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Planet B: Clutter Bank

Category: Public/Communities

Date: 18.09.2017

Time: 11:10

The starting point for the Clutter Bank was a growing awareness of ‘the stuff’ in our lives, how we deal with it and the effect it has on our lives and the planet.

Dealing with possessions can be stressful. Most of us have to deal with an ongoing flood of objects that are bought, given or magically appear in our lives. They need tidying, sorting and inevitably throwing out every now and then so that we don’t drown under it all. No wonder personal storage use is on the increase. A study published by UCLA showed that women’s stress hormones peaked during the times they were dealing with their possessions and material goods.

And yet the way we measure the economic health of the country is by calculating how much we spend and therefore how much we buy. It’s hard to resist the desire to pop into those sales, that people won’t judge us if our shoes are scruffy or if we deny our children the latest hot craze.

During the Clutter Bank installation at Queensgate, it was interesting speaking to some of the older generation, and it’s apparent that this is a recent and modern problem. Within one generation the number of objects we own has doubled.

The Clutter Bank was filled with a collection of hand-sized clutter. We asked people to attempt to count their possessions with our ginormous survey, sort through the clutter to find something that relates to their lives and then share a thought with others by writing a label.

We found that, with so much clutter, and so much apparent disorder of lost, broken and unloved items it was possible to create a new order. It was been possible to sort the items into colours and categories and perhaps recognise patterns in this collective clutter drawer. I wonder if this new creation of order from disorder might be something to draw upon again, and might form a metaphor for the state we find ourselves in faced with climate change.

During the installation, the days were filled with interesting conversations about what people collect, how they feel about clutter and how they deal with it. I spoke to a woman who recalled that her toys as a child had fitted into one bag and a young woman who was aware that she had a problem with hoarding, a couple who collect garden gnomes (with over 350 hand painted ornaments filling their garden), and a man who recognised that his inability to fix broken objects makes him feel embarrassed and somehow less of a man.

Taking part in the Planet B festival was inspiring and an exciting opportunity. It offered an opportunity to meet other artists and professionals who are engaged in participatory practice and interested in activism and using art to tackle or engage with issues faced by climate change. It has been an opportunity to take part in events in the festival itself and learn more about the issues and about the amazing things that people are doing to combat climate change.

A particular highlight for me was to watch ‘Demain’, the acclaimed documentary that won a prize in Cannes 2016. Do find a way to watch this, if you can, because it is packed with exciting projects that ordinary people are creating to side-step governments and big business to find new ways of thinking and living.

Now Planet B is over and autumn is here, I find that the festival has given me new energy and focus to develop more projects dealing with these difficult ideas of relinquishment and the insecurity of climate change. I now find myself planning on keeping the clutter collected from the project with the idea of taking it to another city to ask them “What’s in your clutter drawer’?

Emily Tracy was one of the artists commissioned as part of the Planet B festival in Peterborough, which ran in July and August 2017.



Bringing great art to your doorstep

Category: Public/Communities

Date: 26.06.2017

Time: 13:43

A dose of soothing trees to make the path a little brighter.” (Keely Mills)

If you haven’t yet come across us, Peterborough Presents is an Arts-Council funded Creative People and Places programme with a mission to bring great art to your doorstep. Over the last three years, we have delivered an experimental and entertaining spectrum of great art. From the pop-up beats and symphonies of the Music Takeover, to the chilled creativity of De-Stress Fest to the downright weird and epic Diwali vs The Zombie Walk. 

This year, we have been inviting people to join us on a series of walks. Not any old walk, of course. We’ve done poetry walks, memory walks, smell walks, Easter Egg hunts and coming up we have a photography walk and a storytelling walk. So why the sudden interest in nature and the outdoors?

The reason: is home. Instead of city centre projects, we have taken our work out to three areas of Peterborough: North Bretton, Millfield and Hampton. In each area, a local community panel worked with the Peterborough Presents team to commission a project to take place in their community. A sense of pride in the place they call home was a big factor in their decision-making and each of the projects seeks to make that place a more attractive and stimulating environment to live. What better way to do that than through the arts?

