports roughly 300 refugee and asylum-seeking women and their children, from countries such as Somalia, Sudan, Iraq, Iran, Syria and Gambia.
Changing Tunes uses music and mentoring to help those in the Bristol area live meaningful, crime-free lives. The charity’s vision is to help create a world where people with lived experience of the criminal justice system can experience the life-enhancing benefits of music-making.
Changing Tunes engages those with a criminal background in music programmes that unlock their creativity and individual potential. It then encourages participants to share their artistic work and experiences with audiences, helping them to break free from the stigma of their past and to re-frame their identities.
The charity provides safe spaces for participants to experience the therapeutic benefits of music and performance. It also boasts a growing number of case studies where participants have understood something within themselves, by working on songs that resonate with them. These moments of self-discovery can be pivotal, contributing to better wellbeing and positive choices.
Suicide Prevention Bristol
Suicide Prevention Bristol is a suicide prevention charity that helps anyone with suicidal thoughts via telephone and social media, as well as out in the community. It uses advanced skills in crisis intervention to offer supportive listening to those in need and start a dialogue to encourage more hopeful solutions than suicide.
Over the past four years since they were established, the charity’s team of volunteers has made a profound impact within Bristol’s community and has supported numerous people in their darkest hours.
In addition, Suicide Prevention Bristol has volunteers that walk the paths of known suicide spots during the night in an attemot to notice and assist people that may be suicidal or struggling with their mental health.
Founded in 1923, Young Bristol is a youth-driven charity that works to offer a choice of opportunities and experiences for all young people in the area. The charity has evolved into one of the city’s leading youth charities, providing critical out-of-school services for young people aged 8-25 in communities across Bristol.
Young Bristol believes that every young person has the right to discover what they’re capable of achieving and become confident, healthy, resilient, responsible and successful members of society. The services provided by the charity include community youth clubs, outdoor activities, creative programmes, holiday clubs and training courses.
From 2019 to 2020, Young Bristol worked with over 26,000 young people, 11,428 of which attended sessions at one of the charity’s community youth clubs.
Bristol Animal Rescue Centre
For over 130 years, the Bristol Animal Rescue Centre has cared for the city’s pets and wildlife. In that time, the charity has helped, healed and homed over 14,000 vulnerable animals each year.
From dogs and cats to bearded dragons and chameleons, the charity provides veterinary care and safe shelter for all types of animals that are left unwanted or abandoned in the Bristol area. Where possible, the Bristol Animal Rescue Centre then re-houses these animals to new loving homes or appropriate conservation organisations.
The Bristol Animal Rescue Centre is the largest longest-running animal charity of its kind in the UK, and proudly relies solely on support and funding from within the local community.
Bristol Autism Support
Bristol Autism Support is a charity that provides information, support and training to parents and carers of autistic children in the Bristol area. It believes that everyone deserves the help they require, therefore parents/carers do not need a diagnosis for their child in order to access the charity’s services.
The organisation creates a wide range of opportunities for carers of children with autism to connect with each other and build friendships with those encountering similar challenges. This strong community helps give parents and carers the knowledge needed to help them better support the children they look after.
Bristol Autism Support offers clear, relevant information about autism to parents and carers, with the hope this helps to improve the futures and outcomes of autistic children. The charity also offers volunteering and work experience opportunities that enable parents, carers and autistic young people to gain skills and improve confidence.
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