Last Thursday Bristol Green Doors held a Celebration Event at Hamilton House to recognise our achievements since 2010 and thank householders and stakeholders. At the event we also gave notice that we are unable to continue running as we have and that green open home events in Bristol will need to be delivered differently in future.
One of the strengths of our organisation is the community of interest that we have built and we were delighted that over seventy people came to join us for food, awards and to share a celebratory drink.
Guests included a number of our hundred plus home-openers, sponsors and organisations who have partnered us as well as individuals and companies who have provided services.
After drinks we enjoyed a meal, catered by the Beetroot Cafe followed by helpings of the largest chocolate brownie any of us had ever seen accompanied by ice cream and some amazing cakes from Lynda.
Following the meal, updates were given by directors Ben, Dan and Jamie who outlined: the ‘big picture’ of homes and energy in the UK over the last 20 years; the Bristol Green Doors (BGD) story, business model and successes, with the increasingly evident recognition of the challenges going forward of running green open homes events. Attempts were also made, but challenged by technology, to watch some reflective slideshows (featuring Sidz’ fantastic photos) of our events and history (see below) accompanied by some appropriate ska music.
Announcement and response
It was at this last point that Dan announced the decision by directors that BGD would now go into “hibernation” as with no secure income or funding streams and lack of retrofit activity nationally and locally, our aims of celebrating and normalising domestic retrofit in a sustainable manner could not be either realised or be meaningful through our current strategy and structure.
The news was met with sadness by many of our guests but in the ’responses from the floor’ it was abundantly clear that the work we have done, of raising awareness, building community and inspiring others both locally and nationally was highly appreciated though our decision understood and respected.
Going forward we invite more considered responses from partners or organisations looking to continue aspects of the work which we have started. Additionally we will shortly be publishing a report outlining the lessons learned which we hope will be read by policy makers. Following this and some breathing space, we will be making more concrete decisions in the new year with our financial year end in July in mind.
The evening closed with some ceremony with awards being given from us to the following:
- Householder with most openings – Eric Booth (11 days)
- Most supportive partner – Mark Leach and Bristol City Council’s Sustainable City Team
- Householder providing best volunteer experience – James and Brenda Smith
- Most supportive sponsor – Urbane Eco
- Most supportive supplier – Circle Interactive
- Householder with most visitors at a weekend – Rob Elkins (283)
- Most generous sponsor – Kellaway Building Supplies
- Householder receiving best visitor comment – David Ffrench (“Explanation by owner would have been clearer had he not been shirtless”)
- Householder ‘Coolest openers’ – James and Poppy (their baby Asher was born at home at 2015 BGD event!)
Thank you for reading this and your interest in what we have been doing.
These, as we all know are indeed very challenging times, and we hope that in the future a landscape exists in which efforts such as ours can be sustained more successfully. After all, if we seriously want UK homes to be cheaper to heat, healthier and cosier to live in and better for the environment, the celebration of green homes must be a year round activity.
These can be seen, to the accompaniment of sax player Roland Alphonso on You Tube at: