Fife Community Renewables Initiative

We want to create new renewable energy generation that is owned by the community, and is for the community. It’s been done elsewhere and now we think it is time for it to happen in Fife.

Solar panels being installed

What’s the project for?

We’ve all heard about climate change – this project is about getting involved within our own communities. We don’t have to leave it all to huge corporations and governments to act, communities can generate some of their own energy and keep more of the benefits locally.

Who’s going to benefit?

Communities will benefit. That’s the joint purpose of the project – communities and climate change. The local benefits could include community benefit payments and services, amenities for communities such as play areas or bike tracks, electric vehicle charging for local people who don’t have off street parking, and a good return on investment for local savers. And we’re looking into how we could sell local renewable energy to local people at a discount.

Local businesses would benefit too, by accessing clean local renewables for the same unit cost as their existing electricity.

What’s it going to look like?

Depending on where each part of the project is, it will look different. In urban areas it would probably use solar panels mounted on the roofs of large buildings or ground mounted on derelict sites. So local communities aren’t going to see much visual change.

Can you save me money on my energy bills?

Not at the moment, but we would love to provide local people with access to discounted electricity generated locally. The problem is that current grid electricity regulations make direct sales impossible, but people are working on ways to make this happen, and we’ll keep up to date with that.

Who’s involved in the project?

Fife Communities Climate Action Network (the network of community organisations in Fife that are working on climate change) is leading the project. We want to work in collaboration with local landowners and business, the public sectors and other third sectors organisations to make the project happen.

What stage are you at?

We’re at the early stages, seeking partners and investigating feasibility.

Edinburgh Community Solar Co-operative
Photo from Edinburgh Community Solar Co-operative

Will I be able to get a financial benefit in the future?

The project would be partly funded by a community share offer. There are already at least 30 community renewables projects around the UK that have raised money in this way (see www.energy4all.co.uk for some examples). Individuals and local organisations can typically invest from £250 up to £20k and in other projects have got a fixed return of 4%.

How will the community be involved?

We will set up a community steering group for each project area. Members of the public will be encouraged to join and help steer the project. We will also carry out a community consultation to tell local people about the project in their area, and they can have their voices heard.

We would love to hear feedback from local organisations and others on this. Are there opportunities in your area? Would you like to be involved? Please get back to us with your comments – you can email us on facilitator.fccan@gmail.com.

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Climate Action Fife Small Grants Fund

Are you a Fife community organisation interested in engaging your community to take action on the climate emergency?

Climate Action Fife is a Fife-wide partnership project, bringing together individuals, communities, local government and businesses to tackle the climate emergency and make Fife a greener and fairer place to live. It is a partnership between Greener Kirkcaldy, Fife Council, Fife College and Fife Communities Climate Action Network and is funded by the National Lottery Community Fund’s new Climate Action Fund.

The Climate Action Fife Small Grants Fund is open to any Fife community organisation who would like to trial activities to engage their community in the climate emergency. Local community organisations can apply for a grant of up to £500. The process is simple and quick.

How does it work?

Applying for funding is simple, and we’ll get back to you quickly. Successful applicants will receive the funds up front, and the reporting requirements are straight-forward.

To apply, complete and return this application form to admin@greenerkirkcaldy.org.uk, by 5pm on Friday 30th April. Attach a copy of your organisation’s constitution, too.

CAF Small Grants Fund Application Form

You’ll hear back from us within 3 weeks of the deadline, telling you if your application was successful.

Projects can commence from 1st June 2021 and must be completed by 31st August 2021. Please note that a condition of the award will be submission of a short end of project report. The report will ask you to share your learning from the project and (where appropriate) photos and a case study.

Who can apply?

Local community groups or organisations based in, and working in, Fife. Applications will only be accepted from constituted, non-profit-distributing organisations. We’re looking for applications from grassroots organisations which are community-led.

What can I apply for?

Your project must trial an activity (or activities) aimed at engaging your local community in the climate emergency. Activities must be aimed at audiences not already engaged in the climate agenda and should increase knowledge and awareness around the climate emergency and/or increase skills and confidence to take climate action. For example, you might want to run climate-themed film showings, ‘climate conversation’ discussion groups, or led walks with a climate-change theme.

Project findings will be used to inform Climate Action Fife’s new climate change engagement toolkit, which will include a resource library of tried and tested climate change engagement activities.

