Chairperson’s Report

CHAIRPERSON’S REPORT’S

Arran Eco Savvy Community

Community SCIO    SC045785

 26th August 2018                               

Ormidale Pavilion, Brodick

General Charity Business

The last year has been full, full of achievements and challenges. In the spring of 2017 we embarked on the first funded project Eco Savvy has ever had. The Micro Hubs that covered the island and reached out to areas of Arran that were not yet engaged with our Charity were funded by Climate Challenge Fund (CCF) from the Scottish Government. The result of this funding award meant that significant changes were necessary to the way we operate, financially, on a day to day management level and the transition to being an employer. We employed a fulltime project manager, Jude King joined our team in July, after Michael Gettins resigned in June. We employed 6 part time hub managers who covered 8 village hubs until the end of the funding in March 2018. Jude remained an employee as we were successfully awarded £112, 151 from CCF to deliver the Energy Challenge in April of 2018. This brought the employment of two fulltime energy auditors, Derek Morgan and Charlotte Mann and Ruth McLaren as our part time admin. We currently have four members of staff funded by the CCF and in April 2018 we employed our shop manager Sarah Kelly. Sarah’s role is part time and funded by the revenue from the Whiting Bay shop, and 5 hrs a week by Volunteer Action Fund (VAF) through the Scottish Government.

Over the last year there have been changes to the management board, Barbara I’Anson resigned as treasurer in August 2017 and Lynne Cameron resigned as secretary in November. Andrew Downing resigned as treasurer in March of 2018. Both Andrew, Lynne and Barbara contributed untold hours and energy to this charity and receive our heartfelt thanks at this AGM.

In February 2018 we warmly welcomed Sue Weaver, one of the founding trustees of the charity to return and very recently we have met with Hilary Maguire who is keen to become our treasurer. Myself Esther Brown and Beverley Walker have continued as trustees over the last year.

The trustees meet every 4 to 6 weeks and are in regular contact, and hold Open Working Group meetings every 3 to 4 months to encourage the wider group of Eco Savvy to engage in our projects and future. If you would like to become more involved, firstly if you’re not already please become a member. This gives you a vote at members meeting and helps us demonstrate our support from the community of Arran. If you wish to volunteer, working on project development, in the shop or as a trustee please talk to any of the trustees about how you can help and what would be involved.

We complied with new GDPR regulations and have our Privacy Policy and Data Protection Policy available online.

Other events this year were, myself, Beverley and Jude attended the CARES Community and Renewable Energy Scotland, conference in Glasgow and made some good contacts with other groups.

Eco has talked about an energy project since the creation of the group and we are still following this path to see where it leads.

Sarah, Beverley and I spent the day at the All Energy Conference in Glasgow recently and also made connections with different industry sectors.

One notable achievement of Eco Savvy this year has been the formation of Arran Sustainability Forum. We have started to work with groups and businesses across the island and the collective power to enact real change has been successful. The sustainability forum is divided into differing strands with representatives from many sectors working in small groups to identify potentials and problems.

 

In October 2017 we hosted the Big Arran Green Show and invited all the primary schools on the island to come to a day event with representatives from local environmental groups showcasing their work and purpose. The Big Arran Green Show was an important event, now in its second year, supported by as many green groups and organisations on the island that could attend. Arran Eco Savvy, Coast, Arran Community Land Initiative, Arran Bee Group, Arran theatre and Arts Group, NAC, Woodside Farm all held activities. Around 150 pupils attended. This model was also taken to the Arran High School Go Green Event in February. all pupils at the high school participated. We have been invited to host another high school event so the Arran Eco Savvy’s schools green days look set to continue.

Eco Park

Before Eco Savvy opened a shop, a group of likeminded people identified the need for an environmental group on Arran. The drive was to create a project that would bring Arran in line with other progressive, forward thinking communities.

An Eco Park could allow us to manage waste streams, generate energy, upcycle and reuse, look at sustainability, create community space and leisure. We have made some significant progress recently.

We have been meeting with NAC waste officers over the whole of this last year and Beverley Walker has developed a business plan for Green Waste Composting. NAC wish to enter a Public Service Partnership with a third sector organisation to deliver green composting on island and stop shipping it to the mainland. We wish to conduct a feasibility study to consider the green waste and also the food waste streams on the island. Also, a community energy scheme. We would like to know if combining these three would create an operation that would be sustainable and a viable business arm to our charity. It has been agreed we will produce a “Scope of Works” to identify the next steps.

