For over 30 years, the West of England Initiative has played a role, whether large or small, in inspiring and delivering a series of successes throughout the region, each time working in partnership with a range of other organisations.
A number of our successful projects include;
- Bringing Life Back to the City Centre
In 1995, the Initiative formed the Broadmead Board with the Bristol City Council. The Board highlighted how powerful a public/private partnership could be in bringing about change and through the re-development of Broadmead and the Harbourside, the Initiative was able to reinstall confidence in the major retailers and restore the city centre. Through further leadership of the Broadmead Board, the Initiative played a role in helping to secure the £500 million re-development of Bristol City’s shopping centre, Cabot Circus, the number one retail destination in the region. Today, The Initiative sits on the Bristol Shopping Quarter Board, working closely with the major retailers.
- Visitor Economy
It is vital that our region can attract visitors and make them want to return. As a result, the Initiative and the local council in Bristol have established public/private ventures which successfully attract more and more visitors each year to our city. One of those ventures set up by the Initiative is Visit West, a destination management company which runs the Visit Bristol website. Visit West markets the West of England and its surrounding area to tourists from all over the world.
- A City to be Proud of – The Matthew
To coincide with the redevelopment of the Harbourside and the 500th anniversary of John Cabot’s historic voyage to Newfoundland in 1497, the Initiative played a significant role in the construction and launch of a replica of his ship, the Matthew. In an act of civic pride, the Initiative supported the replica ship of John Cabot, the original discoverer of North America, to re-enact his historic achievement and cross the Atlantic. The Matthew departed Bristol in front of a packed Harbourside and was greeted in Newfoundland by Her Majesty the Queen and HRH Duke of Edinburgh.
- Creating a City of Diversity and Culture
In order for a city to develop a knowledge economy it needs to attract and retain the brightest students, businesses, and employees; culture, can help us create this environment. The Initiative helped create the Bristol Cultural Development Partnership, now called Bristol Ideas, which plays a significant role in the formation of many major cultural projects throughout the region.
The first major project was the construction of Millennium Square, a derelict railway goods shed which has been transformed into the showpiece of the redeveloped Harbourside. The Square now forms part of the We The Curious development and is an attractive and popular public space which hosts exhibitions and festivals.