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Thought-provoking start to 2015 with Bristol Green Capital Partnership’s first gathering

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Anson Rooms, Bristol Students Union. Image: Balazs Csakany

Friday February 27th saw the first quarterly gathering of 2015 for members of the Bristol Green Capital Partnership. We welcomed a healthy turn out from our membership with attendees representing over 100 local industry areas from private, public and third sectors – united by the common theme of the ‘Green Capital Legacy’ for the city, and the role that the Partnership and its members can play in delivering this in 2015 and beyond.

Liz Zeidler, Chair of Bristol Green Capital Partnership, opened up the conversation with a series of discussion points about the role of cities in the climate change challenge, and the role that the Bristol Green Capital Partnership could play in building a city-wide drive to tackle this challenge.

Speaker Mayor George Ferguson continued this theme by asking ‘what sort of future city do we want?’ He stressed the importance of building a consensus for the need to change and stated that this would be the most significant legacy of our year as European Green Capital City. The Bristol 2015 Ltd Chair, Andrew Garrad, updated Partnership members on the activities organised by Bristol 2015 Ltd and the ways for organisations to get involved, describing the active role that the organisation is taking in raising public interest and finding support for grant applicants.

During the second half of the event, Liz introduced a series of roles and services that the Partnership could establish to fulfil its legacy role, encouraging attendees to discuss in groups the over-arching roles of engagement, capacity-building and leadership voice and asking members to consider how these future services and mechanisms might enable them to achieve their own legacy goals.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1UMTsXVgWbA&feature=youtu.be

Many positive and useful contributions emerged from the discussions. Outreach and engagement was a key theme; stressing the need to  extend the reach of the Partnership highlighting the effectiveness of the Partnership in connecting grassroots activity, suggesting the potential for Partnership members to act as ambassadors in their own organisations and beyond, and recognising the expertise within the Partnership as a key resource to engaging outside of the organisation..

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Image: Balazs Csakany

Greater use of digital engagement was a prevalent theme in discussions, and the need for Partnership communications to showcase diverse voices and activity at all levels, engaging, rather than just informing. Making links and knowledge-sharing remained a key need for members, along with the value of company pairings and groups to support and help each other to reach goals.

Discussions around the theme of ‘cross-sectoral leadership voice’ provoked debate around the language and definition of ‘cross-sectoral’, and the role of the Partnership in encouraging and promoting participation in city decision making. There was endorsement of the need to generate conversations through roundtable discussions and potentially being a ‘platform’ to host these, plus the need to develop coherent picture of what a sustainable future city is. Comments from the workshop recognised the bigger and clearer ambition for ‘partnership and legacy’ with the role for the Partnership being seen as a ‘gateway’ for organisations. The need to have influence in the city was a prominent point.

Thank you to Eco Media Collective for recording the event – you can listen to the whole event in podcasts, or look out for the videos that will be published next week.

The next Partnership gathering is due to be held in May 2015 – dates and details to be announced on the website and via newsletters next month.

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