We have met with representatives from Zero Waste Scotland who have offered practical project development support and encouraged us to apply for funding that will support infrastructure development. This could be the agricultural building that goes on the park first to house parts of the composting.

The trustees met with Scottish Land Fund this summer, we have made the first steps through the big lottery to apply for funding to purchase land for the park with them. They have confirmed their stage one funding would allow for a feasibility study, not only for the composting but for the whole Eco Park proposal.

This was a significant leap forward as funding for feasibility was a bottle neck.

We met with the Forestry Commission and have outlined the proposed land and begun the application to a Community Asset Transfer Scheme (CATS)

We attended the Community and Renewable Energy (CARES) conference and identified similar communities in Scotland who are already conducting similar schemes. We have identified the funding stream through the Scottish Government that supports community energy and made initial steps to engage with CARES.

We met with an organisation Interface in July who facilitate collaboration between charities and universities. They have invited us to apply for a fund that would enable collaboration with Strathclyde University to develop Circular Economy on Arran. This would include the function of an Eco Park.

There are many aspects to this and we have many hurdles to overcome, it is our aspiration to fully investigate each area and possibility.

Community Hub & Shop

The Eco Savvy Community Hub in Whiting Bay has been an ongoing success, it has had its troubles and challenges but it has remained a well-used and supported part of Eco Savvy’s community presence. Before trustee Lynne Cameron resigned in November 2017 the responsibility for the daily running for the shop was hers. She managed the rota, volunteers and shop reports. With the loss of this role being performed by a volunteer trustee it was agreed with volunteers at OWG in December 2017 that we would employ a shop manager to fulfil some of this role. We closed the shop for two months and volunteers worked to clear and clean the shop. We redesigned some of the layout and created a project area to inform visitors to the shop of our charities purpose and projects.

We introduced the new range of Eco Products to trial the sale of bought in items. The focus of this was agreed to be products that would encourage a reduction in the single use plastics and support like-minded companies. We cleared some of the back shop but did not have time to fully renovate this space. These changes have been received positively by the volunteers and visitors to the shop, it has been described as a brighter, nicer place to be.

In April Sarah Kelly joined our shop team and has had her work cut out for her from the start. It is a challenge to keep the donations moving, new eco products stocked and the back shop safe and clear. The greatest challenge has been to fill the rota, the shop has not had consistent full opening and many shifts have been covered by Sarah and the extremely dedicated team of volunteers. We currently have new volunteers joining us and have put plans in place to recruit more. Following Sarah’s appointment, we have been successfully awarded £27,387 by the Volunteer Action Fund or VAF. Partly for more hours for Sarah to put procedures in place for volunteers’ health and safety, develop the back shop and recruit more shop volunteers.

Also, to support new areas of volunteering in the wider Eco Savvy Project, we have interesting project development opportunities for those who cannot or do not wish to volunteer in the shop. The funding will allow the volunteer task force to work on many different areas of the whole project and encourage volunteers to work from home and contribute to Eco Savvy no matter their circumstances. We recently met with the landlord of the shop and are working on proposals to renovate the exterior and back shop and toilet. VAF funding will be over a three-year period and help secure the health and growth of our whole charity. Eco savvy would not be where it is today without the shop and it is the beating heart of our charity. We thank everyone, past and present who has ensured the shop’s continuation.

Climate Challenge Fund

Over the 15 months since our last AGM we have delivered the CCF Arran Micro Hubs project, successfully been awarded funds to deliver Arrans Energy Challenge and submitted the draft application to the CCF for a new project which at the moment is called Sustainable Island Life. This has been an enormous challenge and taken unprecedented volunteer trustee hours and could not have been possible without the dedication, drive and adaptability of our Project Manager Jude King and the support of the Arran Community.

The success of our Micro hubs and the delivery of 74 workshops has been a huge achievement. 101, 891 C02e tonnes of carbon were saved. We held 12 educational school workshops over the year and the Primary Big Green Show and High Schools Go Green event.

In July, we began the monthly themed workshops. We rolled out Sustainable Halloween workshops in every hub, and were focussed on the swapping or upcycling of old costumes to reduce the waste at Halloween. We then brought a fabric wreath making activity to 5 of schools in the lead up to Christmas.