It’s likely you will have come across Katy Hawkins and her Bretton Greens project over the last few months. Katy has been working tirelessly with the North Bretton community to encourage residents to respond to hidden, forgotten and worn-out places through themed walks.  Colour, birds and play have emerged as significant elements to be resurrected by the community and so formed the basis for three creative workshops under the expert guidance of David & Gareth from Nene Park Trust, architect George Lovesmith and artist Isabella Martin. By the end of the sessions, participants had contributed their ideas and designs for creative interventions for Bretton. We’re looking forward to casting our vote for the best garden, bird box and play space at the Bretton Community Festival on 8th July. 

Over in Millfield, Paper Rhino has been busy collecting stories, memories and heroes to turn into a striking mural on the Lincoln Road. Again, the community were looking for new ways to make a difference to their environment and to feel proud of where they live. Take a walk down Lincoln Road later in the year and see what you think.

And finally, what is under that “tump” in Hampton? Tom Fox and Eastern Angles Theatre are determined to find out! Whether it’s through the camera lens or a story at the water’s edge, residents are invited to take a fresh walk down a familiar path to uncover a Folk Tale for Hampton. (shhh..the giant will rise from the tump on 16 September).

It was great to read about Karen’s experience of working with artists on the Green Festival and its Planet B initiative.  I think our artists are equally excited to be helping residents reframe their home environments as places to nurture, to care for and be proud of.

For more information on the projects, please see: Bretton Greens and Hampton Folk Tales.

Fiona Brice is the Programme Manager for Peterborough Presents.



'Big' ideas for 'Local' appetites

Category: Public/Communities

Date: 23.05.2017

Time: 16:35

I recently spent a morning that certainly wasn’t my usual morning in the PECT offices! Rather, I had the opportunity to experience the newly opened WestRaven Big Local Community Café, in Peterborough.
As a very much community-led initiative, the aim of the Big Local project is to help enable Westwood and Ravensthorpe become a better place in which to live.

Big Local is a long-term programme that aims to achieve long lasting change. It seeks to empower people who live in the area to build on local talents and aspirations so they can help make their neighbourhood an even better place to live, both now and for years to come.

It’s certainly hard not to miss the café with its colourful branding and logos embellishing the front window, with most people walking past taking an interest and glimpsing through its windows. The café is ideally located amongst a row of shops and amenities in Hampton Court, in Westwood.

Starting off with a tour of the café alongside the Community Development Worker Jen Orrell, I had the opportunity to see first-hand what goes on behind the scenes at the new café.

One of the first things that you can’t help but notice is the warm reception you receive from the friendly volunteers who make this a welcoming place for all to go. It was great to see the enthusiasm and commitment that everyone has from the outset of a day at the Big Local café.

Some of the fantastic areas I was able to explore at the café include a training kitchen, purposely made to be wheelchair accessible, a community area, which provides a space to facilitate training sessions and a youth space for young people to utilise with recording equipment available to use.

Other features of the café include artwork on the walls, which has been created by local artists, the tables and chairs made from recycled pallet wood by people from the local prison and also the healthy and locally-sourced food sold. 

There are lots of upcoming events taking place, including the Community ‘Meet and Eats’, which are £3 per person and are a great opportunity to bring together members of the community to eat and chat in a relaxed environment.

There has been a strong sense of community support, but the café is still looking for more people to volunteer. So if you have experience working in a catering environment and would like to dedicate some time to lend a helping hand, the café would love to hear from you!

If you are interested in getting involved and can spare some time as a volunteer, either running an event for the local community or helping out in the café please do get in touch by calling 01733 330040 or go to www.westraven.co.uk

Michaela Anthony is the Digital Marketing Apprentice at PECT.



Avoiding the energy tariff rise

Category: Public/Communities

Date: 19.04.2017

Time: 14:57

Household energy bills are on the rise again, after five of the big six companies have raised their standard variable tariffs. As the big six occupy 84% of the market, and approximately 70% of their customers are still on the expensive standard tariffs, this will almost certainly affect someone you know.

There are better alternatives, for example, our Warm Homes South Holland project helped Mrs Maxwell from Spalding save £199 simply by upgrading to a one-year fixed tariff with her current supplier.

All the information you need to do a tariff comparison is in the “About your tariff” section of an energy bill. If you’re a prepayment customer and haven’t got an annual summary, there’s a good chance your on the standard tariff and can estimate by your weekly payments.

