Local communities doing it for themselves What it involves
Freshford’s Community Shop
In addition to Council projects to make Bath and North East Somerset more sustainable, many local communities are “doing it for themselves” by taking independent action.
The Galleries Shop & Café’ came about because both Freshford and Limpley Stoke had lost their shops. People felt a shop was a must, and a group of residents got together to see if this could be achieved. A public meeting was held to gauge the level of commitment to a shop, and ask people to agree to spend a certain amount of money every month – IF the shop were to stock the items they wanted to buy.
Many rural Parishes are tackling environmental issues through their Parish Plan. Sixteen Parishes have completed Parish Plans, and all of these plans contain actions that promote environmental sustainability. These actions will also improve the quality of life for local residents. Below are two examples of projects already underway:
Wellow’s Community Bus
Residents were also asked whether they would be willing to work in the shop as volunteers, and if they might make a financial contribution towards a shop. People were very ready to commit to all of these! This enabled a new, environmentally friendly shop to be built. The shop increases sustainability by providing local, fair trade and organic products, minimising packaging and waste and avoiding plastic bags. Having a local shop reduces the need for residents to drive further afield and as it is local it’s easier to access by sustainable modes of transport such as walking, cycling and public transport.
Benefits Projects like these directly increase environmental sustainability. They also increase local well-being by strengthening community relationships and organisations. Wellow residents needed an alternative way of enabling people to reach shops, services and amenities without relying on the private car, and so decided to establish a community bus service. The need for a better bus service was identified in the Parish Plan as vital for those without the use of a car – particularly young people and older residents. It would also reduce traffic through the village and decrease the carbon footprint. The first step towards a solution came in 2009 when Wellow Parish Council secured a grant to buy a 15-seater minibus. Volunteer drivers are the mainstay of a demand-responsive community bus, with a part-time paid driver for the regular daily trips. Several local businesses are sponsoring the service, which began on the 1st of September, 2010.
Next Steps In addition to these parish-based projects, there are now an increasing number of community groups in the district looking to make their areas more sustainable, with projects such as local energy generation, improving recycling and local food growing schemes. For more information please contact: Community and Parish planning: Stronger Communities Team Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Wellow Community Bus Website: www.wellowparish.info Freshford Shop Website: www.galleriesshop.co.uk
Embedding environmental sustainability Making Bath & North East Somerset an even better place to live, work and visit
In addition to Council projects to make Bath and North East Somerset more sustainable, many local communities are “doing it for themselves”...