A significant point in the project came from the Film Night in our Corrie Hub-where we screened the National Geographic Documentary: “Before the Flood”, starring Leonardo Di Caprio. The discussion and support we received, not only immediately after, but still today, proves what a powerful tool education plays, in this case bringing home the reality of Climate Change to those never previously engaged. The film stimulated over 45 minutes of conversation about the issues and implications of Climate Change. Concern over excessive packaging, products with palm oil and general awe at how ignorant they were to the issue of climate change dominated the conversation.

We screened the same film for Arran Highs School students in February. As final call to action to close the project we held a final film night inviting the wider community to a screening of the film. This was a very well attended evening with a full hall of over 70. Positive engagement with a wide section of the local community through these film nights were enjoyed by all and resulted in some significant changes in understanding and engagement with issues around climate change.

Due to the publicity and word of mouth about Eco Savvy, we had two major island hotels getting in touch with us asking us if we would be able to use or distribute a significant amount of their old linen, which would be conventionally taken off the island and either incinerated or sent to landfill. We managed to recycle 95kgs of linen.

Eco Savvy’s “Priceless” event that was open to the island which saw hundreds of donated and previously unwanted items being adopted into new homes; items were diverted from landfill. These items were accumulated over the year, about half from the revamp of the Whiting Bay shop and the other half from the excess donations accumulated at the hubs. It was a successful event and considerable donations being made.

In all the micro hubs project saved 6,917 kg of items from landfill, held 74 workshops- 12 in schools, engaged with 3,020 people, clocked up 1,710 volunteer hours and saved 101,891 tonnes of co2.

 

In April 2018 Arran Eco Savvy Energy Challenge was launched, offering free support across the island to help people save energy and costs in the home environments as well as supplying information on carbon literacy and climate change.

By engaging with energy drop-in surgeries and focused carbon literacy workshops, the project will enable significant carbon savings, simultaneously proving benefits that will shape behavioural changes amongst the residents of Arran, resulting in a long-lasting legacy.

The project will deliver its goals through

  • Domestic Energy Audits
  • Energy monitor loans
  • Thermal imaging camera
  • Energy Advice Drop-in Surgeries, Workshops
  • Carbon Literacy Incentive Scheme

So far, we have engaged with over 70 homes and the target is to save 329,000 tonnes of C02 by March 2019. We are not sure if we can make this but we will all put our best into trying.

 

On the 20th of August 2018 we submitted a draft application to CCF to deliver another project that would begin in April 2019.

Arran Eco Savvy propose to develop a 2 year “Sustainable Island Life Project”. This multi-functional project will continue the existing grant focus on energy efficiency, but additionally target two other low-carbon strands, namely, sustainable food and sustainable transport.

Energy Efficiency Audits will continue and Sustainable Food will aim to reduce reliance on carbon intensive transported food. We will empower households to grow their own low carbon food, providing food growing and composting kits and 1-1 tuition from a qualified gardening co-ordinator. This will contribute to engagement with Eco Savvy’s Green Waste & Food Waste composting project.

Sustainable Travel & Transport aims to

  • reduce and replace individual car use on the island.
  • Implement a car and lift sharing website app
  • Offer Fuel Efficient Driver Training
  • Deliver through Local business and the local community electric Bike scheme promoting and implementing the use of eBikes on island by residents
  • Encourage more local cycling
  • Encourage walking to replace car journeys.

 

We propose to Develop Arran’s first Green Community Transport Map.

  • The map will identify prominent off-road cycling routes, and promote all ways of green and sustainable travel for residents
  • The map will emphasize our network of hubs- which will provide check-in and maintenance points for bike travellers and walkers, providing bike tool boxes and places to refill water bottles.

 

The project will include the development of Develop Sustainable Island Life App enabling:

  • Map use
  • Lift and Car share
  • Food/Active travel Log
  • And highlight Arran’s Environmental Information

 

This is just a draft and could change significantly once the funders give us feedback. The final application will go in October and we will not know if we are successful until after Xmas at the earliest.

We are already trialling ebikes and have one on loan from Home Energy Scotland to show today.

 

Conclusion

Over all Eco Savvy has achieved more in the last year than ever before. It is moving in a very exciting direction and is achieving more and more. Our membership has grown, our reach around the island has increased. We have a team of volunteers and members of staff who are passionate and dedicated people out there representing us every day.

