Your Church and Heat Pumps

The Diocese of Oxford has published an information sheet to introduce how heat pumps could be used to heat your church. It will help you assess the suitability of your church and provides a list of things to consider as you develop a project to install heat pump technology and benefit from the government Renewable Heat Incentive.

Download the document or view it online:

West Berkshire Green Exchange – 16th Nov 2011

Come and see what West Berkshire’s ‘green’ and sustainability groups are doing and learn how greening projects can be set up in your area or parish at the West Berkshire Green Exchange Showcase evening.

Time: Wednesday 16th November, 7.00pm (refreshments from 7.00pm, presentations start at 7.30pm)

Venue: Council Chamber, West Berkshire Council, Market Street Offices, RG14 5LD

The West Berkshire Green Exchange exists to coordinate environmental/sustainability groups in the district and allows communication between them and partner organisations such as the West Berkshire Partnership and West Berkshire Council.

Displays of the activities of the member groups will be on show and there will be a chance to find out what is happening in or near your area.

RSVP to Anthony Armitage at aarmitage@westberks.gov.uk or tel.01635 503267

PDF: Green Exchange Showcase Poster

Your church and Woodfuel (Biomass)

The Diocese of Oxford has published an information sheet to introduce how biomass could be used to heat churches.

It aims to help you assess the suitability of your church and provides a list of things to consider as you develop a project to install a biomass boiler and benefit from the government Renewable Heat Incentive.

Download the document or view it online:

Part 2 – Sharing stuff and working together

Here Claire continues from her post sharing some ideas and resources about how we can share stuff and work together…

Read part 1 here

More and more websites are being developed that are enabling people to share and work together. And the best are bringing people together in real life too. In Part 1, I looked at websites like LETS and Freecycle that help you share stuff and skills. In this post, I’m looking more at encouraging each other and working together on a common goal.

“I’ve got this great idea, but I need other people to help me make it happen”If We Ran the World aims to help people with good intentions and broad visions turn them into “tangible, do-able microactions that anyone and everyone can help you to do. All of us can achieve more than one of us, and everything starts with a microaction.” Its home page is an almost blank screen with the challenging phrase: If I ran the world, I would….

What would you do? Then what small steps could you take to make it happen? What help would you need? And how could you help others?

“I’ll do it, but only if you do it too”

PledgeBank allows users to set up pledges and then encourages other people to sign up to them. A pledge is a statement of the form ‘I will do something, if a certain number of people will help me do it’. The creator of the pledge then publicises their pledge and encourages people to sign up. We can’t be sure people will bother to carry out the pledge, but “We believe that if a person possesses a slight desire to do something, and then we help connect them to a bunch of people who also want to do the same thing, then that first person is much more likely to act.” The site provides guidance to help make your original pledge a success, and you can get a special version of PledgeBank for your organisation. Example of a successful pledge: “I will Put £100 into the fund for setting up the Healing Gardens Cooperative and to start the deposit for buying the Gardens Home house but only if 10 people connected with myself and the Retreat Centre or Gardens will do the same will do the same.”

“There are too many cars on the road!”

Liftshare helps people to travel more sustainably by sharing their journey. You can share a car on any journey you make, from the daily travel to work or the school run, to a one-off journey to a festival. You can even search for people to share a journey by taxi, bike or on foot.

“There’s a long waiting list for allotments, but I’m not doing anything with my garden”

Landshare connects growers to people with land to share. It describes itself as “for people who: want to grow their own fruit and veg but don’t have anywhere to do it; have a spare bit of land they’re prepared to share; can help in some way – from sharing knowledge and lending tools to helping out on the plot itself; support the idea of freeing up more land for growing; are already growing and want to join in the community.” There’s a good map of Land offered, Growers and Helpers. Organisations can have their own area on the site, or you can get together with other members to form groups.

This post was written by Clare Bryden – she blogs at clarebryden.blogspot.com
Read part 1 here

Part 1 – Sharing stuff and working together

Here Claire Bryden shares some ideas and resources about how we can share stuff and work together…

So you want to simplify your lifestyle, and reach out to your neighbours and local community. Maybe you want to learn a new skill, or your drill has broken and you don’t want to splash out on a new one, or you have a drill gathering dust in the cupboard. Or you want to do something new, but it’s hard work to make things happen by yourself, and you would like the assurance that others share your vision or have the skills and willingness to help.

More and more websites are being developed that are enabling people to get in touch with each other. And the best are bringing people together in real life too.

“I want to share my stuff and skills with other people, and they have stuff and skills that I need too”

Local Exchange Trading Systems or Schemes have been around for a long time. They are local networks in which people exchange all kinds of goods and services with one another, without the need for money. LETS use a system of community credits, so that direct exchanges do not have to be made. People earn LETS credits by providing a service, and can then spend the credits on whatever is offered by others on the scheme: for example childcare, transport, food, home repairs or the hire of tools and equipment. And the service is usually valued by time, so for example an hour of childcare will ‘cost’ the same as an hour of home repairs. Contact details for LETS in Ox, Bucks and Berks.

Ecomodo lets you “lend and borrow each other’s everyday objects, skills and spaces with confidence.” They’ve thought carefully about the ‘with confidence’: the borrower and the item is rated after each transaction; lenders can request security deposits; they offer insurance. You can create a ‘lending circle’ in your neighbourhood, so it is closely tied to real world communities. For example, Low Carbon West Oxford has a lending circle.

Bid & Borrow is very similar, but I think less user-friendly. Again, you can create a ‘sharing network’ in your neighbourhood, and on both sites you can post a wanted ad. Companies can advertise their goods for hire, but I think this detracts, and Bid & Borrow’s local search doesn’t work well. But still, there might be something you need here that isn’t on Ecomodo.

Finally, there’s Streetbank. It’s the simplest of the sites, which might be a benefit. There are no lending circles; you get to see people within one mile of you, and all their things. There is no mention of ‘confidence’ or charging for items, but then maybe we need to trust people more and get away from money-based transactions. And you when you register, it is a condition that you add one thing that you would be prepared to help with, lend or give away; you can’t get away with not participating.

“I’ve got all this stuff I want to get rid of, but I don’t want it just to go into landfill”

Freecycle groups match people who have things they want to get rid of with people who can use them. You can either offer something, or post a ‘wanted’ message. They say: “Our goal is to keep usable items out of landfills… Another benefit of using Freecycle is that it encourages us to get rid of junk that we no longer need and promote community involvement in the process.” I wanted to get rid of the white gravel in my garden, so I offered it on Freecycle. Almost immediately, someone who wanted it got in contact, and they even took it all up for me! Freecycle groups in Ox, Bucks and Berks

There are websites which offer online swapping, such as Swapshop or a section of Gumtree. But there are also lots of swapshops happening in real life. There’s often no actual swapping involved. Just bring along stuff you don’t want and/or take away someone else’s stuff you do. Community Action Groups maintain a diary of swapshops in Oxfordshire. Is there anything similar in Berkshire or Buckinghamshire?

Read part 2 here

This post was written by Clare Bryden – she blogs at clarebryden.blogspot.com

Hope for Creation – 6 November 2011

On 6 November Hope for Creation, a global day of prayer and action in climate change, will  join tens of thousands of Christians around the world together to pray and speak up for justice for action to protect God’s creation..

Take part at home, with a group of friends or with your whole church. All you need to do is pray as we speak with one voice for action on climate change. A prayer resource and action ideas will be available on the website in the next few months.

Visit www.hopeforcreation.org to find out more about the day and to download resources to help you and your church join in. Email campaigning@tearfund.org or call 0845 355 8355 for more information.