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Big changes will occur, but it starts with you

Category: Business

Date: 31.03.2016

Time: 16:42

Hello, my name is David Knight and I am the Senior Business Support Officer for Investors in the Environment (iiE). iiE is a business scheme that helps companies set up a ‘management system’, which looks after the resources they use and identifies where improvements can be made to reduce them.

The vision of the scheme is to create sustainable businesses, where companies reduce the impact they are having on the environment. Once operational, the system is audited (which is an evidence-based review) and if successful, they are awarded an accreditation to demonstrate that their commitment to reducing the environmental impact has been achieved and they are continually working to make improvements where possible. This may sound technical, or not – depending on your understanding and potentially whether your company has its own Environmental Management System (EMS).

However, my blog today is to consider this: as individuals, we all have the power to make an impact on the environment both positively and negatively. Our decision to recycle, switch a light off, buy eco products or consider fair trade, organic or local produce will all have an effect on the environment and set the standard for our children. There is an ancient proverb that says “We have not inherited the Earth from our ancestors. We only borrow it from our children.”

If your company has an Environmental Management System, then you will be told to recycle, switch off lights and equipment, wear warm clothes to keep heating down, print only when necessary, travel by bike, walk or car-share, etc. These small changes and requirements will ultimately have an effect on the amount of resources the company uses, which looks good environmentally, but in essence it will reduce costs, saving the company money. Consider then what you do at home – do you recycle? Do you switch off lights as soon as you leave a room? Do you put on warmer clothes or turn your heating up? Do you only use paper when necessary? Do you think about getting on a bike to see someone or jump in the car?

Businesses have saved thousands of pounds a year by managing their resources. It is true, you will not save this amount as an individual, but by making small changes and considering how you manage your own resources at home, you can still potentially save hundreds of pounds. What is even better is that you will also be making a positive impact on the environment.

What if it is the other way around, if you are already doing everything as an individual? Then consider what your company is doing. Do they have an Environmental Management System and if not, are they managing their resources effectively? If you recycle at home, why don’t you recycle at work and encourage others to do the same. There is a very good possibility that your colleagues feel the same way so act together and encourage the company to do the same.

Businesses are merely a collection of people, working together to deliver a product or service. No matter what industry you are in or which company you work for, as a collection of people, businesses have the power to do some amazing things but only if individuals within the collection act positively. Small actions make a big difference so even as an individual, any small action you do can influence others to do the same. As more individuals are influenced and do the same, big changes will occur; but it starts with you.



WestRaven Big Local

Category: Public/Communities

Date: 29.03.2016

Time: 12:15

Hello, my name is Kevin and I have recently joined the team here at Peterborough Environment City Trust (PECT) a Peterborough-based environmental charity that runs projects both locally and nationally.

I have joined the team to work on an exciting project with the communities of Westwood and Ravensthorpe. A while back, Big Lottery funding with the Local Trust awarded 150 areas across the country each with £1,000,000 over 10 years. To qualify, the area had to be considered as a deprived area and not received Lottery funding before.

The Local Trust mission is to enable residents to make their communities a better place in which to live. So they created the Big Local, their first and major initiative. In Peterborough the local trust went about setting up a community group within the district of Westwood and Ravensthorpe, which is now known as WestRaven Big Local.

After a lot of consultation with residents on how the community could improve or make a dramatic change to the area they live in and improve the lives of local people, the board decided that a community café and green space would be the two projects they would like spend some of the Lottery money on.

So the resident-led project teamed up with a locally-trusted organisation. WestRaven Big Local chose Cross Keys Homes. The WestRaven Big Local is also working with partner organisations around the local area, including Ravensthorpe and Highlees Primary Schools, Sodexo justice services HMP Peterborough, Peterborough youth in localities services and the charity PECT.

Within Hampton Court in Westwood there is a shopping precinct, which had a double unit for rent. The WestRaven Big Local board made the necessary enquiries and secured a lease on the property with PECT being the leaseholder.

West Raven Big Local then decided that they would need key staff in place to facilitate the running of the café, a Chef Manager and a Community Engagement Officer. That is when I joined PECT and WestRaven Big Local, to manage and set up a Community Café, because I have been in the hospitality industry for over 30 years.

I am a fully qualified chef and have worked in various hotels, restaurants and contract caterers in my career. My previous job was as an Operation Support and Development Chef, working across the health care division of a contract caterer with 150 care homes. My job was to implement staff training and menus, develop concepts and offers to enhance service and to give dignity to individuals.

