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Improving Davyhulme’s Environmental Awareness

IDEA is Improving Davyhulme’s Environmental Awareness. Its aim is to raise local and global environmental awareness within the Davyhulme area of Greater Manchester.

IDEA was founded in 2006 by members of the congregation of Christ Church in Davyhulme, with the aim of gaining ‘eco congregation’ status for their church. The scale of activities at this time was primarily focused on awareness raising among church members and eco congregation status was awarded in 2008.

From this point the group’s activities spread beyond the church to the wider community and Davyhulme Energy Savings Project (DESP) was set up in 2008. Reaching out from the context of the church saw DESP engage with activities that included organising a community litterpicking event and working with a local school on a gardening project.

In 2009 DESP applied for Green Communities Funding from the Energy Savings Trust. Working with the Greater Manchester Energy Savings Trust Advice Centre (GM ESTAC) and Trafford Council, DESP worked to introduce energy savings measures into local households. These measures included loft insulation, cavity wall insulation and new boilers.

By 2011, 330 homes had received energy savings measures. Within these two years of the project there were also events to promote the project and energy savings. These included a launch event, a drop-in meeting and an energy fun day at a local leisure centre.

The focus moved from events and projects to plans to redevelop the parish hall into an education centre on green issues for the community. This involved significant upgrades to the building’s own material fabric to improve energy efficiency such as installing new doors, and fitting a replacement boiler, double glazing and insulation. The funding of the project saw £20,950 donated from The Veolia Environmental Trust with the remaining £4,000 generated by members.

Moving into 2012 and 2013 IDEA (DESP is often used interchangeably but refers to the 2009/11 project) received a grant from Trafford Council to develop a community garden with Canterbury Road Day Nursery. This emphasis on food and food waste was developed through an initiative with a local primary school where IDEA members ran two cookery courses for parents. Following this, there are aspirations to provide more courses into 2014 in the parish hall.


An Alternative?


Underpinning all these initiatives are efforts to forge a sense of community. This has involved working across different scales of activity to raise awareness; going from the formation of the group at a church level, to the wider Davyhulme scale through DESP and events, to delivering national priorities through partnership with the GM ESTAC.

These varying activities and projects have seen governance arrangements that have varied by project. In the DESP, for example, this saw members working in coalition with the ESTAC and Trafford council. Likewise, funding over the course of IDEA has come from national level funding, from the local authority, from an environmental trust and membership fundraising.

IDEA provides a long-term biography of a community-based environmental awareness initiative. An initiative that started within and which focused on a local institution, a church, but which subsequently became incorporated in to a national level energy efficiency programme and which spanned out from the church to the community; and then which sought to strengthen the means to bring the community together through a refurbished building.

IDEA tells us much about the relationship between maintaining a consistent focus on environmental awareness over a long time, and the changing nature and process of how this is done. It tells us about the constant tension between the organization of those alternative values, and national and metropolitan priorities, utilizing this local capacity to be able to trumpet their commitment to community development.



This article is published here as part of the Greater Manchester Local Interaction Platform’s aspiration to raise the visibility of different community innovations, grassroots projects and activities in the city-region.

It also draws on SURF's involvement in the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council grant, 'Retrofit 2050' and contributes to understanding of the Remaking of the Material Fabric of the City.

Find out here about the background, purpose and content of ‘The Alternative?’ series of articles on Platform.

Main photo from Flickr user Nat Ireland, published here using a Creative Commons licence.