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Scottish Communities Climate Action Network

Your December update from Scottish Communities Climate Action Network

Whatever your view on its shortcomings, the agreement in Paris makes it official: the era of fossil fuels is at an end. And the quicker we can bring it to an end, the more reserves of coal, oil and gas can be kept in the ground and the better chance we have of avoiding the most catastrophic consequences of climate change. 

This will require a transformation in the way we live our lives and run our economy and gives us an historic, one-off opportunity to move away from our fossil-fuel conditioned mind-set with its focus on centralised, large-scale solutions and to re-imagine the way we do things. With an economy and society based on dispersed, diffuse, decentralised renewables, can we grasp the opportunity and empower our communities to take control of shaping their own futures?
 
How can we ensure that our communities are resilient enough to use the multiple economic, social and environmental challenges ahead as stimuli for creative change? See here for some thoughts on what makes for a resilient community.
 
Are we ready?
The recent floods in the Scottish Borders and Cumbria have once again highlighted our changing weather patterns and the increased frequency of prolonged intense rainfall. Scottish Communities CAN is currently working with Adaptation Scotland to refine and develop a simple resource (‘Are We Ready?’). Starting from the premise that we all like to talk about the weather, and how it is changing, the intention is to make this available as a resource for our members to use as a way of engaging people who wouldn’t normally come to a meeting to discuss climate change. We hope it can also lead these conversations beyond short-term responses to emergencies to discuss long-term community resilience. We are still seeking a few communities to host an ‘Are We Ready?’ workshop as we finalise the resource. Please do get in touch if you are interested.
 
        

 
Autumn Unconference
Personal resilience, avoiding the risk of burn-out (and how Scottish Communities CAN  can best enable our members to support each other) was one of the topics addressed by those attending our Autumn Unconference. More about that here.
 
For some inspiring stories of the impact that communities around the world are already having and how they are providing a glimpse of a different future, see Transition Network’s 21 stories for COP21 including (Scottish Communities CAN  member) Transition Black Isle’s million miles project.
 
Community renewable energy
The recent changes to support for renewable energy proposed by the UK government are particularly unhelpful, completely out of step with the Paris agreement. They look set to completely scupper prospects for community owned renewable generation for the time being – unless the intense lobbying by many of our members and bodies such as Community Energy Scotland results in special dispensation for community schemes. To date, community renewables have offered one of the best routes for community groups to wean themselves off dependence on grant funding, as well as reconnecting local energy needs to local energy supplies.
 
Congratulations to Scottish Communities CAN member Applecross Community Company whose spin off community benefit society Apple Juice Hydro has just commissioned their 90kW hydro scheme after years of effort, raising their target of £780,000 in just five weeks so as to scrape in under wire before the UK Government moved the goal posts on tax relief for community renewable share offers with only six weeks’ notice.
 

OurLocality

Six years ago, Sustaining Dunbar opened up its own web platform to provide free websites to other local groups (individuals, businesses, community councils, projects etc.) and then linked them all to provide a local news and events page.
Now they are wondering why no-one else seems to have done this and whether other Scottish Communities CAN members would like support to do something similar –or indeed whether the same idea could be used to support networking between Scottish Communities CAN  members.
Read more here: http://sustainingdunbar.org/2015/10/where-next-for-ourlocality/
Philip Revell, Sustaining Dunbar
 

Community Engagement Support peer learning project

Scottish Communities CAN’s aim for this project was to address two key challenges our members face in community engagement work:
  • how to engage with a greater cross-section of their community and,
  • how to deepen their engagement to ensure that interest in their activities leads to lasting behaviour change.
Nine projects were offered up to three days of mentoring support over 3-6 months.
The groups fed back how they adapted their projects, how the mentoring worked for them, and Top Tips for Community Engagement.
 
A summary of the project, including Top Tips and two case studies, is on our Resources page.
 

Read about Student Association of the University of the West of Scotland’s experience on our Blog here.
 
If you’d like to learn from another project face-to-face, why not go and visit one?
Community Learning Exchange can help: see below for more info.
 
Keep Scotland Beautiful consultation reveals significant concern about climate change
Keep Scotland Beautiful has published the results of an eight week consultation in which over 800 people gave us their views on the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris.
 
Results of the consultation included:
●     93% of respondents were concerned about climate change
●     85% of respondents said they would like a new, legally binding international agreement to emerge from the Paris talks
●     84% of respondents agreed that action on climate change will improve people’s quality of life
 
Keep Scotland Beautiful has shared the findings of the report with the Scottish Government and called for action including pushing for a legally binding commitment at COP21 that will limit global warming to 2°C and for the Scottish Government to continue to lead by example, both at COP21 and afterwards.
 
