Discussion Forum
Time to change the Big Green Weekend

From Jason Elliott
Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Here at Green Refurb/British Recycled Products, we have been at the hub of the Big Green Weekend for the past two years, but I now feel that it is time to step back at let other people take it forward.

This year was much bigger, better attended and considerably more diverse than last year, and it would appear that the project has attained a certain critical momentum with many people and organisations already planning for 2010.

For example, during my visit to Northlight Studio during the Open Studios event this weekend, I learned that plans were already in motion for an "art using recycled materials" exhibition during next year's Big Green Weekend, many people are looking forward to the next Big Green Debate as it will probably being on the cusp of a General Election, the Transition Towns group will build on the success of their amazing Secret Garden Party, and the fashionistas will certainly take to the runway again after their well attended show this year.

I could cite many examples of planning for 2010 in progress but I don't want to steal people's thunder, and anyway, I'm sure you get the general picture.

It is now time for the event to be be truly democratised, with a not-for-profit structure that can get funding, (putting on the street theatre alone cost us nearly £2000), and a committee or board with members drawn from diverse sections of the community to oversee the planning.

One organisation, that I won't name at this point, has said that they would like to provide £5000 to employ a project manager for the three months leading up to the event and I have unofficial information that both Hebden Royd and Calderdale Councils are likely to contribute, so there is definitely financial support available, but part of the problem at the moment is that, quite appropriately, funding bodies cannot assist either me as a private individual, or Green Refurb Ltd as a private company, so our continued involvement is actually preventing the continued expansion the Big Green Weekend.

I am not suggesting that we will just walk away; there are many areas in which we can help. We created a complete dossier on this year's BGW, full of contact information and detailed costs, that we will hand over. We will continue to provide the website, emails and hosting and give IT cover. I can assist in the establishment of some kind of administrative structure, from a technical and financial perspective, and to ensure that a broad cross-section of the community is represented. Finally, at least for 2010 anyway, I would be happy to remain on the board or commitee as a non-executive director or trustee, to feed back any lessons from previous years.

Coming this early, I am certain that our decision to withdraw will have no adverse effects on the success of next year's event, but now its time to pass the baton to the people of Hebden Bridge.

Any thoughts?