Try our impartial switching service and sister company Green Energy Switch to compare the energy market: https://save.greenenergyswitch.co.uk/?db=dual

In more positive news Ofgem, the gas and electric industry regulator has introduced a prepayment meter price cap. As of April 1st 2017 energy companies will only be able to charge domestic prepayment customers a maximum price set by Ofgem, in line with the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) recommendations set in their two-year review of the market.

These rates vary by region and will be updated every 6 months on April 1st and October 1st, with the temporary cap expected to expire at the end of 2020, which can be viewed here:


This temporary cap is in line with the Smart Meter rollout completion, with the assumption being that increased competition from easier switching will lower the market price.

Overall, this is a step in the right direction. It is a disappointment that prepayment customers pay an average of £220 more than those on the cheapest deals by direct debit, and yet are very often those least able to afford it.

Sam Bosson is Environmental Consultant at PECT



Verbatim GREEN-SPACE Play Project

Category: Public/Communities

Date: 11.04.2017

Time: 16:04

Working in the community has a variety of connotations and benefits for artists. As a writer and theatre director, I know that at the heart of each performance is a circular conversation between maker, interpreters (actors/designer etc) and the audience. I am also aware that the quality of synergy in this conversation determines the smoothness of the planning, making/writing and production process.

There are things about working on a community-based commission that particularly throw light on this conversation. Giving birth is a complicated thing (I imagine), but when all the internal and external mechanics are working together, it happens with natural force and impact - boom!

Thanks to funding from Peterborough Presents, a member of the Creative People and Places project, and Peterborough City Council, I have been working on the ‘Verbatim GREEN-SPACE Play Project’ since November 2016.

A verbatim show in an outdoor setting is a delicious prospect for someone developing scripts in textural and structurally playful ways. Partnering with WestRaven Big Local, The Olive Branch Garden and The Green Backyard, with support from PECT, I have just completed stage one of an interview gathering, scripting and production journey for scratch/work-in-progress performances in June 2017.

In this context, unlike collaborating with a theatre or arts centre, your partners and part-interpreters (interviewees) are your audience. The through-line of developing that base of ticket-buying and marketing support begins on day one, with the first interaction.

To date, I have collected over 12 audio-recordings of interviews with GREEN-SPACE users with the aim of using interviewee’s words to make a 45 minute docu-drama or ‘verbatim’ show. But there’s an aim in itself with these recordings. Our chats have formed an online archive on the StreamLyric.co.uk ‘NewsFlow’, which I hope might be used in 22nd Century Peterborough by students clad in, as yet, uninvented fibres, to track a pivotal era in the city’s development.

An ‘Environment City’ could easily be considered a contradiction in terms. So it feels worthwhile to explore what this means. From the human perspective, there are definite recurring themes across these interviews, not least desire for extended family/surrogate community and random ‘play.’

As we know, casual conversation, albeit recorded, is a good vehicle for striking truths. Time and time again, interviewees have spoken of their motivation to connect with others in activities where performance is not measured and acceptance is a core value of the environment.

Volunteers have typically encountered these spaces during periods of transition when identity is being reaffirmed or redefined. It is no surprise that the bubbles of calmness which facilitate this are dense with organic matter and low with technological communications. If churches were once the go-to safe-haven for the mind, perhaps urban green space is a substitute in a secular and multi-faith UK.

Performances of ‘The Verbatim GREEN_SPACE Play’ in association with Stream-Lyric will take place on June 3rd and 4th at WestRaven Big Local and The Green Backyard respectively. Keep up-to-date on www.streamlyric.co.uk / @stream_lyric / @StreamLyric

Written by Tamsin Flower, writer and theatre director. 



Homes are much healthier through Healthy Homes!

Category: Public/Communities

Date: 21.03.2017

Time: 15:20

After 362 home visits, more than £125,000 of home improvements and 719 free energy saving packs, PECT’s Healthy Homes project has come to an end.
During 2016, the Healthy Homes project worked with households in Peterborough and Fenland which were suffering- or at risk of suffering- from fuel poverty. The project aimed to reduce the number of households in, or at risk of, fuel poverty; increase the available income of fuel poor households; create carbon savings through improving the energy efficiency of homes; and improve health and wellbeing, especially problems exacerbated by living in a cold home (for example, respiratory or cardiovascular conditions).