You can apply for a grant of up to £500 to cover things like staff costs, volunteer expenses, event materials, room hire and marketing. We cannot fund political or religious activities, or the purchase of alcohol. See Appendix 1 for a full list of what we cannot fund.

Who’s behind this?

Climate Action Fife is funded by The National Lottery Community Fund’s new Climate Action Fund, which aims to enable people and communities to take the lead in tackling the climate emergency by building a network of people and communities, well-placed to drive change, between and beyond their community. The National Lottery Community Fund is the largest funder of community activity in the UK. They’re proud to award money raised by National Lottery players to communities across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Since June 2004, they have made over 200,000 grants and awarded over £9 billion to projects that have benefited millions of people. Website: https://www.tnlcommunityfund.org.uk/

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FCCAN Virtual Networking Event – “How to run an online gardening workshop”

Help! I’m running an online gardening workshop!

Wednesday 21st April 2021, 7pm – 8.30pm

Join us for our next online networking event – all about running gardening and growing workshops online.

We’ll be joined by PLANT Tayport Community Garden and friends, including Edible Campus (Transition University St Andrews), Yellow Wellies Garden, Strathkinness Community Garden and Ninewells Community Garden, who worked in collaboration and braved new technological frontiers to deliver a successful series of gardening workshops online during lockdown.

They’ll be sharing their experience and providing practical tips for hosting gardening and growing workshops online. The groups involved in the collaboration will also hold a Q&A panel and there will be space for networking with other Fife community groups. The Fife Communities Climate Action Network steering group will also give an update on our projects and activities.

This event is for representatives of any Fife community group, charity, community council, development trust etc, who are taking action on the climate crisis, or who would like to get involved.  Our networking events share learning and inspiration and can lead to new partnerships and projects. Just bring along your curiosity and ideas!   

This event is part of our Climate Action Fife project.

Booking Information

Please book via Eventbrite.

This event will be held online via Zoom (we’ll have plenty of short breaks!)

It’s free to attend, but please book a place so we know you’re coming along. Zoom joining instructions will be sent out by email before the event.

If you have any problems booking a place, or would like further information, please email facilitator.fccan@gmail.com.

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Climate Action Fife – project update

Climate Action Fife – is a partnership project between Greener Kirkcaldy, Fife CouncilFife College and Fife Communities Climate Action Network, working on a number of activities to tackle the climate emergency in Fife. It’s funded by The National Lottery Community Fund’s new Climate Action Fund and was the first project in Scotland to be funded by this fund last year.

It’s a Fife-wide cross-sector project that brings together individuals, communities, local government and businesses to pilot a range of activities to build capacity in communities across Fife to take action on climate change, engage people from all backgrounds and sectors, tackle carbon emissions and deliver ambitious longer-term plans. The project will run until March 2022.

We officially launched the project in January 2021, with our launch video:

Climate Action Fife is a pilot project, aiming to test a variety of different ideas to engage people in Fife and tackle the climate emergency. We will use the pilot project to design follow up projects and activities for the future. The pilot centres around ten key activities, all of which will take place across Fife:

1. Climate change engagement toolkit and events

The project will produce a ‘climate change toolkit and resource library’, with guidance for people from different sectors (from public sector organisations, to community groups, businesses, schools and colleges) on how to communicate climate change and resources that anyone can use to plan and run awareness events with their audiences. This will be supported by ‘Communicating Climate Change’ training. We realise climate change can be a difficult topic to understand and communicate – there’s so much different information out there and the terminology can be a challenge. We want to make it easy for people to get everything they need to raise awareness and spread the word about the climate emergency (and how we can all tackle it) in one place.

We’re trialling the toolkit and resources with variety of events for different audiences across Fife – talks, practical workshops, film nights, climate conversation, family workshops, interactive lessons for schools, wild walks, cooking demos… there’s something for everyone.

2. ‘Climate know-how’

We’re creating a Fife Climate Literacy course which will be accredited by The Carbon Literacy Project. This will be a Fife-specific training course on the science behind the Climate Emergency, along with local information, context and actions we can take to tackle it. We will tailor it to Fife, taking into account the values and priorities of the people who live here, and making it relevant to their everyday lives. It will be action-orientated and help people move from theory to practice. There’ll be a course for public sector organisations, a course for community groups, a public course and we’re exploring a course for young people too.

