About Rise

Rise is a non-profit social enterprise that was established in 2013, by initial founders Sandra Gordon and Lynn Mareno who recognised the lack of visibility of black businesses on the high street. We specialise in providing opportunities for those businesses to promote what they do to a wider audience through organised events, exhibitions and our weekly radio program on the multi award winning radio station Ujima 98fm.

RISE ‘Recognising Individuals Success and Efforts’

Inspiration came from the poem ‘I Rise’ Maya Angelou & one of Marcus Garvey’s speeches where he stated ‘Up you mighty people’

The vision is to:

  • Create and showcase a platform for Business entrepreneurs from within the BME community
  • Support and facilitate personal development and self-realisation
  • Address social and economic inequalities within the BME community
  • Act as a catalyst towards the integration of the BME community into the broader social and economics’ of Bristol.
  • To provide facilities for continuous learning in business & creativity

We wanted to create a common purpose of achieving goals through personal and professional aspirations.

One of the ways is to facilitate recognition of the role models within our community and therefore creating aspirational beliefs, this is achieved through our annual awards event.

During 2014 we were lucky enough to be awarded lottery funding to deliver business and personal development workshops to a number of women who have used the skills learnt to continue expanding their businesses and personal lives.

In 2015, we join the award winning community radio station Ujima 98fm with our own weekly radio program which provides a platform for entrepreneurs and businesses to promote themselves, as well as facilitating debate and conversation of key issues within the Community.

Sandra Gordon – Bio

My working career started as an admin assistant and I worked my way up through the ranks to Head of site running my own Call Centre. I was responsible for over 350 staff, which in a male dominated industries and one where there were not many senior managers from an ethnic background was quite an achievement.

I utilised the opportunity of a career break to undertake voluntary work with kids in South Africa, and Ghana (teaching English and sport coaching) as well as volunteering as a job coach for the homeless in Bristol.

During this period I continued to study, and achieved qualifications in TESOL teaching qualification and became an accredited Life Coach.

I am on the Board of Ujima Radio as well as co presenting my own program which is use as a platform to promote and showcase members of our city who are striving in business and their community but do not always get a chance to be heard. A mentor for the Mayor’s endorsed ‘Stepping up program’.

As well as working for Bristol Women’s voice, which is a powerful voice for women making women’s equality in Bristol a reality. I have been selected as one of the cities Race Equality Commissioners of which I am a Deputy Chair.

Commission on Race Equality: A vision of a city where equality of opportunity for BME people is a reality. Where all are valued and can fulfil their hopes and aspirations in an inclusive, safe and empowering environment. A city that rejects injustice and inequality and works collaboratively to build thriving, strong and cohesive communities.

Socially I am also involved in a few projects and enterprise that focus on supporting the under presented in the city to have the same opportunities to move forward in their lives.

At the heart of everything I do is about giving everyone a chance to be the best they can be and to bring balance and equality to those groups who are disadvantaged in our society. Giving everyone an equal opportunity to enjoy the rich cultural diverse landscape and services on offer in this thriving city, but not accessible to all.

My hope is that everyone in Bristol has an equal opportunity to benefit and enjoy the fruits of this prosperous vibrant city. It will be normal to see an all-inclusive diverse high street within the city centre. Ethnic role models and those in senior prominent positions of power will be easily visible and reflect the make-up of a changing Bristol.

Lynn Mareno – Bio

Born and raised in Bristol and moving to Easton at 13 from Knowle West Lynn has seen both sides of multiculturalism in Bristol as well as the segregated view she has experienced growing up.

Leaving Bristol and returning over a period of 2 decades, Lynn saw that nothing had changed upon her return to Bristol in 2008.

Realising that she could play a part in helping to support her community in which, she saw the lack of visibility in mainstream Bristol socially and economically, she saw a gap and became actively involved in creating the space for women from the African Caribbean Community to become part of the changing face of Bristol made possible after meeting Sandra Gordon who shared the same views.

With her social conscience to help and promote the younger generation she also as a counsellor and complimentary therapist, motivational speaker and workshop facilitator, recognises the needs for community involvement and donates a lot of time supporting the young people of her community as well as elders whom, she sees as the foundation for our generation and beyond.