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Outgoing Partnership CEO shares key highlights

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Ahead of my last day with my fantastic colleagues, they asked me to come up with 5 highlights of my time in the CEO role.

So much has happened over the last 3¼ years and with 900+ members this is rather tricky. It might seem like cheating for me to include ‘everything our members do’ among my highlights, and I won’t mention any member organisations to avoid upsetting all the others! Thank you for all that you do – the Partnership can only be what it is because of its members!

The monthly Green Mingle: The Mingle is a special space for me – and I think my colleagues. It is a monthly reminder of the sheer level of engagement and positivity among the Partnership community. It is guaranteed to be buzzing and increasingly diverse. Even if it’s a chilly first Thursday night in January or a that first sunny Thursday of summer, we always have at least 50 people. We’ve even had over 100 people for a few ‘special mingles’, perhaps the most memorable being an absolutely packed celebration of our first annual review published in October 2018, as part of Green Great Britain Week. Keep an eye out for our second review soon! Check our events page for future green mingles and venues.

The Partnership’s 10th anniversary: The original Bristol Green Capital Partnership pledge was signed in 2007 by just 12 member organisations at what was then At-Bristol, now We the Curious. Back then the European Green Capital award Bristol went on to win didn’t even exist! By the time I joined in 2016, the Partnership had grown hugely and we started thinking about how best to mark its first decade the following year. It felt right to go back to where it all began with a huge gathering at Bristol’s science centre. We gave our members a platform to tell their own Partnership stories and reinvigorate the community as it entered its second decade. It was really positive day, followed by a enjoyable special green mingle. Read our news story about the 10th anniversary gathering.

Working with the Green & Black Ambassadors: a key finding from the Bristol’s year as European Green Capital in 2015 was that it wasn’t as inclusive as it could have been. We were determined to make a difference through promoting real and constructive interaction between the Partnership as a city-wide community and the diverse communities that are such a big part of what Bristol is. It was a pleasure and a privilege to work with Jazz and Zakiya on the Green & Black Ambassadors pilot project. They have continued to play a really important role inspiring people across Bristol and beyond since. I’m proud of the Partnership’s role in this, and hoping that all the work that went into it will soon be built on with a full 3-year Ambassadors programme…. watch this space! Read about the project here, and any businesses interesting in sponsoring an Ambassador should get in touch.

The Spark Forum: The seed of this amazing idea came from two of our former elected directors, Savita Wilmott and Darren Hall. We wanted to harness some of energy of the Partnership to get new ideas off the ground and provide a space for direct collaboration between members. This initiative was member-led from the start: Claire in the staff team has been working closely with the volunteer committee to put on 3 amazingly engaging events so far, with members offering their support to 17 project ideas. It was great to be able to join the third Spark Forum last week before moving on, and it’s now hard to imagine this not being in the Partnership’s event calendar! Read about the latest Spark Forum, and find out about the next event sign up as a member or contact to get our monthly newsletters.

Environment at the heart of Bristol’s One City Plan: The City Office was set up to bring stakeholders together on city-wide issues in much the same way that the Partnership does for environmental sustainability. This was very early in my time in the role, but if there was going to be a One City Plan it was vital that the environment was central to it. While early iterations didn’t include the theme, we kept making the case. I remember being heartened at a City Gathering last year when a presentation about the plan’s themes literally had the environment at its heart. Our work on this in part led to the Partnership being invited to help set up and support a new Environmental Sustainability Board and an expert committee to advise the city on climate change. It means the Partnership has a unique place at the intersection of our 5 environmental themes – energy, food, nature, resources and transport – and the 5 other One City themes. Find out more about the Environmental Sustainability Board on the Bristol One City website. Look out for an announcement on the Bristol Advisory Committee on Climate Change soon!

It has been an honour to have been able to help Partnership member organisations to work towards a sustainable, carbon-neutral city with a high quality of life for all. Many members have known about the climate and ecological emergency we face for some time, but we are now at a moment where this is much more widely recognised – in the city, in the country and globally. The Partnership, its members and Bristol’s instinct for collaboration all have a pivotal role to play in enabling and amplifying action.

We still have time to act but we have to act now. I look forward many more highlights for the Partnership to come, and to joining as a member soon!

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