Thursday, 25 November 2010

Ashby 2020 November Minutes

Ashby 2020 Minutes
23rd November 2010
7pm Legion House

TWE: Still awaiting progress from the utilities’ legal department. Launch remains January. All publicity, advertising etc will be co-branded Ashby2020 / utility. Clare Bampton and Socius will be handling the Ashby end of the arrangement.

Climate Week: Need ideas for events between 21 - 27 March 2011. Swishing event? Emma of ZeroCredit is interested in collaborating on a swishing event.

Short film: screening taking place on 18th December - slight hitch in location, confirmation of new details to follow. Needs ideas of interactive activities for this day.

CAP centre launches in Ashby 28th November at 3pm, Holy Trinity Church - Christians Against Poverty is a national charity working through local churches to help people of all or no faiths to deal with their debt.

Tree Planting - Jan / Feb? Will contact the National Forest about a community day and seek their guidance on what we could do (or seek other land)

Town treasure map - Mandy expressed interest in Ashby producing a map or guide highlighting strengths of the town and pointing out special spots tourists should visit. This needs further discussion and development.

Public building renewables - Need to establish if there’s interest in this, funding etc. Question raised about community funding for this.

Workshops - Would there be any interest in holding a COIN workshop or similar?

Next meeting: TBA.

Monday, 1 November 2010

Ashby 2020 October Minutes

28th October 2010
6.30pm - 8pm
Legion House, Ashby
Chair: Carl Benfield

Sustainability  exercise
Networking  for sustainability groups
Town wide renewable energy
RCC funding application
Upcoming Events

1. Sustainability Exercise
Deferred to a future meeting.

2. Networking
The ‘Inspiration for Action’ event @ De Montfort University offers the chance for interested parties to learn more about what can be done locally to achieve low carbon lifestyles, and to network with other people taking action in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland. The event will feature talks on community action climate change and workshops on permaculture, reducing carbon footprints etc.

We would like Ashby 2020 to have a presence at the event, and will arrange transport for interested parties.

Please get in touch if you would like to attend this event.

Inspiration for Action
Queens Building, DMU
Thurs 11 November 2010
6pm - 8.45pm

3. Town Wide Energy Deal
We have a provider who may not be named as yet, however, their proposal includes:
  • 100% renewable energy tariff at no extra cost
  • £100 green energy bonus paid on anniversary
  • £100 direct debit discount
  • Free power monitors
  • Free energy surveys
  • Advice on energy efficiency
  • Up to £50 per contract cash-back incentive for use in Ashby 2020 initiatives

For most households switching to the Ashby 2020 ‘green’ tariff will be cost neutral, though we must acknowledge that some people will be paying less and the renewable aspect will not be sufficient to tempt them to switch. The chosen utility are currently putting together the necessary legal details, more information will be forthcoming.

4. RCC Funding Application / Other Funding
We will put in a bid for the RCC funding (available for amounts between £200 - £5,000), for the purpose of raising the Ashby 2020 profile with a public event and ‘equipment’ that will be used long term for promoting the group at events. We will apply to fund the following:
  • Film screening event (with refreshments)
  • Eco Teams Training
  • Banner
  • Marqee
  • Leaflet drop
  • A-board
  • Recycling points
  • We will also consider taking a full page advert is Ashby Times/Ashby Life

5. Upcoming Events
  • Climate East Midlands events - a series of events Changing Climate Weeks 2 (adaptation and mitigation),2 – 24 Nov.
  • Green Footprints Free Tree Scheme - application deadline is Mon 15th Nov.
  • Green Footprints Awards - will be open for applications from Nov - Jan.  There are six categories: Businesses; Families & Individuals; Schools; Children & Young People; Partnerships & Community Groups; Sustainable Urban Design.  Three shortlisted applicants in each category will be invited to the Annual Awards Ceremony & Civic Dinner at the Hilton Hotel, Kegworth on Fri 15th April.  More info due shortly in Vision newsletter, local press and on GF website.
  • Climate Week - 21st - 27th March.   National event to promote action on climate change.  Green Footprints Challenge hopes to get involved and will be encouraging lots of local groups and businesses to take part too.  Further information due to be released soon.
  • Spectacles Recycling Day – 13 Nov, 10 – 4. By Ashby and Coalville Lions, will be taking place outside Boots on Market Street.
  • N.W. Leics Wildlife Trust talk on ‘Climate Change and Wildlife’ -  19 Nov. 2010, 19:30 . Burton Road Methodist Church Hall.

