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The Bristol-Oporto Foundation

The Foundation awards small grants to schools, youth, art and sports groups, etc., to enable projects to be undertaken on a Portuguese theme.

In partnership with NatWest Bank, and annual EDUCATIONAL grant is awarded to a local school to undertake a project. This has led to an impressive range of imaginative and creative displays.

BRISTOL OPORTO FOUNDATION PROJECTS. We are looking for new projects to support.   Scholarships and educational support are available for Porto/Portugal connected events and projects.  We have some ideas already for a possible photographic competition and a charity event.  
A recent Foundation grant has been awarded to support a medical student attending Porto University to take part in an Advanced English Language course at Summer School here in Bristol. Our sister organisation Associação Porto-Bristol is also supporting this venture.

Last year (2017) the Bristol-Oporto Foundation offered the University of Bristol a  small grant to go to a student attending University or having a work  placement in Porto during their year abroad.  Student Katie Harwood was  chosen by the Hispanics Department as the best candidate to receive this  award.
This year, our sister organisation (the Oporto-Bristol Association) offered a grant for a Portuguese national to stay in Bristol for two weeks. He sent us an interesting report which we publish below:

The Foundation has gave the following awards in 2017:
  • £300 NatWest Award for Cleve House School for a Portugal project with year 5/6 pupils
  • £350 grant for Katie Harwood, Bristol University student in Porto from this (2017) September
  • £250 participation in 24hrs in Bristol by Miguel machado Rocha
  • £250 participation in 24hrs in Bristol by Sarah Diamond Vale
  • £300 support of a Bedminster school/Scout group taking part in a Christams Lantern Parade. This will also feature our Barco Rabelo model. There will be fireworks on Sat 9th December at about 6:00pm.

In 2018 we gave £400 to Pedro Teixera to attend a two-week langauge course.
In 2019 we gave £300 to the Bedminster Lantern Parade and paid expenses for the '767 miles to Bristol' project with Sons do Douro.

Pedro Miguel Teixeira
This summer I had a life-changing experience, which was provided by Porto – Bristol Association. It was the first time outside my country, it was the first time I caught a plane, it was the first time that I stayed two weeks on my own, exploring a whole new world. And Bristol was the laureate city.
In the beginning I was a bit concerned about this experience since I was going to a new city, more than 750 miles away, in a country where I’m neither native nor surrounded by family and friends. But the nerves quickly passed away.
In the first days I felt something indescribable, something like wanting to know everything, wanting to go everywhere to discover all corners of the so-called “city of balloons”. Upon arriving in the city, I came across to lots of figures of an animated series that I discovered they had been created in Bristol: Wallace & Gromit. They were scattered throughout the city and the main goal was to find all of them. I soon realized that my experience in Bristol would be unforgettable.

Wallace and I at Millennium Square and in Colston Avenue; Grommit at St. Mary Redcliffe Church; Feathers McGraw at Wills Memorial Building.
However, these two weeks could not just consist on being a tourist. I was also a student. I attended BLC (Bristol Language Centre) to take an Advanced English Language course. This school has super committed teachers who are focused in students to boost their English, both in and out of the classroom. I participated in countless social activities where we could learn English in an amusing way. Overall, I admit that my English skills did enhance a lot either because I worked harder or because I needed to speak English all day in any situation. Even in those moments when my family called me, I revealed a small difficulty in speaking Portuguese.
I met several people at school, some of them I hope to keep in touch for a long time. I established strong bonds of friendship with Raffaele, Roman and Vitaly who are from Italy, Switzerland and Russia, respectively. After classes we sometimes went to a pub to chat a little bit while we were tasting new beers and ciders. Our friendship evolved quickly, and we expect to visit our countries in the future!
In fact, it was with them that I went to know other places in our free time. We visited Weston-super-Mare, Bath, Oxford and Cardiff. I fell in love with Oxford, probably because of its university facet. I promised I would go back there one day.

