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Celebrating Sustainability

In February I was invited to the House of Lords by Small Business Britain to celebrate our Sustainability and Green Skills as Small and Micro Businesses. I was lucky enough on this occasion to be able to take a plus one with me, so I invited my friend Catherine, who runs the successful Flowerpot in Derby. I thought it was a great opportunity to support one of my favourite small businesses and take them with me on my adventure to London and my second visit to the House of Lords.

We had a great day, catching an early train to London and then taking a casual approach in catching the tube to our destination. We actually stopped at Charing Cross and took a lovely walk along Whitehall and The Thames River towards to The Houses of Parliament. We actually spotted more parrots than pigeons! Arriving a bit early as you never know how the tubes will be or what the police presence around Parliament will be up too, we grabbed a coffee from a small independent and had a wander around Victoria Tower Gardens, which made us all nice and relaxed for the obligatory queue and security checks at Black Rods Gate.

Upon entering the Small Business Sustainability event, we were greeted by the lovely folks from Small Business Britain and the option of a tasty vegan cupcake, created especially for the event. I hope I didn't get any icing in people's hair as I was hugged by familiar faces, with cupcake in hand!

Throughout the event the canapes were never ending and the fizz flowed, whilst we listened to an array of speeches, including a speech from my own local MP Amanda Soloway, that was very surprising as I hadn't been aware what a small business advocate she was! I shall look forward to meeting her properly, as it seemed she had to rush off on this occasion. Michelle Ovens CBE, founder of Small Business Britain and avid campaigner, supporting small and micro businesses across the UK, gave her welcoming and positive speech, staying around to chat to all those that usually have only met her online during webinars and report launches.

Once all the speeches were over, we spent time chatting with lots of new faces and a few familiar ones. I chatted with Mat and Anna who I first met during a Small Business Saturday in Derby, where Mat interviewed Barley! They were travelling the length and breadth of the UK in electric vehicles, which back in 2021 was even more challenging than it is now. Anna also visited my Shedquarters along with Gemma (fellow small business owner of 'It Started with a Stitch') during the 2022 Small Business Saturday Tour of Britain, for the Golden Hour giveaway. Check out the video if you can find it, Anna is wearing a fabulous sparkly golden jacket and feeding Barley all the treats! I also met Adam from Small 99, in person for the first time and it was lovely to able to introduce him to Catherine, as Adam started People, Planet, Pint and Catherine's pub The Flower Pot, is the venue for People, Planet, Pint, Derby of which I am the host. On the theme of sustainability meet ups, whilst out on the terrace, I was interviewed by Ciaran from Sustainable Pathways, I wonder where I can find that video?

It was a fantastic sustainability celebration and I'm so glad I went and it was made even better by the fact that I could share the day with a friend and help them in supporting their business, through networking too. After our celebrations at The House of Lords, we walked to Waterloo tube station, but not before popping in the lovely craft beer bar nearby. We then took the tube to Kings Cross and spent our train waiting time discovering a few new real ale and craft beer gems around the Coal Drops Yard, as well as a few older establishments too, collecting inspiration for my favourite beer inspired range of tiny sculptures and jewellery.

I'm looking forward to a few more visits to London in the near future, including a very special visit to the historical, Royal Society in May for a sustainability workshop with Ciaran from Sustainable Pathways (perhaps I'll get to ask him what he's done with that video interview) and the launch of a small business report on sustainability. I've also been invited back the House of Lords in June, but this time it's just for me, with no plus one, so I shall have to see how that goes! Watch this space...


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