3. Climate-friendly businesses

We’re working with small and medium sized businesses, community buildings and third sector organisations to help them reduce their energy use and waste, especially food waste. We’re also exploring the idea of a Fife Climate-friendly business awards or accreditation scheme with the aim of promoting and normalising good practice.

Growing plants

4. Climate-friendly homes and gardens

Our community tell us that even when people want to tackle climate change, they can lack the knowledge or confidence to make changes to their homes. We’re offering home energy advice on how people can make their homes more efficient, change how they use their energy, and consider home renewables or green tariffs, to reduce their carbon footprint. We’ll also give people tips and advice to make their gardens more climate-friendly and climate-ready through a programme of climate-friendly garden workshops.

Iain demo

5. Climate-friendly food

Through its production, distribution and disposal, food has a great impact on climate change. Everyone eats, and we believe everyone can make a difference through their food choices. We’re running a programme of workshops to help households learn cooking skills so they can:

  • Reduce food waste
  • Choose local, seasonal food
  • Eat more plant based meals and reduce meat and dairy

We’re also planning a cross-sector Climate-friendly Food Summit, bringing together everyone working on food in Fife to share best practice, identify gaps, opportunities and areas for improvement, and encourage partnership working to tackle food waste issues in Fife. Finally, Fife College students will take part in a ‘Chefs of the Future’ competition to develop a tasty and nutritious climate-friendly, plant-based, menu.

6. Climate-friendly holidays

We’re working with Fife College students to plan a programme of talks, workshops and events encouraging alternatives to domestic and international air travel. (In non-covid times), transport accounts for 37% of Scottish emissions; Aviation contributes 15% of this. We want to show people options to change the way they travel, i.e. use the train or ferry instead of flying, and promote the amazing opportunities for ‘staycations’ in Scotland and the UK.

7. Solar energy feasibility study

We’re researching the technical and financial feasibility of a new Fife community renewable energy project. We’re learning from the successful Edinburgh Solar Cooperative Cooperative, to see if there’s potential for a similar project in Fife.

8. Community tree-planting strategy

Feedback from our community has identified a real appetite for community tree-planting. We’re developing a community tree planting strategy, guidance and training package to identify areas suitable for tree planting in Fife, set targets for community tree planting and support communities to understand and plant the right trees. We’ll trial this guidance in a number of communities across Fife.

Climate Action Fife - Cyclists

9. Fife community cycling manifesto

We’re carrying out a community-led study to identify the gaps, opportunities and priorities for commuting by bicycle in Fife and will use this to create a ‘Fife community cycling manifesto’. We would like to give our community the opportunity to voice their opinions on cycling in Fife, say where cycle routes would be most useful and tell us what would support them to cycle more. We’ll use this to report community need back to Fife Council and design future community-led cycling activities to support people in Fife to cycle more.

10. Supporting community climate action

Fife already has a strong community environmental sector. Community groups have an important role to play in inspiring and facilitating action and we want to support more community groups to do this. Three of FCCAN’s members – CLEAR Buckhaven & MethilEATS Rosyth and PLANT will be delivering some of the activities, sharing their learning and producing resources for others to use.

Later in the year, we’ll be launching a new small grants scheme. This will be open to any community group in Fife to apply for a small grant to trial climate change engagement activities in their community. More information will be coming about this soon. Finally, we’re currently identifying the places in Fife where there is no community climate change activity. We want to work with people and groups in these areas, inspire and support them to take action.

Young people

As can be seen by the youth movement over the last couple of years, young people are key to tackling the climate emergency. We’re starting a Fife young people climate group who will design innovative and unique activities to engage with their peers in university, college, schools, youth groups and clubs. Fife College students have already started helping to develop the project – designing our project logo!

Get involved

There will be lots of opportunities for organisations, workplaces, businesses, groups and people to get involved in the project – from taking part in workshops or getting face-to-face advice to pledging to take climate action. We’ll also be sharing our journey and progress throughout the project through blogs, social media (follow the hashtag #ClimateActionFife), events, stories to the local press and more. We’re working with Fife College students to design a new website for the project to map action in Fife and help us share our journey.

Watch this space for more information!

To find out more about the project now, view our interim website or search for the hashtag #ClimateActionFife on social media.

We want to make sure we’re engaging with everyone – all audiences, sectors, demographics in Fife. If you or your group, organisation, business, workplace, would like to get involved in any of the project activities, please email Project Coordinator, Lauren Parry on lauren@greenerkirkcaldy.org.uk.