In order to do this, the project set up links to receive referrals from partner organisations which were likely to be in touch with priority groups. Households then received a home energy advice visit, to look at potential savings from changing tariff, applying for the Warm Home Discount or implementing behaviour change tips. Households in need of additional support also received fuel debt relief or fully-funded home improvements such as loft or cavity wall insulation and new A-rated boilers.

A couple of months after the end of the project, PECT is now starting to look at the impact this work has had. Pleasingly, 75% of households suffering from fuel poverty at the start of the project are no longer in fuel poverty. Risk factors for households vulnerable to fuel poverty have also been reduced, by improving the energy efficiency of homes and reducing fuel bills. On average, participants saved £288.06 p.a. It’s hoped that this will also lead to longer term savings, with 62% reporting an improved understanding of their energy bills and 86% saying that they would be likely to change tariff or supplier again. Home improvements such as improved insulation and boiler upgrades will reduce carbon emissions by 17,418 kg during 2017 alone, with estimated lifetime savings of 231,644kg.

It’s too early to properly assess the project’s impact on health and wellbeing, particularly as many participants were suffering from long-term, chronic conditions. However, from the initial evaluation that’s been carried out, there has been an interesting link between support through the project and mental wellbeing.

At the start and end of the project, participants were asked to rate their level of agreement with various statements to assess mental wellbeing. At the beginning, responses from the group identified as in need of fuel debt relief were much more negative than responses from project participants as a whole (24% negative statements from all participants compared to 67% for fuel debt relief recipients). At the end of the project, there was a significant increase in positive statements from this group- up from 2% to 24%, while at the same time their negative statements dropped to 50%. Eliminating fuel debt certainly seemed to contribute to a marked improvement in the group’s mental wellbeing. 

It will be interesting to track the impact of the project over the longer term. In the meantime, PECT is continuing with its work to reduce fuel poverty, with the Warm Homes South Holland project and involvement in the Local Energy Advice Programme.



The reluctant environmentalist

Category: Public/Communities

Date: 01.03.2017

Time: 11:49

A colleague recently asked me if I thought my attitude to the environment had changed since I started working at Peterborough Environment City Trust (PECT). The question got me thinking… have my views and behaviours changed since I started working for an environmental charity?

Unlike a lot of the people who work at PECT I am not a vegetarian, I have never been on a protest rally and I am not a member of Greenpeace. I have never been overly passionate about the environment or thought much about the city in which I was born and raised. I guess like a lot of people I took these things for granted.

I was of course aware of the main environmental issues affecting the planet – my previous work for an engineering consultancy involved dealing with environmental impact assessments or how climate change impacted a design; however they never really seemed real - it was all facts, figures, research and charts.

It wasn’t until I started to work at PECT that I began to really look around me. Within my first few weeks here I was volunteering to coppice Bretton Woods. I took my father along who has lived in Peterborough all his life, and worked in Bretton for much of it. He had never been into the local woodlands and was not aware of the activities going on or how to get involved. We both had a really great morning and learnt a lot about why the woods need management and how to look after them.

Within my first few months I spent time with a number of business who were being audited as part of our Investors in the Environment green accreditation. It was great to learn what these business were doing and the positive impact they were having on the community in which they are based. I was lucky enough to go to the annual iiE Awards to witness so many of these businesses receiving recognition for their achievements.

In early summer I worked with our Education team to help run the Eco Awards, an awards ceremony to celebrate the eco success of schools all across Peterborough. I spent time with the judging panel and learnt about all the brilliant projects the children had been involved with. They had such passion and enthusiasm for the subject, with each school tacking a different environmental issue in a different way.

At the Green Festival in 2016 I persuaded my wife to volunteer. She is not an ‘eco-warrior’ and it was the first time she had used a litter picker. We both had a fabulous day, working with the PECT team and other volunteers, along with learning about what all the other environmental organisations do in the city to make Peterborough a better place to live and work in.

All of these experiences, the office debates and the involvement in projects at PECT has made me consider the environment more, along with what my family and I can do to help protect it.

I am now an avid recycler, I generally car share or use sustainable transport, I turn off my monitor when I step away from my desk and I like to encourage others to follow my example (much to the annoyance of some of my friends down the pub).

