April 2008 Archives
Blacon Community Trust has been shortlisted in the Big Green Challenge. The Challenge is a national competition established by National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA) and The Daily Mirror to involve local people in reducing energy consumption and find new ways to make communities sustainable. If the Trust becomes a finalist for the Big Green Challenge, it will receive ÃÂ£20,000 in September for one year to make further progress. Whichever organisation wins the Challenge ultimately receives ÃÂ£1 million.
In addition to people being encouraged to save energy and have more energy efficient buildings in Blacon, there is the possibility of generating heating and electricity from the natural environment from natural (or "renewable") sources and distributing it among residential, commercial and community buildings in the redevelopment of Blacon Parade currently being led by the City Council. The Trust will consult local people on these plans in September. A recent study undertaken by energy specialists at EA Technology Ltd. at Capenhurst for the Trust with support from Cheshire and Warrington Economic Alliance identified a number of other possible sites for further use of renewable energy technologies for community benefit for discussion with local people and agencies. There are already other steps being taken to improve Blacon's Green Spaces by local residents and agencies.
Using renewable energy in Blacon, an area with a strong community identify and where agencies and communities work well together, will add to efforts to make Blacon much more sustainable and help address concerns about the rising costs of energy. It will also help reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and combat Climate Change.
"Blacon is a great area to live and work in and we want to make it better," said Ged Edwards Environmental Coordinator at Blacon Community Trust. "Local people and organisations are concerned about energy prices and how we can do our bit for the environment. We will work with them and with our partner agencies involved here to make a Blacon a Sustainable Community and develop an environment that will attract people to the area."
Pictured here are residents and staff involved with the Blacon project (photo courtesy of Chester Chronicle), many of whom attended the recent Action Planning for Community Energy Saving Projects workshop at Trafford Hall
Well, at least for this week, the answer is 3.
Kicking off on 23rd April with the Chester Launch of Energy Projects Plus new Practical Action for Climate Change toolkit at Chester Town Hall. Followed by a screening of The Power of Community by Transition Chester at Alexander's Jazz bar. Then on Friday, I'm off to learn how to use a thermal imaging camera courtesy of Energy Projects Plus.
One year on from the first grass roots conference for low carbon communities hosted at University of Chester things continue to move forward at a rapid pace. Over in Shropshire last Saturday I was lucky enough to be invited to attend an event hosted by Stretton Climate Care, who were delegates at last year's conference. After listening to a presentation by Mark Lynas I was able to give them a sneak preview of this years event - and if you want to more about that you'll have to wait until I blog about it here, or catch up with all the news on the Low Carbon Communities Network here.
I have just had a message from Joanna Tidball at Nesta's Big green Challenge, among the 100 shortlisted community projects is Blacon Community Trust - the only Chester community project to reach the shortlist. Well done to everyone for getting this far, a huge achievement for everyone involved.
I'll be writing more about the other finalists on the Low Carbon Communities Network site soon.
You can read about Sustainable Youlgrave - another shortlisted project here
I am delighted to let readers know that latest funding round from Artists Project Earth has been announced and the Low Carbon Communities network now has funding to organise a national event and to begin encouraging low carbon communities to network and support each other on a more formal basis.
Last week I attended the launch of the Community Carbon Network in Rugby, check out the site for all the latest news.
I've been talking to Cheshire County Council too, about a regional strategy / network meeting for low carbon groups in Cheshire. let me know if you'd be interested.
You can follow lowcarbondiary on twitter for all the latest news about the LCCN and get updates when I blog
It is rare to see a room so full of enthusiasm and excitement on a Monday morning, but yesterday's event at Trafford Hall created a very tangible buzz of activity. Numerous groups and organisations across the Cheshire region made contacts and plans were made for future collaborations. It was great to see groups sharing what they knew with others and comparing stories and experiences. The question of funding and support came up time and again and luckily we had "experts" on hand who were able to use their community and professional experience to point groups in useful directions. Many participants have said how useful they found the carbon footprinting workshop, especially the immediate feedback available and advice on how to engage neighbours in the debate about energy reduction. Jon and Derek (from Stretton Climate Care in Shropshire) shared the story of their community and gave useful advice to others. Their sense of humour and in depth knowledge was appreciated by us all.