Climate Action Fife is funded by The Climate Action Fund – The newest fund from the National Lottery Community Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK. The new fund aims to enable people and communities to take the lead in tackling the climate emergency by building a network of people and communities, well-placed to drive change, between and beyond their community.

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FCCAN Virtual Networking Event – “Rewilding”

Tuesday 8th December, 7pm – 9pm, Online

Network with other groups taking climate action in Fife and learn more about how ‘rewilding’ can support biodiversity and mitigate the climate crisis.

We can’t wait until we can see you all face-to-face again, but in the meantime, we’re going to be holding our next networking event online!

Join us for an inspirational evening with speakers and discussions on “Rewilding”. 

Rewilding is gaining momentum as a new approach to support biodiversity and mitigate the climate crisis. Councils across the UK are looking for new ways to reduce intensive grass cutting and create more natural and vital habitats for wildlife. However, the debate about this topic in communities is sometimes fierce. Fife Council just launched an online grasslands consultation and is looking for people’s views on this topic. During our event, we will discuss ways local organisations can help Fife Council implement their rewilding proposals.

Our speaker for the evening will be Dr Philip Sterling from Butterfly Conservation, who will present on ‘Raising the bar: how to transform every patch of mown grassland to support wildlife’.

Following this, Cllr Ross Vettraino will lead a discussion on how we can stimulate positive community interest in the potential of rewilding green spaces.

There will also be time to network with other Fife community groups, and updates from the Fife Communities Climate Action Network steering group. 

Our networking events share learning and inspiration and can lead to new partnerships and projects. Just bring along your curiosity and ideas.

It would be great to see you all there!

Booking information

This event is for representatives of any Fife community group, charity, community council, development trust etc., who are taking action on the climate crisis, or who would like to get involved.

The event will be held online via Zoom (we’ll have plenty of short breaks!)

It’s free to attend, but please book a place so we know you’re coming along. Zoom joining instructions will be sent out by email before the event.

Our Speaker

Dr Philip Sterling works at Butterfly Conservation and is an expert in urban wildlife. He leads ‘Building Sites for Butterflies’, a national programme encouraging better management of grasslands in urban areas for wildlife. His practical experience in creating and managing urban spaces for wildlife comes from 25 years as an ecologist working for Dorset County Council. In his current role, he is also part of the Brilliant Butterflies partnership with the London Wildlife Trust and Natural History Museum, where they are working with local communities in south London to transform their greenspaces, especially in school grounds and public open spaces, to support wildflowers and butterflies.

Fife Council’s Online Grasslands Consultation

Fife Council’s online grasslands consultation is open until 31st December.
Learn more and find out how you can have your say in our blog.

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Consultations open for comment

We would like to draw your attention to two consultations currently open for comment that will contribute to tackling the climate emergency. Don’t miss your chance to influence positive change across Fife and Scotland.

Fife Council Grassland Consultation

A Fife Council consultation on managing the Kingdom’s grassland has opened this week.

The Council are proposing that 10% of the grassland they maintain be left to grow throughout the spring and summer months, replacing a more intensive cutting regime. This will create a more natural landscapes in our communities and create healthy habitats for wildlife by providing food and refuge for invertebrates, small mammals and birds.

The Council estimate that by managing their grasslands in this way, they can reduce their grass management carbon emissions by 10%, equivalent to 1,124 car journeys from Kincardine to St Andrews every year. Full details of the grassland management regime, including grassland location maps and FAQs can be found here.

Have your say on the proposal. The Fife Grassland Consultation runs from 16th November 2020 until 31st December 2020 and is open to all. Take part online here or request a paper copy by phoning 01592 583469

Scottish Government Single-Use Plastic Consultation

The Scottish Government has launched a twelve-week public consultation on the introduction of market restrictions (effectively a ban) on certain single-use plastic items.

The consultation is the latest attempt to tackle our throwaway society after the recent banning of plastic-stemmed cotton buds and microbeads, and aims to reduce the amount of single-use plastics that end up as marine litter.

