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Third Social Investment Made by Tax Relief Fund in Bristol

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Bristol247 team

Bristol-based social enterprise, “Bristol 24/7” is a city magazine which has received investment from the Bristol Social Investment Tax Relief (SITR) Fund managed by Resonance. This unique fund has invested £150,000 into the magazine, a CIC, to enable it to offer greater work opportunities to young people from marginalised neighbourhoods.

Bristol 24/7 is a popular ‘free to the reader’ online (website, mobile app, digital) newsletter and monthly printed magazine, dedicated to celebrating Bristol, its people and their stories to help build stronger communities and communication between those communities. In addition to “What’s On” in the area, it covers social issues and current affairs that affect the people of Bristol.

Though the publication is a well-known Bristol brand, what is less well-known about the organisation is that it was set up as a Community Interest Company with a clear social mission to produce a compelling range of local content on a variety of formats to support and stimulate the City; and have a large part of that content, written and produced by young talent from marginalised neighbourhoods. These young people might otherwise not get the opportunity to gain work experience in journalism without a degree level education. Profits from the publication are ploughed back into the magazine to grow its social impact.

The founders of the CIC, Dougal Templeton and Mike Bennett, both media professionals, were conscious that Bristol is often referred to as a “divided city” with clear social, economic and cultural differences that mainstream media often portray in a negative way, further serving to exacerbate the challenges and inequalities that certain communities face. Most Bristol publications are aimed at a small number of Bristol wards, ignoring other communities, which have been under-represented and therefore underserved by the media. Bristol 24/7 uncovers positive stories of inspiring people across all the Bristol wards connecting them in a single publication where one community can learn more about what is happening not only in their own neighbourhood but that of others.

The investment from the Fund will help Bristol 24/7 set up local hubs in the various areas of Bristol allowing local people to contribute articles and photos that will be uploaded to the main site, whilst allowing them also to raise their own revenue from advertising. This creates a catalyst for career opportunities in media for those who are currently marginalised, whilst dissipating negative attitudes.

Dougal Templeton said of its investment from the Resonance Fund: “I heard about a new social impact fund being set up in Bristol and was delighted to find out that it was from Resonance, a social impact company which we feel shares our mission to “dismantle poverty” in our great city. This gives us the investment we need to take the social impact of our enterprise to the next level.”

Donna Thomas, Investment Manager from Resonance said: “Being a resident of Bristol, I knew of Bristol 24/7 but was delighted to discover that this very successful magazine also had a clear social mission behind it. Talking to the Bristol 24/7 team, it became clear that the investment they needed would make a big difference in the lives of young people who might like to work in journalism but would be unlikely to be considered in normal circumstances without a degree-level education or previous work experience. Resonance is engaging with many social enterprises in the city who are making real impact and need investment to do more – we want to speak to even more.”

One early success story has seen one of Bristol 24/7’s first work experience candidates Meena Alexander, who is from a BME background with no appropriate qualifications or media background, progress from a short stint of work experience, to a part time role with the magazine as editorial assistant and now a move to London where she is doing a journalism course at News Associates in Wimbledon. Meena has also landed a job at the Times on the production desk in the evenings.

Meena commented: “I really couldn’t think of a better place to start my journalistic career than Bristol24/7. I was thrown in at the deep end and treated like an important member of the team from day one – not a tea tray or photocopier in sight. I learned such a wide variety of skills that have been invaluable; from writing to editing, interviewing to photojournalism. I know I will be putting everything I learned about journalism at Bristol 24/7 to good use for years to come.”

This is now the third investment made by the Resonance Bristol SITR Fund into a Bristol social enterprise in the last 3 months, The Fund uses Social Investment Tax Relief to enable social enterprises to access more affordable, more patient finance, from individuals that share in their social mission, whilst still offering investors a financial return that reflects the risk. For many enterprises, this is the missing link that can help them access the finance they need to scale their social impact. For many investors, the tax relief puts social investment on a level playing field with their other investment opportunities, encouraging them to commit more investment to the issues they care about.

The Fund has raised £1.8m of investment to date and will remain open for eligible investors throughout 2016 with the aim of raising a total of £5m this year, and will then grow further in response to both the need for investment from social enterprises in Bristol and investor demand.

Further Information

Resonance is a social impact investment company. Our mission is to connect capital with social enterprise: something we have been doing across the UK for the last 14 years.

Our Ventures team works with individual social enterprises to raise investment, from investment readiness through to deal arranging. Our Funds team creates and manages impact investment funds, focused on the capital needs of multiple social enterprises. We have particular expertise in community-led projects, homelessness, education, health, social care, criminal justice, agriculture and renewable energy. Resonance has just under £100m under management across its five operational impact investment funds.

With offices in Bristol, Launceston, Manchester and London and a team of over 30, Resonance is helping to build the market for social investment in practice.

