Community hub gets boost from green fund

Representatives of St Andrews Botanic Garden, STANDEN and Transition were joined at the botanic gardens by local school children to celebrate the project launch.
Representatives of St Andrews Botanic Garden, STANDEN and Transition were joined at the botanic gardens by local school children to celebrate the project launch.
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A community hub promoting low carbon living could soon be a reality in St Andrews after three local environmental groups snared a share of nearly £150,000 of funding.

With carbon cutting at its core, the partnership between St Andrews Botanic Garden, Transition University of St Andrews and the St Andrews Environment Network (StAndEN) have worked together to pioneer an innovative idea for the town.

Alistair Macleod of TransitionUStA working in one of the project's organic gardens.

Alistair Macleod of TransitionUStA working in one of the project's organic gardens.

The new project, called the St Andrews Low Carbon Hub, will be based on a currently underused area of ground within the St Andrews Botanic Garden site and will create a new space where the community can practice and share carbon cutting activities such as food growing, clothes and furniture repair and DIY home insulation.

The project will build on current edible campus and carbon reducing initiatives in St Andrews, featuring a significant new community food growing space, a Skillshare Bothy, community composting facility and a new secure entrance route onto the cycle path.

Andrew Nall-Cain, transition co-chairman and St Andrews University student, sees this project as sign of exciting things to come: “The Low Carbon Hub will provide St Andrews’ diverse and active community with the tools to tackle climate change through practical action.

“We are so pleased to be developing this important project with StAndEN and the Botanic Gardens and look forward to getting started on the hard work of building this new community facility with all our volunteers.”

The success of the new hub will rely not only on the expertise of the three groups but the willing involvement of local residents, students and eager volunteers.

A regular series of workshops and training events linked to sharing skills that reduce waste, tackle home energy and encourage local food growing, will also be established. Alistair Macleod, project manager said: “The programme will aim to help people reduce their carbon footprint through practical action on waste, energy and food growing. There is lots of interest in mending and making workshops that could help people alter or fix clothing or electrical items.”

An important part of the project will be a home and business energy advice scheme which will target the town. Key to the project will be the development of a community composting facility to deal with organic waste from the site and the local community, not served through organic waste collections.

The Climate Challenge Fund, which has provided the grant, has successfully provided six years of funding to the groups in recognition of the active and committed community.