Ashby 2020 has a place on the Ashby TCP website, which can be reached from the above web address. People are encouraged to access the site, and suggest content etc. From here you can see all our social media connections and news clippings, photos, videos etc.

A calendar of events will be added in the future.

Sitting under the Ashby TCP name makes for a good reference point and gives us official status, and through the ATCP Ideas area on the ‘parent’ site Ashby residents are able to submit suggestions of things the Town Partnership and its sub-groups could attend to. There has already been communication through this online form for Ashby 2020 as well as the other groups, and it can be found here:

Next meeting: Tuesday 23rd November 2010 @ 7pm.

Friday, 15 October 2010

Blankety Blank

Hello, Gemma here. Yes, again. You wait for a blog entry for ages, then two show up on the same day!

There is something happening at Ashby 2020 HQ, but I'm not at liberty to divulge just yet. Believe me when I say it's harder on me than it is on you, but I promise it's worth it. In the meantime, I'm going to tell you a story about two things that seem not to be connected but are, just very tenuously:
     I am a big fan of the popular American sitcom Friends. I think it's predominantly a generational thing as when I was at secondary school everyone watched it (and what's more, my friends and I all nicknamed each other after the character we had most in common with - I'm Chandler, for the record).
     You're probably wondering what this has to do with sustainability and the truth is... nothing. BUT, something this week reminded me of an episode, so bear with me. One storyline sees two characters (Rachel and Joey) swap favourite books (Little Women and The Shining, respectively), but half way through reading them Joey accidentally reveals a plot spoiler. From this point he begins speaking in code about What Happens Next. It is this element that came to mind yesterday during a meeting with Carl Benfield and Clare Bampton to discuss something HUGE on the horizon for Ashby 2020. Actually, it was on the horizon a month ago, now it's waving at us from the swing set next door.
     But let's briefly go back to my poor analogy. You see, Joey's code merely involves substituting the word 'blank' for others that reveal aspects of the plot ('All blank and no blank, makes blank a blank blank'), and that is how I feel when updating FB, Twitter etc. this week. I can't reveal what the 'blanks' are, but similarly can't not tell you something superb is about to be announced. 
     Thankfully, all will be revealed next week and I'm not alone in struggling not to bounce off the walls - when Carl, Clare and I sat down to discuss the meeting we're having with BLANK about the BLANK this coming Tuesday, it was a sight akin to three Tiggers on Spacehoppers.

Now admittedly, you're not getting many clues here about what's coming to town from this post, suffice to say in retrospect you'll appreciate why I'm oscillating as I type. Something for the whole town, green, and the first of it's kind - history in the making!

The Big Switch Off

Those beady eyed among you will have seen the emails and updates regarding the Big Switch Off promotion Ashby 2020 took part in on Saturday. If you made it to Market Street in Ashby between the hours of 10am and 3pm, you'll have been treated to sights, sounds and smells that Ashby has (probably) never witnessed. Most of the kerfuffle came from a noisy but VERY satisfying Pedal Powered Smoothie Maker [our pièce de résistance] which proved itself to be a valuable aquisition for the day, particularly for attracting younger members of the community. There may be no such thing as a free lunch, but a free smoothie was well within everyone's reach! We took short surveys about opinions on 'green' things in Ashby, gave away tea towels and posters, and gave everyone the chance to sign up for something leafy and possibly fruity, as part of the NW Leicestershire Free Tree scheme [you can still sign up for one here].
Special thanks to Joshua Benfield's legs.
The reason Ashby 2020 and NWLDC's Green Footprints team joined forces was to promote the county-wide BSO event taking place throughout this week [11th - 17th October], which you may have figured out is all about switching off those energy zappers that aren't needed. It is easy to dismiss the odd light bulb left on as 'not doing much damage' to our energy consumption and our pockets, but consider the accumulative effect of all those appliances left on stand-by and phone chargers left plugged in around the county and you begin to see why Leicestershire chooses to highlight this bad habit once a year.

Today is Friday 15th October, which means we are in the mid section of BSO week and the likelihood is that your awareness of the energy saving event will have come through wherever it is you spend most of your daylight hours i.e. work or school. There's nothing wrong with that, but how many of us fall back into naughty habits when at home? [You can't see, but I'm raising my hand] Just yesterday I visited the home of an Ashby 2020 'player' and watched  him walk around the house muttering 'big switch off, big switch off' to himself every time he turned off an unnecessary light or socket. I also watched as he left the house to run an errand and missed the light in the room he exited from. He's pretty spun up on this energy saving stuff, so it goes to show nobody's perfect. It isn't easy, I know that and we know that, no one can honestly say otherwise [even those eco angels out there!], but maintaining a sustainable energy supply and cutting down on unnecessary expenses are  two things that can effect our lifestyles in both positive and negative ways.

