Category Archives: News/Blog

Solar panels and other energy solutions for halls

In July 2021 the Low Carbon Hub gave a presentation at the CFO Community Halls Networking meeting on Zoom on Solar panels and other energy solutions for halls.

The presenters were James Ochiltree, Project Manager for the Low Carbon Hub and contract manager for Energy Solutions Oxfordshire, and Alison Grunewald, Business Relationships Manager for the Low Carbon Hub and CEO of Energy Solutions Oxfordshire.

The focus was how the Low Carbon Hub provide low carbon solutions by supporting community buildings to provide alternative power solutions, ‘power down’, and use less energy.  Examples were given of local halls who have had solar panels installed, including Kirtlington, Watchfield, Wolvercote and Eynsham, as well as Eynsham Church.

We heard details of how members of the Low Carbon Hub can help fund projects in their communities – for instance, Sustainable Kirtlington are members of the Hub and were able to apply for funding for the storage batteries needed to go with the solar panels at Kirtlington Village Hall.

If you want to contact James Ochiltree about any technical subjects that came up in this presentation, email [email protected] or contact [email protected]. For questions about funding contact Alison: [email protected].

All community halls can have a free energy audit through the Low Carbon Hub, funded by Westmill Solar. These audits provide halls with a list of what is possible for their building in terms of using less energy. If you would like an energy audit for your hall (and you have not had one through the TOE2 scheme of a few years ago), please contact Saskya Huggins: [email protected]

In addition, OxFutures has EU funding (until March 2023) for free energy audits and other funding – however, the programme only supports SMEs such as charitable trusts. If you are an SME and are interested in the ‘OxFutures’ energy audit and funding for your project, contact Alison (email above).

Energy Solutions Oxfordshire can work with halls on their projects and help assess them for viability – they work with 23 approved contractors – but your project needs to be a large one (around £40,000 or above). They also work with loan finance companies. If your hall committee would like help from Energy Solutions Oxfordshire, please contact Richard Dorey [email protected].

Action with Communities in Rural England also offer loans for work of this kind for halls.  For more information email Tessa Hall.

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Difficult Development, Placemaking, and New CFO Trustees

Oxfordshire residents will be aware of the ever-increasing number of housing developments in the county – many of us see large strategic housing and infrastructure developments as a threat to our community and to our wellbeing. Of course, this can be the case if we have little say on how new developments are created and placed within our environment.

Here at CFO, we have taken the stance that if development eventually happens then it is absolutely vital to make it work in the best interests of existing residents and those who will be moving in. We can do this by getting involved at an early stage. And this is where placemaking principles are key to turning the focus from just design and build to the people living in or near the emerging community.

We have some major strategic developments that will impact this county, the Oxford-Cambridge Arc plus other strategic sites which form the Housing and Growth Deal. In readiness, we are delighted to welcome our newest CFO Trustee, Bev Hindle, who is also the Executive Director of the Oxford-Cambridge Arc Leadership Group. Bev is keen to support placemaking wherever he can and we hope he will be an asset for CFO and for the communities we support.

With trustees in mind, we would REALLY love new people to join our board of trustees to better reflect the diverse county we live in – if you want to find out more about becoming a trustee then please contact Emily or Tom by email [email protected] or call 01865 883488

It doesn’t always have to be Difficult Development!

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