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My first Green Festival!

Category: Public/Communities

Date: 18.05.2015

Time: 17:02

Excitement is building for the Green Festival, just a few days away now. I am particularly excited as it will be my first Green Festival – a community event that PECT has been running annually in the city for over 20 years. 

This year the theme of the festival is sustainable transport. It’s a theme close to my heart because I travel in by train every day and thoroughly enjoy my commute to work. On just one journey a few weeks ago I spotted 15 species of bird on the route from Ely to Peterborough, including a barn owl and a hooper swan.

On other days it’s a chance to read the news, check emails or chat to friends and colleagues. Every day it involves a brisk walk to the station and a less brisk walk home which gives me some fresh air and exercise, helping me to wake up and to wind down. The contrast from the stress of driving in is astounding and, with the exception of the benefit of being able to sing loudly in the car, travelling by train wins every time!

For me, the Green Festival is an excellent example of what PECT is all about and part of what I love so much about our independent and innovative charity. Working with partners in and around the city to co-ordinate an event that is informative, thought-provoking and enjoyable, with something for everybody. All themed around creating a cleaner, greener and healthier Peterborough in a way that is engaging and inspiring.

The launch day is packed full of everything from music and art to a children’s play bus and a photo booth. There will be activities on sustainable transport, woodland crafts and creating spaces for wildlife as well as plenty of opportunities to chill out and try some seasonal food and drink or even a spot of meditation on the Life Boat!

The range of fringe events is really impressive too. I’m delighted that the events include a talk at the Cathedral on ‘The Biological Evidence for Climate Change’ from Professor Sir Ghillean Prance. There are also lots of chances for walking and wildlife spotting and two film options over the course of the week as well.  

We’re really grateful for the support this year from Travelchoice, the Arts Council, Peterborough City Council, IKEA, Stagecoach and the Heritage Lottery Fund.

So, I look forward to seeing lots of familiar and new faces in the city on Saturday for an action-packed day.... and if it all gets too much, you might find me in the beer tent!

Carly Leonard is PECT's Chief Executive Officer, and she has written on the subject of the Peterborough Green Festival. The Festival Launch Day is on Saturday 23 May in Cathedral Square and fringe events run until Sunday 31 May.



Only a few more sleeps...

Category: Public/Communities

Date: 14.05.2015

Time: 16:07

There’s a real buzz in the office this week because we’ve just a few more sleeps until the Green Festival 2015!

I’m particularly excited about this one! I’ve been at PECT for six of the previous twenty-odd festivals that we’ve put on, but this is a festival of firsts. This is the first time we’ve had Arts Council funding, amazing huh? This is the first time we’re going to have a dedicated street art area and the first time we’re going to have a bar, plus for me it’s the first time I’ve been managing the festival - buzzing!

It’s really exciting for my team because it gives everyone the chance to celebrate the work they do week-in-week-out. We are currently managing 12 projects in my team, and whilst we all work together as much as we can each project officer has the responsibility for their own project and often they are working on their own. So to have the opportunity to join forces with the rest of the PECT team, all our other stakeholders, and the big green community of Peterborough means we’re all on a bit of a high.

You can (and probably have) looked at other areas of the website to find out more about my team’s projects and details for the festival, so I want to tell you more about the arts element of the festival. We’ve commissioned three local artists from different disciplines who are being ably looked after by our artistic producer, Tony Henderson.

The first of our artists is Keely Mills, local poet, writer and performer. Keely is using poetry as her medium, and dispelling the city’s reputation for being difficult to get around using public transport. She has been travelling around on our buses, taking in the landscape, talking to other travellers and getting her experiences down in rhyme. On the launch day you will be able to hear poetry live on the Stagecoach bus in St Johns Square and on the PA systems of various places around the city.

The second of our artists is Tom Fox, local performance artist, who is trying out something very new and innovative for Peterborough. Detective (Insert Name) is an audience participation piece which you can take part in; you become the detective and help solve the crime! This pre-bookable event will allow you to discover a crime of huge magnitude, then move around the city centre to discover the clues and become a real life detective solving the art heist of the century. I warn you places for this event are limited so book your place now!

Our third artist Stuart Payne, one of Peterborough’s premier visual artists, is building a pledge tree out of recycled and reused items. Stuart has been working hard to design and build this sculptural piece which will have an interactive pledge system on the festival launch day.

