On 27th May 17 people came together for a BWCE Supporters Meet-Up at Bath City Farm. With the farm being a beneficiary of the BWCE Fund, we thought this would be a perfect venue to hold some informal networking, share our plans for the Supporters Network and hear how some of our community benefit funds have been used.

The good weather was arranged in advance and we started with Alison Howell taking us on a tour of the Farm to tell us the great work they are involved in. You can find out more in a separate news story. Following this we took advantage of the new cafe and the outdoor seating to catch up with all things BWCE and a lot more besides. See the quotes from participants below to get a flavour of the event.

Plans for the BWCE Supporters Network

The Meet-Up provided a great opportunity to share our plans for our Supporters Network and to start building more awareness in our local communities about BWCE and the community energy model.

  • We are aiming to hold regular Meet-Ups for our supporters, at different times and in different places. We aim to incorporate some of our generating sites and other BWCE Fund supported projects in future Meet-Ups. We’d love to hear your idea for a Meet-Ups, especially if you would be willing to run one (e.g. lead a walk, run an informal discussion group or knowledge exchange).
  • We will be holding some online Insight Sessions to give you an opportunity to find out more about our work e.g. solar development, energy demand management, community benefit. Dates are being scheduled now – some in the next few weeks with more in the Autumn. To get first opportunity to book on please sign up to our Supporters Network.  No commitment required but you will be helping us to demonstrate local support for community energy.
  • However, if you are interested in doing something practical to support BWCE we are planning to mobilise supporters to start a big conversation about community energy. Over the coming weeks we will be developing a short survey and will be looking for volunteers to carry it out with a few (or many!) of their friends, neighbours, colleagues, fellow groups members etc over the Summer months and into the Autumn to raise awareness and get new people involved.

What did people think of the Meet-Up?

“A worthwhile visit in itself but a very useful meet-up with other BWCE colleagues: we discussed some good ideas and must resurrect our Technology Group” Andrew Wyon

“What a great opportunity to meet Supporters and Members, and find out more about BWCE’s history and plans for the future. I think everyone enjoyed having the opportunity to meet ‘like-minded’ people who are invested – literally and figuratively – in supporting well-deserving community projects. And what a stunning venue to meet up in! Fabulous views from Bath City Farm, glorious weather, and a lovely lunch in their new café. Best of all, I’ve finally been inspired to turn my long-term interest in BWCE into action!” Caroline Frances-King

“Everything is connected and everything depends on everything else, living or dead. As a biologist I realised this before I was 10. But then I was lucky. I lived on the outskirts of a town with lots of countryside and walked everywhere. It was appropriate, then, to meet other BWCE fans at a farm (albeit a small one) in Bath. Conversations extended as I wandered around, chatting, asking questions. Within a short time I had learned more and my support and respect for BWCE went up a couple of notches. Only connect – who said that?” Julian Vincent

“It was encouraging and inspirational to see how BWCE have contributed to an efficient and low cost supply of energy to a community project, such as Bath City Farm. Of course, meeting up with other members in such a pleasant environment was a delight after two years of semi-isolation. Enjoyable, informative and Inspirational!” Maggie White

“Wonderfully invigorating to make and deepen BWCE connections in such an inspiring life-affirming place” Nicolette Boater

“The trials of 2 years of social isolation have been great for getting on with practical work on my Vermi Aquaponics and battery management systems. But no so good for networking to drive forward real solutions to the now really urgent climate crisis we now have so little time to address. Like-minded people sharing lunch in a relaxed atmosphere proved fertile ground, then when Peter Capener tossed in some BWCE issues for us to brainstorm results flowed & real solutions where decided on. ‘Never doubt the power of a few committed people to change the world, indeed it’s the only thing that ever has’. Well done Nick really enjoyed the whole thing” Oz Osborne, (builder & farmer)

“What really made this such a great event wasn’t just catching up with old friends and making new, but seeing just how our community grants lead to real climate improvements, in this case, the heat pump for the café. Bath City Farm is having such a positive impact on our community, just like BWCE. And looking down on Bath on such a sunny day and seeing all those big roofs in the valley bottom that don’t have solar panels..…yet!” Peter Harvey

“Great to get the chance to see how BWCE is making a difference to the development of such valuable social organisations as Bath City Farm, and to have the opportunity to meet a diverse range of members and potential partners” Rupert Atkinson

And some comments about Bath City Farm

“The City Farm has improved a lot in the last few years, not least in the new Café with air source heat pump, and the new mud-walled roundhouse for teenage community, but more vegetable growing (used in the café) while still impressive work with volunteers and staff who are need help to generate confidence and gain skills” Andrew Wyon

“The new community cafe at Bath City Farm is a testament to the hard work and dedication of all the people involved – from conception to its design and construction. A welcome new facility for the Bath community in these challenging times. Thank you” Paul Stansall RIBA

“It was interesting to see the extent and diversity of Bath City Farm, including a number of eco-friendly features – a hidden gem in the heart of the city” William Trueman