The Ethical Property company have centres across England, Wales and Scotland and in Bristol they have signed up to Bristol Zero Tolerance and pledged to raise awareness about gender-based violence with their tenants.
We spoke to David Fells, the Centre Manager at Brunswick Court, about why they think that this work is important and how they want to work with Bristol Zero Tolerance to address this with those they work with and their tenants, who make up over 50 organisations across Bristol.
For David the initiative links in with other schemes in the city and can work in similar ways to get people thinking differently and taking action “looking at other projects like the idea of a Cycling City and a Green City, it would work through publicity and events that get [gender-based violence] more into the consciousness… certainly if we can play a part in that and help to raise awareness, publicise events, or be involved in them, then that would be a great thing!.. It’s very important that these kinds of issues, which often happen behind closed doors or away from the public eye, are made more high profile… if the city as a whole can get on board with the idea and publicise it then hopefully it will help to give confidence to those people who might be suffering to come forward and have a city-wide safe environment where they can talk about it more openly.”
The Ethical Property Company manage six buildings across Bristol with a variety of different tenants and people using each building, many of these are organisations who work on gender-based violence issues. Part of the ethos of Ethical Property is to support partnership working and a sense of community between tenants, and David feels that this is why being part of Bristol Zero Tolerance makes sense for them: “Ethical Property works a lot with various kinds of organisations that potentially have clients or members of staff that possibly have a history of violence or are more linked in with the issues involved, and so I think for Ethical Property it’s very important that we support those tenants, support the people in our buildings, and help to promote the issues also to tenants who possibly aren’t so aware of it… it’s building those relationships, and we are doing that for lots of other issues, environmental issues for example, trying to make sure that every tenant is aware and can encourage people to work together towards improving people’s overall situations.”
Bristol Zero Tolerance will be supporting Ethical Property (Bristol) to develop their action plan and they have already had some great ideas about where they can improve on what they are already doing, such as developing a safe spaces policy and offering attack alarms to tenants. As David notes “we have Codes of Practice which explain to tenants how we expect them to behave, there are already some details around these issues but that could be expanded upon and we would like Bristol Zero Tolerance to help with guidance on what best practice would be. And then I think it would be good to try and schedule in some events in our buildings, using the meeting rooms for example, where we invite tenants, so rather than a passive document we have something where we reach out and try to raise awareness that way… We could do training for our own staff and also open that up to tenants and people who use our buildings as well – so people who might not be signed up themselves, benefit from us being more aware of the issues.”
There is good communication between tenants through e-mails and newsletters and this is an opportunity to spread the message about Bristol Zero Tolerance and encourage other organisations to get involved. We look forward to working with them on this and hope that it will inspire Ethical Property tenants across Bristol to address gender-based violence.