The CharityJob Guide to Living And Working In Bristol
Straddling the Avon gorge is the largest city in the South West. It happens to have been recently voted as one of the best places to live in the world. The city is Bristol, and happens to be my home town, it also has a thriving charity sector which attracts people from all over the country and further afield. The city has a unique style and character, which simply cannot be replicated in London and the South East. This might just explain its recurrence as one of the best places to live in the country. It’s a place proud of its food, drink, balloons and street art-an odd combination, but then the city itself is an odd combination and has garnered somewhat of a quirky reputation.
Working in Bristol
This city of just under 500,000 in the South West, has proved itself remarkably recession-proof. Jobs in Bristol remained abundant and varied, throughout turbulent years. Now that the market has recovered, Bristol remains in a good position and seems to be primed for a positive future for the local job market. Charity Jobs in Bristol continue to be a large and vital section of the market.
As with many places in the South West, Bristol has seen a move from shipping and heavy industry, to a secondary industry like financial services, PR, advertising and even television. The Charity sector, both paid and voluntary, proves to be a strong and resilient sector. Which is why many well-known third sector organizations choose to make this city their home. If you’re a Bristolian, or considering moving there: then pour yourself a pint of scrumpy and check out our third sector jobs in Bristol.
The job market in Bristol is surprisingly strong, for the size of the place. The variety and number of jobs in Bristol remains robust. As a University City there is a strong graduate market. Being the home of British Aerospace and Rolls Royce makes for a reliable engineering market. Aerospace and shipping remain a large part of the local economy, largely due to the active docks at Avonmouth and aircraft manufacturing in Filton: if you’re a plane spotter the last Concorde is still there. There is also a growing creative industry sector, which capitalizes on the many graduates produced by Bristol’s Universities.
But what about charities?
There is also a dynamic job market for charity jobs in Bristol. Some are local and national organisations, such as Rehab 4 Addiction, a national addiction helpline that assists people living in and around Bristol, The Grand Appeal, a hardworking children’s hospital charity, and Second Step, a mental health charity based in the city. There are also local branches of many international charities and not-for-profits, such as Bernardos, Cancer Research UK, Make a Wish Foundation, Oxfam, RSPCA, Shelter and many, many more which contribute to a large third sector market.
Living in Bristol
But what is it like to live and work there? Well, where I used to live, startup cafes and independent shops line the nearby high-street, it’s unlikely you’ll find any familiar brands here! You could find yourself next door to edgy hipsters and even some well-known squats. (but their fine I assure you!) Pubs are an essential part of life in Brizzle, check out The Lazy Dog for one of my particular favorites, a great place to unwind after work. Though the whole place is stuffed with little gems to discover for yourself! Take a stroll down Gloucester Road for a plethora of independent outlets, or check out Park Street for more typical high street fare.
Life in the city can be relaxed and pleasant. Open spaces cover large areas of the city which may be the reasons it was voted Green Capital of Europe in 2015. Good food and drink is available all over the place. The mix of cultures in the Bristol ensures there will always be something new and interesting to try. Check out St Nicholas Market in the City Centre for a wonderful mix of food, shops and culture.
Housing, transport & expenses
Salaries can be quite competitive in Bristol. Though you may be a little surprised if you’re used to rates offered in London and South East. Certainly a London style ‘allowance’ is relatively unheard of. Cost of living can be less, but house prices and rents can be up there with parts of London. Living there does give you the physical advantage of living in a small city—but then again that can make it harder to disappear! And public transport, depending on where you live can be convoluted, due to multiple companies running multiple routes.
It is though, pretty easy to get around the city. You may want to review your transport options if you find yourself working out in the suburbs. Bristol is served by two major train stations, Temple Meads in the city centre and Parkway in the North. It is well connected to the rest of the country by the M4 and M5, local roads like the A38 can be busy in rush hour but connect you easily to suburban areas and the nearby countryside. The green expanses of Somerset and South Gloucestershire are both within commuting distance if you have dreams of a rural life.
The job market
You may find senior roles more abundant, and entry level positions in low demand, but this isn’t a hard and fast rule. Take a look at what we have. Fundraising usually has high availability and so does social care. However the availability of charity jobs in Bristol varies somewhat, and it is always worth checking with us regularly. If you are involved in the region’s thriving for-profit sector and want to start getting involved, check out the abundance of volunteer positions. Job availability in the sector is somewhat smaller than the South East, so a charity job in Bristol may not be quite as easy to land, have a look here for some tips on getting into the sector.
Competition is high, and the graduate market even more so due to the volume of educational institutions. You may find more applications per job than other regions and cities due to Bristol’s new found desirability. This effect may be more pronounced in high-competition industries like Media and PR. Though employment is high and certain sectors like the financial services are in constant recruitment.
What to do in Bristol
So we’ve talked a lot about jobs in Bristol, now the boring parts over! What are you going to do after work? Well, my personal recommendation is take in some of the unique and interesting independent pubs and cafes along Gloucester Road. The Golden Lion is an old favorite (even though it may or may not have a reputation as the post-prison pub), or grab a tea or coffee at Boston Tea Party. Fancy doing something more active? Then why not walk or cycle along the picturesque old railway path to the historic city of Bath, or even tail off onto the River Avon trail for a more rural journey. On the weekend you can head into town and experience the unique nightlife, such as Theckla (come on it’s on a boat!) Pryzm or SWX. Or chill in one of the many pubs or bars.
The countryside is also surprisingly near, you can be in Somerset or South Gloucestershire within half hour (traffic permitting!). where you can visit Cheddar Gorge, or find yourself hiking or mountain biking in the Forest of Dean. Wales is within reach, with both Newport and Cardiff a short train ride away, where you can then escape to rural South Wales. When you get back home you can take a stroll along the waterfront, taking in the many historic sites, including the SS Great Britain which finds its home in the picturesque docks. Or just wander around and allow yourself to get lost in the city to discover many hidden gems, like Bristol Byzantine architecture.
Whatever you do there, the city is expected to grow over the next few years. When such growth is presented we expect to see more funds available to charity sector, coupled with operating costs in London proving more and more unrealistic such regional cities will be future bases of operation. So whether you live there, or are considering living there, Bristol is already, and is primed to become a major capital for charity jobs in the region. Remember to keep an eye out for charity jobs in Bristol at CharityJob.