This is a pilot programme on Mentoring and ‘Buddying’ to support local action around the Midlands
Skills for Climate Action was set up by the Low Carbon Communities Network as a way of sharing and building the skills that exist within grass roots groups within the UK. It was intended as a pilot to see how this might develop in the longer term.
We worked with local networks in Oxfordshire, Brixton (in South London) and Staffordshire. To support this work we produced a mentoring toolkit for use by the mentors. This is freely available via our website to anyone interested in mentoring as a support mechanism.
The Brixton work was able to support the development of the new Brixton Re-Use centre (a project set up by Transition Brixton). Community projects came together for a four session training programme and ten local projects are now receiving support and mentoring. Most took part in an exchange to meet similar groups from Gdansk in Poland.
The Oxford work built on a county-wide network. The major focus was on a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) scheme for Oxford and a re-use centre in the small town of Bicester. Mentoring helped them develop plans and formalise their proposals
The Staffordshire work again supported groups looking to increase their profile and helped groups prepare in the run-up to a major Sustainable Staffordshire conference.
The lesson from this work is that small amounts of funding to support local people who have skills and experience to in turn provide support to innovative projects is a very cost effective way of helping new projects and of stimulating local innovation. We hope to take this work forward in other areas.