Cumbria Action for Sustainability
Going carbon neutral - by a bloke who's done it!
We're really excited to offer you a rare chance to hear how a small Cheshire community became England's first carbon-neutral village.

Garry Charnock will tell you about the 'bottom-up' community-led journey that the village of Ashton Hayes has been on, and what the impact has been.

Launched in January 2006, this apolitical project has inspired behavioural change and residents have saved an average of 24 per cent on their energy use (with some saving 50 per cent). Emissions from air travel and car use have also reduced by at least 35 per cent.

In addition to the carbon savings, the project has given residents the confidence to start a host of other social activities. The community has planted 14,000 trees, mapped local biodiversity, bought the community shop, developed an award-winning recreational ground and formed a community energy company that has enabled the primary school to become carbon negative from May to September. 

Not surprisingly, the project has attracted widespread support from the local community and from the University of Chester, local government, numerous businesses and the media. The village has now linked with hundreds of like-minded communities around the world and has featured extensively in global media. 

There will be plenty of opportunities to ask questions and discuss how such an approach could work in your community.

The event is at Wilf's Café in Staveley on Thursday 29 November, and even includes a buffet. There are just 45 free tickets available and priority will go to residents of South Lakeland if we're oversubscribed, as the event is possible thanks to funding from the district's council.

We'd suggest booking quickly!
Solar share offer's over a third of the way there!
Shares in the community-owned solar energy scheme planned for Burneside are being snapped up, as members of the public take up the chance to earn expected interest of more than 4.5 per cent.

Over forty per cent of the £330,000 needed to install the PV system has been raised in just a week, since the share offer opened last Wednesday, 24 October.

The installation would be the second by Burneside Community Energy (BCE), on the roof of the James Cropper plc plant in the village.

If you'd like to find out more and apply for shares, we'd suggest you get in quickly. The share offer will close as soon as the target is raised, or on Friday 21 November, whichever comes soonest.

The share offer is open to everyone, but prioritiy will be given to residents of Burneside and employees of James Cropper if it’s oversubscribed.

Perhaps you heard Phil Davies and Hazel Graham from CAfS being interviewed on BBC Radio Cumbria about the share offer and climate change more generally. If not, you can listen now on iPlayer . It starts at about 51 minutes into the programme.
See what cementitious plaster does to stone walls
Have you watched the second of our vlogs following the renovations at 33a Chapel Street in Appleby?

In this episode from the #ReadyForRain house, Chris Morphet from Lake District Lime shows you what happens when you put cement-based plasters on a solid stone wall.

He's been busy chipping off this old plaster, and inspecting the condition of the walls. The plaster has trapped moisture within them, and you'll see signs of the damage it has done.

With the walls stripped back, Chris has been surprised how quickly the smell of damp has started to go.

We're also pleased to report that site manager Nettle (pictured) has given the paws-up on progress so far. Anyway, have a look if you haven't already!
Could you help steer CAfS?
We had our AGM at the end of September and we'd like to introduce you to our board of trustees.

Our new chair is David Beuzeval, who has been a trustee for several years. Thank you, David, for taking over the reins! We'd like to say a very big thank you to David Horn, our previous chair, for all his hard work and commitment to CAfS during his time in the role.

We're grateful to our newest trustee, Silas Heys, for heroically taking on the role of secretary.

We've also had to say some goodbyes. Tim Maiden has stepped down from the board and we thank him for sharing his expertise and playing such an active role as a trustee.