I must admit, I now find it hard to understand why anyone or a business would not at least think about their impact on the environment and what changes they can make.

Sometimes at PECT it can feel like we are working in an eco-bubble, with our composting bin and sharing table; I used to pride myself on being the ordinary man in the street when we discussed how to engage with people, being a naysayer or playing devil’s advocate, but increasingly I find myself agreeing more with the views of my colleagues and actively embracing sustainability. There is always something more we could be doing, but if we can all change a little then it adds up to a lot.

Stuart Dawks is PECT’s General Manager.



Warm Homes South Holland

Category: Public/Communities

Date: 10.02.2017

Time: 16:05

PECT has recently started delivering another Fuel Poverty project, expanding on our work in Peterborough and delivering it to residents across South Holland in Lincolnshire through a door-to-door advice service.

As part of my role I have been helping to deliver this work. Supported by our main energy assessor, Sam Bosson, I have been experiencing first-hand the issues faced by people on a day-to-day basis when it comes to keeping their homes warm.

With high levels of fuel poverty in our target areas and many older ‘hard to heat’ properties, I am getting a chance to see the real need for support with energy efficiency and staying warm at home. Having experienced rain and freezing temperatures during our first few sessions going door-to-door I can really understand why it is so important that people are keeping their homes warm!

These first few trips out have shown me that many people already have a good idea of how to keep their bills down through behaviours and through getting better energy deals. However, with virtually every household I have visited there have been areas where they could be making improvements, whether this is making behavioural changes or by altering their tariff to a lower priced one.

Although there are huge variances in the support people need – from those who just want a few pointers and general information, through to those who need help understanding their bills and making changes to their tariffs – we are able to help everyone with our personalised service in a way that we would not be able to with a more generic approach.

The initial project funding came from The Fenland Green Power Co-operative, a community group who owns two wind turbines at Deeping St Nicholas. This is the first time we have received funding generated from community-owned renewable energy, and it is great to think that as more community-owned energy projects mature they will be helping to provide funding for local services. This is a really sustainable model that can help communities across the country to support themselves more sustainably whilst also helping the environment.

This funding, and the match funding we received, came from direct approaches to PECT from people who had read about our previous energy visits work around Peterborough. Without our previous work, we wouldn’t have had the opportunity to help households in South Holland, and we wouldn’t have been able to develop new relationships with funders. Whilst I am spending a lot of time out in the cold walking from door-to-door, it’s a very small price to pay for all the good impacts we are achieving!

Andrew Ellis is the Fundraising and Project Officer for PECT.



Going green at home

Category: Public/Communities

Date: 09.02.2017

Time: 09:13

One of my previous blogs was about everything that PECT does to make its office as sustainable as possible. I am now in the middle of buying my very first house and I’m starting to think about what environmental initiatives I can introduce at home as well.

The first thing that comes to mind is the prospect of having my very own garden! A garden to plant and grow food in; I’m so excited! Not only am I looking to grow produce, I also want to attract wildlife to the garden, especially bees.

Bee numbers have fallen drastically over the past few years. It’s important to look after our bees for a number of reasons, including the fact that bees are vital to our food chain. Without bees, one-third of the food we eat would not be available!

One way to attract more bees to your garden is to introduce nectar and pollen rich plants, such as honeysuckle, lavender and foxgloves. You can also put bee hotels in your garden, which provide nesting places for bees and offer protection from the weather.

In terms of food, I’m only going to grow it on a seasonal basis. As Spring-time draws near, I’ll be looking to grow carrots, spring onions and peas. Then, later in the year I’ll be growing blackberries, cabbage and squash.

Finally, I’ll be getting a water butt in my garden to water all the new flowers and fruit and veg, using rainwater rather than the water from my kitchen sink.

I can’t wait for my new garden and really look forward to getting stuck in - wish me luck!

Selina Wilson is the Office Manager at PECT.



For the love of tea

Category: Public/Communities

Date: 02.02.2017

Time: 09:45

There’s something about nature that we all love. Whether that’s watching the waves crash against the seashore, seeing a swan gliding through water, experiencing the breath-taking views from the top of Mount Everest or simply going on a woodland walk. Nature has a place in the hearts of us all.

But sadly, at the current rate of global warming, our beloved nature is at risk. The question stands: does the impact of global warming concern you? Or rather, does it concern you that global warming impacts people, places and life on earth?

