Wednesday, 4 March 2020

BSBI: securing our future

Business consultant Christine from CASS
 leads us into the first day of workshops
On New Year’s Eve, we told you about some of BSBI members’ successes in 2019 and plans to build on these successes in the coming years. We mentioned the Resilience project which aims to help BSBI define what we stand for and ensure that we can achieve what we want to achieve in the next five years, and the acclaimed CASS Business School Centre for Charity Effectiveness that we were able to work with thanks to funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Chris Miles, County Recorder for Dumfriesshire and Chair of the Board of Trustees, has been steering the Resilience project through and he published this short note in BSBI eNews in November. I thought News & Views readers would appreciate an update so I caught up with Chris the other day to get the latest news and find out what the project means for members.

Trustees, staff, committee chairs, Council
members and officers: Workshop 1
LM: Ok Chris, what can you tell us?

CM: Well, we’ve had a series of meetings and workshops with trustees, officers, Council members and staff and a strategy is emerging underpinned by BSBI values, principles, goals and vision. We’re pulling all this together into a draft strategy document which the Board will be looking at when it meets in March.

LM: So can you summarise for us where the Resilience project has got to so far?

CM: Yes! Three clear goals have emerged under which our priorities and actions will be focused:
3 staff members, a past and current President
and CASS consultant Caroline: workshop 2 
  • The first goal is about building and sustaining a diverse community of botanists so that we can develop the skills to maintain BSBI’s expertise and so that people can get greater enjoyment from our wild flora. In practice, this means an enhanced focus on training and learning activities for all skill levels, from beginners to more experienced botanists.
  • The second goal is about maintaining our high-quality data and interpreting that to help plant conservation. This would be our main contribution to the biodiversity and climate change challenges.
  • The third goal is to sharpen our communication and information sharing through more public engagement projects like the New Year Plant Hunt and continued evolution of our website and social media interfaces.

Officers and trustees working in small groups 
LM: Great, so more opportunities to learn more about plants; more highlighting of our data (collected by our wonderful volunteer members, interpreted by County Recorders, staff and officers); and Chris, as BSBI Comms Officer I’m particularly pleased to read about goal three!

CM: Yes we’re going to be building on our outreach activities, many of which have been reported on these pages: New Year Plant Hunt, Wild Flower Hour - but several things need to be right for us to deliver these 3 goals.

LM: Ok so what do we need to do?

Chris Miles considers the list of priorities that
Christine pulled together from Workshop 3.
Text blocked out - strictly embargoed for now!  
CM: There is a need to have sound finances and we are working with another consultant on a funding strategy. News & Views readers can see from our Annual Reports, which we publish here, that we are moving in the right direction on finances but we’re not yet quite where we want to be. We also need to make sure that our volunteer members, who are the beating heart of BSBI, remain at the very centre of all that we do. So staff will continue to focus on supporting volunteer activity and volunteers will be encouraged with appropriate training and treated with the same professional standards as staff. We will look at how to improve our decision-making processes so that BSBI is able to move quickly and take advantage of opportunities as they arise. And we will keep raising the society’s profile so that our fantastic data and breadth of our activities are known by more people and are used to influence policy to give a brighter future to our wild plants.

LM: That all sounds great Chris – and huge thanks to the Heritage Lottery Fund for making the Resilience project possible for BSBI! Will you come back here after the March Board meeting to tell us how it went please? And maybe to give us a glimpse of the strategy document and talk us through how we’re going to achieve these goals?

CM: Ok it’s a deal! See you later this month.

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