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Northfield Ecocentre Annual Report 2011 0121 448 0119 Registered Charity Number 224571


Introduction 2011 has been a busy year. The Ecocentre has continued to grow and develop the services we offer to the community. We started new projects including our School of Green Living and Northfield’s Orchards. We held lots of exciting events and have welcomed new members to all of our groups.

on the environment has been accredited with ISO 14001, an internationally recognised standard.

We successfully completed our work with Birmingham City Council financed through the Working Neighbourhoods Fund. Independent evaluators stated we achieved a “very effective performance” reducing carbon Thanks to the hard work and emissions and changing behaviours. dedication of all our staff, volunteers and management committee the You can find out more about all of our Ecocentre won two awards this year work throughout 2011 in this report. celebrating our achievements reducing We hope you find it interesting. carbon emissions locally. We are proud Georgia Stokes, Manager that the Environmental Management Judith Jenner, Clerk to System we use to minimise our impact the Management Committee


In 2011 Quakers declared “The produce of the earth is a gift themselves to be “ready at from our gracious creator to the this time to become a low-carbon, susinhabitants, and to impoverish the tainable community,” noting earth now to support outward “We have long been aware that our behaviour impoverishes the earth. It is greatness appears to be an injury to our responsibility both to conserve the the succeeding age.” (John Woolman, earth’s resources and to share them more 1772, from Quaker faith & equitably.” practice 25.01) Minute 36, Britain Yearly Meeting 2011

Northfield Ecocentre is a branch

Northfield Ecocentre hopes Quakers will of Central England Area Quaker draw on its support as they work towards Meeting. a sustainable future.


Our Work In 2011 we saw a lot of changes at the Ecocentre, some projects ended others began. After two years of operation we have begun to realise where our expertise lies and how we can match that to the needs of the community. As a result we have made some alterations to the direction of our work. We encourage group visits to the centre and have enjoyed sessions with ‘The Challenge’ volunteer groups this year. Our educational work focuses on sessions with children and their Contact Type 2009



At Ecocentre 1114



Community Outreach








Sewing & Crafts. This group strengthened over 2011. We now have a fantastic group of regulars who make all new comers feel very welcome. The group has worked together on projects for other charities while also creating their own pieces. Gardening Group. What this group has achieved really needs to be seen to be believed. The garden has been very productive. Group members have taken home tomatoes, carrots, peas, beans, herbs and lots more. The garden contains fruit trees, an amazing sensory garden

parents/carers to explore ways to live more sustainable lifestyles. This table shows the contacts we have had over the last three years, and our work is discussed in more detail on the following pages. In 2011 we targeted our outreach work to more specific audiences. We attended fewer outreach stalls than 2010 as we aim to have more meaningful contacts now people are becoming aware of the Ecocentre.


designed by St Laurence Juniors, and fantastic greenhouses made from plastic drinks bottles.

Friends of Victoria Common have become an effective, independent group meeting at the Ecocentre. They organised a number of events including a spring clean up weekend. More than 70 people attended a very successful autumn day planting bulbs, picking apples, making juice with an apple press, and litter picking.


New to 2011 We were delighted to launch our School of Green Living in 2011 following the high demand experienced for workshops in the previous year. School of Green Living courses are professional, practical sessions that offer the participants an opportunity to learn sustainable skills such as foraging, bike maintenance, textile scrap booking, willow basket making, patchwork & quilting, and crochet for beginners. Courses cost between ÂŁ20 and ÂŁ40 for a half day or full day respectively.

Working Towards Sustainability – Friends of the Ecocentre

In response to comments from parents we decided to change our regular family hour sessions into one-off events as part of our new EcoKids. These sessions run during school holidays and provide more time for parents and children to do activities while thinking about sustainability issues. The first session ran in December. Many more dates are planned for 2012.

For 2011 we launched a new scheme for people to support the Ecocentre with a small regular donation. We have had lots of positive feedback, and sign ups. Thank you to everyone who is supporting our work to reduce carbon emissions with a regular monthly donation. Every penny is used to make our community more sustainable, reducing our carbon emissions and protecting the environment.


We are very excited about our Northfield’s Orchards project which will run from June 2011 to Spring 2013. In June we were granted funding from The Big Tree Plant to create 30 community orchards across Northfield and to plant 1,400 trees. Trees bring many benefits to a community. They provide a habitat for wildlife, reconnect people to their food sources, reduce food

miles and absorb carbon dioxide. Trees help our community look great too! By the end of 2011, we had planted 234 trees at a range of locations including The Black Horse Pub, St Bartholomew’s Community Association, Turves Green Boys School, St Laurence Junior School and Cofton Park.


