Low Carbon Hub Large Grants Awarded

Our Community Grant Fund offers financial support for carbon cutting activities across Oxfordshire. All Community Members of the Low Carbon CIC can apply for a small or large grant that can be used to fund activities that contribute to the Hub’s aims: to cut Oxfordshire’s carbon footprint and contribute to creating a decentralised and locally-owned renewable energy system. Community groups can apply for funding singly or in consortia with other community shareholders.

We are delighted to award two large grants this year to Low Carbon Oxford North (LCON) & Coalition for Healthy Streets and Active Travel (CoHSAT) and a consortium of Low Carbon Hub community groups led by Rose Hill & Iffley Low Carbon (RHILC) and the Community Action Group (CAG) Project.

LCON & CoHSAT: Local Empowerment Towards a Car-Free Future

This is the third large grant of £5000 awarded to this group and builds on their previous work and research to promote healthy streets and active travel over the past two years.

Transport accounts for 40% of all carbon emissions in Oxfordshire, and this project aims to encourage communities to reduce their dependency on cars. The pandemic has meant that 2020 has been a challenging year for everybody, but it has also provided a glimpse of how different the streets can feel with reduced traffic levels. As people have kept away from public transport, there has been a surge of interest in cycling and walking, leading to improved air quality in Oxford.

Working collectively with the ten coalition partners and producing excellent evidence-based research has helped the group increase their contribution to the city and county council transport plans, which will result in more sustainable transport options in Oxfordshire. Members of the Coalition of Healthy Streets and Active Travel are:

To help communities reduce their use of cars, the coalition plan to develop the idea of 15 Minute Neighbourhoods through participating in four main activities that will occur throughout the year:

  • 15-minute neighbourhood concept
  • 15-minute neighbourhood survey
  • Low Traffic Neighbourhoods
  • School Streets
15-minute Neighbourhoods – concept and survey

The concept of a 15-minute neighbourhood (15MN) is simple and powerful and involves ascertaining which amenities are the most important to communities to have within a 15-minute walk of their home. CoHSAT will devise a questionnaire asking people across Oxfordshire to identify the amenities that matter most to them, such as healthcare facilities, school, shop, a green space and a pub. The information gathered will form part of a policy paper that will explain the15MN concept, which it is hoped will become integrated into local transport consultations, such as Oxfordshire 2050 and the Local Transport and Connectivity Plan.

With the help of the large grant, the coalition will employ a part-time project manager to oversee the delivery of all activities and build towards an open meeting in March 2022 to reveal the results of their research and conclusions.

RHILC and the CAG Network: 20 Stories of Climate Action Exhibition

We are pleased to award a large grant of £4,530 to a collaboration of Low Carbon Hub community groups and the CAG Network for a creative and exciting project, the ’20 Stories of Climate Action’ exhibition.

CAG Oxfordshire network celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2021 and to mark this milestone they are collecting stories of grassroots community action on climate change in Oxfordshire. This will culminate in an exhibition in the main gallery space at Arts at The Old Fire Station, Oxford, in September 2021. The CAG network will also produce a digital exhibition through a website that will act as a legacy for the network presenting the vibrant community group action across the county.

The digital exhibition will feature the Low Carbon Hub’s People’s Power Station, an online platform and map which records and displays renewable energy generation and energy efficiency projects, both big and small, across Oxfordshire. By linking a storyteller to each group involved, the 20 Stories project will highlight the inspiring work of existing low carbon community groups and hope to enthuse and encourage a new audience to rise to the challenges of climate emergency. By touring sections of the exhibition to rural parts of Oxfordshire (via cargo bike!), they will increase awareness of the community group network.

At least 20 low carbon community groups will be involved in the exhibition, several of which are members of the Low Carbon Hub CIC, including:

  • Rose Hill & Iffley Low Carbon
  • Local Environment Action Florence Park
  • Sustainable Woodstock
  • Sustainable Wantage
  • Hook Norton Low Carbon
  • Hook Norton Community Land Trust
  • Low Carbon East Oxford
  • Westmill Sustainable Energy Trust

A group of local filmmakers and photographers will be recording the process for the project’s online documentation. There will also be a series of educational workshops and talks throughout the exhibition.

The project will raise awareness of community-led climate action, engage a broader range of local people with climate issues, and help develop connections across the CAG Oxfordshire Network and Low Carbon Hub community groups. This will support the whole CAG Network’s efforts and broader climate movement locally over the coming months and years.

Cathy Ryan, Community Engagement Manager, Low Carbon Hub. April 2021