This year The Big Lemon will be 10 years old. This is a good time to reflect on our journey, and look at where we want to go and what we want to achieve in the next 10-13 years.
It’s been one hell of a ride. From humble beginnings with three old buses and a van full of biodiesel in a car park to Brighton & Hove’s Business of the Year 2016, it has been a rollercoaster of epic proportions.
The Big Lemon was the first bus company in the UK to run its whole fleet on 100% recycled waste cooking oil, and the first bus company in the UK with a Facebook group (that was before they even had ‘Pages‘!) An early adopter of Twitter, we were laughed at in 2009 for using it as a means to communicate service updates to our passengers. Now everyone’s doing it.
In 2017 we have seven coaches, two little buses and a minibus working four daily bus services in Brighton & Hove as well as private coach hire, music festival coaches and Sunday Walks. Last year we drove almost as far as the moon, taking over a quarter of a million people to where they wanted to go and saving over 220 tonnes of CO2 from going into the atmosphere in the process. We also got stuck into all sorts of local community initiatives such as Brighton Festival, a scheme to help long-term unemployed people get training and work experience, and a lunch club for elderly residents in Moulsecoomb and Bevendean.
Last year we also did a lot of work on the Bigger Picture, asking questions like “what’s it all for?”,”what’s the point in us?” and “where are we going with it?”.
Following a Solar Bus Retreat in Dream Valley, five Dream Team meetings in Brighton, a month of relationship-building in Bristol, two full Team Lemon meetings, umpteen cups of tea and a few sneaky craft beers we agreed on our purpose:
“to enable everyone to get around their community in an affordable, environmentally-sustainable way”
and our 2030 Vision:
“By 2030 every community in the UK has access to affordable, sustainable transport, using zero-emissions vehicles powered by renewable energy and owned by the local community”
So how do we go about that?
We have decided that the best way to achieve our goal is to hire a Managing Director to take The Big Lemon in Brighton & Hove to the next stage of its development; and set up a wider network to realise the 2030 Vision. This network will be led by our CEO Tom Druitt and would have four functions:
- to develop creative and innovative solutions to address the transport needs of the future in a sustainable way
- to facilitate the creation of new social enterprises in other communities under The Big Lemon’s umbrella, with shared values and a common purpose but operationally independent and locally-owned
- To provide training and coaching to support and develop the new teams in the network
- To provide business support in the form of licensing, marketing, administration, financial and legal support to give all the social enterprises in The Big Lemon family the best chance of success.
Would you like to be part of our future – and help us realise our vision?
Come to our AGM on Sunday 5th March at 3pm at Lemon HQ. The whole community is welcome, but only shareholders are able to vote. If you’d like to come please fill in the form below so we know how many people to expect:
Do you know anyone who would relish a new challenge leading one of Brighton’s most exciting businesses, and one of the UK’s most innovative social enterprises? Please tell them about our new vacancy for a Managing Director in Brighton.