The extent of climate change’s impact isn’t even just the ice caps melting, or causing increased acidity to the oceans, it has the potential to infiltrate into every single element of life that you and I enjoy, such as doing the gardening, eating chocolate and drinking tea!

Just take tea as an example. First thing in the morning we all enjoy waking up to that pot of freshly brewed tea. But what if tea begins to deplete in supply? Just consider the impact of rising temperatures on the production of your favourite tea. Global warming threatens the microclimate in the hills of Asia that produces so much of the tea that we love, and with it, this threatens the livelihoods of the millions of farmers whose lives depend on the production of our daily cup of tea. To read the full article, visit: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-26754121
I hope that others will see the importance of this issue and #ShowtheLove for nature, for the oceans, for farmers and for our cups of tea!

As a member of the Climate Coalition, PECT is looking to show its support for the ‘Show the Love’ campaign this February. The aim is to join forces to take action against climate change and show the love for the things that could be lost to the impact of climate change such as nature and wildlife.

We are looking for members of the community to join our Forest for Peterborough Tree Planting Day to show your love for the local environment. Join us on Saturday 11th February, drop-in between 10.30am-4.30pm, last arrivals at 2.30pm, at Werrington Open Space (parking and access via 51-58 Baron Court, PE4 7ZE.)
Make sure you register your attendance via simon.belham@pect.org.uk or via 07715372432.

Michaela Anthony is the Digital Marketing Apprentice at PECT.



Show the love for the environment

Category: Public/Communities

Date: 16.01.2017

Time: 09:47

I have a love for the environment and I am very passionate about looking to conserve it.

I am currently in sixth form studying my A-levels, looking to take a degree in Marine Conservation at University, and so by volunteering at PECT it allows me to work in an environment where people are doing their all to make a positive impact.

In wanting to work in conservation, it is important for me to get the message across to others about the negative impact that we are having. According to the Independent, 70% of Japan's biggest coral reef is dead due to the effects of global warming, said to have been caused by a mass coral bleaching last summer. This is mainly due to rising ocean temperatures - which is partially to do with us.

Climate change is one of the biggest issues that we are facing right now and its impact is happening a lot faster than what we wish to believe. Due to the increase in global temperature, the ice caps are melting, which in turn is creating a rise in sea level. The impact is even more widespread. When temperatures are too high the relationship between corals and their symbiotic microalgae becomes unstable – the algae is what makes corals bright and colourful and so when the relationship becomes unstable, the coral becomes ‘bleached’.

Pollution has a large effect on the ocean, for example; through untreated sewage, fertilizers, pesticides, industrial chemicals and plastics. Recently we have seen the implementation of the 5p plastic carrier bag charge and thus an increase in the use of reusable bags. This small change has in turn made a difference to the environment, seeing a dramatic drop in the volume of plastic bags entering our oceans. This isn’t to say the problem has stopped, or ever will just yet, but its a start and a way for us to go forward and develop further plans to hopefully result in no plastic bags entering our oceans.

Plastic has been in the ocean for many years and has reached a point where islands made up of plastic have developed. Unfortunately, many marine animals and mammals are susceptible to plastic entering their digestive systems, with carrier bags often being mistaken for jelly fish to certain marine life such as turtles. Further still, there is the potential of plastics entering our food chain if these marine animals continue to eat small plastics, potentially ending up in the food we eat.

Alongside the plastic are also dangerous fertilizers and pesticides which run into the oceans and water systems from agricultural fields – these can be damaging to the ocean as they then pollute it and the surrounding environments, working their way into the food chain again.

Ocean acidification is another continuing problem. As more carbon dioxide (CO2) is released into the atmosphere, it has an effect on the local environment but also adverse effects on the oceans. Recently, ocean acidification has emerged as another potentially serious threat to coral reefs as seawater absorbs some of the excess CO2 from the atmosphere, and it leads to the oceans becoming more acidic. In the last 200 years, the ocean acidity has increased by 30%. The acidic conditions dissolve coral skeletons and so make it more difficult for corals to grow.

There are several other environmental issues, but for now we need to focus on this issue and take further steps to reduce it. So why not start now and do your bit to help out and #Showthelove for the environment?

