Midlothian Council has set a target of reaching Net Zero by 2030. We are living in a Climate Emergency and it’s imperative that we all take a role, big or small, in tackling the climate crisis. Climate action activities are already taking place across Midlothian. However, there are many people being left out of the climate conversation.
To support community-led climate action, MVA managed a Community Climate Action Project from March 2022 to February 2023. The project was funded through a £10,000 grant from the National Lottery’s Together For Our Planet programme. All projects funded by this programme had to be focused on developing a community-led climate action project. The two criteria chosen from the programme list that this project set out to achieve were:
- Supporting the development of longer-term climate action within communities
- Celebrating the importance of community-led climate action and encouraging more people to get involved
Through engagement with the Federation of Community Councils, two communities were selected for the research – Damhead, a rural community, and Penicuik, an urban community. Discussions also took place with the relevant Community Councils, and they were in support of this project being carried out in their communities. The research was to be carried out by consultants, and a procurement process took place in summer 2022. A volunteer representative from each community supported interviewing applicants. The decision on who to appoint was made by the community representatives, with help from MVA.
SKS Scotland were chosen to complete the research. The research began in September 2022 and was completed in February 2023. The outcome of this research was to form a report for each community that included:
- A community climate action plan
- Assessment of what a 20-minute neighbourhood means for each community
- Summaries of discussions from community engagement sessions
- Future funding opportunities
The aim for this project was to include individuals from all sections of the two communities and to offer them a space to discuss what the climate crisis means to them on a local level and how they can tackle it together. This was facilitated through a stakeholder survey, drop-in sessions in the communities, and online workshops, that took place over the course of four months. This research helped inform the action plans and allowed the communities to prioritise activities under five main themes:
- Energy use
- Active and sustainable travel
- Re-use, recycling and upcycling
- Local food and food waste
- Biodiversity and improving local spaces.
The project was completed in February 2023, and two reports were delivered to the communities for them to take forward.
Thank you to the communities for their engagement and enthusiasm throughout the project, and to SKS Scotland for delivering the reports.