LCCN Session: Low carbon communities working with the wider community

January 22nd, 2012 by Katharine Mann Leave a reply »

In the afternoon at the Low Carbon Communities conference I attended the workshop entitled: Low carbon communities working with the wider community.

There were presentations from the following people representing a range of groups:

  • Kate Damiral from the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) who support projects on climate change targeting certain groups such as the elderly, disabled and British Ethnic Minorities
  • Ross Weddle from CoRE who recommended that successful community renewable projects need cooperation rather than funding which require votes which make community groups compete against each other, commercial and philanthropic funding and local partnerships to be part of wider society
  • Phil Korbel who volunteers in “The Heatons” community action group based near Stockport, South of Manchester. The group was set up in 2010 and has 200 subscribers and a group of 12 organisers. Last year they organised swap shops, an energy day, a waste feast, had stalls at local events, set up friends of the local railway station and sell their own shopping bags. This year they’re buying an old playing field to set up a community growing project, setting up awareness video evenings and aim to get out of the “smugosphere”.

In small groups we then discussed what works to engage and activate wider community groups and the support we need.

The groups had the following ideas to engage and activate wider community groups:

  • Set up manageable projects with clear aims and objectives
  • Set up partnerships with common ground outcomes
  • Send letters home to parents, otherwise known as parent mail
  • Organise open days at eco renovated homes
  • Organise street parties and events to bring groups together into practical action and take advantage of social capital
  • Communicate and publicise the group’s successes eg the install of solar panels
  • Target the language used and emphasise the benefits and that it’s normal
  • Covert messaging through seasonal generosity so take advantage of items that people are going to buy anyway and get them to spend their money with the community group. For example one group bought Christmas trees in bulk from a local grower and got them delivered to a central place and then sold them locally and saved everyone travelling to buy their own and the profits were invested in the community group.

The groups requested the following support:

  • Access to venues, resources such as photocopying and promotion
  • Lobby central government
  • Sharing network for case studies and good practice and use this to publicise where funding is needed
  • Access to a signposting service and contact database

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