Together, creating a fairer, more sustainable and resilient future
The sunny and warm weather earlier in the day on 18 May suggested the turn out for a business meeting of the East Lothian Climate Action Network on a mid-week evening might be poor and that the pull of family barbecues, or beach walks or meandering country cycles might prove irresistible. However, it may be that the Fraser Centre in Tranent has hidden qualities that act as a catalyst for positivity and togetherness. Alternatively, it might be the venue’s spacious, light and airy atmosphere which conjures personal calm within, or perhaps the words
“Together, creating a fairer, more sustainable and resilient future”
on the giant screen under the circular logo for the East Lothian Climate Action Network which encourages group bonding. Whatever the reason, the Fraser Centre works well for ELCAN gatherings as it was here too that we very successfully launched the Network last October.
The Scottish Government’s Hubs
Almost certainly, one of the main reasons for the turnout was the presence of Louisa Harvey, leader of the Scottish Government’s Community Climate Action Team. Louisa was invited to the meeting to add some colour, nuances and perspective to the starkly impersonal black and white of the Regional Climate Action Hubs application form earlier released on the Scottish Government website. The overriding impression gained was that the Louisa and her team were absolutely committed to the principles of the regional hubs and their networks, that an application from East Lothian was actively encouraged and that, barring unforeseen calamities, funding to support a staffed hub in East Lothian would be forthcoming.
In general terms, based on a pro rata share of Scotland’s population, East Lothian might command a budget of c.£100k for 2023-24. But, that sum equated to operational costs over a full financial year and that the actual allocation would necessarily depend on the operational starting date and the detail of the application. We were also encouraged to consider whether there might be benefits in a cross-regional hub application for all or part of the Edinburgh and Lothians geographical area. Louisa was soon answering a myriad of questions from the floor.
Establishing an inclusive Communities Representative Group
After Louisa had gone, the agenda for the business meeting turned to the establishment of a short-term working group drawn from across East Lothian and reflecting the diversity within ELCAN’s member groups. In essence, it’s role would be to draft the application form for a climate action hub for agreement and adoption by the wider network. Using the boundaries of the local authority’s six administrative wards as a starting point a short-term group was established and meeting dates are now being agree with a view to an application, in whatever form, being submitted before June is out.
We believe that networking is crucial at all scales
Of course, a network is not a network without networking. Since SCCAN was first established as a peer to peer support network in 2012, we have always seen our key resource as being the learning and experience accumulated by our members. Our main intention at regional and national levels is to provide a structure that supports networking and the creation of a ‘knowledge commons’, so that members can support and learn from each other. Experience shows that mutual support and inspiration between those involved with community-led action is highly effective in creating widespread change and means that the impact of community-led action can be greatly amplified.
We believe that networking is crucial at all scales – within communities, regionally, across Scotland, the UK and beyond. Apart from our efforts to support networking between our members across Scotland, we therefore also work to build skills and capacity in our member groups, to support them to engage more widely within their own communities. To that end, all those attending were invited by our Coordinator, Ian Malcolm, to add their suggestions for group hosted events to the pin-up board. These options will soon very soon be posted to all ELCAN’s members.
Please find out more about ELCAN: https://sccan.scot/elcan/
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