I strongly feel that green space in an urban and increasingly unequal city is a precious resource and would see myself ensuring that the gardens are used to provide maximum benefit to all of those in the local community, especially those from underprivileged and marginalised backgrounds (whether that is due to ethnicity, sexuality, age or other factors).
I would like to focus on understanding and starting to act on increasing the diversity of the volunteer cohort in line with the local community, better understanding the sustainability of operations in the garden and where there are opportunities to reduce our water consumption and environmental impact, and I would like to carry on offering arts-related activities and supporting others to do the same.
As a trustee I would first and foremost be dedicated to exploring opportunities for a forest school programme at BPCG. This would be focused on bringing those who do not usually have access to the outdoors, or are less represented in outdoor activities, to BPCG. Forest school is quite well funded at the moment and there is huge scope for both children and adults to take part in something like this at BPCG. Forest school is a long-term intervention and so participants would get to know BPCG and learn to see outdoor spaces as their own. Rather than educational activities, these would be focused on wellbeing and holistic development. There are natural links with the other activities that go on at BPCG, such as whittling, wreath making and wild food.
As a trustee and a secretary, I do believe my experience working in IT and also running my own businesses will be of use. I hope to support the charity in meeting its statutory obligations and also to help with record keeping and any other administrative responsibilities.
I shall continue the maintenance of the financial records of the BPCG and provide timely and accurate financial data for the Director, the Trustees and relevant external organisations. I shall try to provide a financial perspective on the decision-making processes of the Charity as it enters an exciting but challenging phase in its development.
I have been volunteering at BPCG for nearly three years, and as a trustee have focused on fundraising, digital upskilling and content creation – especially in response to the Covid 19 pandemic – and furthering BPCG’s diversity and inclusion goals. During that time I have used the experience, advice and support BPCG has given me to gain a Level 3 Advanced Technical Diploma in Horticulture, and now work as a therapeutic gardener delivering gardening’s tangible wellness benefits to vulnerably housed adults. BPCG continues to be a guiding and stable presence in my life and I am proud to be able to lend what I can to securing its future success.
I wish to stand as a trustee for another year. 2021/22 promises to be both challenging and exciting. The events of the past year have demonstrated the adaptability and resilience of the BPCG. While we will still have to operate with the uncertainty of covid, the next 12 months will be a time of re-building and growth, both physically and as an organisation. As well as rebuilding/developing our operational capacity, we are about to embark on a major building project – The Barn. Simultaneously, we will be maintaining and developing our activities/the amenity of the site, aiming to fully reflect the diversity of culture and interests of the local community. I will continue for offer and apply my expertise to improve and maintain site infrastructure and access. I will continue my involvement in leading the technical aspects of the Windows to Nature project. At the beginning of 2021, the first bird-box camera was installed. This proved very successful and popular – visitors were able to view the nesting birds live and many hours of nesting activity were recorded and logged for subsequent editing. Over the next year I will lead the installation of more wildlife cameras and associated infrastructure. I will work with staff, volunteers and wildlife specialists to ensure the new resource is used effectively across all our programmes.
I am standing for reappointment as a trustee and as Chair. Following a difficult year, the charity is beginning to find it’s way back to more normal operations. I want to thank our two anonymous donors who bridged our significant funding gap allowing us to contract for Brockwell Barn. I would also like to pay tribute to the 5 retiring trustees with whom I have worked over the past 5 years establishing policies to bring our current 5 year plan to completion. The goals we established in 2017 are now within reach during 2022. They have done a great job making our future happen in the way we wanted.
Now the new board needs to develop a vision for the 2023/28 period. What will the charity look like in 2028? This year’s board needs to find the answer and set new long term goals for the charity. No doubt there will be wider consultation beyond trustees as we did in 2017 and again in 2019 but the consolidation work has to be done by the board. I welcome 5 new energetic trustees who will inject new thinking, and, it seems that there are others willing to serve on sub committees. I trust that this board will be able to present an agreed plan to the next AGM. Beyond governance and fiduciary duty, the role of trustees is to create the future.
As many of you know, I also perform a couple of honorary quasi-staff roles as Garden Operations Manager and as Information Officer managing marketing and data so I’m pretty much full time at BPCG. I’m so proud to have been part of the team that is delivering the last 5YP and hope to be a catalyst in the development of the next.
I am happy to stand for re reappointment in what will be an extremely challenging year for the charity. We have chosen a contractor to build our new barn and work should be completed by next May. Operating the barn and making sure that the charity has enough income to cover its outgoings will,I’m sure throw up a number of legal issues that I will be asked to advise on. We are also going to apply for a provisional premises licence. We have set up a licensing sub committee and I am a member of that. I have enjoyed volunteering for a couple of events and hope to do more in the forthcoming year.