To see all this and take part in the numerous free green activities for all the family, at this year’s Green Festival, come along to Cathedral Square, Peterborough, on the 23rd May and for more details go to www.pect.org.uk/GreenFestival.

Karen is PECT’s Communities Team Leader. She has written about this year’s Peterborough Green Festival, which will be held on 23-31 May 2015, with a free launch day of Saturday 23rd May, in Cathedral Square. 



Eco-friendly BMW i3 and i8 vehicles to be on display at Peterborough Green Festival

Category: Public/Communities

Date: 14.05.2015

Time: 09:47

David Woodhouse, iBrand Manager, explains how Sycamore (Peterborough) Ltd is excited to attend this year’s Peterborough Green Festival in order to showcase the eco-friendly BMW i3 and i8 cars in support of the Festival's sustainable transport theme. Sycamore is the region’s only ‘i’ agent, and will have a presence in Cathedral Square on the Peterborough Green Festival Launch Day of Saturday 23 May.

What’s so exciting about these cars is that they are the first products to go on sale from BMW’s i sub-brand. The i3 features an innovative Carbon Fibre Reinforced Plastic (CFRP) structure which optimises space whilst keeping weight to an absolute minimum.

The CFRP is manufactured in a production facility powered by Hydro Electricity. Producing CFRP is very costly in terms of energy used, but BMW are able to manufacture this extremely durable and incredibly strong material utilising totally renewable energy.

The cars themselves are manufactured in a state-of-the-art facility. Again BMW are concerned with their Carbon Footprint and this facility is powered by four massive wind turbines. With this sort of thinking it comes as no surprise that BMW Group is the Dow Jones Sustainability Index Leader for the 8th consecutive year.

Customers can even switch their household energy suppliers to Green Energy, so that when they use their cars day-to-day they are minimising the CO2 produced at point of use.

Interested prospective customers can even test drive the i3 on the day of the Green Festival to see just how good these cars are to drive. In addition to the cars, children at the Festival will be able to complete a quiz sheet on the i3 and their older siblings can take a look at the electric racing car built by a local school under the Greenpower initiative.

For more information visit www.sycamorebmw.co.uk or www.greenpower.co.uk.



Musical Cycling?

Category: Public/Communities

Date: 13.05.2015

Time: 15:51

I want to start with a word of warning: cycling whilst listening to music is extremely dangerous and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. However, I have to credit listening to music with getting me back into cycling again.

After years of commuting to work on my bike, I had lost interest and motivation. It was hardest in the winter months, with the cold, the rain and worst of all the wind. I got to the stage of being a fair weather cyclist, which made me angry – I wanted to be better than that!

So I decided to ignore my own advice. This was mainly because my cycle route to work was a completely off-road experience, and I started listening to music with the sound turned down low enough so that I could still hear what was going on around me – the bells of other cyclists for example – but loud enough to take my mind off the horribly cold wind!

A short while after I discovered Podcasts, I know they’ve been around for a while but since listening to them on my commute to work they’ve really changed my cycling experience. During those rainy cold days I now can’t wait to get on my bike so I can catch up with my favourites – Josh Widdicombe on xfm, Frank Skinner on Absolute and Kermode and Mayo’s Wittertainment. 

So ending where I started, although I’m not suggesting that people plug in their headphones whilst cycling, for me it has helped massively with my motivation and I don’t have to call myself a fair weather cyclist anymore!

Janine is PECT’s Resources Manager, and she has written on the topic of cycling to tie in with this year’s Peterborough Green Festival, which will be held on 23-31 May 2015.



A new currency for Peterborough

Category: Public/Communities

Date: 05.05.2015

Time: 09:52

I first heard of local currencies around five years ago. At that time it seemed like far too much hard work, because I was in the process of going to university. A lot of the people I spoke to about it all those years ago were understandably wary – isn’t it illegal to print your own money? It turns out the answer to that question isn’t as cut and dried as you might think.

Fast forward to the middle of last year, and I had finished university. I had been self-employed ever since, working on various projects in and around Peterborough, but that work was drying up and I was facing a return to the job centre.