As Chairperson I thank all our members, volunteers, staff and trustees for all they have done to help Arran Eco Savvy grow. Thanks doesn’t seem enough for all the hours given, energy put in and enthusiasm that is shown, it is inspiring. Thank you all.

Esther Brown

Chair Person

 

AGM Report May 2017

A.G.M. Report 25th May 2016

Eco Savvy began year 2 as a strong and well established not for profit organisation     with pending charitable status.

The year began with a celebration of Eco Savvy’s 1st birthday with cake and sparkling juice for the volunteers and customers.

Also in April Eco Savvy funded a very successful permaculture course which was offered to the general public, furthering our aims of working towards sustainable lifestyles.

April 26th Eco Savvy hosted a collaborative skill sharing workshop with Brodick Castle Rangers, Roots of Arran, Spin Off, the Umbrella group and Eco Savvy members. This workshop was for the Woollen Woods project for Voluntary Arts Scotland. Arran was the Scottish venue for this national event. Eco Savvy naturally applied Zero Waste Arran aims to the event and through the community shop gathered many unwanted items like worn woollen blankets & jumpers, wool and equipment which was used to teach skills and produce items for the project

May saw the 1st A.G.M. of Eco Savvy where budgets were set and plans were outlined.

By June the community shop was very busy once again with summer visitors increasing customer numbers and presenting ongoing challenges for volunteers to manage the rota, the space and all the amazing shop donations arriving continuously.

25th June Members of Eco-Savvy and Arran Community land Initiative from Arran and Fyne Futures from Bute travelled to Paisley to visit the Kibble project for a very informative day where they were able to see the operation and processes of a rocket food composter and kitchen garden at Kibble School and visit other kibble social enterprise projects.

June saw the launch of a series of creative up-cycling workshops headed by volunteer Fiona Doubleday; the workshops were open to all and ran throughout the summer, leading to an Autumn Show where the up-cycling items would be showcased at an entertaining fundraising evening event.

7th July 2015 was the day we had all been waiting for, Arran Eco Savvy was delighted to announce that our application for incorporation as a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SCIO) has been successful.  Our SCIO registered name is; Arran Eco Savvy Community SCIO No. SC045785

August began with an invitation to Lynne Cameron by the trustees to join the board; Lynne offered admin skills and had already been efficiently managing the shop rota for several months.   Lynne delighted us by accepting the invitation.

A volunteers social gathering at a Garden Party hosted by our chairperson Sue Weaver was held on 9th August

Launching the 1st Zero Waste Arran week required a huge amount of planning and admin and this continued right up to the week of events in September.

During this time Lynne was welcomed as our 4th trustee.

Zero Waste Arran Week was widely reported and a great success, we held a week of varied events, followed by a zero waste exhibition and a big feast from foods which would otherwise have been wasted. We were delighted with the support of both Co-op’s and local food stores and some hotels.  Local primary School Whiting Bay joined in the competitions for Zero Waste bag design and Rubbish monsters who were are huge success, we hope to give more notice to schools in 2016 and have all schools participating.

During September & October we also began moving towards green waste composting through meetings & talks with N.A.C. and the forestry.

The community shop closed for our annual weeks  holiday in October and allowed week’s annual holidays for trustees to implement changes to the members second chance system

23rd October was time for the Autumn Show, between 12 and 30 people had all worked on costumes, props and decorations ready for this event, by using various up-cycling techniques and trading skills they worked across a wide range of media. This imaginative event was well attended by an appreciative audience who enjoyed the show and were impressed by the display of costumes and creative items. Those who took part in the summer workshops and show were all very pleased and proud of their new skills and had a great fun in the process. The event was supported by a very successful raffle, a first for Eco Savvy.

Training in Data protection was added to our growing list of skills.

A public meeting was held in November to gather consensus on Green Waste and Food Waste composting, with a presentation on Eco Savvy’s plans for Arran, this was followed by discussion and an informative and inspiring talk by our guest speaker Reeni from Fine Futures Bute.

Sue Weaver resigned as a trustee but was happy to continue as an active member of our busy supporting working group.

Christmas lunch was delightful with some new members joining us.

A shop Sale was planned to move stock and ensure we avoided sending items to landfill.

January- It had become apparent that in order to obtain the necessary forestry land for composting we would also need to incorporate our second phase of the project and confirm public support and the feasibility of the project.

A new trustee joined us; Beverley Walker offers environmental planning and renewable expertise and has been welcomed to the board.

