As 2021 comes to a close, we wanted to reflect on the highlights of the year in our work with our communities.
Community groups continued to flourish despite the pandemic
Community coffee mornings continued
We held our first Low Carbon Hub community coffee morning of 2021 on Tuesday 23 February and discussed the challenges and rewards of running a successful community group. The coffee mornings have continued to be a great way of knowledge and idea sharing as well as a lovely opportunity to get in some social contact during lockdowns.
Low Carbon Hub and the CAG Network were also pleased to restart their Energy Collaborate meetings in April to learn more about how we can support our community groups and individuals with community energy and energy efficiency projects. There are currently 34 low carbon community groups that are members of the Low Carbon Hub CIC and many are also members of the CAG Network. Together, they make a significant contribution to reducing the effects of climate change by organising regular carbon-saving activities in their communities.
We held the first community cocktails event
Lots of our community groups also took part in our ‘Cocktail of Climate Change Conversations’ event the evening of Tuesday 23 March. Everyone enjoyed hearing Al Kitchen, the Low Carbon Hub Communities Director, in conversation with Dr Brenda Boardman, MBE, member of Low Carbon Oxford North and tireless campaigner and researcher on energy usage and fuel poverty (to name but a few).
It was a fascinating conversation that ranged from the origins of fuel poverty, car-free streets, to the idea of a ‘personal carbon allowance’ for the future.
Our community group members are all able to apply for small and large grants every year to fund activities that contribute to cutting Oxfordshire’s carbon footprint and to the creation of a decentralised and locally owned renewable energy system.
In 2021 we awarded five Low Carbon Hub small grants of £500 to:
- Osney Lock Hydro – In a continuation of 2020’s grant, Osney Lock Hydro was awarded a further £500 for site improvements.
- Rose Hill & Iffley Low Carbon – were awarded a small grant towards the cost of creating a short film documenting their tree planting project. The filming took place in February 2021, and you can see the final film ‘Growing in the face of challenge’ here.
- Greener Henley – received £500 to install LED lighting in the local community centre (D:Two).
- Henley Climate Emergency Working Group – received a small grant to implement roof insulation in the Henley YMCA Community Hall.
- West Oxford Community Renewables – were awarded a small grant towards the dormitories’ energy efficiency profect at the Hill End Educational Centre.
We also awarded two large grants this year to:
- Low Carbon Oxford North & their Coalition for Healthy Streets and Active Travel (CoHSAT) project.
- A consortium of Low Carbon Hub community groups led by Rose Hill & Iffley Low Carbon and the Community Action Group (CAG) Project for the “From The Ground Up” exhibition, and after opening at the Old Fire Station it toured round Oxfordshire to the Downland Musem in Wantage, Rose Hill Community Centre, and the Town Hall in Watlington.
Read more about the grants here.
We are so proud to be able to play a small part in supporting the extraordinary work of our CIC Community Group Members in reducing the carbon footprints of their communities.
We welcomed five new community groups in 2021 which brings our total to 37! Our new groups are:
- Chinnor and Thame Friends of the Earth
- Cholsey Environment Champions
- Greener Great Coxwell
- Thame Green Living
- One Planet Clanfield
Community group of the month was launched
To further share the great work of the growing number of community group members, we launched our ‘Community Group of the Month’ feature so that every month we find out a little more about one of them. You can read the features here.
great big green week
Great Big Green Week took place 18 – 26 September 2021, and was the largest event for climate and nature ever seen in the UK. Thousands of events celebrated how communities are taking action to tackle climate change and protect green spaces, and encourage everyone to get involved.
Oxfordshire Great Big Green Week was eight days of events helping and encouraging people and organisations to act to help tackle the climate crisis, and to protect and improve our environment.
Annual General Meeting
This year has meant moving our events and meetings online, and trying our best with this new way of working. We love meeting our members face to face at our AGMs, but this year, unfortunately, meant we were all tiny boxes on a screen. But we still had a great time.
In October we held our joint Low Carbon Hub AGM (via Zoom) for 2020/21, attended by our Investor Members and CIC Shareholder Groups. We reflected on the year’s achievements and highlighted some of the exciting work we had coming up.
As you can see from these select highlights, it’s been a busy year for communities in Oxfordshire. We want to say a huge thank you to all of our community group members for you enthusiasm, dedication, and creativity and of course for your continuing support.
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