View ‘Conversations About COP21 Summary Report’ on Keep Scotland Beautiful’s website www.keepscotlandbeautiful.org/yourvoiceatparis
 

From left to right: David Gunn, Director for Climate Change and Sustainability, Keep Scotland Beautiful, Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, Aileen McLeod and Elizabeth Dirth, Climate Change Officer, Keep Scotland Beautiful.
 
Fairer Greener Scotland by 2030: Ideas?
Conversations about how to create a socially just and sustainable Scotland recently took place as part of the Scottish Government’s Fairer Scotland consultation in Edinburgh in November and Glasgow in December 2015.
A wide range of organisations and backgrounds were represented at these events allowing diverse perspectives to shape the Social Justice Action Plan to be announced in 2016. The events were supported by the Social Justice and Regeneration and Climate Change departments at the Scottish Government, demonstrating the importance of both justice and environmental issues for the future of Scotland, locally and globally.
 
Should you wish to find out more about the conversations and the insights please contact Kristina Nitsolova, Ethnic Minority Environmental Network Development Officer at CEMVO Scotland at kristina.nitsolova@cemvosctland.org.uk. More about Fairer Scotland at http://fairer.scot/ and on Twitter #fairerscotland #fairergreener
 

Image: A word map of the emerging issues from the Fairer Greener Scotland Consultations

Membership
Scottish Communities CAN now has 124 member groups: 91 are full members, and 33 Associates. They are listed with brief descriptions and map on our website: www.scottishcommunitiescan.org.uk/our-members. Ten member groups have told us that their climate action project has come to an end, so their membership has ceased.
 
A warm welcome to BIDs Scotland, Green Aspirations Scotland CIC and Hillswick Wildlife Sanctuary, who have recently joined Scottish Communities CAN
 
Membership of Scottish Communities CAN is free, and open to community groups in Scotland taking action on climate change. Organisations that support community groups can become an Associate. If your group is not yet a member, why not Join us!

Your Scottish Communities CAN steering group needs you!

Aran Morrison of Whiteinch & Scotstoun Housing Association and Laura Traynor, Ullapool Community Trust both stepped down from the steering group in Autumn 2015. Thanks Aran for all your input and work supporting Scottish Communities CAN’s communications and devising more effective processes for our membership. Thanks Laura for your support to the secretariat, the Spring Gathering and our workplan.
Suzy Goodsir of Greener Kirkcaldy, who has been active on the steering group since the beginning, is taking a break.
 
We are actively seeking further steering group members. There are a number of task groups working across different areas. If you would like to get involved in shaping the direction of our work contact Pat: Membership(at)scottishcommunitiescan.org.uk or one of the steering group members to find out more.
All our steering group volunteers are listed on the website.
 
Our two newest steering group volunteers tell us a bit about themselves:
 
Harriet Cross
Harriet coordinates a Climate Challenge Fund project on behalf of the new Himalayan Centre for Arts & Culture in Leith, working with groups to explore creative and meaningful ways to tackle climate change using a Common Cause approach:
  • Supporting householders through friendly Home Energy Visits with a team of trained, approachable volunteer advisers.
  • Holding facilitated chats about climate change and how our sense of place may be affected by changing weather patterns.
  • Creative workshops to inspire change in people’s lifestyles.
  • Developing a growing space on Leith Community Croft, with the community group Leith Community Crops in Pots.
The team’s overarching aim is to get more conversations going with individuals and groups, about how we can have greener and healthier lifestyles. 
 
Harriet was previously the Sustainability Coordinator for Edinburgh College, overseeing and developing projects across the campuses, including two community gardens, an organic food scheme with Whitmuir Farm, and working with other higher and further educational organisations to set up Edinburgh’s first electric bike scheme. 
Before that she was Campaign Officer for the national occasion Climate Week, encouraging organisations like the Home Office to think about climate change! 

She looks forward to meeting more Scottish Communities CAN members to share experiences about what is, and what is not working in the community landscape of tackling climate change.

Harriet (front) and the Himalayan Centre Climate Change Project Team
 
Kristina Nitsolova is the Ethnic Minority Environmental Network Development Officer at the Council of Ethnic Minority Voluntary sector Organisations (CEMVO Scotland). Kristina joined the Scottish Communities CAN steering group in Summer 2015 and is part of the Communications working group.

