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Green group secures funding to transform town
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Community energy and food projects are just some of the schemes which could be introduced in Harborough if a bid for a £1million green fund is successful. Transition Harborough and the Rural Community Council are hoping to gain the investment from the Big Lottery’s Communities Living Sustainably Fund.

They became one of 30 groups across the country last week to be granted £10,000 to develop a project plan. Ten of the schemes will be chosen to receive up to £1m to deliver their ideas. The cash will not be available in a pot for capital projects, but will be used to pay for project managers and consultants to help implement the projects.

Darren Woodiwiss, of Transition Harborough, said ideas come up with by the group so far included an energy scheme which would see people joining together to form a community- owned solar panel company. Other ideas include introducing community-owned market gardens and producing booklets for new homeowners advising them of ways in which they can save water.

Mr Woodiwiss said share options for the community-run schemes would be issued which could potentially yield returns of about five per cent.

The two groups, which are working in partnership with Severn Trent Water, Leicestershire county Council, Seven Locks Housing, Voluntary Action South Leicestershire and Welland Park Community College, now plan to work in partnership with the community to draw up detailed plans in a bid to receive the £1m.

Mr Woodiwiss said: “With that kind of money we could create a social enterprise within the community that would hopefully provide employment and safeguard the town against future catastrophe such as a rise in oil prices.

“This could be a big thing for Harborough so hopefully people will get behind it.”

Activities the group is looking at include:

1. Harborough Eco House - Established and run with Housing Association and local businesses.

2. Community Education Centre – information and education for local people on key themes of energy, water & waste water, food

3. Financial Services Office - trained volunteers to offer financial advice for grants and loans towards insulation, energy saving and water saving.

4.Schools Energy & Water Forum – schools network for sustainability issues

5. Volunteer Bureau - Recruit and train volunteers for sustainability projects

6.Creating ‘Sustainability Champions’ including: Green Deal & Energy Champions, Sustainability Care Champions and Water Champions to provide advice.

7.Sustainable Harborough Project Office - measures, monitors and reports on project, learning and adapting, maintains contacts with other communities. Keeps contact with local businesses.

8.Community Survey – surveying to identify vulnerable households in the community which may need assistance

9. State Of The Town Report – collect statistics and produce annual report on sustainability and resilience measures

10.New Home Owner Booklet - Sustainable Living booklet produced for new home owners and people new in community: giving information, contact details and buying advice. Offers the services of the various community enterprises and explains the reason they have a water meter.

11.Community Enterprises for retrofitting green deal installation, insulation, promoting green energy, producing timber for various uses.

12. Local Food Project including:

Growing & Sharing Project – Collecting and sharing fruit and vegetables grown on local trees, allotments and gardens, issuing contracts to produce local food for the community through farmers and market gardens, creating a market garden and orchard, commissioning of locally sourced food for schools, hospitals and care homes and running cookery courses.

13. Promote Local Business with pportunities to provide products & services for sustainable living project, promoting the launch of a Harborough Pound as local currency, investigating commercial possibilities of canal, promote and develop training courses in rural skills.

14. Green Water Project to promote Green Roofs for commercial properties and schools and domestic water saving and storage including new domestic water saving toilets.

Credits:: Lutterworth Mail

Rating:  4 (1)  Add feedback ...

 Positive review of this story
19 Mar 2012, 2:14 PM 
Great news.
Hopefully this will all go through without a hitch! I think we should also be using websites like so we can organise this sort of community stuff online as well. Fingers crossed!

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