Normalising a greener, more sustainable way to live in all aspects of the lives of our communities
How we began
GCBB was created in 2019 by Parisa Wright with friends and neighbours to respond to her own feeling that we all needed to do much more, and make a difference locally, in order to help our planet and our loved ones futures. The group, initially a Facebook group, and then a Community Interest Company, has steadily grown over the past year to nearly 6000 members and is in the process of converting to a Charity to deliver even more impact. We have over a hundred committed volunteers in our formal organisation, offering their time on a regular basis to educate us all, deliver impactful events, let businesses and politicians know what matters to us, and to get our message out there.
Our first year
In the first year of operation GCBB were very busy. We held meet ups in person to share ideas and progress (and running them online since circumstances required it). This included presentations from experts in bee-keeping, climate change and air quality and running more than fifteen other events on topics including preventing food waste, make and mend, clothes swaps, furashiki, litter picking and more.
GCBB ran two eco schools events where schools from across Bromley and neighbouring boroughs were able to learn from each other and share best practices, ran an online screening of an impactful and hopeful movie (with more to come) and set up and hosted the Borough’s first ever Environmental Hustings in all areas.
When COVID hit we worked with other local groups to deliver scrubs to units at the PRUH and set up a mask sewing project using 60 volunteers to sew and deliver 3000k+ washable facemasks from recycled fabrics to local foodbanks (Bromley, Downham, Orpington) in 6-8 weeks. We set up sister groups for loaning out party kits to prevent additional purchases, to swap and learn from each other around plants and in partnership with Hayes Life set up an additional nine freebeecycler groups to encourage locally giving away the things people have at home that aren’t needed or loved.
Our large Valley Primary School Air Cleaning Project included our first fund raising event (a Preloved and prosecco night) and accompanying silent auction raising about £6k. With this and helping the school secure a further £44k from community stakeholders, it has funded the ivy green screening, trees and air purifiers required to help protect pupils, their families and teachers from poor air quality due to a congested school roadside. In the 2019 Bromley Business Awards we were Shortlisted for Best Bromley Charity / Social Enterprise and Highly commended in the category Best Green Businesses, and our founder Parisa Wright won the Local Hero Award.
This is just some of what we managed to achieve in the first year. We’re working up a strategy for impact as a charity to 2023 based on the vision of ‘a greener, more sustainable way to live in all aspects of the lives of our communities to be the accepted norm’. Our mission is to achieve that vision by working together with residents, community groups, councils and local businesses to highlight that they are stronger together and to make a measurable difference to their local environment.
As we come together as individuals to change what we do, to influence the people we love to make changes and to collectively influence decision makers, we really can make a difference!
We also have a number of sub groups which members engage with, with more planned.