Royal Crescent, Bath, Oxford

At the end of the day I went to a couple’s house, where I had dinner and stayed the night. Mr. John and his wife Georgina were extremely careful to me and they were always there if I needed something. I learned a lot of the English culture with them as well as I developed my critical mind on controversial topics, such as Brexit or the Muslim presence in the UK. I listened to a lot of opinions and I realised that those of my generation prefer to continue to belong to the EU, while the older ones would rather keep the UK more traditional and are not receptive to globalisation.
Moreover, Mr. John and I share a passion, we both are English football’ fans so that we had long conversations about the teams and players. He even described me where the teams are in an UK map and defended his favourite one: Bristol Rovers! I confess that having stayed with this family was extremely crucial to the success of my experience.
During my stay in Bristol, I was fortunate to attend one of the most prestigious events of the year: the Bristol Balloon Fiesta. I had never seen anything like that: dozens of balloons shining in the dark with background music. I can say that I saw the most populous part of Bristol (there were thousands of people watching the show), but also the most beautiful and breath-taking one. It was an incredible way of being welcomed to the city!

Bristol is a city that conjoins the urban environment with the presence of green areas. One of the things that I enjoyed the most was to have lunch with my friends in Castle Park and Green Square, two wonderful parks where we can quickly get away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Another characteristic mark of the city are the graffiti. I could see a myriad of these paintings, each of them in all shapes and sizes. I also saw some graffiti in the bathrooms!

Besides, I was always trying to gather as many memories as I could from this city. Especially the food, I tasted everything I could, from the complexity of fish and chips, an English pie or grilled dinner to just a plain sandwich for lunch. I also tried out the typical cookies of all flavours: chocolate, orange or salted caramel. I recognise that in the beginning it was very difficult to get used to this new food “out-of-hours” (in Portugal I have dinner at 8.30pm and in Bristol it was about 6.30pm)! However, after the first days I felt like I was really at home!
An English typical pie, fish and chips and a coffee with a chocolate cookie– they were delicious!
I could definitely prove the myth that the English people are extremely punctual! The buses and trains are very organized and always arrived on time as well as the teachers to the classes. In addition, my hosts lent me a bike, but I had to pedal with double attention because the traffic circulates on the left. In fact, even the shopping centres escalators are on the left! They also have dedicated bicycle lanes, so cyclists can drive safely.
Of the few negative things I have to point out was the existence of works in the city centre which made some walks around the city difficult. But, perhaps in the future, I may know Bristol as it really is: a modern, welcoming and exciting city. Furthermore, as a medical student, I couldn’t leave Bristol without visiting the hospital, so I went to have a look at the Bristol Royal Hospital for children! Soon did I realize that working in Bristol might be a forthcoming possibility.

Bristol Royal Hospital for children

Finally, I have to thank Porto – Bristol Association for giving me this opportunity. These two weeks were stunning, and I could meet different people, with their different habits and culture. I certainly improved a lot my knowledge about the UK. For sure I will come back to Bristol in a near future!
Thank you!!!

A sunny afternoon in College Green

Me near Clifton Suspension Bridge

Bristol City Centre by the night!


The projects are designed to improve International knowledge and understanding as well as to assist and promote specific Portuguese related projects for both groups and individuals.
Our NatWest Education Award fund supported a special Portugal Day held at Cleve House School in Knowle for Year 5/6 pupils. This gave schoolchildren an opportunity to find out more about Portuguese culture, language, food and art (tiles).  It is hoped to find a school in Porto to make penfriend and email links.
A Foundation grant award was given to a Bristol University student who is currently studying at Porto University during the autumn semester.  The student will send us reports and a Blog about her stay.
The Foundation has recently given a grant to support a person from Porto to take part in the photographic event 24 hours in Bristol.  It has been a good opportunity for this young man to improve his photographic skills, widen his horizons and as well undertake a BBC Radio interview.
The Foundation is giving a grant to assist with costs incurred by a Bedminster Scout Group making a lantern incorporating a special Portuguese inspired design.  This will be part of a local Christmas Lantern Parade in Bedminster.      
Photo: BBC Radio Bristol – 24hrs in Bristol photographic participants Miguel Machado Rocha & Sarah Dimond Vale with presenter Ali Vowles.  Miguel’s visit was supported by the Bristol Oporto Foundation
Some of the excellent photos from the competion my be seen here.