A volunteers meeting was held to present proposals for an Eco Park & centre supported by a CHP Biomass renewable energy scheme which was followed by a highly successful forum meeting.  Continuing with community consultation, this meeting was in followed by a public meeting in Brodick and later in March a second Public Meeting was held in Kildonan.           All three meetings were very positive and resulted in many additional ideas with 98% support of CHP biomass and no negative response.

Finally in March Eco Savvy and NAC waste awareness officers worked together with  a enjoyable Love Food Hate Waste event in Brodick Co-op.

This has certainly been very busy year with membership rising to over 400 and volunteer numbers growing with the project. Thanks go to all our volunteers but special thanks must go to all of our loyal hardworking shop volunteers without you Eco Savvy would not have been able to carry out all of last years’ activities and events while remaining 100% financially sustainable.  Thank you all.

To our trustees and working group thank you for all your hours of hard work, which have allowed Eco Savvy to grow and achieve many of our aims. Thanks also to all our members for your ongoing support, this and wider community Support for Eco Savvy’s ambitious plans no doubt comes from the desire of the Arran population to join us in aims to;

“Helping to make Arran a greener and more sustainable island”

Thank you.

Barbara I’Anson & Esther Brown (acting chairpersons)




AGM  Report  20th May 2015

Eco Savvy’s first year

Just over a year ago, on 11th April,, a small group of people began to prepare the shop for opening. This involved a lot of cleaning, scraping, upcycling and painting. Shop volunteers were trained in what then seemed complicated processes of recording sales of different types. And then, on 19th April 2014 the Eco Savvy Community shop opened for business.

To our delight and astonishment we had a very busy summer with much appreciation from islanders and visitors. Members flooded in and new volunteers stepped forward. As we got used to the shop routines, we began to draw breath and prepare for some of our wider Eco Savvy tasks. Schools were visited and involved, encouraged towards environmental green flags. We had a stall at the Highland Games demonstrating our ethos and ways of saving waste and upcycling.

On 21st September we held our first Skills Share day and on 30th, our first Members meeting to look at progress so far. Throughout this period we had been developing ways of working together, with a small working group forming, to carry out the main tasks and regular Volunteer meetings for updating the wider group and helping to form policy by means of discussion and forums.

In late October, we branched out further with an evening of fun and glamour, but a serious, waste reducing purpose, the Fashion Show, immediately followed by a hugely successful Auction. After a brief pause to update the shop itself for a refit, we celebrated the close of 2014 with Christmas lunch for volunteers at Coast.

This year has been just as busy so far, starting with Understanding Social Enterprise, a Training course open to all and attended by several of us in February. This was also an opportunity for networking and sharing ideas with others in the Arran voluntary sector.

On 22nd February we held another Skills Sharing and Seed swap event with the emphasis on skills like knitting and felting which could be used for the Woollen Woods scheme. In March, we had another extremely busy weekend with the Pop-up Shop and second Auction. These events were great publicity both for Eco Savvy and for our whole aim of reducing waste, but were also extremely hard work for a large number of people and have led us to question whether we would do them again.

And so to 18th April Eco Savvy’s first Birthday party, celebrated in style with non-alcoholic bubbly for volunteers and shoppers alike, and plenty of cake, brilliant bunting and festive decorations.

Our thoughts then began to turn purposefully towards future developments. We had been discussing for some time the possibility of access to part of a field in the Arran Community Land Initiative in order to develop a community garden, and we took first steps towards this goal by funding a 2 day Introduction to Permaculture course in late April, led by Lusi Alderslowe and open to both Eco Savvy and ACLI. Twelve of us attended and learned far more than we would have thought possible, both about working with the land and with each other. A report follows.

Another Skills Sharing at the end of April focussed totally on getting ready for Woollen Woods; a report on this will also follow.

Throughout our first year we continued to establish effective ways of working together by regular meetings with volunteers, Forums, and the opening of the working group at the heart of the project to anyone who wants to be involved. Thanks are due to so many for the success of this first year and I cannot begin to name them, but there are more than a few who have given wholehearted dedication, creativity, time and energy. It has been one of the delights of my involvement with Eco Savvy, to see so many who care so much for our goals giving their individual skills and ideas, and to know that each one of us is a unique contributor.

Sue Weaver

chairperson.

 

 

August 10, 2015
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