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Bristol Green Capital Partnership’s community interest statement 2016/17

“Since an inspiring celebration of Bristol Green Capital Partnership’s 10-year anniversary last summer, the Partnership network continues to grow and strengthen. We want to thank all of the Partnership’s member organisations, recent and long-standing, for your ongoing efforts towards achieving the shared vision of a sustainable city with a high quality of life for all.

The role of the Bristol Green Capital Partnership community interest company is to support you, the member organisations. We do this in many ways – providing spaces where you can share ideas, helping you to collaborate with each other, promoting your events, sharing your learnings, and many more besides.

Each year, as a company, we report on how we are serving your interests in a ‘community interest statement’. Our statement for June 2016 to May 2017 (our financial year) reports on how we have supported you in your environmental sustainability efforts in that period.

Do keep an eye out for information on how you can get even more involved in contributing to the Partnership’s vision over the next few weeks, and we look forward to working with you over the next 10 years of the Partnership.”

Ian Townsend, Bristol Green Capital Partnership CIC Chief Executive

Principal activities and achievements June 2016 – 2017

We delivered a programme of 37 free events, forums and workshops during the year, mostly in collaboration with partners, to inform, inspire and connect members around shared goals and complex sustainability challenges – receiving total attendances of over 2,500 people.

Themes: We facilitated regular meetings of the ‘Waste and Resources Action Group’ and Bristol’s ‘Sustainable Transport Network’, in order to drive action and influence policy in line with the objectives of ‘The Good Transport Plan for Bristol’ and ‘Towards a Zero-Waste Bristol’ strategy. We promoted the Bristol Good Food Charter and continued to support organisations to engage with Bristol’s ‘Sustainable Food Cities’ journey, including facilitating stakeholder engagement with the 2016 Good Food Conference and co-hosting a networking event with Bristol Food Network.

Our March 2017 ‘Nature in Danger’ Partnership Gathering provided a unique opportunity for members from all sectors to engage with critical nature-related issues from a local, regional and national perspective – including the potential impacts of Brexit and changes to local authority funding, diversity in nature, nature-friendly farming and volunteer opportunities. 100% of those attendees surveyed reported learning something new about nature in Bristol and feeling more inspired to take action to help protect nature – and BGCP developed a programme of community-focused nature engagement events for the following year as an outcome of this event.

Green Mingles: Our monthly informal networking event continued to connect existing members and welcome new people to the Partnership community. Over 90% of attendees reporting they had made a new and useful connection. Regular meetings of our ‘contact group’ brought together the leads of a range of the city’s sustainability networks, helping to cross-pollinate ideas and ensure news and opportunities were shared across sectors and the interest community.

Communications: Our regular newsletters, a membership blog, website content and social media activity continued to play an integral role in engaging members and broadening the reach of BGCP. We had 35,959 visits to the website from 24,665 unique users, over 4,000 individuals receiving our newsletters and a continued growth in social media from 12,482 to 14,141 followers. Our communications enabled individuals and organisations across the network to keep connected and informed about relevant news, opportunities and consultations – as well as amplifying Bristol’s achievements and learnings to wider audiences on a regional, national and international scale.

Regional planning: Our December 2016 Regional Planning’ Gathering in response to the West of England Joint Spatial Plan / Transport Study offered a platform to encourage critical debate and raise the environmental sustainability ambition of regional plans currently under consultation. Senior leaders in the city offered perspectives from a sustainable energy, food, nature, resources and transport perspective with formal presentations from West of England representatives. Following the gathering, 93% of respondents reported being better informed and 86% were inspired to participate in the consultation.

West of England mayoral election: We led a consortium of partners to deliver a successful and well-attended regional metro-mayoral husting on ‘A sustainable West of England?’ in May 2017, raising environmental sustainability issues up the agenda, engaging the Mayoral candidates, and enabling members and others to have their say on sustainability issues. The event was broadcast live on local Ujima Radio, with commentary and interviews, and the regional relationships developed through this event led to future opportunities in 2017/18 to feed into West of England Combined Authority strategies through meetings and roundtables.

