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My Bristol: Carly Heath, Night Time Economy Advisor for Bristol

Like so many others, I moved to Bristol for university and never left, that was 18 years ago now. I met some amazing friends whilst promoting music events. I started by standing outside venues flyering at 3am… I’ve been part of the fabric of the city ever since. Bristol is one of those magical places, where friendships can forge, connections are made, and the community comes together to help drive change and make things happen. It has a national and international reputation as a leading city when it comes to music and culture. I wouldn’t live anywhere else.

The Mayor appointed me as the Night Time Economy Advisor to represent that part of the city’s economy that’s active between 6pm to 6am. His ambition is to have a thriving, safe and diverse night time economy and has tasked me with the job of working with relevant sectors, to represent them and provide him with the advice and guidance needed to shape progressive policies that supports inclusive and sustainable growth. It means I sit somewhere between industry and policy. I help businesses embed best practices for their workforces and try to help the night time economy thrive. My work touches on many areas, from safety, drug and alcohol harm reduction, mental health to skills and training. I work with colleagues in the council across public health, planning, licencing and economic development, and try to champion best practice on a local, national and international level.

This first year has been all about helping to create a safer and more welcoming environment for everyone to enjoy Bristol’s amazing nightlife. Under the ‘Bristol Nights’ umbrella for all things night time, we’ve worked on a number of campaigns from the Bristol Rules, helping people returning to nightlife to have a safe night out after opening post-pandemic, or the Stop-Spiking campaign, embedding a city-wide response into 154 venues across Bristol. Since January 2022, we have been tackling misogyny and harassment, you might have seen our It’s Not Okay anti-sexual harassment campaign in Bristol. We’ve accompanied this with training for nightlife workers and the launch of a Women’s Safety Charter to help businesses design for safety. The city doesn’t stop at 6 o’clock, and through training and a coordinated approach, the night time economy can be part of the solution in making Bristol the best place to live, work or play in.

I want to shout out to the 100s of nightlife workers that have engaged in our training to create a zero-tolerance attitude to harassment in our nightlife spaces, the venues for investing their time and energy to embed these policies into their own businesses. Also to the army of promoters, musicians and audiences who create such a welcoming environment in Bristol’s nightlife.

I religiously listen to Felix Joy on the SWU FM Breakfast show, and so many of their shows are an incredible snapshot of the Bristol music community. I am listening to the Greentea Peng album Man Made or Children of Zeus’s Balance. I am currently reading The Authority Gap by Mary Ann Sieghart.

Bristol’s food game is amazing. I can’t get enough of the variety down at Wapping Wharf, my particular favorite is the Katsu Arancini Balls at Seven Lucky Gods. I’m really enjoying some of our newer spaces, such as Propyard, Lost Horizons and Strange Brew. I love so much of what Bristol has to offer, but Teachings in Dub at Trinity is fairly high on my list.

If I could have dinner with anyone from any era I would have to choose Mansa Musa, the middle-ages Malian Emperor and possibly the richest person to ever live. He journeyed with a caravan of gold-laden camels through the Sahara Desert and gave away so much that it depressed the price of gold in Cairo for years after his visit. I reckon a feast at that table would be pretty spectacular.

My philosophy in life is: keep love in your heart, every day is a brand new start.

Follow Carly on Twitter at: @Carlybag