Here are some of the top things you should do:

1. Adopt energy saving habits
2. Change the way you think about transportation
3. Make every drop of water count
4. Switch to ‘green power’
5. Recycle

Hollie Nightingale is a volunteer at Peterborough Environment City Trust (PECT).


#Global warming

If you go down to the woods today…

Category: Public/Communities

Date: 21.12.2016

Time: 10:31

At this time of year it can be incredibly tempting to crawl under the duvet and hibernate until spring. The long dark nights and freezing temperatures aren’t particularly conducive to getting active and getting outdoors!

However, there’s a group of volunteers who are really bringing to life the best, most enjoyable aspects of this season! Nestled deep in the local forests, they work together to revive heritage skills and traditional woodland management techniques – and in the process are conserving and protecting ancient sites for future generations to enjoy.

Formerly a PECT-run project called Woodland Heritage in Action, and now launched as a volunteer-run group called Nene Coppicing and Crafts, this social enterprise is thriving and is a great initiative to be part of.

Meeting regularly for event days and volunteer sessions, the group helps to manage the woodlands (with techniques such as coppicing), teaches traditional crafts such as willow weaving and wood carving, in addition to running walks and talks on wildlife and nature.

The group is aiming to become fully self-sufficient in future years through raising funds from enterprises such as producing charcoal and sustainably sourced firewood, and through selling locally-produced craft items.

In addition to the group’s fantastic impact on the local environment and wildlife, the sessions offer a therapeutic and relaxing environment combined with a social support network of friendly volunteers that is hard to beat!

If you’re intrigued, and want to get involved further, please do head to the website at www.nenecoppicingandcrafts.co.uk or find the group on Facebook (@NeneCoppicingandCrafts) and Twitter (@NeneCoppicing).

Laura Fanthorpe is Marketing and Communications Manager at PECT.



A New Year’s Resolution for Peterborough

Category: Public/Communities

Date: 16.12.2016

Time: 14:58

With only a countdown away until Christmas Day, everyone is now frantically stocking up on all their favourite festive treats ready to see the season through. It’s nearly that time of year where you can’t help but indulge in that last box of chocolates lying around the house, a time to eat turkey until you can no longer bear it, and a time to laugh, drink and be merry.

Nevertheless, as the New Year approaches, and the common thread of conversation seems to be about overindulgence, many will look ahead to set their New Year’s resolution.

The aim of a resolution is to address something in your life that you feel the need to change. According to research carried out by Linkfluence, the top UK resolutions for 2016 were to do more regular exercise, to eat healthier, drink less and learn something new.

Many people make a resolution for themselves, a resolution that they struggle to keep. But for 2017, why not do something different? Why not make your New Year’s Resolution about your community? The charity Peterborough Environment City Trust (PECT), is giving you the opportunity to do something good in your local area through its Forest For Peterborough project.

Help to plant one tree for every person living in Peterborough by becoming a volunteer for the project. Through giving up just a couple of hours of your time to help out, you can make this vision possible for Peterborough. Think of the benefits that you will gain from volunteering; this could be your chance to learn something new and do something active, all whilst helping out a fantastic local cause.

By giving your time, you are investing in the future of our city by making it a more sustainable place to live and work for years to come.

So why not make your 2017 a year to get active, get outdoors and help out your local charity by setting yourself the challenge of volunteering with PECT’s Forest For Peterborough project?

To see the 2017 planting dates please click here. If you are interested in volunteering with Forest For Peterborough, get in touch with Project Officer Simon Belham on simon.belham@pect.org.uk or call 07715 372432. Plus keep updated with the latest news and events on our Facebook page Forest for Peterborough.

Michaela Antony is the Digital Marketing Apprentice at PECT.



A month and a half of Christmas

Category: Public/Communities

Date: 30.11.2016

Time: 10:17

It’s not even the first of December and already we’ve got our Christmas tree up. My family’s enthusiasm for the festive season runs hot between November and January; beginning with our traditional cultural celebrations of Thanksgiving (American) until Three Kings Day (Puerto Rican). It’s a good month and a half of spirited get-togethers and family celebrations filled with happy decorations, indulgent  food, and heartfelt gifts.

With that said, as someone who cares deeply for our environment, questions about consumption certainly are never far from my mind at this time of year. And with my new role supporting businesses in Investors in the Environment (iiE), quantifying resource consumption is now a daily exercise.