Bristol & the UN Sustainable Development Goals: The Partnership continued to facilitate a growing network of city stakeholders interested in localising the SDGs to Bristol, not only from the environmental sustainability community and the other dimensions of sustainable development, social and economic. The Bristol SDG Alliance submitted evidence to the House of Commons’ Environmental Audit Committee’s inquiry on the SDGs & the UK and commissioned a team of postgraduate students from the University of Bristol to draw up a report on the SDGs and Bristol to further the Alliance’s advocacy of using the UN’s global agenda in the city. Our Chief Executive also joined the panel for a well-attended UN Global Compact cities roadshow on the SDGs at the University of the West of England, Bristol.

Addressing barriers to sustainable change: The Partnership continued to engage with the Urban ID project, which brings academic and practitioners together to diagnose the barriers to major change for urban sustainability. Our role includes co-leading the ‘carbon neutral city’ theme, particularly relevant given Bristol’s target to reach carbon neutrality by 2050. This included the Chief Executive joining a panel at the launch event attended by several Partnership members during Healthy City Week 2016. We look forward to sharing the results of the project in early 2018.

Broadening our reach in the city-wide community

In June 2016, we worked with Bristol Natural History Consortium and a range of partners from the membership network to support a weekend of free public activities to coincide with the launch of “Bristol 2015: It Doesn’t Stop Here” (a display at the city’s M-Shed museum celebrating Bristol’s year as European Green Capital). Our financial and in-kind staff time contribution not only supported activities with a nature theme within the Festival of Nature, but also activities under the other Bristol Green Capital themes: food, resources, transport, and energy. These included a City to Sea marquee and sand pit, where the public could take part in games and workshops around the theme of reducing marine waste, a Resources themed marquee featuring activities by Bristol Re-Use Network and Bath and West Community Energy, and food-themed films provided by Bristol Food Network were featured on the big screen. Over the ‘It Doesn’t Stop Here’ weekend the Festival received a total of 7,112 visitors, most of whom were families with primary school-aged children. In addition, the Festival welcomed 880 local primary school children on its designated Schools’ Day.

Building on the momentum of the previous year, we hosted the second ‘Healthy City Week’ – bringing health & wellbeing and environmental sustainability communities together. We collaborated with Bristol Health Partners and a range of programme contributors. Following an open call, we brought a programme of 190+ events across 20 Bristol wards together between 15 and 22 October 2016, with 5,000+ attendances. The week aimed to inspire citizens of Bristol to achieve healthier lifestyles as part of a more sustainable future and explore collaborative action across the healthcare and sustainability sectors – working with Bristol’s diverse communities and members from BGCP membership network.

Events included discussions, debates, workshops and taster sessions and covered a variety of topics from improving personal wellbeing and physical health to social prescribing, urban design and sustainable healthcare. Headline events included the Bristol Walking Alliance: Walkable neighbourhoods conference, IBI Group and Bristol Health Partner’s event ‘Developing Healthy Neighbourhoods: Build in health or build more hospitals’, a Healthy City Week expo in the University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust Heart Institute, the Sustrans panel debate on ‘Should our transport system be considered a public health issue?’, West of England Nature Partnership’s event ‘How can we optimise the link between nature and health?’ and Bristol Energy Network’s panel discussion on ‘Health inequalities and climate change’. The week catalysed action within communities, such as the piloting of the ‘Daily Mile’ programme at Bannerman Road School with pupils doing 15 minutes of running, jogging or walking a day.

Audience feedback showed that over 60% respondents felt inspired to change their personal or professional lives after attending events, and the programme continued to bring benefits to contributors, of whom 70% said taking part helped them to make useful connections. Two sold out workshops for Healthy City Week contributors also received positive feedback – enabling small groups and organisations to develop better knowledge and experience of digital marketing and social media.

The Healthy City Week model catalysed many partnerships, included a new collaboration between BGCP, Wellspring Healthy Living Centre and Bristol Community Health CIC to deliver the HCW community launch event, which was attended by 446 people from the Lawrence Hill and Easton locality. Alongside sustainability-related activities about food, cycling, community energy and nature, local health workers undertook surveys with citizens which went on to inform future priorities for Wellspring Healthy Living Centre as well as being used to provoke discussion in a debate as part of the day – with speakers including senior health workers, leading sustainability experts and Bristol’s Mayor.

Following on from the success of Healthy City Week, Bristol Green Capital Partnership were asked to co-present at NHS England, Public Health England and the Local Nature Partnership’s ‘Delivering the health and wellbeing benefits of the natural environment’ conference in November 2016 to demonstrate the importance of the natural environment when related to health.