But this will be no ordinary café! Within the café we plan to have a safe and comfortable youth area with facilities that they have chosen. There will also be a domestic kitchen setting to enable us to train local residents in cooking from scratch, health benefits, and simple budgeting skills. There will also be an area that can be used during the day for community classes such as arts and crafts, job clubs and well-being courses. We will also have a commercial kitchen and café seating area during the day. Another thing that we are working on is pop-up restaurants in conjunction with local residents, community groups, and senior citizens’ lunch clubs and a meals on wheels service for sheltered housing, but to name just a few of the ideas.

In conjunction with Peterborough Prison, The Job Centre and Peterborough College we can offer work experience placements for local residents of Westwood and Ravensthorpe, Jack Hunt School and the wider area, to help get people into work.
Ravensthorpe Primary School kindly donated a piece of land that WestRaven Big Local can use as the green space project, which we plan to use as a ‘plot to plate’ project to enhance the café. We are now at the stage that we will start to renovate the shop unit so I have included some before pictures, and if you watch this space we will update on the ‘after pictures’ once each part is completed.

If you are interested in getting involved and can spare some time as a volunteer, either running an event for the local community or helping out in the café – or even if you have an idea for a pop-up restaurant – then please feel free to drop me an email to discuss this further on kevin.earl@pect.org.uk.

This area will be the main washing-up area. The room to the right with the hatches in the wall will be the main kitchen and the room straight ahead will be the office and staff facilities.

This will be the main kitchen, the hatch will be extended and heat lamps and stainless steel shelves put in place.

This is the view of the café’s main seating area from the washing area. There will be a servery unit and chilled decks here. To the left is the community space. 

This is the community space area, there are lots of activities planned for here. This will be divided from the café by sliding doors that could be opened to double the space when we do a pop up restaurant.



Hyperlocal Rainfall: March Progress Blog

Category: Public/Communities

Date: 10.03.2016

Time: 10:24

The independent charity Peterborough Environment City Trust has teamed up with Meniscus, Anglia Ruskin University, and Loughborough University to launch a brand new app-development project in Peterborough called Hyperlocal Rainfall, funded by Innovate UK.

The project is looking to deliver a brand new phone app that will help people to make informed decisions about travel around Peterborough, by providing up-to-the-minute and hyper-localised weather forecasts, enabling users to walk and cycle more by taking the weather into account and hence improve their health and wellbeing. Freya Herman is the Project Officer for Hyperlocal Rainfall.

Over the past few months we have taken the first major steps with the Hyperlocal Rainfall project with an amazing amount of help and support from the people of Peterborough! Now we are waiting excitedly, but patiently, to see the initial version of our app which is currently in the development phase.

To get us to this point we have engaged with over 30 Peterborough residents, who wanted to get involved with the development of the app. Late last year, we held one- to-one interviews to find out how having access to better knowledge about when and where it is going to rain could support the participants with walking, jogging, and cycling and how best it could help people travel sustainably around Peterborough.

Earlier this year, we also undertook group discussion sessions across the city to develop on the feedback from the interviews. These sessions helped us build a better picture of how people would want to interact with Hyperlocal Rainfall’s improved short-term rainfall predictions to plan their journeys and (with the help of many brightly coloured pens!) how the app could look.

Participants made great use of the coloured pens to give an idea of how they think the app could look

The feedback from these sessions was overwhelmingly positive and helpful, providing us with lots of great information to build on. The sessions also gave us interesting insights into other ways the Hyperlocal Rainfall app may be useful, such as when to hang out the laundry or have your afternoon BBQ!

With our project partners from Loughborough University we pulled together all the information; highlighting key points, interesting ideas, and trends in the feedback about how the app can best show rainfall and other information to help you plan your journeys around the weather. The results from this have now been handed over to our other project partners Meniscus Ltd and Anglia Ruskin University to directly feed into the app’s development, which aims to provide personalised information to the users.

Pulling together all the information from the group discussions with our project partners from Loughborough University

So, all this fantastic information we have gathered over the past few months is now guiding the app’s development process and though it may not be possible or feasible to fit in all the ideas we would like from these sessions we know that the input is helping us work towards the strongest and most supportive app for sustainable travel around Peterborough. I would like to take this opportunity to again thank everybody who has been involved so far with Hyperlocal Rainfall, it has been greatly appreciated and I hope you enjoyed it as much as we have!

There is still a lot of work to be done on Hyperlocal Rainfall and our next step is to get the initial version of the app complete, a step I am very excited about as I can’t wait to see our app in action for the first time! Then from here, we will be looking to run user trials to test the app around Peterborough to allow us to develop it further and make any improvements that may be needed.

This is the first in a series of monthly progress blogs on everything that is happening with Hyperlocal Rainfall, so if you want to keep an eye on how this project is developing and get more information on the initial version of the app, check back next month for my April update!