Kristina was the co-ordinator of the Sustainability and Climate Change project at the Students’ Association at the University of the West in Scotland (which is still going strong and you can read more in the blog post featured in this newsletter) from 2012 to 2014. She also helped co-ordinate the Glasgow University Environmental Sustainability Team for the 2014-2015 academic year. Both projects involved planning and delivering awareness raising campaigns and practical projects to stimulate action on climate change in those University communities.

In her new role at CEMVO Scotland, Kristina works to increase the engagement of ethnic minority communities and organisations in decision-making relating to climate change and sustainability in Scotland by helping develop a collective vision and a voice of the Ethnic Minority Environmental Network.
 
She believes multi-stakeholder collaborative approaches will help bring about the needed transition to a low-carbon and fairer Scotland. For Kristina, participating in the Scottish Communities CAN  steering group is a way to work towards this vision by in turn supporting positive community-led action on climate change.
Kristina (centre) and the participants of a recent Fairer Greener Scotland public consultation led by the Ethnic Minority Environmental Network.

Member benefits

Community Learning Exchange (until March 2016)
Scottish Communities CAN members can benefit from the Community Learning Exchange, which funds peer-to-peer learning.
The objective of the CLE is to encourage community groups to learn from each other's experience and expertise through learning visits.
 
The Exchange will cover 100% of the costs of a visit by members of one community to another community project up to a limit of £750.
The host organisation can receive a hosting fee of up to £300.
Applications should be submitted before 31 March 2016.
Contact Sitar info(at)scottishcommunitiescan.org.uk to apply.
Further info on our website here
Read this article for more information.

Resources
Find these on our Resources page www.scottishcommunitiescan.org.uk/resources

  • Funding route map: Community groups with project funding coming to an end in March might like to make use of Scottish Communities CAN’s Funding Route Map. Lots of ways to make a project self-sustaining, not only grant funding.
  • Working with your Local Authority: Could you partner with your Local Authority? Some experience and ideas here 
  • Reuse Handbook for Local Authorities: The More Than Furniture project has just published a handbook for local authorities and housing associations in Scotland: ‘Scottish Welfare Fund Furniture – Reuse Solutions’.

Funding

For grant funding, try SCVO’s fundingscotland.com database
 
Grant funding available to help community litter prevention
Applications are now open to public, private and third sector groups to help tackle littering through grants of £500 to £10,000, being made available by Zero Waste Scotland.
 
Grant funding for energy efficiency in community buildings
The Triodos Renewables Community Benefit Fund is a fund concentrating on energy improvements to community buildings in areas geographically close to Triodos Renewables project sites. It is funded by Triodos Renewables and administered by the Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE). It launched on 30 November 2015 with the aim to make buildings more useful for the communities they serve and to help raise awareness of dealing with important energy issues.
 
The fund will be used primarily to make small grant awards (up to £4,000) for energy improvements to community buildings, following the completion of a straightforward energy audit using a template and guidance provided by CSE.
 
The following Scottish areas are available for awards of up to £4,000 for energy efficiency measures.
Site name and location Eligible postcode areas
Auchtygills and Clayfords, Aberdeenshire AB42 4, AB43 7, AB43 6, AB43 8
Beochlich, Argyll and Bute PA31 8*, PA33 1, PA32 8
PA31 8: in vicinity of Ford only
Dunfermline, Fife KY11 8, KY11 3, KY11 4
Sigurd, Orkney KW17
 
For full info see https://www.cse.org.uk/projects/view/1304

Recommendations to tackle fuel poverty in Scotland

Changeworks Fuel Poverty Conference 2015 report published this month includes a series ofrecommendations to tackle fuel poverty in Scotland. The conference, 23 September, brought together experts, policy makers and practitioners to discuss the current status of fuel poverty, rethink strategies to tackle it and identify opportunities and improvements for the future.

Visual minute Copyright © 2015 Changeworks


Climate Challenge Fund Review published
The Scottish Government published Changeworks’ Review of the Climate Challenge Fund recently.

The project involved research with 20 stakeholders, workshops with the grants panels and case study research with 24 CCF groups. The findings make clear recommendations for the structure and delivery of any successor scheme, and to create links to wider Government policy.

Blogroll:
Here are quick links to some of the stories we’ve been sharing through our blog, available on our website or direct to your inbox if you subscribe on our home page:
   

Find out more from Scottish Communities Climate Action Network

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