This was a fantastic event organised by Judy, James, Saleem, Valerie, Philippa, Amina and others at BEN. It was amazing to realise that there are people within the National Trust doing cutting edge community work (see Wightwick Manor’s Caribbean Herbal publication) and this Sacred Quran publication

I particularly enjoyed Shilpa Sihah’s presentation on Friends of the Earth’s work around the world and Miles Sibley’s reflective and evaluative approach  to working in the community at BTCV. Segen and I had fun talking about Invisible Food and the opportunity to feedback on the Rainbow training which we participated in during January and February 2010.  See our presentation Invisible Food presentation

“Showcasing Environmental Opportunities and

Innovative Ethnic Minority Projects”


BEN 2010 Networking Conference and AGM

London 14th April 2010

At The Oasis Centre, 75 Westminster Bridge Road, London SE1 7HS






The aim of the Networking Conference:

  • To showcase the range of environmental opportunities available in order to increase access by ethnic minority communities
  • To showcase innovative Ethnic Minority Projects, integrating social, cultural, economic and environmental themes, in order to share ideas and inspire action
  • To facilitate networking for mutual support



9.30–10.00      Registration, Networking and Coffee

10.00-10.10          The BEN Rainbow Training Programme. Judy Ling Wong CBE

10.10-11.10Presentations (10 minutes each) by environmental organisations and            members of ethnic minority communities

1. Forestry Commission – Jim Smith – Wonderful woodlands on the urban fringe and further afield offer energetic outdoor activities, quiet recreation, environmental education including Forest Schools.

2. Transition Towns  – Catrina Pickering – supporting villages, towns and cities across the globe to respond as communities to the pressures of climate change, fossil fuel depletion and increasingly, economic contraction.

3. Environmental Law Foundation – Emma Montlake – The work of ELF, including the Sustainable Communities Programme, and the support and advice available to local communities.

4. National Trust – Glenis Williams, Joyce Wallace – The Whose Story? project has worked to highlight previously untold stories, hidden histories, and cultural heritage links. Working with BME communities to develop new ways of bringing NT properties in the West Midlands.

5. Friends of the Earth –  Shilpa SihahWhat are environmental rights and justice, and how FoE are working with communities to get access to them This will include community stories and details about how you can get involved. 

6. BTCV – Miles Sibley – the largest environmental volunteering organisation in Europe, supports practical projects in urban and rural settings, responding to the wishes and needs of the people they involve.

11.15-11.30     Tea

11.30-12.30          Panel Discussion – Time for your Questions 


12.30-14.00     Networking Time, Market Place, and Lunch


13.20-13.40     Rainbow Training Workshop – Twenty-minute workshop covering                      the details of the Rainbow Training Programme 


14.00-15.00     Presentations (10 minutes each) by environmental organisations and                   members of ethnic minority communities

1. Sports Council Walkleader Programme and Working with Ethnic Minorities in the Countryside – Philippa Owen BEN Development Worker  – running a Sports Council Walkleader Programme for the Chinese community, and engaging with new ethnic groups such as the Polish in a rural and semi-rural setting.

2. Invisible Food Project and Rainbow Training Programme – Ceri Buck and Segen Ghebrekidan – sharing the Invisible Food Project and talking about her experience with the BEN Rainbow Training Programme and what they got out of it for the future.

3. The Onion Shed and the Rainbow Training Programme – Ann Bodkin and Saxa Warsop  – The Onion Shed, a new local project focusing on food growing, and the impact of her experience of the Rainbow Training Programme.

4. BEN Bike Recycling Project – Amina Ali BEN Development Worker – a project that refurbishes bikes, teaches local people the skills to maintain bikes, and by providing free transport opens up a different range of opportunities in the local area and further afield.

5. Get Walking Keep Walking – Carole O’Leary – A Rambler’s Association project aimed at helping people, especially in big cities, improve their health and well-being by walking regularly and locally.


6. Circle Of Life Rediscovery – Marina Robb – eco-sessions, woodland days, programmes, camps and youth trainings for young people. Marina will also talk about their work with the Traveller community.  

15.00-15.15          BEN AGM     


15.15-15.30     Tea and Coffee


15.30-16.30     Panel Discussion. Time for your questions


16.30-17.00     Networking and Close

Judy talks powerfully and eloquently about living in a multicultural society and the importance of access for all to the environment.

You can download some of BEN’s publications, including Judy’s writing here: