My name is Qazzally, I am currently studying History and Religious Studies at Cardiff University. The studying of such subjects has further amplified my interest in the development of communities and society more generally. This is what has inspired and driven me to get involved in volunteering for social enterprises and non-profit organisations such as Bristol Pound and Babbasa. The focus of this blog will be on the common goal of these two organizations.
Without wanting to oversimplify the overall goals of Bristol Pound, I believe that the strengthening of the community within the city is one of the core aims of the organisation. Bristol Pound focuses on impacting the financial/economic aspect of Bristol; there is great emphasis on businesses and consumers working in cohesion, in order to help the local economy. The idea of a localised currency means that many more people are beneficiaries.
If people are encouraged to spend money within the city, it allows for money to stay within the community for longer. This means that the money which may have been sent to other cities or (often) even other countries, can be reinvested by spending it on (participating) local businesses, which helps the community to grow and prosper as a whole. The simple act of buying good-quality local goods can have such a great impact.
In addition, the concept of helping the local people/ community is also prevalent in the ideals of Babbasa, a social enterprise that helps young people to achieve their goals. From internships and apprenticeships to mentoring programmes and workshops, Babbasa seeks to guide local talents by providing them with the necessary resources.
I, myself, was involved in their challenge programme which culminated in a youth conference where young people had a chance to express their concerns about the future of Bristol. This experience opened my eyes to the passion and care young people of all backgrounds have on certain issues; ranging from climate change concerns to addressing employment opportunities for the youth.
It is clear to see that both Babbasa and Bristol Pound have very similar goals in mobilising locals. It is also important to note the similar theme of inclusivity that both organizations represent. The youth, local businesses, and everyone in between are all important in improving the city overall. These experiences have made me acknowledge the various ways in which we can have an impact; there is never just one route. There are, indeed, so many ways that we can make changes in order to reach a more equal and sustainable society.
No matter how big or small your action, we can all do something to progress by working as a collective.