We have teamed up with @theGrange in an effort to off-set some of the carbon that is being produced by this international conference. You can make a voluntary contribution to help reduce your own carbon footprint through the conference booking form. Your donation will go directly towards exciting growing projects on the community farm, such as the establishment of a community orchard in Blackpool to improve the local environment and increase biodiversity. The project also helps to connect local residents with nature and offers a chance for them to get together and learn new skills.
You can donate £5, £12.50, £25 or £50. A donation of £12.50, for example, could cover the cost of a fruit bush, and £50 could pay for a rare Lancashire apple tree, which we are trying to re-establish in the area. You can visit @theGrange as part of our Places and Faces visits to find out more about the project and see where your donation will go.
How much carbon do you produce and how can you off-set it?
A mature tree will off-set about a quarter-tonne of carbon, depending on the species of tree (according to Trees for Life UK). This is equivalent to the amount of CO2 produced by a return flight from Frankfurt to Manchester. If you’re not getting a flight then your footprint will be smaller, but it all adds up. For example, a web server can produce up to two and a half kilograms of CO2 a day (according to GoClimate), and running your computer for eight hours can produce up to half a kilogram of CO2, depending on your set-up (according to energuide). You can estimate your carbon footprint with handy online tools, like this calculator:
Find out more about @theGrange and their green projects by Cath Powell MBE, Development Manager
@theGrange is a new community hub on the Grange Park estate in Blackpool, one of the largest social housing estates in England. It was a former training centre which bore no relevance to the local community. In just 18 months the centre has become the hub and focus for the community with many events, activities and workshops etc taking place. The statistics speak for themselves: over 340 volunteers, 10,480 participants, 92 activities (some weekly) leading to a 33% reduction in antisocial behaviour, a 61% reduction in deliberate fires, and 623 adult learners accessing courses.
@theGrange houses a community shop, meeting rooms, the library, a theatre space and the Blackpool Community Farm which is run by Groundwork’s Grow Blackpool team. Prior to the development of @theGrange, the site was simply an overgrown field. We have worked hand in hand with the community to transform this space into fantastic community assets that deliver a broad range of activities to connect people.
The Community Farm includes large poly tunnels, a mix of raised beds and Hugelkultur beds, an edible bus shelter, a community allotment, an early years play space and an outdoor kitchen. There are wildflower meadows and pathways to connect the site, as well as a Growing Trail to connect the site to the Better Start Centre. Within Grange Park we also operate Chepstow Gardens, a much smaller community garden that was a former overgrown derelict site.
The community of Grange Park has been transformed since opening @theGrange, we now want to work outwards from the centre. In the spring we launched a Clean and Green Up of the estate. During the Clean Up operation 98 volunteers removed a total of 75 tons of rubbish and fly tipping from the estate and literature was distributed to inform residents how to report future fly tipping straight away.
We are now working on the Green Up phase, last summer we introduced our Grange Park in Bloom competition which encouraged residents to take part in various categories; the results were spectacular. The next phase of the Green Up is to landscape the communal greens of the estate and create green pathways linking the estate with new, greener street furniture and lighting. As well as the open greens, there are small green spaces that are of no benefit to the local community. These spaces fall at the backs of houses, surrounded on all sides by 6ft fencing and are only accessible through a single passage. The spaces are overgrown with weeds and invasive bushes. Some of the spaces have maintained grass which is mown on a monthly basis by the Council, but this often attracts fly tipping, excessive litter and antisocial behaviour. We want to turn four unused green spaces into places for community benefit that will connect people through micro-local volunteering.
We want the spaces to be productive to the environment by rewilding and creating a series of community orchards that grow a range of fruits that can be harvested and used each year. Sites will be adopted and maintained by local residents and will be supported by the broader Grow Blackpool team @theGrange. Each harvest will be bought to Grow Blackpool @theGrange for processing. Here we will work with another group of local residents to turn the raw produce into value added products such as pickles, jams and juices. This will require the purchasing of small equipment such as an apple press and bottles. Goods will then be sold through the Community Café and donated to the Community Shop. Through the Community Shop volunteers exchange volunteer hours for points which can be used towards the purchasing of household items and food items.
The project will help to create a greener estate, supporting the sustainability of the Blackpool Community Farm by creating a sustainable income stream. It will create new volunteering opportunities and engage with local residents through micro-local volunteering. It will create volunteer leadership opportunities for people to take on wider responsibility and become leaders in their community. It will remove problems of antisocial behaviour, reduce food miles and carbon footprint, and spread the success we have seen on the Community Farm to new areas.