We held lots of exciting events with the local community in 2011. The events covered a wide range of topics, were fun and engaging while also offering practical advice on sustainable living. They included: ● Spruce Up Your Christmas ● Big Food Weekend ● Nappuccino mornings ● Bike Maintenance workshops ● Film screenings ● Summer gardening club ● Summer Holiday Family Fun Day The Big Food Weekend saw people come together to celebrate local, organic food. With everything from cookery demonstrations, a shared lunch, artisan products, children’s activities and the launch of Oxfam’s food campaign Grow, this event really did provide something for everyone.

Our Summer Holiday Family Fun Day which included eco-craft activities, a nature quiz, outdoor games and a short film was enjoyed by 27 children and their grownups! At our Spruce Up Your Christmas event shoppers were able to come in for some hot, spicy apple juice and a mince pie while making their own decorations including pasta angels. Our craft stall was busy all day as people bought recycled decorations, homemade Christmas wreaths and preserves.


Energy Advice We have developed our energy advice work to include services for housing associations, better advice for householders on a wider range of topics and more interactive workshops. As it’s important to lead by example we have

Working Neighbourhoods Fund This project was completed in March 2011 in accordance with the terms of funding. An independent evaluation of the project was conducted by W J Research which found that 93% of people rated the service as ‘good’ or ‘very good’ and 66% of respondents had made physical changes to their home following the advice. 920 households were assisted by the project.

ISO 14001 Accreditation To lead by example, and make sure the Ecocentre is operating in the most sustainable way possible, we set up an Environmental Management System (EMS) to monitor our environmental impact. To make sure we do this to the highest standard, we have achieved the international standard of ISO 14001, to ensure the thoroughness and quality of our EMS. Realising the importance of Environmental Management Systems we trained our staff to work with community organisations and businesses to develop and implement these systems to ISO 14001 accreditation standards.

achieved internationally accredited standards of environmental management as we work towards becoming a zero carbon organisation.

Housing Association Energy Advice Service In response to the pressure on family budgets of rising fuel bills the Ecocentre launched an initiative working with housing associations, giving advice to tenants. The service includes home visits, energy surgeries in local community centres and a helpline. These are designed to help housing associations support their tenants in managing their fuel usage. Optima Housing Association, one of the first to use the services, said: “It’s really important our tenants can understand and manage their fuel usage so we saw this new service as a key way of supporting our tenants.”

Ecoteams Northfield Ecocentre staff were trained in delivering Ecoteams sessions by Global Action Plan. These workshop sessions will be delivered throughout 2012 looking at waste & recycling, energy use, transport and water use. We will be working with Optima Housing Association to deliver these workshops to their residents. Optima even made a film about us!


Our Volunteers Volunteers continue to be involved at every level of Ecocentre activity. Everyone from our volunteer Management Committee to our interns to our researchers are committed, enthusiastic and a pleasure to work with. We couldn’t do the work we do without them. Our internship programme has become increasingly popular. We have had a

series of very successful placements throughout the year. While these placements are generally for three months and aim to teach the interns vital skills to help them gain employment we have had some volunteers ask to stay on for a further 3 months. We were of course delighted that they wanted to stay!

Volunteers celebrate their achievements at our Volunteer Awards morning Volunteer Profile Rebecca Ince I joined initially in May 2010, and started off helping with the energy advice service - promoting the domestic energy audit at outreach events, recruiting participants and sending out follow up letters, so my role mostly focussed upon direct contact with the public. Since then, my role has grown to include a lot more background research support including a report on volunteer motivation, barriers and

motives to domestic retrofit and an evaluation of the Ecocentre community groups. Working for the Ecocentre has been hugely beneficial to me. I’ve watched the organisation grow and progress and have made some lovely friends here, always feeling that my contribution is valued. I’ve also gained vital experience in the environmental sector that has been instrumental in my progression as a researcher.

Improved Facilities and Resources We have developed our fact sheet library to include information on over one hundred topics from composting to climate change, including most aspects of sustainable buildings & technologies. A selection of fact sheets is now available in five local libraries. Although we can no longer collect tetra-paks for recycling, we do now have recycling facilities for bras and shoes.


Energy Use The Ecocentre aims to have an overall positive impact on the environment (the advice we give and work we do outweighs the resources we use). Electricity The Ecocentre uses mains electricity. In 2011 we changed to a 100% renewable tariff from Ecotricity. The mains supply is supplemented by an air source heat pump & solar water panel. 2011 was a milder year than 2010 but the Ecocentre was used more. Carbon Emissions from Energy Use: ● Zero emissions from electricity since switching to 100% renewable tariff in May ● Solar hot water panel produced 918 KWH energy, equivalent to 486 KG CO2 saving. ● Our garden has become much more productive reducing food miles locally. All food is organically grown.


Waste We began recording our waste amounts in May 2011 as part of the work needed for ISO 14001 accreditation. We are working towards having zero black bag waste by encouraging staff, volunteers and visitors to consider packaging on everything they purchase. Since May 2011 we have generated 21.44 KG of black sack waste.


