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The Catalyst Bootcamp – So what have we learnt?


Our first-ever Catalyst Bootcamp took place in August – with the aim of inspiring young women to be confident and resilient changemakers. Made possible through the generous support of many volunteer contributors and funding from Bristol Green Capital Partnership (BGCP) through their ‘Better Bristol’ crowdfunder campaign, along with bursary sponsorship from Bristol University, Pukka Teas, Skanska and Triodos Bank.

Over the three days twenty young women were taken through a guided change process of: Envisioning Change, Information & Exploration, to Becoming Change-Makers. It felt throughout the programme as if something pretty special and transformative was taking place. However did the evidence back this up?

Catalyst Bootcamp Headline Outcomes

Our primary aim for the programme is to inspire and empower young women to pursue careers in sustainability, and all who participated stated at the end that they either agreed or strongly agreed that ‘they were aware of the potential careers in sustainability’ and that ‘they felt confident to engage with others on the topic of sustainability.’  Our evaluation revealed other significant outcomes:

  • Careers: 72% increase (to 100%) in the number of participants who agreed they were aware of potential careers in sustainability;
  • Change maker: 54.6% increase (to 100%) in participants who agreed they had the potential to make a positive difference in the world;
  • Team working: 36.4% increase (to 100%) in participants who agreed they felt confident working in a team and making decisions in a group;
  • Wellbeing:1% increase (to 86.7%) in participants who agreed they had the tools that to manage their happiness and wellbeing.

The Bootcamp Programme

The programme was supported by a range of sustainability practitioners from local organisations including; Sustrans, Avon Wildlife Trust and Sofa Project. Who worked with the young women to solve a practical problem around a particular sustainability challenge.

In addition a range of women working in sustainability came in to speak about their own Education & Career Paths. It was informative and inspiring for the young women to get an insight into the range of opportunities available and many pathways to achieving it.

To help build their own self-knowledge and personal resilience there were also sessions on;  personality profiling, confidence building and mindfulness.

It culminated in participants developing a personal “Catalyst Pledge” setting out the change they wanted to see in the world and the role they would play in that change.

The Future

We are now in the process of planning the second Catalyst Bootcamp for 2018. The design of this will be largely informed by feedback captured from the first year’s participants. In order to appeal to participants from diverse backgrounds we aim to offer at least 50% of the places on a bursary basis,

Outreach workshops

We are also now offering workshops to schools and community groups, to allow us to deliver elements in a shorter accessible format. This will enable us to raise the profile of the programme and to engage with young women, their parents and others who work directly with them.  So do contact us if this is of interest  

Catalyse Change would like to thank all the amazing sponsors, speakers, mentors and volunteers without whom the Catalyst Bootcamp would not have been possible! Special thanks to;  Heloise Balme, UWE MSc student in Sustainable Development in Practice, who developed the programme as part of her work placement.

Traci Lewis is a director of Catalyse Change CIC a Bristol-based social enterprise working to inspire, empower and skill young women for sustainable futures. For more information and full copy of the Catalyst Bootcamp 2017 Evaluation Report visit

  • Do you want to be part of the future of Catalyse Change? We are looking for partners and sponsors to join us. Contact Traci Lewis

  • Next year’s Catalyst Bootcamp will be held on 1-3rd August 2018 – to secure your earlybird ticket, contact 

  • Bristol Green Capital Partnership is working with city partners to provide even more opportunities to support future sustainability pioneers – read more.

Business, Better Bristol Crowdfunding, Future skills & leadership
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