We’ve been talking a lot about our achievements and plans recently; the amazing work that has already been done, and the summits to be scaled before we reach our aim of reducing single-use pollution (SUP) on our trails and in our wild places by 75% by 2025.
If you’ve been paying extra attention, you might have seen us describing ourselves as “small-normous”. What does that mean? Well… Trash Free Trails HQ is miniscule. We are two people and two dogs (Dom, Rich, Lion and Nova)... and while the dogs might be good at running and eating, they are still struggling with answering the phone or organising trail cleans. Fortunately, Trash Free Trails isn’t just our HQ. We are every one of the thousands of volunteers who gives up their time on a trail clean. We are also our A-Team ambassadors; going the extra mile to support, organise and champion. And that huge virtual team enables us to have an enormous impact. There’s another group who is a vital part of Trash Free Trails success, however: our partners.
(c) Sam Dugon
The game changers
Our partners are the game changers, the pioneers, those who enable us to take giant steps forwards in our mission. It is their expertise, passion and – let’s be honest – money that enables us as an organisation to dream big, make a true impact, and put food in Lion and Nova’s Bowls! (Cheers BECO!)
In particular, our Strategic Partners’ commitment to support us at an organisational level provides a stable platform from which to make long term plans. This approach enables us to collaborate in a manner that creates a sustained positive change to the health of our trails, wild places and the communities that rely upon them.
So, we would like to thank our Strategic Partners for 2021. Without Trek, Bosch E-Bike Systems, The North Face and European Outdoor Conservation Association (EOCA), we wouldn’t have been able to create our DIO Toolkit, helping our volunteers clean 4589km of trails of nearly 50000 pieces of SUP in 2021. We wouldn’t have been able to run the TrashMOB Academy and helped connect a group of young people to the outdoors. We wouldn’t have been able to organise our inaugural State of Our Trails Summit, nor would we have been able to create the first ever State of Our Trails Report, or employ and promote our very first full time employee - Rich Breeden.
And it would be remiss not to thank every other company and organisation that supported us in any way during 2021: Bangor University, Komoot, Red Bull, Outdoor Provisions, Muc Off, Sprayway, Endura, Shift Active Media, Forestry England, Pedal MTB, Cotswold Outdoor, Cotic, Hope, Bike Park Wales, Sidetracked, Enduro World Series, Naughty Northumbrian, 1% For the Planet, Bikmo, Blue Earth Summit, Buff, Quocc, The Trailhead Bicycle Company, Rob Rides eMTB, The Strength Factory, Openwide Agency, We are Peny, HKT, Ellie Bean Prints, Ploterre, Guy Kesteven and Kendal Mountain Festival. Phew! See - there’s quite a lot of support we need to get where we’re going!
(C) Sam Dugon
Partnerships = relationships
One of our values is that we can only exist through collaborations but these must be meaningful and above all else fair. We will be fierce in our defence of this principle. The thing about partnerships is they are a two-way relationship. We only work with organisations that understand and support our ethos, and for whom the Trash Free Trails mission is something to be bought into and championed; so finding the right fit of organisation is hugely, hugely important to us.
We will also never forget that even the biggest company is made up of people. Individuals who ride the trails as we do, care about their environment as we do. Individuals who used their influence within the business to give something back.
Here’s what some of them have to say about Trash Free Trails:
“For me, Trash Free Trails is about building long term partnerships (and friendships) in the outdoors, education and participation on both a professional and personal level.”
-Emma Pearson-Pope, Senior Marketing Manager, The North Face
“To me TFT is all about making it your own. It starts and finishes with you. You are the one that can choose change and inspire others. Look closely where you roam, absorb, expand and move it on. TFT are that link that lets you act alone but work together.”
- Jez Loftus, Trek Bikes UK
(c) Rich Baybutt
Strategic Partners 2022
We are overwhelmingly honoured to say that all of last year’s Strategic Partners have signed up for another year. Their continuity of support is even more valuable than the financial support that they bring. Those relationships that we have built will be sustained and keep our foundations rock solid. We cannot wait to keep working together.
Joining Trek, Bosch, The North Face and EOCA, we are even more stoked to announce two more strategic partners: Red Bull UK and Komoot.
Neither company is new to Trash Free Trails, and they have been hugely supportive on a smaller scale over the last twelve months or so. Once again, the financial support that these companies bring is fundamental to achieving our aims, but we are also genuinely heartened that these companies have already seen the way we work first hand… and want to increase their involvement. To us, it is a big sign that we are going about things the right way.
Thanks to the support of all our Strategic Partners for this year, we are already planning our biggest ever Spring Trail Clean, enhancing our TrashMOB Academy work, recruiting to grow our team slightly, and planning ongoing academic research: all of which will lead to cleaner trails, a protected environment and a society that is more connected than ever to the wild and natural places that sustain us.
It is humbling that more and more organisations are expressing an interest in working with us. We have created a document with the basics about how we would like to work together; what we do, how we operate and the kind of partnerships we have on offer. If you think your business or organisation might be able to help us achieve our mission, we’d love to hear from you. You can download our Partnership Info here, and let’s take it from there!