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2017 Was the Most Expensive Year Ever for U.S. Natural Disaster Damage

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Natural Disaster Damage
Shutterstock / By Droidworker | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/droidworker

Devastating natural disasters dominated last year’s headlines and made many wonder how the affected areas could ever recover. According to data from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the storms and other weather events that caused the destruction were extremely costly.

Specifically, the natural disasters recorded last year caused so much damage that the associated losses made 2017 the most expensive year on record in the 38-year history of keeping such data. The following are several reasons that 2017 made headlines for this notorious distinction.

Over a Dozen Events With Losses Totalling More Than $1 Billion Each

The NOAA reports that in total, the recorded losses equaled $306 billion, which is $90 billion more than the amount associated with 2005, the previous record holder. One of the primary reasons the dollar amount climbed so high last year is that 16 individual events cost more than $1 billion each.

Global Warming Contributed to Hurricane Harvey

Hurricane Harvey, one of two Category-4 hurricanes that made landfall in 2017, was a particularly expensive natural disaster. Nearly 800,000 people needed assistance after the storm. Hurricane Harvey alone cost $125 billion, with some estimates even higher than that. So far, the only hurricane more expensive than Harvey was Katrina.

Before Hurricane Harvey hit, scientists speculated climate change could make it worse. They discussed how rising ocean temperatures make hurricanes more intense, and warmer atmospheres have higher amounts of water vapor, causing larger rainfall totals.

Since then, a new study published in “Environmental Research Letters” confirmed climate change was indeed a factor that gave Hurricane Harvey more power. It found environmental conditions associated with global warming made the storm more severe and increase the likelihood of similar events.

That same study also compared today’s storms with ones from 1900. It found that compared to those earlier weather phenomena, Hurricane Harvey’s rainfall was 15 percent more intense and three times as likely to happen now versus in 1900.

Warming oceans are one of the contributing factors. Specifically, the ocean’s surface temperature associated with the region where Hurricane Harvey quickly transformed from a tropical storm into a Category 4 hurricane has become about 1 degree Fahrenheit warmer over the past few decades.

Michael Mann, a climatologist from Penn State University, believes that due to a relationship known as the Clausius-Clapeyron equation, there was about 3-5 percent more moisture in the air, which caused more rain. To complicate matters even more, global warming made sea levels rise by more than 6 inches in the Houston area over the past few decades. Mann also believes global warming caused the stationery summer weather patterns that made Hurricane Harvey stop moving and saturate the area with rain. Mann clarifies although global warming didn’t cause Hurricane Harvey as a whole, it exacerbated several factors of the storm.

Also, statistics collected by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from 1901-2015 found the precipitation levels in the contiguous 48 states had gone up by 0.17 inches per decade. The EPA notes the increase is expected because rainfall totals tend to go up as the Earth’s surface temperatures rise and additional evaporation occurs.

The EPA’s measurements about surface temperature indicate for the same timespan mentioned above for precipitation, the temperatures have gotten 0.14 Fahrenheit hotter per decade. Also, although the global surface temperature went up by 0.15 Fahrenheit during the same period, the temperature rise has been faster in the United States compared to the rest of the world since the 1970s.

Severe Storms Cause a Loss of Productivity

Many people don’t immediately think of one important factor when discussing the aftermath of natural disasters: the adverse impact on productivity. Businesses and members of the workforce in Houston, Miami and other cities hit by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma suffered losses that may total between $150-200 billion when both damage and sacrificed productivity are accounted for, according to estimates from Moody’s Analytics.

Some workers who decide to leave their homes before storms arrive delay returning after the immediate danger has passed. As a result of their absences, a labor-force shortage may occur. News sources posted stories highlighting that the Houston area might not have enough construction workers to handle necessary rebuilding efforts after Hurricane Harvey.

It’s not hard to imagine the impact heavy storms could have on business operations. However, companies that offer goods to help people prepare for hurricanes and similar disasters often find the market wants what they provide. While watching the paths of current storms, people tend to recall storms that took place years ago and see them as reminders to get prepared for what could happen.

Longer and More Disastrous Wildfires Require More Resources to Fight

The wildfires that ripped through millions of acres in the western region of the United States this year also made substantial contributions to the 2017 disaster-related expenses. The U.S. Forest Service, which is within the U.S. Department of Agriculture, reported 2017 as its costliest year ever and saw total expenditures exceeding $2 billion.

The agency anticipates the costs will grow, especially when they take past data into account. In 1995, the U.S. Forest Service spent 16 percent of its annual budget for wildfire-fighting costs, but in 2015, the amount ballooned to 52 percent. The sheer number of wildfires last year didn’t help matters either. Between January 1 and November 24 last year, 54,858 fires broke out.

2017: Among the Three Hottest Years Recorded

People cause the majority of wildfires, but climate change acts as another notable contributor. In addition to affecting hurricane intensity, rising temperatures help fires spread and make them harder to extinguish.

