[C]ommunities across South Lakeland have been taking advantage of support and advice to make their buildings more energy-efficient and generate their own renewable energy.
Village hall committees and community groups have been able to tap into expertise and practical guidance delivered by the charity Cumbria Action for Sustainability and funded by South Lakeland District Council.
The support service has just entered its third year, with recruitment under way for a new Low Carbon Communities Project Manager to lead the scheme.
Nineteen communities and groups have benefitted so far – from setting up new hydro and solar PV schemes to helping community venues improve their insulation.
The support played a part in two high-profile energy successes – the new community-owned hydro scheme at Killington, which was the first of its kind in Cumbria, and the installation of a solar energy system on the roof of the Lake District National Park headquarters, making it the first national park in the UK to buy green energy directly from the community.
“For the community buildings we’ve helped, we’ve been able to bring in highly qualified and experienced consultants to do detailed inspections, giving the committees the information they need to make sound decisions about options for maintaining their buildings and making them more energy-efficient,” said Phil Davies from CAfS.
CAfS has also run events and activities for the wider public in South Lakeland to help households to save energy in their homes. Energy fairs at Ulverston and Kendal and open homes events around the district as part of CAfS’ annual Cumbria Green Build Festival, have given residents the chance to see how others have made improvements in their homes, and learn about the methods and materials they’ve used.
The festival also included a visit to a Sedbergh farm that uses anaerobic digestion for produce energy, giving the farming community an opportunity to learn how they could benefit from the latest renewable technologies. Courses at Kendal College passed on skills and knowledge to construction professionals and serious DIYers.
“So far, we’ve supported 19 communities, 8 community buildings, 5 community renewable energy schemes, 6 community businesses, 1 national park and helped 3 groups apply for funding to take the next steps in generating their own renewable energy,” said Phil. “We have exciting plans for the next year and we’re looking forward to welcoming a new project manager on board, to add to what’s been achieved so far.”
Details of the Low Carbon Communities Project Manager vacancy can be found on the CAfS website: www.cafs.org.uk/jobs. The deadline to apply is 12pm on Thursday 25 May 2017.