Back in February, when many of us would have assumed that 'covid' was a typo for our feathered crow friends, the PLT team wanted to raise awareness of the initiative and encourage some of the other Livery Companies on board; an inaugural event was needed. The aspiration of a greener London may obviously tie in with Liveries such as those of the Gardeners and the Grocers, but really, with everyone having a vested interest in sustainability and a greener future, every Livery Company should be given the chance to get involved in one way or another.
The Clerks Association kindly sent out invitations, and we held our event, an informal lunch, at the Wax Chandlers Hall on the 5th of February. Over 30 people were in attendance, including representatives of some 8 Livery Companies.
An introductory presentation was given by Upper Warden of the Wax Chandlers, Anthony Bickmore and Gill Perkins, the CEO of the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, each representing the founding partners in Pollinating London Together.
We then split up into discussion groups, and whilst enjoying a delicious spread put on for us by the wonderful Beadle of the Wax Chandlers, and low-alcohol mead based drinks provided by Gosnells, we had a good talk. After finding out a bit about who our table companions were, we began to think about why we were there, what we are currently doing to support pollinators and a greener London, and talk about how we could do more.
It seems that there's a lot going on already - the Architects have some wonderful plans, the Engineers told us that ethics, risk management and sustainability are increasingly at the core of their objectives, and the Salters (who were unable to attend) are involved in the education side of things, including their 'What's the Buzz' initiative.
We learnt from the Gardeners that ten Livery Companies still have gardens, and a number of others have courtyards. The Barbers have a physic garden which also includes part of a Roman wall (great for solitary bees!) We learnt of the existence of a few physic gardens from the Apothecaries - some of the team expressed a keen interest in visiting the various gardens and looking at the bees and planting in them.
It was super to see the range of Livery Companies interested in our vision. The Farmers were in attendance, as were the Distillers, Clothworkers and the Bakers (they may not have a garden but we became very excited at one point discussing breads made using pollinator friendly herbs and flowers!) Furthermore, a number of Livery Companies were unable to attend, but expressed their interest in this pan-livery initiative.
As Anthony drew proceedings to a close, after summaries from each discussion group, the PLT team felt proud of the first tentative steps we had taken. We are grateful to all those who gave up their time to take part, and to those who sent messages of support. As well as having garnered ideas and positive feedback, we finished the lunch having welcomed another member to the panel, Heather Barrett-Mold OBE, the Master of the Worshipful Company of Gardeners.
The current climate may have slowed our progress a little, but our vision remains the same; working with Livery Companies and businesses to achieve a greener, more pollinator-friendly London. We welcome input from other Livery Companies; it is not too late to get involved. It is not too late to help us make a difference.
If you are interested in finding out how you can get involved,
please check our website www.pollinatinglondontogether.com
or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org