The Inaugural Transition Wilmslow Lecture, 10th October 2016
We had a full house for our very first Transition Wilmslow Lecture!
We thought an Annual Lecture might be a way of appealing to a wider audience, demonstrating that Transition towns are not just about “green” issues but about sustainable communities in general. The Transition Network has set up a website “Reconomy” http://www.reconomy.org talking about different ways of thinking about the economy, and of course a number of Transition Towns (Lewes, Totnes, Brixton, Bristol, and even…at one point in history..Ambridge!) have their own currency. We invited Derek Whyte, Deputy CEO of Preston City Council, to talk about the work they have done with CLES (Centre for Local Economic Strategies) in Manchester, and a European Consortium, to look at how they procure goods and services, and ways in which they can procure more locally. It was good to hear they have significantly increased their local procurement, with benefits for local businesses and jobs.
We were delighted to have an expert discussion panel, with Dominic Oakshott from CEC, Richard Jones who was Director of Social Services for Lancashire and now undertakes consultancy work in social care and the charitable sector, and Catherine Mackenzie, Chair of Wilmslow Business Group. Dominic told us that CEC have been working to get more local procurement, and are up to around 25%; Catherine pointed out the challenges for small businesses in negotiating procurement challenges (large companies may have groups of lawyers negotiating these which makes it difficult for small enterprises) and Richard pointed out the real problems in local authority funding at present which make any economic model difficult. There was a lively discussion with the audience which, as always, raised more questions than it answered, but we agreed that there is a tension between local procurement and having processes in place to ensure fair tendering. There were lots of positive comments from the audience so we’d like to organise another lecture for next year: any suggestions for speakers gratefully received!
When did Handforth, Wilmslow, and Styal get particular support from the government to reduce their energy bills? We do have the highest energy consumption / household in the NW and it’s time we did something. So when the Department for Energy and Climate Change offered a grant for community groups that can develop ideas to raise energy efficiency, reduce energy usage, and generate renewable energy, we put in a bid.
Transition Wilmslow has won some of this grant money and it has to be spent and evaluated by the end of March!
We will use it to do the following: –
- auditing houses to show people where their heat loss/energy use is greatest to identify ways to reduce it in future. We want to do this for individual houses or group of houses, using a thermal imaging camera to give people easy evidence of their losses. In the long run, this could be photographed again to show how much difference people have made. (Thermal cameras have to be used during winter).
- We will also be able to lend people electricity monitors to show where we use too much electricity. This job is using lots of volunteers, including Wilmslow High School’s Eco Team, which we are calling ‘green ambassadors’. They will also learn how to make quick and easy changes themselves from Groundwork Cheshire’s Green Doctor.
- auditing, using paid energy consultants, some key community halls, particularly church halls, to identify the steps for them to reduce their energy use and possible sources of funds.
- doing a feasibility study for a biodigester in Wilmslow – to generate power for e.g. the leisure centre or a school.
- publicity and talks to get the wider public aware and involved.
If you want to know more, contact Andrew Backhouse on 01625 537087 / email@example.com
Well done and congratulations to our Energy group on their successful bid to the Local Energy Assessment Fund. Their success gives the go ahead to a whole programme designed to inform the local community about energy issues as well as supporting energy saving solutions. These include the Wilmslow Question Time meeting on Friday, 24th February, at Wilmslow High School where Nobel Prize Winner , Professor Geoff Levermore heads up a question time panel on issues around energy and energy saving.
Householders and community and church halls will be offered the chance to have their buildings checked for excessive heat loss by volunteers using hand-held heat detecting thermal cameras. The images can be used to decide whether a more in-depth survey of the building is needed and whether the free services of the Groundwork Trust’s Green Doctors would be useful.
For more information on the project and to get more involved or have your house photographed please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org