Learning guides aim to inspire ‘DIY summer’

Communities are being urged to spend the summer holidays ‘future-proofing’ their local areas.

Environmental charity Groundwork has published a series of learning guides to help places have a ‘DIY summer’.

The guides offer tips and guidance on how to set up ‘meanwhile’ gardens, encourage more locally-grown food, develop flood plans, invest in community renewables, and encourage wellbeing walks and upcycling.

The reports and guides are part of a five-year £12m programme funded by the National Lottery called Communities Living Sustainably. The project followed 12 communities as they tested a range of activities aimed at bringing residents together to promote greater sustainability.

For its guide on creating a meanwhile garden it followed the progress of Real Food Wythenshawe, which obtained a three-year lease on a growing site and set up a Spud Club of local potato growers.

L8 Living Sustainably developed a patchwork urban farm across two wards in Liverpool 8, connecting growers with spaces. The group’s advice for all growing sites included the need to ‘involve local people’ and ‘have political support’.

The guide to developing community flood plans cites Sustainable Sheppey, a local partnership based on the Isle of Sheppey which developed a resilience project imagining the Isle in 2150, which identified high-risk areas and groups that were vulnerable to flooding. They then created a partnership with businesses, local charities and social enterprises as well as statutory organisations to create a community emergency plan.

Graham Duxbury, national chief executive of Groundwork said:  ‘Communities Living Sustainably powerfully demonstrated what local community organisations can achieve when they’re given the right support and resources.

‘What CLS proved is that there is no shortage of appetite and ideas among communities, but it’s vital that we recognise that communities don’t have all the answers and need support to be able to implement a lasting change in their local area.’

Read the guides here.

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Clare Goff

Clare Goff

Editor, New Start

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