I am Iris and I first came across the principles of aquaponics and the circular economy when I was too busy at Re:work, the charity I was working at as their chief exec until last year. Re:work was and still is a very unusual, fairly small, innovation driven Social Enterprise supporting young people and older volunteers in their quest to move to paid employment and training. I was in post for 9 years, raised over £1.2m in funding, build lots of partnerships across the city and completed my MBA at the University of Bath alongside my work schedule in 2007/08.
The overarching theme in my involvement with projects either as a volunteer or as a paid employee has been one of innovation, change and trying to sell something different and progressive to a sceptical public: I was a founder member and the first manager of (Bristol) City Car Club, which in 2000 started with only 2 cars and now has 100s of cars in many major cities across the UK. I was also the Chair of Streets Alive! – advocating the importance of neighbourliness and street parties – something now generally acknowledged as fact and used in many different guises.
Changing the status quo, finding solutions and putting new ideas into practice is what I do best. – And aquaponics is a new challenge to turn into a community based industry.