Why train with CAfS?

Why train with CAfS?

We are Cumbria’s climate change charity and we have helped thousands of Cumbrian households and organisations to reduce their carbon footprint and live more sustainably for more than 25 years. In 2023 CAfS became one of only ten organisations in the country to have received the prestigious award of Platinum Status –  the highest possible standard.

Our training courses, practical support and projects help everyone to be part of the journey towards a zero-carbon Cumbria – from local councils and schools to community groups and businesses. By choosing CAfS, you’ll be supporting a non-profit organisation that’s driving change towards a more sustainable future for our county and beyond.

A network of climate experts

Awarded Platinum Status by the Carbon Literacy Trust, we deliver expert training and guidance.

We established and co-chair the Zero Carbon Cumbria Partnership, a network of more than 80 sustainability organisations. Our significant networks mean that we can signpost you to other similar organisations, share best practices and make connections.

Local expertise

With over 25 years of experience, we are Cumbria’s leading authority on climate change.

Our staff have a huge range of specialisms and experience that feed into our course materials. They are demonstrably dedicated to carbon reduction and sustainability, being actively involved in fighting climate change across the county.

Tailored solutions

As well as our public courses, we offer bespoke options for your organisation, community or sector.

We can tailor any of our courses to an organisation, sector or area; adapted to your needs, these courses ensure maximum relevance and impact. We can create training options that work for audiences of any type or size, and achieve specific objectives.

CAfS offers an option to pay what you can afford (available for individuals who live or work in Cumbria only).

We do not wish anyone to be disadvantaged from accessing this training due to their current financial circumstances.

“The course sets out why action on climate change is needed now and what we can do as individuals and businesses to make a difference”

Andrew Seekings, Local Authority Chief Executive

Meet our expert team

Hazel Graham

Hazel oversees the Climate & Carbon Literacy programme for Cumbria. A qualified teacher with an MSc in climate science, she manages our team of eight specialist climate trainers.

Hazel led CAfS as its CEO for seven years before moving into the role of Zero Carbon Development Manager at the charity, where she was instrumental in establishing the Zero Carbon Cumbria Partnership. She led a partnership bid that brought £2.5 million of National Lottery funding into Cumbria for a transformative programme of emission reduction. As co-chair of the partnership, she led the process of debating and setting a date of net zero by 2037 for the county. She is an active member of Cumbria Sustainability Network and was central to setting up active citizen engagement in Cumbria, such as citizens’ juries on climate.

Her past experience includes leading behaviour change projects, developing energy-efficiency training programmes and working as a consultant to improve the financial viability of organisations. Hazel also served as environmental lead at board level for a social landlord for 6 years, with housing stock including over 3000 domestic properties.

Martin Sleath

Martin is a Sustainability Adviser for the Lake District National Park Authority, leading on carbon accounting and delivering the authority’s net zero aspiration.

This includes leading projects in decarbonising buildings and transport as well as working on offsetting strategies. It also involves a great deal of partnership working with other local authorities and the Zero Carbon Cumbria Partnership.

He has also worked with CAfS delivering LEAP and Cold to Cosy Homes schemes. His educational background is in ecology, geography and environmental policy, and has five years’ experience in environmental education teaching in field centres in Scotland and Cumbria.

Rebecca Stacey

Rebecca joined CAfS as a trainer in August 2022 and is currently studying for an MSc in Zero Carbon Communities. She is active in local sustainability groups and passionate about education as a means of tackling climate change.

For twenty years Rebecca has worked as a teacher in primary schools across the country, passionate about school improvement, literacy and climate change education. In 2014 she led a local primary school and became the first headteacher in the country to achieve the United Nations Climate Change Teacher accreditation.

She has worked alongside the Cumbria County Council supporting schools, is a founding fellow of the Chartered College of Teachers, and mentored new teachers into the chartered teacher status.

Tom Deacon

Tom’s work as a freelance facilitator involves climate science training, delivering transformational leadership programs, community tree planting, and working with climate activists and the wider public around ‘Active Hope’, processing eco-anxiety into empowered action.

He has worked as a field tutor leading geography and ecology fieldwork, an expedition leader engaging young climate activists in transformative experiences in wilderness areas of Scotland, and as a UK coordinator for behaviour change and sustainability in a large educational charity.

Ursula Brendling

Ursula has worked all over the world on environmental projects, especially enjoying the WWOOF scheme in New Zealand on organic farms and her time in Kakadu National Park in Australia assisting the Park Rangers.