This year, 2017, we have paid £300 toward the NatWest award for Cleve House School for a Portugal project with year 5/6 pupils and a £350 grant for Katie Harwood, a Bristol University Student studying in Porto from September.
New grants have also been approved for Miguel Machado Rocha for his participation in "24 Hours in Bristol". the photography competition held in Bristol. Also, £300 is to be given to a Bedminster school/Scout group taking part in a Christmas Lantern Parade.

Past donations and continuing fundraising efforts have enabled us to make small grants to help encourage and stimulate interest in links with Oporto and Portugal.  We consider this a vital part of our twinning role.
A Foundation grant supported a visit by a theatre group from Oporto some years ago who gave a public performance and workshops.  This certainly raised the bar and has since encouraged several projects by both groups and individuals in drama, musical, art and photographic projects.  
Community Choirs, Cathedral choirs as well as the black cloaked Oporto University TUNA students well known for ‘singing for their supper’ have taken part in musical events.
The NatWest Education Award scheme has meant we are able to continue to offer schools grants to take part in projects connected to Portugal and our twin city.  Schoolchildren who may not otherwise have had such an opportunity have benefitted greatly and it has provided memorable experiences for all those involved.

The latest grant to be given by the Bristol-Oporto Foundation was to João Sousa, an engineering student. He seemed to have had a very pleasant and profitable stay - he even wrote a report of what happened:

A Portuguese perspective on Britain and British people
In my first trip to Britain, I found an ancient country with a vast amount of amazing attractions to offer to its tourists. I also found a special nation with various curious customs. First of all, I would like to emphasize the extreme politeness, respect and courtesy of British people. There is a slight exception to this behaviour, that will be addressed later. While working, everyone is really professional and focused on doing their best. For instance, in the Bristol Language Centre, the language school I attended for two weeks, both the teachers and the staff were not only approachable and friendly but they were also available to promptly help the students in whatever they need. Other services, like public transports, are extremely organized and effective. Definitely, British punctuality is not a myth. I caught at least two buses per day and they were always on time! When the traffic was calm, the bus stopped for a short period of time in order not to arrive earlier at the next bus stop. In the beginning I didn't understand why this happened and I found it awkward, but after I realized why it makes absolutely sense! By the way, in the first days I went crazy due to the left hand traffic, especially at roundabouts and zebra crossings, where I didn't know in which direction I should look. Every time I took a glance at a child inside a car on the left front seat, I was shocked "A child driving?". But then I remembered I was in Britain, so the driver is on the right front seat and I calmed down.
Regarding the weather in Britain, it is known worldwide that it isn't good. Even in summer, at least from my experience, the rain is always there. Although the frequent showers, the British people, who were always equipped with waterproof clothes, kept doing their daily life routine as usual, as if there wasn't any rain.
When there is a sunny day, everyone had lunch in one of the several city parks, which is definitely a pleasant experience. In fact, this city parks culture is uncommon in Portugal and I found it amazing. Whether it's a student or someone in a suit, it's certain they will get the most out of the sunny day! Either way, at lunchtime, they lay on the grass and enjoy their meal. This brings to mind one of the most-talked about topics regarding the British culture: the food, that it is perceived worldwide as bad. To be honest, I can't disagree with this opinion. At least from what I noticed, British food is a bit plain and most of the meals involve fried food, such as chips, that I ate in most of the meals. Besides the dish "fish and chips", eating fish is uncommon, which is something strange for a Portuguese. Nevertheless, there is a wide range of international restaurants, ranging from Italian to Chinese food.
One of the most interesting facts about British people is their "new" behaviour on Friday and Saturday evenings. After leaving the work on Friday, it is common to go to a pub and drink some beers while catching up with friends. I consider this a very healthy practice. The problem relies on the amount of beers they drink. After two or three hours, it is easy to identify the effect of the alcohol and, gradually, the courtesy and politeness start to go away. This is the exception I mentioned before. Anyway, going to a pub to drink a couple of beers while listening to live music is an amazing experience and something typical from Britain!
Last but not least, I found the country a bit divided by a current affair that involves everyone: the "Brexit". Although the referendum was in June, it is still one of the main topics of conversation. I often listened to people discussing it in public places and we also talked about it in classes. I tried to hear as many opinions as possible so that I could understand their perspective. The thought on this matter is related to a broader opinion on globalization and how countries should embrace this inevitable future reality or not. On the one hand, I found the younger generation were more open minded and wanted to embrace globalization, even though there might be negative consequences. Obviously, they wanted to remain in the EU. On the other hand, the older generation are afraid of open borders and claim "We want our country back", as a sign of preserving the old beliefs. They argue that the Great Britain is a powerful nationhood, with a strong economy and a remarkable history. Consequently, according to them, they don't want to follow "Brussels' orders". It's important to note that this correlation between age and opinion wasn't always true.
Sometimes, when talking to British people, it wasn't easy to understand some words due to the unique accent they have. But after a couple of days, I started to get used to it and I managed to have several discussion with the natives. It was an amazing experience getting to know the British culture. They are incredibly polite and also funny, mainly on Friday and Saturday evenings, when they are in high spirits! I am very grateful to have had this opportunity!

