We campaign to reduce south-east Oxford’s carbon footprint in a range of ways. We meet at Rose Hill Community Centre at 7.30 pm on the last Wednesday of every month except August. All are welcome! Here are some of our activities:
We work for our community to ‘power up’ with renewable energy. We have successfully campaigned for the City Council to cover Rose Hill Community Centre with solar PV. We also work closely with the ERIC Project, which has installed solar PV and cutting-edge battery storage in 77 social homes over 2015 and 2016. Six owner-occupied homes with solar PV are also trialling the battery storage, as is the Community Centre. We regularly promote the wonderful work of the Low Carbon Hub. This has recently launched a share offer to install 108 solar PV panels on Rose Hill Primary School and the largest hydro generator on the Thames at Sandford Lock, a mile down-river from us. With Project ERIC, we promoted a successful crowd-funder for a zero-carbon classroom at the school, with solar PV attached to battery storage.
We also work for our community to ‘power down’ by saving energy. With the help of CAG equipment, we have run two successful thermal imaging campaigns, both followed up with advice sessions for people struggling to save heat in an area of great fuel poverty. At present, we are lending out electricity display monitors to local residents – a great way of checking how often we forget to use the water that’s just boiled in the electric kettle. Get in touch if you’d like to borrow one.
In 2016, we won a grant from the Urban Community Energy Fund. This is enabling BioRegional to research further opportunities for cutting the carbon in Rose Hill and Iffley, a very exciting new step for us. The final presentation will be at 7.30 pm on Fri 27 Jan 2017 at Rose Hill Community Centre. Please come along if you are interested.
One of our first activities, when we started in 2013, was to run monthly collections of electrical goods, which we took to be recycled at charity shops, Bicester Green or the local recycling centre. We like to think this helped to persuade the City Council to collect electrical goods, so we no longer need to do this. We also run occasional swap shops, swishing events and support local litter picks.
In 2014 and 2015, we held tree-planting campaigns in our local recreation ground, one with the aid of 30 Year 6 pupils from the local primary school. After some set-backs, about a hundred saplings are now growing vigorously. Some of our members support the working parties run by BBOWT at the Rivermead Nature Reserve. In 2015 we had a seedlings exchange for gardeners.
In 2015 and 2016, Broken Spoke has run very successful cycle repair workshops for us. As a part of the ERIC Project, an electric car club was launched in July 2016, with a bay and charging point outside the Community Centre. This demonstrates how the solar PV on the Community Centre roof can be stored in the car’s battery and used to enable local people to use a car without polluting the atmosphere.
We have held two dinner-time events in conjunction with the local churches and with food from the Food Bank. In October 2016, we held an apple-pressing event and had a talk from one of our members about home-brewing. We regularly share food with each other at social events!
We believe it is essential to work with the whole community – not just with greenies like us. We regularly attend meetings at the Rose Hill Regeneration Project and the Tenants and Residents Association. We also write a regular column for the Rose Hill News. As well as running outreach events like thermal imaging, swap shops and cycle repair workshops, we believe it’s important to explain why our group exists – that is, to do something practical about climate change. We try to educate ourselves and others through holding talks and film shows.
We have held regular talks from members of other CAGs, Climate Action and experts in renewable technologies and insulation. On 3 June 2016, we held an inspiring panel discussion with Barbara Hammond, CEO of the Low Carbon Hub, Prof Rajat Gupta of Oxford Brookes University, Tim Sadler of Oxford City Council and Andy Edwards of Project ERIC. On 29 September 2016, Alan Rusbridger (ex-editor of The Guardian) gave us an inspiring talk about the Keep It In The Ground campaign
We have also shown films and followed these with discussion of how we can apply their ideas. So far we have shown Voices of Transition (about sustainable food production), Merchants of Doubt (about disinformation on climate change) and Welcome to the Energy Revolution (about community energy in Germany).
If you’re interested in just one of the above activities, do join us. None of us can do everything, but all of us can do something!