She developed courses for a national training company on green management systems, and has worked with many national organisations including the National Trust, the Forestry Commission and the Northern Lighthouse Board.

Ursula has worked as a trainer and coach for over 25 years and is passionate about promoting positive outcomes for changing to a zero carbon Cumbria.

Emma Greenshaw

Emma has been a CAfS Climate and Carbon Literacy trainer since the launch of the programme in 2020.  She managed CAfS’ four-year Rebuilding Together programme funded by the National Lottery Community Fund to build the resilience of communities and organisations across Cumbria in response to the floods caused by Storm Desmond in 2015.

Emma has worked in the environmental sector throughout her career, qualifying as a Chartered Environmentalist with a background in environmental management and auditing UK wide.  She has lived and worked in Cumbria for 20 years, initially auditing the environmental performance of many of the small business in the county, and subsequently working with CAfS on a number of community energy and climate change projects since 2015.   

Passionate about practical ways to improve our sustainability Emma founded The Fellside Flower Company, a flower farm near Appleby, and aims to raise people’s awareness of climate change through enjoying cut flowers.

Gina Parker (Mullarkey)

Gina’s journey in Outdoor Learning began nearly 30 years ago working as a ‘Teacher Naturalist’ at a Country Park. Gina’s work now focuses on Global Learning, the Outdoors and Philosophy for Children.

In addition to being a trainer for CAfS Gina is an accredited trainer for Learning through Landscapes, Dialogue Works and the Society for Philosophical Enquiry and Reflection in Education (SAPERE). This provides plenty of opportunities to focus on climate education, including a climate audit of school grounds and linked courses that she delivers.

She is a member of many linked groups, including, ‘Cumbria People and Nature Network’ and Morecambe Bay Curriculum working groups. As a previous teacher, one of the elements of her work that Gina is most proud of is the establishment and co-ordination of an Outdoor Learning Network for Primary and SEND schools from across Cumbria, Lancashire and Yorkshire, who meet on a termly basis.

Matt Sowerby

Alongside working as a CAfS Carbon Literacy Trainer, Matt is the Climate Action Lead in the National Trust’s North England Regional Advisory Group, and the Programmes and Community Officer at The Resilience Project — a non-profit providing mental health support for climate activists.

Matt grew up, and now lives in, Kirkby Lonsdale. He also works as an environmental writer, and in 2022 his work was selected for display at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. He holds a Double Major in Literature and Sustainability from the University of Birmingham.

Joe Rigby

As well as his role at CAfS, Joe works part-time as a Sociologist at the University of Chester, and part-time for Natural England as a Catchment Management Advisor on a river restoration and species recovery project on the River Kent in South Cumbria.

His teaching and research background are in the areas of social policy, migration studies, and environmental sociology. His work with Natural England involves engaging with farmers and landowners to provide advice on how to tackle sources of diffuse pollution affecting water bodies, and to facilitate the take up of environmental land management schemes to enhance biodiversity and develop more resilient ecosystems in upland settings.  

Joe is passionate about both promoting climate awareness across Cumbria, and working with individuals, organisations and communities to help achieve a more sustainable future for all.

Jo Gibbs

Jo Gibbs

Jo has been working on the administration of CAfS Climate & Carbon Literacy programme since 2021, supporting Hazel and the climate trainers. Jo will be your first point of contact for enquiries about our climate training programme, including support with your Carbon Literacy certification.

Jo joined CAfS in 2020 and has previously support the  domestic energy and core admin teams.

She has previously worked as a volunteer coordinator and has a background in the outdoor charity sector, specifically working on programmes supporting marginalised young people. Her roles have ranged from coordinating remote overseas expeditions to helping administer European Social Fund projects.

Having moved to Cumbria in 2017 to live closer to the fells, Jo enjoys walking, rock climbing, cycling and swimming. She also enjoys cooking (and eating) vegan food and has volunteered with Waste into Wellbeing in Kendal to reduce food waste in the community.


of delegates strongly agree or agree that they have a better knowledge of climate change.


strongly agree or agree that they feel more motivated, empowered and more likely to take action.

“CAfS are so good at what they do. Feels like things are shifting and gathering momentum because of this training.”

Training attendee

Get in touch to discuss what else we can offer.

We can adapt our standard course materials to focus specifically on your sector, organisation or community, the impact it has on the climate, and how to make a positive change.

We have extensive experience in tailoring our courses for specific sectors such as local authorities, parish councils, the hospitality industry and the education sector. If you’d like to discuss a bespoke course, please contact Hazel at [email protected].