Cumbria is celebrating the UK’s first Climate Change Week for councils with the launch of two new initiatives.
Taking place between July 13 and July 17, the Small Change Big Difference event, co-ordinated by the Local Government Association (LGA), will put the spotlight on how councils across the country are helping people tackle climate change.
And to mark this, Cumbria Strategic Partnership’s Climate Change Task Group –made up of organisations from the private, public and voluntary sector including Cumbria County Council - has just announced a special £50,000 Communication and Engagement Fund to support organisations aiming to motivate Cumbrians to reduce their CO2 emissions and begin planning for the impacts of climate change.
Next Tuesday (July 14), a meeting for local representatives of business interests, community leaders and public organisations is also being held at Staveley village hall near Kendal to explore how Cumbria can turn the threat of climate change into an opportunity to become safer, wealthier and more resilient.
A workshop in the afternoon will then focus on how communities can establish and finance locally owned renewable energy schemes.
Phil Davies, Cumbria County Council’s climate change officer, said: "The Communication and Engagement Fund is designed to help organisations motivate Cumbrian businesses, householders, communities and even tourists to take action.
"There’s still a need to help people understand what we mean by climate change, but the focus of this fund is to take Cumbrians that step further, to show them where to find additional financial support for energy efficient technology, such as helping the elderly to source insulation for their homes or even to encourage people to car share to work."
With tourism contributing so significantly to Cumbria’s CO2 emissions, there’s also a call for projects that help tourists to reduce their carbon footprint.
Phil added: "Sometimes the climate change message can turn people off, so we are looking for initiatives that first engage with their audience and then motivate them to take action.
"So the message may be about eating healthy local food because first and foremost it supports our farmers, but the impact will also help to reduce Cumbria’s ‘food miles’ and thereby our CO2 emissions."
The project offers match funding up to £5,000 for each initiative and is open to all established organisations across Cumbria. More information is available by emailing email@example.com or calling him on 01228 221032.
The event at Staveley has already attracted the Co-operative Bank, Community Renewable Energy NW (CORE), Energy4All, the Northwest Development Agency ‘Foundation’ Fund and support from the Lake District National Park Authority.
Charlotte Smyrl, carbon reduction adviser for the National Park, said: "We are delighted that our chief executive Richard Leafe will be introducing the workshop on financing community renewable energy and that it’s open to everyone across Cumbria.
"The workshop should provide a practical guide to how our communities both inside and outside of the park can use creative financing, grants, loans and shares to establish their own renewable energy systems, whether these be hydro, wind, biomass or solar."
The morning session will be devoted to harnessing the opportunities of tackling climate change for Cumbria’s health, local economy, transport and tackling fuel poverty. It will also be exploring how Cumbria needs to start planning now for the effects of more extreme weather events.
The event takes place at Staveley from 9.15am to 3.30pm on July 14, with further information and booking available by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or telephoning Bridget on 01539 713401.
Cumbria’s Climate Change Action Plan sets Cumbria on a target of a 25 per cent reduction in CO2 by 2014, with Cumbria County Council and the Lake District National Park Authority both aiming to reach this target by 2012.
Media enquiries to media officer John Ballard on 01228 226330.