Lighter Later – Write to your MP

Every year the clocks get set in a way that means we get less light in our lives, sleeping through the sunlit mornings while we use expensive, polluting electric light in the evenings. The Lighter Later campaign is calling to move the clocks forward by one hour so that we are awake when the sun is out.

This December a Private Member’s Bill supporting the Lighter Later campaign is going to Parliament. Those supporting the campaign includes RoSPA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents), the AA and Sustrans.

People are asked to support the Private Member’s Bill by asking for their MP’s support. Find out more here.

Keeping warm this winter

As the cold weather starts some people in our communities will be struggling to keep warm. To help combat this, a free phone helpline has been set up to advise residents in Oxfordshire how to cut their fuel bills. The service is offered by the United Sustainable Energy Agency in partnership with Oxfordshire County Council, the five district councils and the Primary Care Trust.

If you have struggled to stay warm in previous years or are struggling with your energy bills, or you know of someone that is, you can call the helpline for free, impartial advice on:

  • Improving the efficiency of your property through cavity wall and loft insulation including the grants available
  • Warm Front grants to help with heating system replacements
  • Switching energy suppliers to find the best deal
  • Social tariffs provided by the energy companies for vulnerable customers
  • Advice on fuel debt
  • Home Improvement Agencies who undertake minor repairs for vulnerable home owners
  • Sign posting to other active support organisations
  • Information on improving your energy efficiency to cut your energy bills

The phone number is 0800 1070044 and is available Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm.

Solar panels for a Saxon church in the Diocese of Oxford

ULTRA modern solar panels are being installed one of the UK’s finest Anglo Saxon churches. The £50,000 project was inspired when the congregation at All Saints, Wing with Grove in Buckinghamshire decided to look into becoming more environmentally friendly. They began by deciding to support Shrinking the Footprint, the Church of England’s national environmental campaign.

The solar panels were inspired by St Denys Church, Sleaford, Lincolnshire, which was featured on the BBC’s Songs of Praise programme. The PCC asked former church warden Martin Findlay to visit Sleaford and find out more.

Martin said: “We realised that all churches face east and therefore are likely to have south facing roofs. This is ideal for solar installations.

“In light of the current global climate change crisis, we felt that in addition to praying
at services for Christians look after God’s creation. The Church should take action to reduce its carbon footprint.”

The PCC began a feasibility study into the scheme and then began to raise funds, get a ‘faculty’ (special permission from the Diocese to carry out the work), and planning permission from Aylesbury Vale District Council.

This month the 54 Solar Photo Voltaic panels will be ready to be installed on the nave and south aisle roofs.

The Church will benefit from the government’s new Feed-In tariffs which were introduced in April 2010. Feed-In tariffs mean energy suppliers have to make regular payments to householders and communities who generate their own electricity from renewable or low carbon sources. It will also be able to sell the energy it produces to the National Grid.

Martin added: “It has taken a lot of hard work by the PCC and the congregation but it has paid off and we are delighted that we are now in a position to install these solar panels. We are now developing plans for further action to become carbon neutral as soon as possible.”

Solar panels for a Saxon church – Diocese of Oxford.

Churches that are part of the Diocese of Oxford and interested in exploring putting solar panels on their buildings can contact the diocese for further information: click here.

Big Lottery Fund launches £75m grants scheme for buildings

The Big Lottery Fund is opening a £75m community buildings grants programme that some churches could be eligible for. Not-for-profit groups will be able to apply for sums of between £100,000 and £500,000 each from the BLF’s Reaching Communities programme from early December.

via Shrinking The Footprint – News Item.

Energy Saving Week



This week is Energy Saving Week – there are lots of resoruces available on the Energy Saving Trust website, including a free online home energy check, which could save you up to £250 a year on your bills: Free home energy check.

The whole site is a wealth of information on energy saving for your home and community space. Have a look and mention it to your friends.

The story of stuff resource

sosThe Story of Stuff started as a 20-minute on-line film that explores the often hidden environmental and social consequences of our love affair with ‘stuff’. Since then the project has developed new films looking at The Story of Bottled Water, and The Story of Cap & Trade. They are all accesible introductions to complex problems, which may be helpful resources for group discussions.

In addition the project has also produced Let There Be… Stuff? – a faith-based resource designed for a groups of young people between 13-18 years old. It is divided into six sections and provides opportunities for young people to:

  • Think – gain new information about stuff and think about its impact on their lives
  • Reflect on God’s teachings related to the topic
  • Engage the theme more deeply
  • Get Inspired by actions others have taken
  • Enact what they’ve learned with an Action Plan

The resources are US in style and content, but should work for a UK audience, and may just help group leaders tackle complex issues in new ways.

Find out more at:

Persuading your landlord to install energy saving measures

The start of term can see lots of people moving into rented accommodation – and living in a rented property can be a frustrating experience if you want to stop wasting energy. After all it’s unlikely you’re going to want to install loft insulation or replace the inefficient heating system at your own expense.

Help is at hand, however, thanks to the Energy Saving Trust’s resource for tenants.

With persuasive reasons why your landlord should install energy saving measures, a template landlord letter to encourage your landlord to take action now, and a list of simple and quick ways you can stop wasting energy at home immediately – it could be a valuable resource for you or someone you know.

Find out more at How to persuade your landlord to install energy saving measures in your home.