Suzi Green, South Mids Branch Committee MemberandGraduate Planner at Bidwells
Women in Planning South Midlands successfully hosted their launch event on Thursday 19th July in Milton Keynes. As with any launch event, you can imagine the worry the South Midlands Committee had that nobody would turn up. After a long exchange of emails between Ellie, Becky and Mel from the initial thought for the branch over a pizza in Milton Keynes, and latterly joined by Claire and me, we came to a consensus that things should be simple and informal for our first event. We hoped this would provide a chance for those attending to come along and introduce themselves in a more relaxed setting and it would help to generate more exposure going forward.
Well, we need not have worried. In fact, we were overwhelmed by the amount of support that we had in terms of turnout and interest from those who could not make the event. The evening saw a gathering of around 20 planners from a range of planning backgrounds from across the South Midlands. It would seem like a gin and tonic makes for a fine combination with planning talk. We had a chance to ask those in our region what they would like to get from Women in Planning SM and what events we could hold in the future. For me, as a resident of Milton Keynes and a recent graduate, what stood out was the diversity of the people that came. From women just starting in the planning profession like me, to those who have had long careers and have set up their own consultancies. Unlike with networking events I have been to in the past there was not a generational divide and instead I saw a genuine interest from all attending in getting to know one another. It also attracted women from across the whole of the region with planners travelling from Bedford, Northamptonshire and Oxfordshire to join us. It really embodied the ethos of Women in Planning and is the reason why we wanted to launch a branch of Women in Planning in this area.
The event was kindly sponsored by David Lock Associates a Milton Keynes based muti-disciplinary planning and design practice. The WiP South Midlands Branch cannot stress enough how invaluable this sponsorship and early support was for our launch event. We are already at work organising our next event so please ensure that you are signed up to our mailing list and following us on social media!