Amount Kg CO₂ Recycled (Kg) Saved




Paper & Card 47.63








Green Waste 36.07



Environmental Impact The Ecocentre works with residents, businesses & community organisations in Northfield to become a low carbon community, and to become a zero carbon organisation. Everything we do works towards these aims.. The achievement of ISO 14001 accreditation will help us minimise our negative impacts. We reduce our use of new materials, reuse and recycle. Wherever possible Materials & we acquire goods we need second hand from freegle, charity shops and Resources through donated items.


Limited use for refreshments and toilets. Staff are reminded of water saving behaviours, and both toilets have reduced flow systems. We have two water butts to collect rain water for use in the garden. In 2011 we reduced our water use by 70 litres per week to 507 compared to 577 litres per week in 2010.

Waste Water

Disposed of through public sewers but the Ecocentre uses only ecofriendly cleaning materials so it is likely our waste water is less polluting. We have no COSHH registered materials on site.

Recycle and reuse as much as possible. A bank of recycling bins to separate materials then taken to Lifford Lane Household Recycling Centre Waste & include: foil, energy saving light bulbs, batteries, plastic, card/paper, and Recycling glass. In addition the centre has recycling bins for bras and shoes, a compost bin and wormery.


Few car journeys are made in connection with the Ecocentre. Staff & volunteers are encouraged to use public transport or bikes. Occasionally displays need to be transported but this is infrequent. All visitors are encouraged to use sustainable transport. The Ecocentre has a bike rack but no car park, is located near many bus routes and displays public transport information. Bike maintenance courses are run at the centre and local sustainable transport campaigns are supported.

The Ecocentre actively promotes biodiversity. In the garden recycled materials were used to make raised beds, greenhouses and cloches. Biodiversity Permaculture principles are used to grow herbs, fruit & vegetables. The wildlife area now has a pond. The garden is used to demonstrate sustainable ways to grow produce.


Finance 2011 saw an increase in our work programme which resulted in increased financial activities. Some of our income was restricted for work in 2012. Our finance policy requires us to keep in reserve 6 months running costs. We already know our work load in 2012 will increase again so we are actively seeking funding to secure this. Our accounts are audited independently.

Balance Sheet 31st December 2011 Current Assets 2011 (£) 2010 (£) Debtors 5038 2705 Short term deposits 41530 27802 Cash in bank & hand 11048 15218 Total current assets 57616 45726 Current liabilities (due within 1 year) Creditors due 1161 Net Currents Assets 57616 44565 Creditors due after 1 year 0 0 Total assets as at 31/12/11 57616 44565 Funds: General Fund 52020 27223 Project Funds 5496 17343

Statement of Financial Activities 2011 (£) 2010 (£) Incoming Resources Grants from Trusts 27500 23500 Central England Quakers 32500 23655 Project Funding 57226 90592 Donations from Members & visitors 8043 1919 Bank Interest & other 65 83 Total Income 125334 139686 Resources Expended Employment costs 70190 62896 For project partners 12157 37101 Operating costs 29936 31284 Total Expenditure 112283 131281 Income less Expenditure 13051 8404 Balance Brought Forward at 1/1/11 44565 36161 Balance Carried Forward at 31/12/11 57616 44565 10

Thank you to all our Supporters and Funders Without your support the Ecocentre would not be able to continue working to make our community greener and more energy efficient, reducing carbon emissions, and fight dangerous climate change. You are all really important to us and are helping to make a difference to our environment. Our wonderful funders include (not an exclusive list): George Cadbury Trust, South Birmingham Friends Institute, The Croft Trust, BVSC, SC & ME & Oliver Morlands Trusts, T. W. Greeves Trust, Edward Cadbury Charitable Trust, Adrian Cadbury, Robin Cadbury, Roger Cadbury, Rowlands Trust, Redditch Local Quaker Meeting, The Big Tree Plant, Transition Fund – Cabinet Office, Southall Trust, Sewell Trust, The Green Insurance Company, The Midlands Cooperative Community Fund, Central England Quakers, Phil Dahl, Luke Olly, and Birmingham City Council Working Neighbourhood Fund.


Staff Georgia Stokes Anne Dasgupta

Luke Olly Jane Baker

Stuart Bowles Luke Pearson

Management Committee Judith Jenner (Clerk) Stephen Holt (Ass. Clerk) Tom Greeves (Asst. Treasurer) Peter Ullathorne (Treasurer) Harriet Martin Duncan Miller Maud Grainger Peter Carter Vic Grainger

General Opening Times Tuesday to Friday 10am - 5pm For group visits call to arrange

Contact Us Northfield Ecocentre 53 Church Road Northfield B31 2LB 0121 448 0119

This report is also available to download from our web site


Northfield Ecocentre

Northfield Ecocentre is part of the Central England Quakers. Registered Charity Number 224571 12

Annual Report 2011  
Annual Report 2011  

The annual report for Northfield Ecocentre detailing project work, energy advice work, finances, fundraising and more.