We at City to Sea were delighted to be one of the organisations selected for the Bristol Spark Something Good week. Eight Marks & Spencer stores from Weston to Yate took part in Spark Something Good, which saw 300 volunteers give up over 2,000 hours for free, in order to make a positive difference.
Director of Plan A at Marks & Spencer, Mike Barry commented: “There’s a tremendous sense of camaraderie when people come together to give something back to their local community and that’s exactly what Spark Something Good is all about. I’m thrilled that Bristol has embraced our initiative in this way and got stuck in, and I’m proud to have played a small part.”
We had planned a river bank plastic monitor, but due to torrential downpours had to deploy a last minute plan B (oh, the irony). So we headed to the Marks and Spencers Broadmead for a focus group looking at some of the key marine plastic pollution culprits – plastic cotton buds, plastic bottles and bottle tops. The volunteers got into groups and worked through different interactive exercises providing great ideas on how we can engage and inspire people to reduce and use these items differently, rather than just focusing on how we could encourage them to recycle more.
Two groups tackled the cotton buds, which regularly get flushed down the toilet (500,000 a week in the Thames area) giving us practical suggestions which we’ll feed into our forthcoming #Switch the Stick campaign, which asks people to pledge to switch from plastic to paper cotton bud sticks.
The rest of the group looked at different personas who regularly grab a plastic bottle of water or fizzy drink, identifying what the barriers are, as well as the solutions and incentives that could engage them with a Refill campaign. As the Refill project scales up nationally, getting a variety of views and undertaking focus groups is invaluable – so we were grateful for the volunteers and Marks and Spencer for providing the space … and dinner!
On 15th July, We will be hosting an afternoon workshop with 65+ 16 year olds to get their ideas of how we engage their age group with the issues- if you would like to volunteer as a facilitator please get in touch with Livvy.
We’ll also be looking to undertake another River Bank Clean Monitor in September so if you’re interested, please join our mailing list.