The Governor of the Bank of England had recently released his report on how money is created in the UK, and this re-engaged my interest in the idea of local currencies and their potential for helping to support and develop local economies. I had obviously heard of BitCoin, and its derivatives, but it seemed counterintuitive to limit an internet-based currency to a local area. In any case, BitCoin derives its value from its scarcity, like gold, and requires ‘mining’ (using the processing power of account holders’ computers to perform the calculations necessary to maintain the public ledger of transactions) to make more, which would naturally limit the scope and uptake of any emergent digital crypto-currency.

A little bit of research uncovered several local currencies that were already up and running in the UK, notably in Brixton and Bristol, who had very kindly made their work open to others interested in the idea. They had even spoken to the Bank of England already and worked out the legal framework under which it works. (The paper pounds have an expiry date, and so they are legally counted as vouchers rather than legal tender.) Armed with these examples of successful models, I was able to start ringing round some friends to see if anyone in Peterborough thought it would be a good idea that could work here too.

When I told them I was thinking of printing money, quite a few were interested in talking to me – mostly to try and dissuade me from forging a bunch of tenners, but it got people talking!

We got to go and speak to the Bristol Pound (£B) team in October of last year at their Guild of Independent Currencies conference in Bristol. Their model is a complementary sterling backed currency, exchangeable at a 1:1 rate with the national currency. Every £B in existence has a corresponding pound in sterling which is held at their local credit union, and anyone who engages with the scheme can get their money back at any time, which means there is no risk to the individual or business that decides to trade in the local currency.

As only those businesses that sign up to the initiative will accept the paper pounds, and those businesses are based locally and owned and run by local people, this will help people think about where they spend their money and what happens to it after they hand it over the counter. Only 20p from every pound you spend in high-street stores stays within the local economy, while more like 60p sticks around if you spend it in your local shop. It also benefits from the ‘local multiplier’ effect, as local businesses are more likely to source stock, staff and services from the local community, being spent four times on average before it heads out to the national economy.

By encouraging local people to use local businesses, we will help to maintain wealth within the local economy so that local people benefit. We will also be helping to improve our city’s carbon footprint, because local businesses have shorter supply chains than the big stores.

As yet we don’t know what our currency will look like. We want the design to be produced by someone from Peterborough - so we will be running a competition in the near future. Keep your eyes peeled for details!

We already have over £500 in pledges to buy P£s when they become available, and we are hoping to put together a short trial at some point this year. If you’d like more information, or to get involved, please visit our website at www.peterboroughpound.org or visit our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/PeterboroughPound.

Alex Airey is a volunteer on PECT’s communities team, and he has also been project managing the Peterborough Pound project for the last eight months.



Ride for your Lives event at Ferry Meadows

Category: Public/Communities

Date: 01.05.2015

Time: 13:38

Leanne Tyers, from the East Anglian Air Ambulance, writes about the upcoming ‘Ride for your Lives’ cycle ride.

East Anglian Air Ambulance (EAAA) is a 365-day-a-year lifesaving service working across Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Suffolk. We fly our two helicopters containing critical care paramedics and doctors, day and night, to the scenes of accidents and serious medical incidents.

Every year we receive many calls about cyclists who have been involved in an accident. One of the most common injuries for a cyclist is a head injury. It is vital to be wearing a helmet when riding your bike to minimise any damage in the event of an accident.

Although head injuries are common, a patient can suffer any type of trauma injury from the impact of a crash. By looking after yourself, and your bike when riding, you can minimise the chances of being involved in a serious accident that requires the service of EAAA.

If you are a cyclist and would like to show your support to your local air ambulance charity, there are many ways that you can do this. We hold many fundraising events throughout the year, with one of our signature events being our annual Ride for your Lives cycle ride. Ride for your Lives is in its fourth year and we have decided to bring it to Ferry Meadows, Peterborough, on Sunday 28 June 2015.

The route is a family-friendly 15km, in honour of EAAA’s 15th anniversary, and is suitable for all ages and abilities. Cyclists can ride any time between 9am and 3pm on the day but we advise that you register for the event in advance.

Registration can be completed online at: www.eaaa.org.uk/events/ride-for-your-lives/ with a payment of £10 for an individual rider or £20 for a family or corporate team via debit/credit card or PayPal. However, if you would like to pay by cash/cheque please call 01733 367208 or email leanne.tyers@eaaa.org.uk.

There will be a raffle on the day to win a children’s ‘Frog 48’ bike, kindly donated by the new Rutland Cycling store at Ferry Meadows, with tickets being sold at £1 each.

We look forward to seeing local cyclists at our event!