Project to build a fairer future for Bristol’s young people launched with backing of key organisations

April 5, 2024

An innovative social mobility model to address inequality and deprivation is underway in Bristol, with nine major city institutions already signed up to it.

The project, led by Bristol social enterprise and youth empowerment organisation Babbasa, has the long-term vision of advancing 2,030 underrepresented young people from low-income households to secure a median salary by 2030. 

It is based on Babbasa’s OurCity2030 initiative, which has been piloted over the past year and has already supported 229 young people to achieve employment outcomes – with 78 advancing into career-oriented work.

OurCity2030 is underpinned by an in-depth socio-economic analysis which has identified the challenges and opportunities facing young people in Bristol’s inner-city wards in the regional labour market.

The initiative will now support up to 600 young people a year, facilitating paths into the sectors which are thriving across the South West, such as the technology and creative industries, while supporting employers to create inclusive work environments.

The nine institutions already signed up – and which now make up the OurCity2030 advisory board – are global engineering and consultancy group Arup, Black South West Network, impact investor Bristol & Bath Regional Capital, Bristol City Council (acting through the One City Office), Business West, Cabot Learning Federation, University of Bristol and UWE Bristol, along with Babbasa, 

The board is now seeking community partners, businesses and funders to help achieve its aim of ending the cycle of social immobility, inequality and deprivation for the next generation.

It also hopes the project will become a model for similar work in other UK cities and regions.

Babbasa founding director Poku Osei said: “This is a momentous occasion, not just for Bristol, but for other cities too, to realise what can pragmatically be done at a city level to unlock talent if we are intentional – particularly at a time when we’re losing bright young and able minds to a life of crime, gangs and despondency.

“It’s special to be able to have an agreement for a city model that brings together influential cross-sector institutions to tackle the problem head on.”

Mayor of Bristol Marvin Rees added: “It has been fantastic to see Bristol’s businesses, universities and institutions come together to support Babbasa and OurCity2030 so far, with this marking an important milestone in unlocking the next stage in the programme.

“This initiative showcases what Bristol can achieve, with partners collaborating and driving forward a vision for a truly inclusive city economy.”

Phil Smith, managing director of Business West – which runs Bristol Chamber of Commerce – said many talented young people from some of Bristol’s most deprived communities struggled to find well-paid employment in what is economically vibrant city.

“Yet many of Business West’s Bristol-based member businesses are screaming out for talent,” he added.

“It cannot be right that both of these facts are true at the same time. OurCity2030 is linking both needs, satisfying both parties.

“Business West is delighted to play our part in breaking this cycle of inequality and supporting businesses to grow.”

Babbasa was formed in 2013 in response to the growing gap in the economic achievement of young people from some of Bristol’s most diverse and disadvantaged inner-city communities.

For more information or to get involved in the OurCity2030 initiative, visit

Pictured, below: Babbasa founding director Poku Osei, seated left, with Mayor of Bristol Marvin Rees and representatives of the institutions backing the  OurCity2030 initiative

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