Ana was awarded a Foundation grant by Trustees to support her project doing unpaid social work with disadvantaged teenagers in Bristol.  Here is her story in her own words:
I arrived at Bristol on the 3rd of May to start a placement with Kids Company, under the Erasmus + program. I already had a room to stay in and had a warming welcome by my landlords who picked me up, at night, from the airport, filled my shelf on the fridge and prepared my room for a quiet start in this new city.
I started working on the 5th of May at The Island. I have a very vivid memory of the first day at work; of thinking how chaotic it seemed, with staff coming in and out and full of young people hanging around, laughing and talking loud. It was a, sometimes, hard path to find my way in the team, but soon I learnt to see behind the apparent chaos to find amazing people, from staff to young people, and an extraordinary work being developed. During three months I was a Key Worker and worked close with young people aged 16 to 24, helping them with their needs. During three months I liaised with other agencies, booked meetings, went to appointments, created relationships with the young people and felt accepted by them. Despite being a Social Worker I found it difficult to key work, to respect the young peoples’ timings, decisions and their own evolution whilst being there for them, always. Unfortunately, nothing does last forever and, due to financial problems, Kids Company entered receivership at the beginning of August. To confirm the importance of the work done by this charity, the Local Authority and Creative Youth Network joined forces to bring a softer closure to Kids Company and The Island ran for another month to find its end at 4th of September 2015. And with it also did my placement.
During these last few days I took care of everything to be able to legally work in the UK and I plan to stick around for a while longer. Bristol is a vibrant city, with beautiful views and people, a lot do and experience. Since I arrived I went on a lot of touristic tours and sightseeing, but also tried to experience life as a local and am proud to say that I am getting able to cope with four seasons changing throughout the day!
I have to thank Bristol Oporto Association, especially to Liz, not only for the financial support, but also for linking me with Kids Company. Despite the sudden ending of a placement primarily thought to end in October, I gathered a totally worthy 4 months' work and life experiences that I will not forget and the possibility of a new start in Bristol.                    

Ana Anselmo 14th of September, 2015      

Coming up in the New Year – we have a joint book launch project supported by a grant awarded by the Oporto Foundation.  The book is of poetry by Paul Hawkins of Bristol and by Bruno Neiva who lives in Porto.   We are pleased to support this venture and the local launch in Bristol should be on 26th March 2016 at Artworks in Stokes Croft. This will be confirmed nearer the time.

                                                  SPHIZA’s STREET ART depiction of Fernando Pessoa, famous Portuguese writer and poet, was seen recently on a large advertising banner used by Destination Bristol, Bristol’s tourism arm depicting Bristol attractions.

You may remember that in 2013 Sphiza had been awarded a grant by the Oporto Foundation to create a wall painting in North Street near the Tobacco Factory for the UPFest Street Art event. It is good to know it has been selected by Bristol Tourism to illustrate Bristol’s street art scene and that it lives on even though the original painting is no longer there. The works are painted over at the following year’s event.

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