News, events and schools' information for families across Bristol

Marking the start of preparations for this year’s Bristol Harbour Festival, 60 children from in and around Bristol got together at Minerva Primary Academy last week, to design and build cardboard boats for the event. The miniature boats will be released at the festival’s opening ceremony in July, as the city welcomes locals and visitors back to its Harbourside to celebrate its vibrant maritime history after a two year break due to covid.

The workshop, led by the team at My Future My Choice, challenged the children to create cardboard boats that will be launched on Bristol’s floating harbour at midday on Saturday 16th July. The fun and educational day gave the children a chance to better understand the history of Bristol’s harbour as well as take part in the city’s flagship festival in the summer.

“We’re making boats that won’t sink!” the pupils taking part told us. “We’re going to decorate them with hearts and smiley faces and then race them in July at the Harbour Festival.”

Around 100 model sailing boats will take part in the event, made by 700 primary school children from across the city.

“The absolute joy that’s coming through with what they’re doing, along with the skills they’re using to work together and their resilience in finding out what works and what doesn’t is absolutely fantastic,” Tiggy Latcham, a teacher at Minerva Primary Academy said. “They’re very excited to launch their boats at the festival in July.”

Bringing history and science to life

Joined by volunteers from PwC UK, the workshop demonstrated some of the engineering that goes into boat-building and helped the children to create and decorate their very own cardboard boat in teams of 4 or 5. 

“Many communities remain disconnected from their maritime heritage and what it may hold for their future,” explains Hugh Thomas at My Future My Voice, an initiative that develops practical ways of engaging young people with the world outside school. “Through this programme, young people of all ages will experience their maritime heritage, visit exciting locations and work in teams with business volunteers including maritime architects and engineers.”

Not only will the festival be celebrating its return after not going ahead during covid restrictions, but 2022 will celebrate the event’s 50th year. Over 120 hours of entertainment, across seven stages, is expected to attract a quarter of a million visitors to the city’s waterfront. Find out more about what’s happening over the four day event at the Bristol Harbour Festival website.