HOW TO SET UP A CLIMATE CHANGE COMMUNITY GROUP:
TOOLKIT FOR PARISH COUNCILS
A QUICK INTRO...
Climate change is the defining crisis of our time, and it is happening faster than we feared. But we are not powerless. In October 2019, our village declared a climate emergency and founded a community group, Sustainable Overton. One year after taking that collective decision, we’re sharing what we have learned.
Here you’ll find a practical toolkit, produced with kind support from Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council. The purpose of this is to help other Parish and Town Councils or community groups and local authorities (Borough, City and County Councils) work together to set up and effectively run a climate change community group, so that we can achieve our target of being carbon neutral by 2030. We hope that by sharing our learning over the last year, we can help others progress more easily and quickly. We hope that above all, you will feel empowered. If we can do it, you can too.
If you’re reading this, perhaps you’re in the same position we were in October 2019, when we first set up Sustainable Overton. We didn’t know where our journey would take us, or what it would look like. Some of us had limited knowledge about the climate crisis apart from what we picked up around the periphery of our lives and jobs. What we didn’t realise was how many knowledgeable people lived in our parish, nor that they would be unexpectedly generous with their free time. It has been enlightening, hard work, fun, and sometimes challenging, but overall a positive and energising experience, with like-minded people coming together, often meeting for the first time. We discovered a profound sense of community spirit in our village, strengthened and rekindled by our joint desire to make a real difference.
Our campaign is ongoing, so we will continue to add to this resource, and to keep sharing and working together at parish, borough and county level to make a tangible collective difference.
For background, Overton is a village of nearly 5000 residents situated 9 miles west of Basingstoke. We have an old village centre, around which many new houses have been built. We also have a train station, many commuters to London, a vibrant high street, a number of farms and some industrial units, as well as Portals Paper mill, formerly known as De La Rue.
HOW TO USE THE TOOLKIT
The toolkit is arranged under 10 key headings to help you quickly find the information you need. With the benefit of hindsight, we can now see how we could have done some things better, so we have highlighted the lessons we learned along the way. We appreciate every parish is different, and you will want to find your own path, selecting projects that work for you, and leaving those that don’t.
This toolkit covers setting up and running a climate change group. If you are interested in setting up a community energy project within your group, we have a second toolkit here to assist you.
“NEVER DOUBT THAT A SMALL GROUP OF THOUGHTFUL, COMMITTED CITIZENS CAN CHANGE THE WORLD: INDEED, IT’S THE ONLY THING THAT EVER HAS.”
MARGARET MEAD, ANTHROPOLOGIST, RECIPIENT OF THE PLANETARY CITIZEN OF THE YEAR AWARD IN 1978.
Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council has declared a Climate Emergency with a target to reduce emissions across the borough to net zero carbon by 2030.
Cabinet Member for Environment and Enforcement, CLLR Hayley Eachus said:
AS A BOROUGH COUNCIL WE ARE WORKING HARD TO REDUCE OUR CARBON EMISSIONS, BUT IT IS IMPORTANT WE SUPPORT AND WORK WITH PARISH AND TOWN COUNCILS, ORGANISATIONS AND BUSINESSES SO THAT
COLLECTIVELY WE CAN ACHIEVE THE AMBITIOUS TARGETS SET THROUGH OUT CLIMATE EMERGENCY DECLARATION LAST YEAR. WE WILL CONTINUE TO BUILD ON THIS PARTNERSHIP WORK AS WE DEVELOP OUR LONG-TERM PLAN TO ACHIEVE A CARBON NEUTRAL BOROUGH BY 2030.
The Council is delighted that Overton is making such good progress with their local actions and that they have offered to produce this toolkit for other local councils to follow. The willingness to share their successes and to highlight barriers and obstacles is testimony to the way town and parish councils are open to working in a collaborative and supportive way across the Basingstoke and Deane Borough to tackle climate change.