Matthew Stemp joined our Climate Champions in the first call for volunteers, about three months ago.  He is a youth worker, who was interested in the programme as a way of meeting like-minded people in his area, and sharing his enthusiasm for making a difference with climate action. Here he explains how the first three months as a volunteer Climate Champion has gone.

The first three months as a climate champion volunteer involved some training, we had some practical support like CAfS policies and data handling, and I also took one of their carbon literacy courses. All of this was very useful, but the Carbon Literacy course really surprised me in terms of the content and how practical it can be, providing me with resources and information that I can use in my role a climate champion. In fact, this inspired one of my first event ideas after reflecting on how heating our houses is responsible for a huge portion of Cumbria’s carbon footprint while also being connected to the cost of living crisis. I also met with Clare [ZCC Community Climate Champions coordinator] and other volunteers to develop my ideas and link up with other people and groups involved in climate action. 

For my first go at community engagement, I’ve planned to run a workshop at an event in September which will explore how people can save energy and reduce costs with their housing. I’ve already made connections with a local eco-church network and will be engaging with young people locally to encourage them to attend and volunteer. I think that sometimes the best way to get communities involved in lowering carbon emissions is to link it in with areas such as saving money, community gardening and caring for nature. 

There are challenges in this role; not everyone will have the time to give to a project like this and the geographical spread of Cumbria and lack of public transport can mean that it can be difficult to get good attendance at events. I was a bit surprised at how few people are involved in climate action locally, but this programme has already helped me to find others who are interested, and hopefully help me get a few more people involved. There is so much potential for our climate champion network as the group grows. For me, it’s all about joining the dots. 

If you’re interested in getting involved and live or work in the Copeland area, you can find more here.