So what I'm trying to say [in a round-the-houses sort of way] is that when you turn off your desktop at work, switch off that coffee machine and douse the strip lighting, no doubt breathing a sigh of relief that the weekend is finally here as you make the final trek to the car [which you're using to Liftshare, obviously ;-) ] or bus stop, and when you reach the sanctuary of your home - don't forget to keep up the good work!

Central Networks are working to monitor the energy consumption before and during the BSO week to measure the effectiveness of being a bit more careful with our gadgets so we'll have a real gauge of how good we've been and how much we can improve. It'll be illuminating.

~ Gemma, Ashby 2020

Friday, 10 September 2010

Ashby2020 Meeting Minutes SEPTEMBER

Ashby 2020 Minutes
7th September 2010
6.30 – 8.30pm
Legion House

Chair: Andrew Reeves

Review minutes from July
Updates on actions: Town wide energy
List of existing sustainable action in town
Media coverage
Constitution & Roles
Future projects and grant funding
Next steps

Introductions – 6.40pm

Minutes reviewed from July: Agreed.

Town wide energy: Carl Benfield approached four utility providers with a request for them to provide a green energy tariff and other incentives to maximise the appeal for Ashby to switch to the greener alternative. As it stands, two of those four are in the process of putting together formal proposals for a deadline of October 1st 2010. These proposals will be put to an Ashby2020 selection panel composed of local professionals, prominent members of the community and residents, and the winning bid will be decided upon by October 7th 2010, and announced the following day. A public announcement will be made November 1st 2010, and a coordinated marketing campaign will be rolled out.
  • Along with a bid for green energy, requests have been made for the provision of energy surveys, monitors, and for a portion of the work involved in rolling out this campaign to be shared with local companies, thereby channelling money and experience into the community. However, this is speculative. The terms of the bids are unknown while under development by the utilities, and Ashby2020 has no involvement until submission.

Existing sustainability action in Ashby:
Shoecare (recycle shoes)
Several recycling sites
Landshare (in the absence of available allotment space)
Streetlight shut off
  • It may be beneficial for Ashby2020 to secure a regular feature in a local publication, so we can highlight the efforts of the community.

Big Green Week: Taking place at EMA. The Green Footprints sustainability division of NW Leicestershire District Council will have a presence on September 23rd 2010, and Ashby2020 have an opportunity to join them.
-          Gemma to email request to Wendy of NWLDC.

Constitution & Roles:
The legal status of Ashby2020 under the Town Partnership is currently unclear. Carl Benfield, who sits on the board as vice-chair, is looking to upgrade the TCP so it is able to handle funding from multiple sources, and this could affect the way we are able to operate.
  • Should we sit beneath TCP or be independent? We will address this question at a later meeting after receiving clarification from TCP, who will be meeting October 11th 2010.

Aims: We are largely content with the formation of our group aims and mission statement as created last meeting, but will look to amend it to the following:

Ashby 2020 will help Ashby become more sustainable. We will
predominantly focus on environmental improvements, but will include
social and economic factors. We will do this by:

o Being accessible and welcoming to all contributors and
interested parties.
o Developing supportive relationships within the community.
o Celebrating social diversity while reaching towards a common
o Focussing on taking positive action, and inspire others to
do so.
o Being a non-profit collective, with any funds received in the
Ashby 2020 name being used to further the success of our aims.

‘Taking positive action’ (formerly ‘positives of taking action’) focuses our intentions to ONLY be positive, and not engage in negative interactions or demonstrations.

The question of what ‘sustainability’ means to us was also raised, and requires time dedicated to defining it in our own terms at the next meeting.

Grants & Future Projects:
Funding: Carl will be enlisting the help of a professional grant applicator for use with the TCP later this year. She will be able to take our desired projects and find funding for them, submit the application on our behalf, and in return will take a percentage of that funding as payment for her services.

Big Switch Off:
NW Leics District Council and Ashby2020 will be collaborating on a promotional event for the Big Switch Off week between 11th – 17th October 2010.
The event will take place on Market Street on Saturday 9th October 2010, and will combine among other things:
-          A bike powered smoothie maker
-          A survey about sustainability in Ashby (focussing on why residents do not engage in green living already), in child friendly and adult versions
-          Freebies from BSO
-          Ashby2020 interest sign up
-          Sign up to borrow energy monitors
-          Light bulb library
Attendees of the meeting have volunteered to represent Ashby2020 at this event (Andrew, Rachael, Audrey, Janet, Chris, Lauren, Gillian) and will be meeting to finalise arrangements for the on-the-day presence.
-          We need someone to volunteer to compose the survey. Please contact or

Screenings: There is also an interest in sustainability themed film screenings. Andrew will provide a list of potential films.