Meet our current board of trustees:
David Beuzeval (chair)
Silas Heys (secretary)
Adrian Banford
Karen Bentley Brown
Karen Bentley-Brown
Collette Butterworth
David Horn
There's a face missing, though, and it could be yours! We are looking for a new trustee. If you are passionate about environmental issues and want to drive a shift to a zero carbon Cumbria, then please get in touch.
As a trustee, you'd work hand in hand with our chief executive and staff to set the direction for our work. You'd drive forward ideas, set priorities for our work and use your knowledge, experience and networks to help us to have a greater impact.
We’d particularly benefit from having trustees with skills or knowledge on one of these topics:
•    renewable energy
•    energy efficiency
•    emission reduction
•    behaviour change
•    sustainable food
•    sustainable agriculture
•    financial management
•    accounting
•    communications and marketing
•    earned income, legacies or donations
•    business/company law
•    policy change
•    strong networks in Cumbria
Have we piqued your interest? Please do get in touch to find out more - email
Climate Keys event strikes a chord for climate change
Our chief executive, Hazel Graham, and Greenprint project manager, Roe Baker, spoke at the inspiring Climate Keys event at St Augustine’s Church in Alston on 3 October.

It was part of the international programme of Climate Keys events, led by Lola Perrin, which aim to inspire conversations around climate change through music.

The congregation heard Lola play several pieces composed on a climate theme and also heard from local poet, Josephine Dickinson, as she read her climate-themed poems. Hazel then led a discussion with the audience.

We think the words of one attendee sums up the event really well: "I came tonight out of a vague sense of guilt, but it has absolutely transformed the way I think. I now feel so motivated and feel that I have to take action in every way I can. I loved the music and poetry and, when you were speaking, I saw my grandchildren’s faces and thought about the world that I will be leaving for them. We have to act together now to prevent climate change."
Carly's house is about to flood... tell her what to do!
Join us for a uniquely interactive theatre night, bringing to life the experiences of people whose homes were flooded in Cockermouth in 2009 and 2015.

She's in Floods revolves around Carly and her family, who are about to go through the nightmare of being flooded out of their home. How they cope is up to you!

The play has been created by Cumbria Youth Alliance and Rosehill Theatre, based on interviews and discussions with Cockermouth residents affected by flooding.

Using the stimulating technique of forum theatre, a talented group of young performers will work with the audience as they consider the best ways of responding to and coping with adversity and emergency situations.

This insightful play is linked to Rebuilding Together, the Big Lottery funded programme delivered by Cumbria CVS, CAfS and ACTion with Communities in Cumbria, to build the resilience of people, organisations and communities across the county. 

Tickets are available to book for a suggested donation of £5 for adults and £3 for those under 26 and the proceeds will go to victims of flooding in west Cumbria.
In brief...
CAfS takes part in waste reuse discussions
We took up an opportunity to present to county councillors on the subject of third-sector involvement in waste reuse last month. Hazel our chief executive's briefing on 4 October was very well received and we hope to work with the council to develop a long-term plan for partnership approaches to waste reuse.

We feel that Cumbria could be leading the way nationally as we have fantastic resources in the county with a combination of skills, experience and infrastructure within CAfS, Freegle, Impact and a huge network of sustainability groups. Watch this space.
Is interest in climate change on the up?
We're feeling a huge surge in interest in climate change in the media and among the public at the moment.

Even as we wrote this piece yesterday, 31 October, a massive crowd was blocking the road outside Parliament , demanding strong climate action!

There's an excellent article in Resurgence & Ecologist by Paul Allen from the Centre for Alternative Technology, which starts: “Summer 2018 will go down in history as the moment that humanity awoke to the urgency of the climate crisis.” Have a read to find out what Paul thinks we need to do about it.
Calling all builders who work on older properties

If you're a builder or know any who carry out repairs or conversions of older traditional buildings, we may be able to offer you some free training. Using modern products like cement on these buildings is generally storing up problems for the future, and we're hoping to run a course for builders to show you how to use other products and techniques that suit these buildings better.

If you might be interested, please email us just so we can check if there's demand initially. The course would be fully funded, so free to attend. Email: Please share this with any builders you know!
In other news...
Flood Hub to go live next Monday

A new website will launch this month to help homeowners, businesses, communities and landowners in the North West to manage their flood risk and become more flood resilient.