Green & Black Ambassadors

We worked with project partners Ujima Radio CIC and University of Bristol Cabot Institute to co-fund and co-deliver a pilot engagement and leadership programme with BAME communities, the Green & Black Ambassadors project.

While Bristol is recognised for its leadership on environmental sustainability, this new project was developed to address the strong need to address issues of exclusion of certain groups, including Black and Minority Ethnic communities. From October 2016, we worked with and paid our two pilot ambassadors, Zakiya Mckenzie and Jasmine Ketibuah-Foley. The Ambassadors received training and support in order to conduct community action research, collate case studies, create related media and monthly radio shows, undertake leadership development mentorship and training, and advocate for ‘disruptive’ and constructive challenge.

While the pilot was intended to run for just 5 months, it was extended to a year in response to huge interest and support across the city, and thanks to additional funding from University of Bristol’s Cabot Institute and the National Environment Research Council.

Over the full year-long pilot (ending in October 2017), the Ambassadors have directly engaged with over 17 member organisations of BGCP, joined debates and shared their learnings to over 1,000 people through a range of events, worked with 39 individuals from BAME backgrounds as part of their community action research and broadcast over 10 radio shows on Ujima Radio. The outcomes of this pilot have contributed to the development of future plans to scale-up of the project to support more G&B Ambassadors in 2018 and beyond.

Skills Bridge and building capacity

Through our continued relationship with both of the city’s universities we were able to broker connections between 28 member organisations and the universities’ students. Their skills have added capacity, research and expertise to local sustainability projects – through volunteering, internships and placements. Learnings and reflections from the University of the West of England’s ‘Our Green City’ free online course, which featured 24 organisations from across the Bristol Green Capital Partnership, were also discussed as part of a ‘Leadership in Sustainability’ symposium in July 2016.

Better Bristol: supporting inclusive and sustainable community projects

We extended our partnership with Crowdfunder Ltd to offer crowdfunding workshops to 30 community groups and small organisations. This enabled them to learn practical crowdfunding skills to support fundraising efforts for local community-based sustainability projects. In feedback from the workshop, attendees described the training and coaching useful, with ‘excellent’ personal coaching and webinars described as ‘invaluable’. Over 20 organisations went forward from these workshops to take part in our ‘Better Bristol’ matchfunding / crowdfunding initiative that launched at the start of June 2017.

Developing the Partnership

The work of BGCP CIC in this period was financially supported primarily by 9 initial strategic partners (ISPs) in the city: Avon Wildlife Trust; Centre for Sustainable Energy; Bristol City Council; Resource Futures; Sustrans; Triodos Bank; University of Bristol; University of the West of England, Bristol; and the West of England Initiative. In addition, sponsorship and research grant funding was generated to support events and project activity

A board of directors governs the Community Interest Company. During the year, this initially comprised of 8 directors drawn from the ISPs, 2 directors elected by our members for 2-year terms to help represent the wider membership. During the year, following an open call for interest, the Directors appointed a new chair, Mohammed Saddiq (Managing Director of genECO), independent of the ISPs. The Directors also appointed a new Director to represent the food theme during the period.

Important development of the company staffing and infrastructure also took place during the year – increasing our capacity and resources to ensure the successful delivery of company objectives and to ensure the long-term sustainability of the Partnership. The central team increased from 1 to 3 staff. Our first full-time Chief Executive came into post in June 2016, with a full-time Partnership Development Manager joining in January 2017, complementing our existing full-time Operations Manager.

Plans for the future

Throughout early 2017 we focused on preparations for the 10th anniversary of Bristol Green Capital Partnership. We engaged with many of our long-standing members to plan a major event for July 2017 to mark the occasion and celebrate the decade-long journey that the Partnership has been on. A key objective was to refresh and reinvigorate our efforts to achieve our vision of a sustainable city with a high quality of life for all, working collaboratively with our members.

Moving into the next financial year, an increasing focus will be to explore new sources of funding and other income generation opportunities to establish a long-term, financially secure operating model – at all times working with members and other key stakeholders to leverage the enormous expertise, resource and passion we are fortunate to have within the Partnership.

Many of the projects and activity highlighted in this report continued into 2017/18, and further details can be found on our website: www.bristolgreencapital.org.

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