The partnership brings together 80 organisations spanning the public, private and third sectors, with the aim of cutting greenhouse gas emissions – the root cause of the climate crisis. Members include community groups, local authorities (district and county councils), the NHS, police, national parks, businesses and the farming community, among others. The partnership is jointly chaired by CAfS and Angela Jones, executive director for economy and infrastructure at Cumbria County Council, with CAfS having put together the successful funding bid on its behalf.
This major programme, developed and led by communities, marks a step change in the scale of activity in Cumbria to cut greenhouse gas emissions, which are the main cause of climate change. Never before have so many of the county’s most influential organisations come together with the determination to do this – organisations with the power and influence to make real change happen – from community activities to the policies that shape local life.
The programme of action will reduce the county’s emissions in a way that benefits communities, through action led by them. More than 35 volunteer groups and charities were involved in developing it, as part of the Zero Carbon Cumbria Partnership.
The National Lottery grant brings a significant investment into the county just when it’s very much needed, as we begin to rebuild after the Coronavirus pandemic. It will create 12 green jobs and will see a range of activities happening within our communities that will make them more sustainable, stronger and more resilient for the future.
It’s hoped that the impact of the programme will be felt beyond Cumbria, too. The partnership aims to show what can be achieved when such a broad range of organisations and communities work together to reduce emissions. The programme will trial innovative projects and share the learning and inspiration widely.
Find out more about the Zero Carbon Cumbria Partnership >
Cumbria is already feeling the impacts of climate change – not least the kinds of extreme weather that will become ever more frequent in a warming planet. Given the increased flooding and longer hot and dry spells that climate change is causing, it has been identified as a risk to public health in Cumbria. Therefore, reducing the emissions that are causing climate change is part of the county’s Public Health Strategy, led by Cumbria County Council. All six district councils have also committed to the county’s carbon-neutral goal.
We also have particular challenges here that make our communities even more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change – from rural isolation to low incomes and the nature of Cumbria’s geography. However, our communities also have a high degree of resilience and self-reliance, with a strong foundation of community support groups, which this programme will support and build on.
This five-year programme will deliver a range of exciting projects – from activities within Cumbrian communities through to some of the higher-level things that need to be in place to drive change at the urgent scale and pace demanded by the climate science.
People who live, work and study in Cumbria will be able to take advantage of a whole range of opportunities to cut their own carbon footprint and that of their communities, playing their part in global actions to stop climate change.
The programme will tackle some of the main sources of carbon emissions in Cumbria, with a particular focus on food, energy generation and the goods we buy.
These projects have been devised by a range of community organisations, as part of the Zero Carbon Cumbria Partnership. They’ve been chosen because of their wide benefits to local communities.
Here’s a snapshot of the projects that will happen over the five years of the programme:
The programme officially began in January 2021. We’re still in the early stages and recruitment of the programme staff is ongoing, based at CAfS, Cumbria County Council and the Lake District National Park Authority.
CAfS will be recruiting two further roles early in 2021, so please keep an eye on our website and social media for job opportunities. Sign up for our newsletter to be first to hear >