The Flood Hub has been funded by the North West Regional Flood and Coastal Committee (RFCC) and is a joint initiative developed by Newground, the Environment Agency, United Utilities, and the strategic flood partnerships in Cumbria, Lancashire, Greater Manchester, Merseyside and Cheshire.
The site will go live next Monday, 5 November, at You can follow @TheFloodHub on Twitter now to see previews and to keep up to date with flood resilience information.
Grow Wild grants for wildflower, plants & fungi projects

Community projects fund: Grants of £2,000 or £4,000 for groups and organisations trying something new or different to engage hundreds of people in their community about native wildflowers/plants/fungi, where there are opportunities to help people connect with, learn about and give to each other and nature. Deadline 10 December.

Youth-led projects fund: Grants of £500 for young people aged 14-25. Projects should be creative, actively engage other people in their delivery, and be inspired by native wildflowers or fungi. Rolling deadlines.
Powering our communities fund

Got an idea for a project to put community and local energy at the heart of your area? Electricity North West's new grant fund might be able to help.

Projects should deliver one of these priorities:
  • Engaging communities in energy issues, particularly energy efficiency
  • Supporting vulnerable customers and/or reducing fuel poverty in our communities
  • Investigating or delivering new ways of working to support a smart, flexible low-carbon grid

A wide range of organisations can apply, from charities to schools, and the money can be used for activities like producing materials to promote initiatives, supporting staff time or technical expertise, buying equipment or research. 

Grants range from £1,000 to £15,000. The deadline is midnight on 19 December. Find out more >>
Petition to stop the reduction in solar feed-in tariffs

From March next year, the Government plans to scrap the payment that people with solar panels currently get for the excess energy the panels produce. We want to see more solar energy in Cumbria, not less. Government policy is going in the wrong direction, where renewable energy like solar is losing this incentive, while fossil fuels continue to be subsidised in various ways. One way to object to this is to sign Greenpeace's petition.
EU Parliaments votes for ban on single-use plastics

The plastic products that most commonly end up in the ocean will be banned throughout the EU by 2021, if member states back a proposal agreed by the EU Parliament last week. Read more >>
Tue 13 Nov 12.30-3.30pm | Croglin Village Hall | Part of Fellfoot Forward

How climate advocates can work with politicians to encourage debate and action. Sign up for the SLACC newsletter for details

Caring for our common home | Sat 2 Feb 9am-4.30pm | Keswick School | Day conference with talks & workshops, with faith perspective on the environment

Freegle Give & Takes

Give & Take with Repair Cafe | Sat 17 Nov 10am-12pm | Kirby Stephen Sports & Social Club

Give & Take | Sun 2 Dec 10am-12pm | Newbiggin Village Hall nr Flusco, Penrith

Further afield but worth a look!

Airtightness in buildings | Thu 8 Nov | Glasgow | Run by Cumbria's Ecological Building Systems | Day of seminars by industry experts

Transition Tynedale AGM & Social | Wed 4 Dec | Heart of Northumberland, Hexham | 7pm | New directors are needed so step forward if you can!
Farmers' markets

  • Carlisle - First Sat
  • Brampton - Last Sat
  • Brough - Third Sat
  • Kendal - Last Fri
  • Kirkoswald - Third Sat
  • Orton - Second Sat
  • Penrith - Third Tue

Sustainability networking
  • Carlisle: Conversation Café | Third Sat | 12-2pm | Cakes & Ale Café
  • Penrith: Green Drinks | First Thu | 7.30pm | Dockray Hall
  • Brampton Green Happy Hour | Thu 29 Nov 6-7pm | Howard Arms

Repair cafes Bring along items that need fixed and volunteers will do their best to help. You might even learn a few skills along the way.

Beach/river cleans:
How low can you go?
Keeping your fridge at the right temperature is a great way to reduce food waste. Love Food Hate Waste's Chill Out Your Fridge challenge has some great tips and a tool to check what temperature your's should be at.

Know of a sustainability event?  Tell us  & we'll include it next time.
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Cumbria Action for Sustainability
01768 210276 | |
Company Number: 6492907 Registered Charity Number: 1123155