Timeline of events
Outwood News is regularly updating villagers on progress.
Initial village meeting
A village meeting took place in November 2019 to gauge villagers' interest in addressing climate change matters in Outwood. More than 80 people attended. There were presentations from Possible, an environmental campaigning charity to give villagers a feel for the types of initiatives that may be possible, with examples given of other rural projects. Attendees were asked to fill in questionnaires indicating their level of interest and suggesting ideas. This initial initiative indicated a significant level of interest, and from this a committee was formed of villagers willing to progress matters.
A representative from a company that supports environmental projects presented to the committee and members of the Parish Council to provide more detail around the types of project that might be feasible. Potential grants to support feasibility studies and costs towards potential projects were highlighted alongside details of a significant project that is taking place in the village of Swaffham Prior in Cambridgeshire.
Rural Community Energy Fund
Determined not to be hampered by the Covid-19 crisis, the committee pursued developing projects involving Outwood reducing its carbon emissions. It was decided to apply to the Rural Community Energy Fund, with a tender process undertaken.
Our first application to the Rural Community Energy Fund (RCEF) was commended and we were recommended to refine and resubmit the application in the autumn. We were specifically asked to increase the size of the grant application to include specialist engineering expertise.
The tender process has been completed and an application resubmitted to RCEF with Parish Council support. Please see the Invitation to Tender document within the Documents section for full details. Committee members have gained additional knowledge and insight to support the tender process and our application. This grant would cover all costs of the feasibility study to ensure that future environmental projects are sound, viable and have community support. The project is being led by a consortium of 3 companies led by Avieco, a company that specialises in these kinds of projects.
In late January we heard the exciting news that a grant for £36,000 has been awarded from the RCEF for the Outwood Feasibility Study. The grant is funding a study lasting 3-4 months (March - June 2021) to explore the viability of community renewable energy sources for Outwood to move away from the village's reliance on oil/LPG for heating and hot water.
The study will focus on renewable energy opportunities in Outwood, primarily exploring the potential to develop a heat network (sometimes called district heating) in the village. Heat networks provide a unique opportunity to exploit larger scale (and often lower cost) renewable and recovered heat sources that otherwise cannot be used.
This is a project for the community by the community, so engagement of the village is considered key. Villagers have been informed of the news, a focus group is being formed. The aim is to achieve broad representation - from residents, businesses, all geographical areas, age-groups and varying opinions about potential green projects. In addition to the committee communication, a survey will be shared with residents by email and on paper. The completed report from the feasibility study will be shared with the whole village and there will be a public meeting to share the findings.
Setting up the project
Vision and mission statements were created by the committee and shared with villagers. The name 'Sustainable Outwood' was agreed with a tagline creating a greener future. A logo was created by a university-aged resident of the village.
The Bell Pub has been identified as a suitable site to locate Terracyle bins and these are now in place. The aim is to encourage villagers to recycle crisp packets that are not currently accepted through the council recycling facilities.
The idea of setting up a repair shop that upgrades and recycles used artefacts arose from a group of villagers. A suitable property has been identified and is being further explored to enable this initiative to commence.
Villagers have expressed interest in creating a community composting scheme. A site is being sourced to store garden waste provided by villagers. This would then become compost which would be made available for villagers. We hope to have this up and running shortly.