By Jane Glenzinska, BPEC
The course ran over 6 x two-hour sessions in an upstairs room at the Hop and Vine on Ditchling Road on Monday evenings. Eight local residents were recruited to participate in the Hollingdean Rethink group, which ran from October to December 2014 and included a final, reunion session on the 19 January 2015.
All the participants rated their experience of attending the group as “valuable” or “very valuable”There was a strong sense of community cohesion within the group, which was aided by the meetings, and the attendance of the Hollingdean community development worker (a participant) who was able to provide useful local information.
All the participants rated their experience of attending the group as “valuable” or “very valuable” on their feedback forms, where they listed the actions they had taken to reduce their carbon footprints during the course, as well as actions they intended to take over the next 12 months.
Seven out of eight of the participants had home visits from BSW to provide domestic energy advice specific to their own homes, and were very satisfied with the information and suggestions provided.
At the final reunion meeting, the participants moved their focus from the changes that they had made in their own lives to the changes they would like to make in their own community. There was great enthusiasm around ideas for community composting and the possibility of screening sustainability themed films at a local venue in order to stimulate interest and involvement from more members of the local community.
Five of the eight participants have since expressed an interest in attending training to become Carbon Conversations facilitators, as they would like to provide others with the opportunity to participate in these groups. This training will take place in March 2015.