HRH The Prince of Wales to visit Birmingham as part of the Start festival

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On 9 September HRH, The Prince of Wales will visit the ‘Working towards a Smarter Future’ event at Millennium Point, Birmingham to launch his Start initiative in the West Midlands. 

To register for this event please visit the registration website.

The Prince’s visit comes on the fourth day of his national Start tour. The tour, which takes the Prince, via Royal Train, to ten different locations throughout Britain, aims to celebrate sustainable community living. 

The Working towards a Smarter Future event is being organised by Business in the Community(BITC) , BT, Sustainability West Midlands (SWM), Smarter Working West Midlands and Thinktank. As part of his visit, HRH will:-

  • Tour a Smarter Working and Living Exhibition with Professor Julia King, Vice-Chancellor of Aston University and the UK’s Low Carbon Business Ambassador, where he will see a display of green vehicles and stands from 25 business and community groups from across the region, showing how people can live more sustainably in their workplace and community.
  • Hear the views and opinions of 70 young people about the future at a Preparing for a Smart Future event organised by BT, which will be video-linked to a parallel event taking place at BT Tower in London.
  • Be introduced to some of the activities and exhibits at Thinktank which relate to the Start Initiative by a group of young people. Thinktank is a busy, vibrant and successful science museum and family attraction, welcoming over 250,000 visitors each year.


David Darlaston BITC’s West Midlands Regional Director, said: “Business in the Community is delighted to be working with our partners Sustainability West Midlands, BT, Smarter Working West Midlands and Thinktank to create a very special stop on the Start tour in the West Midlands. Start and initiatives such as the Working towards a Smarter Future event show the simple steps we can all take in our workplaces and communities to live more sustainably.”

Dr. Nick Winterbotham, Chief Executive of Thinktank and Millennium Point commented; “We here at Thinktank are delighted to be supporting the Start Initiative. The pillars of the Start programme match closely with Thinktank’s own belief that improving scientific understanding and skills is essential in tackling some of the key challenges facing our world today. This visit is part of an ongoing mission for Thinktank to bring scientifically significant learning to the community and we are looking forward to building on this in the future.”

SWM’s Executive Director, Dr. Simon Slater, said, “Sustainability West Midlands is delighted to host this event with Smarter Working West Midlands and BITC to showcase some of the best practice from around the region through a lively exhibition, interactive debates and inspirational presentations. The West Midlands is home to a host of leading examples of low cost and high impact projects which promote behaviour change to improve sustainability in the workplace and communities. We look forward to seeing so many of these come together to encourage others in the region to make a positive difference and hope to see many of you on the day.”

Sustainability West Midlands is the sustainability champion body for the region and works with local authorities, businesses and community groups to achieve their vision of a West Midlands that is environmentally sustainable and socially just.

Caroline Waters, Director, People and Policy for BT, said: “This is a really exciting initiative combining many of the vital ingredients we each need to understand how we can take responsibility for creating a smarter, cleaner and more sustainable future. I am thrilled to bring together BT’s technology and experience with the skills of our partners, to give young people direct access to opinion makers in business. It’s really important that we listen to the voice of young people. We are all working towards a better future, it’s right to listen to those who will inherit it – in my experience, they often have the answers we are searching for”.

More about Start…

Start ( is a national initiative by The Prince’s Charities Foundation to promote and celebrate sustainable living. HRH is touring the country, visiting community groups and examples of sustainable behaviour, as well as three national Start festivals, to help show how we can all make positive changes to our lifestyles.

The Prince’s Start initiative builds on the work of the charity Business in the Community, of which HRH has been President for 25 years.  Over that time, BITC has been working with businesses to develop partnerships which create, promote and support sustainable communities. HRH’s visit to Birmingham will showcase these successful partnerships, which support his Start objectives.  

Start is a Public/Private/NGO partnership which has been created in response to research which shows that when it comes to dealing with issues like climate change and sustainability, people are confused and are looking for information and advice. 

It is all about exploring what is possible: from the cheapest and simplest to the most complex and futuristic; from quick fixes to long-term solutions. So far, a number of leading businesses have signed up to the initiative including B&Q, Virgin Money, Marks and Spencer, Asda, EDF Energy, Addison Lee, IBM UK & Ireland and BT Group plc.

The week-long tour will culminate in ‘A Garden Party to Make A Difference’ in the gardens of Clarence House, Lancaster House and Marlborough House from the 8th to the 19th September 2010.


Official Press release (pdf)