Can Do Bristol is central to Bristol City Council's strategy for building stronger communities.
The platform recently helped the Community Development team to coordinate a citywide volunteering response to COVID-19, recruiting 4,000 new volunteers in four weeks. Whilst they used the platform to recruit and mobilise volunteers around urgent service priorities, local communities also used the platform to self-mobilise (e.g. delivering food parcels to vulnerable people).
Over 8,500 people, groups and businesses have joined the platform to support volunteering and social action - contributing to some extraordinary stories of volunteering and neighbourliness; from residents delivering essential groceries to businesses delivering warm meals to the elderly.
The platform was originally licensed to support the City Council’s citywide volunteering strategy – an initiative from the Neighbourhoods and Communities team to connect volunteers with volunteering opportunities at a city scale.
Our depth of product features and vision for a partnership model has appealed to a variety of departments within the Council and also partners from the voluntary and private sectors too, so is therefore evolving.
Primarily, Can Do Bristol enables anyone in the city to post, promote and manage their volunteering opportunities. Members can respond to these opportunities, keep a record of their volunteered hours and search for opportunities that match their profile.
The Bristol Reading in Schools project alone has successfully crowdsourced 300 volunteers, mostly people of retirement age, to help children from years 1, 2 and 3 (5, 6 and 7 year olds) who have fallen behind with their reading. Volunteers from across the city commit many days to improving children's confidence and overall reading skills. The average reading age of children has improved by 4 months.
Members can also pose challenges, gather ideas and share solutions to the issues that are important to them with the option to turn the best ideas into community-led project teams.
A key challenge for Bristol City Council, and the city as a whole, is to accelerate practical solutions to local problems using any available resources. Our vision for a collaborative cross-sector approach has been instrumental in helping the Council to develop their thinking in this area and shape the ‘Can Do Bristol’ approach.