In July, we officially became ecobirmingham a new independent charity for the city. Then, at the beginning of October we celebrated this change, setting out how we see our future at an event at Midlands Arts Centre. We were delighted to be joined by Natalie Fee, author, presenter, environmental campaigner and founder of City to Sea. She gave us inspiration, giving context on why the city needs to change and showing the level of work we aspire to.
Below is more information on our future plans:
We have had a successful nine years as Northfield Ecocentre and have been blessed with the support and values of the Quaker community. We have benefited from the passions of an amazingly dedicated number of staff, volunteers, funders and partners. We are now at the beginning of the next chapter of our journey. Nothing will change overnight. We intend to grow organically and want to represent and support change in Birmingham so that the city becomes sustainable.
Who are we?
We position ourselves as a bridge between people and policy. We want ideas to travel in both directions. Too often we see initiatives in the city that aren’t successful. We believe this is due to the fact that not a wide enough range of people are given a voice in the decision making, and not enough resources are invested in getting citizens to support such initiatives. We’re committed to unearthing the unheard voices and talent in the city to ensure that change takes place in a way that is relevant and meaningful.
For example, we are proud of the opportunity that our Green Lens project in collaboration with Ampersand Projects has given to young people in the city to express their views, concerns, hope and dreams for the future. This is essential in a city with such a young population. We will continue to provide opportunities and platforms that challenge the notion of the ‘traditional green audience’.
So, what are we going to do differently? In some ways, not a lot. We’ll continue to work with the Greener Birmingham network and other partners, as well as delivering our Cycling, Education and Food projects.
However, Green Lens is a clear example of how we intend to use the arts to engage people and provoke change. We will be delivering cycling tuition for people with additional needs, running eco-craftivism workshops, helping communities set up growing spaces, and are in the early stages of setting up a food alliance in the South of the city. So, we are making a subtle shift from doing to enabling action.
Our future work will use the arts, workshops and events to engage and inspire people but we also want ACTION at our core. We will undertake any project that helps to make the city more sustainable, and pilot or pioneer new ideas and approaches.
We will also continue to look at how we operate and how we can take the lead in being sustainable. However eco-friendly we are, we can all do something additional to take our next climate step and make a difference together.
An example of our future action will be extending the Refill scheme with partners across Birmingham. Refill is a campaign from City to Sea, that aims to make refilling your bottle with tap water as easy, convenient and cheap as possible by introducing refill points on every street.
We are looking to work with a number of key partners on the Refill Birmingham campaign which we hope will affect systemic change in the city. It should reduce the use of a large quantity of single use plastic bottles, improve the lives of many of the city’s citizens, engage businesses and residents in the green agenda, as well as preparing the city for the Commonwealth Games in 2022 to be as green and plastic free as possible.
Our plan is to gather momentum over the winter with getting businesses to sign up to the app and to build our partners and networks ready for a few action days to promote it to people in the Spring/Summer/Autumn.
There is a huge pool of talent and passion across the city that can achieve more when we work together. We are excited to be working with others towards some of the major developments and events in the city over the coming years. As part of the Green Games network we will be ensuring the Commonwealth Games are as green as possible. It’s a clear point in the future where we will need to hold politicians to account for their promises around sustainability and legacy.
If you would like to talk about working together, please contact us. Our door is always open.