Sonya Roe, and Age UK North Tyneside are on a journey of positive, practical climate action. And the motivation all started with an urge to make a difference, both personally and at the organisation, with climate action.

Age UK North Tyneside serves a diverse community, providing services such as exercise classes, will writing, information and advice, and support for the older LGBTQ+ community. It has a predominantly female workforce, many who live locally. Priorities in their 2020-2025 strategy concentrate on supporting the local economy, improving the lives of people in later life and being a partner, and employer ‘of choice’.

With these aims and purposes in mind, Sonya, Head of Charity Services, explains that there were many different motivations for undertaking CAfS Climate and Carbon Literacy course. Chief in mind was the increasing urgency of the climate crisis; the low-level events which were becoming increasingly hard to ignore. The anxiety that this caused, and conversations within the charity from both a climate and a cost-of-living angle.

The course gave Sonya the motivation and confidence to undertake several actions within the organisation. She was on the online course – and found the interaction between the cohort to be interesting and stimulating. “There was a huge amount of knowledge in the ‘room’ but no one felt unable to contribute regardless of their own knowledge levels.”

There was a recognition that many of the actions that could be taken would have co-benefits, and would empower a largely female workforce, helping to reduce the anxiety that the changing climate was causing. Practical information allowed for concrete decisions and action plans to be made, for example – replacing an aging fleet of vehicles with electric hybrid, but, as this is a considerable investment for a charity, ensuring that this was done when the vehicles were, as Sony put it, ‘on their last legs’.

A key challenge, ensuring that you are bringing your colleagues with you, was solved by giving agency within the organisations for others to act, but supported by Sonya and with co-benefits in mind. For example, organising clothes swaps – which, as clothes are a recognised challenge for carbon emissions is a good place to start, but also removes the ‘stigma’ of buying pre-loved clothes, saving money, and starting conversations in the office.

Sonya also wrote a travel action plan, emphasising climate-friendly active travel such as bikes – and planning for car shares. This is another example of a positive action which has co-benefits for health and money-saving.

Looking to the future, Age UK North Tyneside is continuing on it’s carbon-friendly journey with the local authority, applying for and working with the framework for The North Tyneside Carbon Reducation Award (link:

Carbon Reduction Award Scheme Leaflet AoCC Sep 22.pdf (