Other highlights included residents from Blacon getting to grips with the green action plan for their community, which is already involved in many sustainable initiatives, as one resident pointed out, she never realised just how much was going on already. I'm looking forward to this year's Blacon Festival on 5th July and hope Bryan from Sticky Exhibits will bring some of his amazing installations along.
Links were made between climate groups in Cheshire and Manchester and plans made for visits and shared events in the future.
Susi Miller from Federation for Community Development Learning was a very sensitive facilitator, even though drawing the group together sometimes felt like herding cats she managed to draw everyone's experiences together and gave us all a great deal to think about. I certainly came away with more questions than answers. I'm away at Ruralnet's Collaborate 2008 event and Transition Towns Conference in Cirencester for next few days, but will write more about the Community Action event next week. Hope to post from Transition Towns if time permits, but have along list of people I want to meet, a chance to finally put faces to names on email lists and catch up with old friends.
Some of you may have read a report in today's edition of the Chronicle regarding an event I'm helping to organise on Monday 7th April at Trafford hall. The article mistakenly refers to the Ashton Hayes Going Carbon Neutral Project.
I would like to make it clear that although I live in Ashton Hayes I have no formal connection to the Going Carbon Neutral Project and apologise to the Parish Council for any confusion their implied involvement may have caused. No mention of Ashton Hayes Parish Council was made in the press release sent to the Chronicle or to other media in the North West region. The event is a joint collaboration between several North West Agencies, including the Ash-worth Time Bank. Residents of Ashton Hayes will be attending to share their personal experiences of living in the village.
I work for the recently formed Low Carbon Communities Network - you can read more about it on my personal blog http://lowcarbondiary.wordpress.com
Monday's event is fully booked and we have a waiting list for cancellations. I'll write a full report here next week.
Among the participants will be a representative of Tiverton Village Hall committee which has installed solar panels on the roof of the building. I'm looking forward to hearing more stories from communities that have taken positive steps to reduce their impact on the environment.
Let me know what your community has been up to - or what kind of support your community would like to start the journey towards a future less reliant on fossil fuels.
This just arrived in my inbox and so i thought I'd share it with residents of Chester. One of the best parts about what I do is hearing so many positive stories from across the North West about communities working together - especially when it involves linking the older and younger generations. Youlgrave in Derbyshire has done this very successfully and recently won a national Future Friendly award (which you can read about on my personal blog)
Andrew McCloy told me
"The group began in 2006 when a group of likeminded villagers in the Derbyshire village of Youlgrave, located in the heart of the Peak District near Bakewell, came together to discuss ways in which, by thinking globally but acting locally, we could do our bit to combat climate change and at the same time make our rural community fully sustainable. We are exploring a range of initiatives which covers renewable energy generation, educational and energy-saving projects, plus related themes such as promoting local shops and services. We cover the settlements of Youlgrave, Alport and Middleton-by-Youlgrave in the valley of the River Bradford. Sustainable Youlgrave is an independent community group run by and for local people.
Over the last two years we have received grants to research the possibilities of renewable energy, principally anaerobic digestion and wind power. We hope to approach this via our own energy company, and we are currently talking to the East Midlands Development Agency about the possibilities of making this a reality.
We are also conducting our own household and business energy survey of the entire area; have held a successful joint composting workshop with the village horticultural society; and are contributing to the draft Climate Change Strategy for Derbyshire consultation. We are active in Youlgrave's emerging Village Plan covering all aspects of sustainability and environmental awareness.
To learn more go to our website"
A new multimedia toolkit will be launched next week which enable communities to calculate their carbon footprints and take practical steps to reduce their CO2 emissions.
A collaboration between Energy Projects Plus (EPPLUS) and University of Cheshire, this new toolkit will provide communities with tools they need to carry out a carbon footprint survey. I haven't seen the toolkit yet, but I believe there will be sections on renewable energy, transport and recycling. I'm picking up my copy on Friday 4th April and will post more details here about the content.
Residents of Chester are invited along to see the toolkit presentations on the following dates:
Northwich Memorial Hall on 8th April 4pm - 7pm
Chester Guild Hall, Watergate St on 23rd April 4pm - 7pm
For more details call Michael Flood on 01606 594272
Some North West communities are already using carbon footprinting as a way of informing residents about the need to reduce domestic energy before moving on to consultations about how their community can be more efficient and less reliant on fossil fuels in the future. if your community uses carbon footprinting already let me know what you think - how useful has it been in reducing carbon emissions and what are the benefits of measuring the data?