The products included in this consultation are those which are most commonly found as marine litter in Europe.  This includes:

  • Single-use plastic cutlery;
  • Single-use plastic plates;
  • Single-use plastic straws;
  • Single-use plastic drink stirrers;
  • Single-use plastic balloon sticks;
  • Single-use expanded polystyrene food containers made of expanded polystyrene;
  • Single-use cups and other beverage containers made of expanded polystyrene;
  • All products made of oxo-degradable plastic

More information about the consultation can be found on Zero Waste Scotland’s web page. You can take part in the formal consultation here between 12th October 2020 and 4th January 2021.

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Climate Action Fife

Exciting news! We are thrilled to be part of a new Fife-wide partnership project to tackle climate change in Fife, thanks to National Lottery funding.

Climate Action Fife is the first project in Scotland to be funded by the National Lottery Community Fund’s new £100 million Climate Action Fund. 14 grants have been awarded across the UK in total so far.

Starting 1st October, we’ll be working alongside Fife Council, Fife College and Greener Kirkcaldy (the lead partner) to pilot a range of exciting activities to build capacity in communities across Fife to take action on climate change, engage people from all backgrounds and sectors, tackle carbon emissions and deliver ambitious longer-term plans.

Project activities will take place over the next 18 months. They include:

  • Climate change communications, training and engagement events
  • Behaviour change activities encouraging climate-friendly businesses, climate-friendly homes and gardens, climate-friendly food and climate-friendly holidays
  • Studies into the potential for a Fife community renewable energy project, a community tree planting strategy and a community cycling manifesto
  • Testing different approaches to getting more community groups across Fife involved in action on climate change

The Climate Action Fund is the newest fund from the National Lottery Community Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK. The new fund aims to enable people and communities to take the lead in tackling the climate emergency by building a network of people and communities, well-placed to drive change, between and beyond their community.

We’re very excited to be involved in this project as it will bring together cross-sector groups working on practical local projects to tackle climate change on a Fife-wide scale. It will also support new groups to get involved, in recognition that we need all communities to join this journey to a Climate Friendly Fife. There’ll be lots of opportunities for FCCAN members to get involved. We’ll keep you up to date as the project progresses!

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Community renewable energy for Fife?

Fife Communities Climate Action Network are developing a Fife Community Renewables Initiative. We want to create new renewable energy projects, in collaboration with our member community groups, and other local partners, including the public sector.

We think there are lots of advantages, including community empowerment, education, green energy for local people, and long term benefit payments to community organisations.

We would love to hear feedback from local organisations and others on this. Is it a good idea? Are there any opportunities in your area? Projects already in the pipeline? Please get back to us with your comments – you can email us on facilitator.fccan@gmail.com.

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Event: Cutting carbon in community buildings and businesses

 

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Are you interested in reducing the carbon footprint of your community building or business? Would you like to save money on your energy bills or transport costs?

If you are thinking of making changes to ‘go greener’, or would like to find out more about the options, come along to this free event. You’ll hear from impartial experts and from local organisations with hands-on experience.

Date: Friday 24th January, 10am – 12pm.
Venue: Greener Kirkcaldy, 8 East Fergus Place, Kirkcaldy, KY1 1XT.

Speakers will include Resource Efficient Scotland and Community Energy Scotland. We’ll discuss how the climate emergency could impact your organisation, along with practical advice on easy wins to manage resources, cut carbon emissions, and fund longer term measures. Guest speakers will share their stories of putting measures in place. There will be plenty time to ask questions and we’ll be giving a tour of our building’s solar pv system, battery energy storage system and electric vehicle charging point.

Book your place now

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Fife’s climate action plan – have your say

Fife Council is seeking your feedback!  The  Council has published its draft Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plan (SECAP) and wants to hear what you think.

They are consulting on the draft ‘Climate Fife’ plan until 9 December 2019.  Feedback will be used to update the plan for publication in February 2020.

You can take part online at climatechange.fife.scot. The SECAP document is accompanied by a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) Environmental Report which you can comment on too.

SECAP diagram

Image: Fife Council http://www.fife.gov.uk

We encourage all Fife folk who are concerned about climate change to read the draft climate plan and share their feedback with the Council. The draft climate plan sets the direction of Council policy and action for the next ten years so it needs to reflect the urgency of the situation we face.

We also suggest going a step further – write to, message, or even better, speak to your local Councillors too. You can find their contact details on www.fife.gov.uk.

Tell them how important climate change is to you, your community and future generations. Councillors are elected to represent us – their constituents – and they are more likely to support strong action on climate change if they know how important this is to us.

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