By Alastair Sawday

Once upon a time I was Chair of Bristol’s Green Capital Momentum Group, later known as the Green Capital Partnership. We invented the idea of a Big Green Week to celebrate the huge range of community green initiatives and activities all over the city. There is SO much going on, from allotment gardening for Somali women to street closures for children’s play, and we think of it as a ‘dense explosion of community activity’.  Big Green Week, once supported by the Council, runs on a shoestring and the good will of volunteers, but remains the largest festival of its kind in Britain. Sawday’s is involved for two reasons:  I have been Chair of BGW for several years, though have handed over to others now; and as we sit in our offices we look over the harbourside and are constantly reminded of the vitality of the city and how much we owe it. We feel that every business should put down strong local roots, and contribute.

Things have become even better since I left: there are fascinating talks every day, bike rides, community energy events, opera, recycling ideas, advice on self-build – and main support from Marks and Sparks. You are encouraged to think again, do stuff yourself, learn, work with others and grow your community’s life. We have kick-started a lot of great ideas, like Bristol’s Grand Prix cycle ride this weekend.  Above all, the week is supposed to be FUN. I think it is. And it shows Bristol for what it is: energetic, slightly mad, unusual and pioneering. The only down side of the week is that there is so much happening that it is hard to keep up. Sawday’s has plans to become more and more involved in the city’s life; watch the space!

Sawday’s began as a campaign against the bland and predictable, celebrating eclecticism and individuality in travel. Two decades, countless guidebooks, an iPhone app and a shiny new website later, we are still challenging convention. Our collection of hand-picked Special Places to Stay has reached nearly 5000 across Britain, Ireland, France, Italy, Spain and Portugal; an eclectic selection of B&Bs, hotels, self-catering places, pubs and beautiful glamping places through Sawday’s Canopy & Stars. We also have a special selection of Ethical Places to stay, too We believe in what we do, passionately and honestly. We love all things local and independent, and seek out quirkiness and creativity only selecting the most special places and owner members. Keep in touch with us on Facebook and Twitter.