Data collected by the National Interagency Fire Center and published by the EPA highlighted a correlation between the largest wildfires and the warmest years on record. The extent of damage caused by wildfires has gotten worse since the 1980s, but became particularly severe starting in 2000 during a period characterized by some of the warmest years the U.S. ever recorded.

Things haven’t changed for the better, either. In mid-December of 2017, the World Meteorological Organization released a statement announcing the year would likely end as one of the three warmest years ever recorded. A notable finding since the group looks at global land and ocean temperature, not just statistics associated with the United States.

Not all the most financially impactful weather events in 2017 were hurricanes and wildfires. Some of the other issues that cost over $1 billion included a hailstorm in Colorado, tornados in several regions of the U.S. and substantial flooding throughout Missouri and Arkansas.

Although numerous factors gave these natural disasters momentum, scientists know climate change was a defining force — a reality that should worry just about everyone.

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Environment

How to be More eco-Responsible in 2018

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eco-responsible
Shutterstock / By KENG MERRY Paper Art | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/kengmerrymikeymelody

Nowadays, more and more people are talking about being more eco-responsible. There is a constant growth of information regarding the importance of being aware of ecological issues and the methods of using eco-friendly necessities on daily basis.

Have you been considering becoming more eco-responsible after the New Year? If so, here are some useful tips that could help you make the difference in the following year:

1. Energy – produce it, save it

If you’re building a house or planning to expand your living space, think before deciding on the final square footage. Maybe you don’t really need that much space. Unnecessary square footage will force you to spend more building materials, but it will also result in having to use extra heating, air-conditioning, and electricity in it.

It’s even better if you seek professional help to reduce energy consumption. An energy audit can provide you some great piece of advice on how to save on your energy bills.

While buying appliances such as a refrigerator or a dishwasher, make sure they have “Energy Star” label on, as it means they are energy-efficient.

energy efficient

Shutterstock Licensed Photo – By My Life Graphic

Regarding the production of energy, you can power your home with renewable energy. The most common way is to install rooftop solar panels. They can be used for producing electricity, as well as heat for the house. If powering the whole home is a big step for you, try with solar oven then – they trap the sunlight in order to heat food! Solar air conditioning is another interesting thing to try out – instead of providing you with heat, it cools your house!

2. Don’t be just another tourist

Think about the environment, as well your own enjoyment – try not to travel too far, as most forms of transport contribute to the climate change. Choose the most environmentally friendly means of transport that you can, as well as environmentally friendly accommodation. If you can go to a destination that is being recommended as an eco-travel destination – even better! Interesting countries such as Zambia, Vietnam or Nicaragua are among these destinations that are famous for its sustainability efforts.

3. Let your beauty be also eco-friendly

eco-friendly

Shutterstock / By Khakimullin Aleksandr

We all want to look beautiful. Unfortunately, sometimes (or very often) it comes with a price. Cruelty-free cosmetics are making its way on the world market but be careful with the labels – just because it says a product hasn’t been tested on animals, it doesn’t  mean that some of the product’s ingredients haven’t been tested on some poor animal.

To be sure which companies definitely stay away from the cruel testing on animals, check PETA Bunny list of cosmetic companies just to make sure which ones are truly and completely cruelty-free.

It’s also important if a brand uses toxic ingredients. Brands such as Tata Harper Skincare or Dr Bronner’s use only organic ingredients and biodegradable packaging, as well as being cruelty-free. Of course, this list is longer, so you’ll have to do some online research.

4. Know thy recycling

People often make mistakes while wanting to do something good for the environment. For example, plastic grocery bags, take-out containers, paper coffee cups and shredded paper cannot be recycled in your curb for many reasons, so don’t throw them into recycling bins. The same applies to pizza boxes, household glass, ceramics, and pottery – whether they are contaminated by grease or difficult to recycle, they just can’t go through the usual recycling process.

People usually forget to do is to rinse plastic and metal containers – they always have some residue, so be thorough. Also, bottle caps are allowed, too, so don’t separate them from the bottles. However, yard waste isn’t recyclable, so any yard waste or junk you are unsure of – just contact rubbish removal services instead of piling it up in public containers or in your own yard.

5. Fashion can be both eco-friendly and cool

Believe it or not, there are actually places where you can buy clothes that are eco-friendly, sustainable, as well as ethical. And they look cool, too! Companies like Everlane are very transparent about where their clothes are manufactured and how the price is set. PACT is another great company that uses non-GMO, organic cotton and non-toxic dyes for their clothing, while simultaneously using renewable energy factories. Soko is a company that uses natural and recycled materials in making their clothes and jewelry.

All in all

The truth is – being eco-responsible can be done in many ways. There are tons of small things we could change when it comes to our habits that would make a positive influence on the environment. The point is to start doing research on things that can be done by every person and it can start with the only thing that person has the control of – their own household.

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