Next meeting: October 28th 2010  @  6.30pm Legion House.

Monday, 6 September 2010

Meeting agenda: September 7th 2010

N.B.  There is a very real possibility that Ashby2020 will be in receipt of a substantial amount of money, in the near-ish future (thanks to some exciting developments that we will discuss at the meeting), therefore we need make agreeing on projects to fund a priority.


Introductions :            Why we’re here
                                    What we’d like to contribute
                                    What we’d like to see happen

Minutes from last time / Updates on actions:
Town wide energy
List of existing sustainable action in town
Media coverage

Constitution & Roles

Action  re: Grants:     Intro & grant terms; Money, Interest, Resources?
                                    Ideas for use; Review past ideas and introduce new
                                    Next steps
                                    Next meeting

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Ashby 2020 Meeting Minutes JULY

Ashby 2020 MINUTES 26th July 2010

Establish the Ashby 2020 identity
Group Aims
Prospective areas for engagement and promotion
Identifying active volunteers

Ashby 2020 is now a sub-group of the Town Partnership. This means we are now part of an official body and will be able to utilise some of their resources e.g. banking facilites.
Is Ashby 2020 a suitable name? There is some feeling that it may cause confusion, given the popularity of Twenty20 cricket.
It was suggested that our proposed aims should be:

Ashby 2020 will help Ashby become more sustainable. We will predominantly focus on environmental improvements, but will include social and economic factors. We will do this by:
o Being accessible and welcoming to all contributors and interested parties.
o Developing supportive relationships within the community.
o Celebrating social diversity while reaching towards a common goal.
o Focussing on the positives of taking action, and inspire others to do so.
o Being a non-profit collective, with any funds received in the Ashby 2020 name being used to further the success of our aims.

What/how are we promoting? We recognise that people are not encouraged to take action by a concept alone, we need a physical presence, a vision of a sustainable Ashby is not enough. It is also apparent that we need to raise awareness of the group through word of mouth and local media, by proving regular updates on progress and ideas.
While we would like to be an active group ourselves, we are well aware there are many clubs and societies doing good work in the town, so we will happily promote their efforts when we can.
Information hub / community link mapping: Collating information about community groups and functions could be a valuable service from Ashby 2020 to help people locate the expertise and experience locally available, as part of the new Ashby Online website being redesigned by Socius. This could be quite a time consuming (but ultimately worthwhile) project, there might be a case for enlisting help from VAL (Voluntary Action Leicester)  or V Inspired (volunteer group for people aged 16-25).
It was suggested we invite existing groups that have environmental elements in their practises to ‘sign up’ to Ashby 2020 so their efforts can officially count towards our sustainability goals, and we can publicise what they do, giving them the credit the deserve. For example, the Rotary Club makes regular contributions to our community but their efforts are not usually announced publicly.
An aspect of what we want to achieve seems to be the promotion of ‘feel good Ashby’, by sharing positive stories.

Possible projects: 
Ashby Pound. There is a question of whether it needs to be a physical pound, or rather an emphasis on localism. The physical pounds are beneficial in that they help people understand the impact of their buying power locally, though they are quite expensive to print.
9 Carrots. A scheme used to help businesses save money towards making energy saving improvements and promotes their efforts online where shoppers can use a map to locate 9 Carrots businesses. Costs nothing to be involved, is simple, and would be successful for small businesses. Requires volunteers to approach enterprises individually and explain the process.
Town wide green energy deal. Energy companies that offer a green tariff have been approached with a request that they give a discount to Ashby if we can sign up a significant percentage of residents to switch tariff. How do we introduce the idea to the public? There is a risk of alienating people if a new community group approaches residents with an energy deal that seems too good to be true. Establishing ourselves within Ashby as genuine and reliable will give us the credibility to approach the town.
Big Switch Off. A nationwide project running for a week in October, highlighting wasted energy by directing people to turn off appliances etc. when not in use. We will be able to promote and support this through sustainable giveaways. Ideas and volunteers needed.
Eco School Scheme. Already in progress locally, and would benefit from our support.

The next meeting will take place on Tuesday 7th September at 7pm.

Thank you to Legion House for use of  room 4, and those all important tea and coffee facilities.