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£10,000 investment to help tackle energy and climate crises

£10,000 investment to help tackle energy and climate crises


The New Forest National Park Authority (NFNPA) is helping community groups to tackle the energy and climate emergencies with nearly £10,000 in grants from its Sustainable Communities Fund.

Environmental working group ECO SWAY is using its £913 funding to help show ways to save energy in the home.

The ‘Energy for Efficient and Greener Homes’ event in Sway Village Hall will take place on Sunday 16 October and is open to all. Talks by 12 speakers, including ‘financial help and affordable warmth’ by Joanne Moodie from Hampshire County Council’s Environment Centre are part of a packed schedule of events at the village hall that will also have a selection of electric vehicles and e-bikes on show.

Co-chair of ECO SWAY, Wendy Collyer, said: ‘ECO SWAY looks to raise awareness and help support positive solutions within our community to climate change. Energy is an important talking point, especially this year. As we head into winter, it is important to explore the options available to improve energy efficiency. We are asking residents to share with the wider community some of the energy measures they have already taken – maybe quick wins like draught excluders and heavy curtains or solutions from a range of renewable energies.

‘From energy exhibitors there’ll be advice on the range of solutions out there for keeping the heat in, as well as the finance and grants available for renewable energies, such as solar panels and air or ground source heat pumps. The Citizens Advice Bureau will also be on hand with helpful tips at a time of rising energy bills.’

The event follows on from the success of a recent exhibition, talks, walks and workshops residency, which combined climate awareness with art in a collaboration between ECO SWAY and spudWORKS, the home of the arts and education charity SPUD.

Community interest company New Forest Transition (NFT) is receiving £8,380 to encourage more sustainable lifestyles. Project Co-ordinator Cathy Cook will be on hand at the ECO SWAY event to explain how their thermal-imaging surveys will show up the heat (and money) that is leaking from your home.

The remainder of the grant will go towards:

  • The School’s Energy Project – helping classrooms across Hampshire, Wiltshire and Dorset promote energy efficiency.
  • Transition Streets – helping neighbours get to know and support each other better, by sharing skills, resources and ways to reduce energy and household bills.
  • ‘Blow a Hole in your Heating Bills’ – a series of recipe-style cards and postcards to give out at events, talks and shows across the New Forest.

The groups have been working closely with the New Forest National Park Authority to share best practice and help communities build a better understanding of their resource use and environmental impact. As a result, people from across the New Forest and beyond have come together to network and support other energy related events in Milford on Sea and Brockenhurst. Also, by connecting like-minded ‘green space custodians’ from far and wide, it has helped to promote wildflower zones and tree planting.

Over the last 15 years the NPA has awarded £2.4m in grants to help fund more than 300 projects that have improved the sustainability of the National Park.

John Sanger, Chair of the NPA’s Sustainable Communities Fund, said: ‘ECO SWAY and New Forest Transition are great examples of how the Sustainable Communities Fund brings local people together to make a difference. The grants that are available help protect the New Forest’s precious landscape through improving opportunities for wildlife and habitats, reducing carbon emissions and connecting new groups to nature and the environment, addressing the real threats faced by the Forest.’

The ‘Energy for Efficient and Greener Homes’ event in Sway Village Hall will take place on Sunday 16 October between 10am and 4.30pm. The ECO SWAY facebook page EcoSwayNF has more information.

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