From Christmas cards (e-cards or paper?) to trees (real or fake?), there is a lot to consider when you’re trying to act sustainably whilst also satisfying cherished traditions. How much is too much, and just how do you set the balance?

Having small children, good Christmas atmosphere is essential. So a Christmas tree was important to us this year. We went with a small local supplier in our neighbourhood selling UK grown trees then promptly decorated it with strings of LED (low energy)  fairy lights. Christmas cards, however, are less important to us this year (who has the time!?), so aside from sending cards to grandparents not on email, we’ll be sending e-cards and making a donation to our favourite charity instead.

As far as gifts are concerned, I’ve been hard at work chipping away at little projects for friends and family. Not only are handmade gifts lovely and personal, but the making process helps slow me down in the evenings when the expectations of the season start getting out of control. I took a course on willow weaving at the Green Backyard last summer and am using some of those skills  to make what I hope will be interpreted as beautiful works of art, rather than just wonky sticks stuck together!

As I get older, I feel I’m slowly learning that it’s all about the process, rather than the end result – and this feeling certainly extends to the Christmas season when we often work ourselves in a frenzy to do what we think is expected. I’m hoping this comes through in my well-meaning but less than perfect gifts.

No matter what variation on the theme we’ve got going this year, the best bits are just the time spent together – during our whole month and a half of Christmas!

April Sotomayor is the Senior Advisor / Business Support Officer at iiE, the green accreditation scheme for organisations. 



Tree planting in Peterborough

Category: Public/Communities

Date: 29.11.2016

Time: 16:20

Hazel Cottrell, from the Creative Content Company, writes about her experience of tree planting with PECT's Forest for Peterborough.

What I love about running Creative Content Company is that I am able to find out loads about what is going on in my local community – and there is always so much to get involved in. Whether its dressing up as an elf to help Rotary, supporting the prison or planting trees in the middle of the field, there is lots to get involved in around Peterborough that can help make the community a better place for everyone.

I recently came across something organised by Peterborough Environment City Trust, it was Tree Planting at Sacrewell Farm. The plan is to plant over 180,000 trees around Peterborough by 2030, which is roughly one tree for every person living in the city. The only downside was that I came across the event in October and the nearest date we could do was November... which isn’t known for its warm weather!

So, the day arrived and my partner and I, with his kids, headed down to Sacrewell Farm. Luckily it was a clear and dry day, but it was very cold and in the middle of a field there is not much protection from the wind. On arrival there was a large ditch along the side of the field and Simon came to greet us with a very friendly and warm welcome.

We quickly learnt how to dig the holes and where to plant the trees and we were off. Tree planting is not something I had ever tried before and the same can definitely be said for the kids, but we all got stuck in and had a brilliant time. In just over an hour we managed to plant 23 trees between us and we were all really pleased with the results.

It was a brilliant event for all ages, with special spades for children and adults. Hollie loved putting the ‘dresses’ on the small trees to protect them from the wind while Jamie enjoyed the ‘wiggle wiggle’ of the spade to dig a deep hole for the tree.

There are loads more tree planting dates coming up so why not contact simon.belham@pect.org.uk to find out when and where you can get involved. Although it was a cold day it was a very rewarding experience and the kids are still talking about the different animals that could live in the trees we have planted.



The Great Outdoors

Category: Public/Communities

Date: 31.10.2016

Time: 11:48

As the winter months draw in, so too does the inclination to stay indoors, under a blanket, with a mug of hot chocolate, engrossed in whatever displays on the TV in front of us. For we all know that this time of year brings with it a common grumble in the air; that being the weather.

The weather dissuades us all from wanting to venture outdoors; meaning we so readily rely on our cars to take us from door to door. In fact, most of us just go into hibernation, waiting for the warmer months to come along, and attempting to venture outside as little as possible. However, as much as we are telling ourselves that its best to stay inside – in the warm - the truth of the matter is, we really do need the outdoors.

Lucy McRobert, nature matters campaigns manager for The Wildlife Trusts said: “By interacting with (nature), spending time in it, experiencing it and appreciating it we can reap the benefits of feeling happier and healthier as a result.”

So even just a little time outdoors can benefit you, meaning that replacing that regular car journey to the shops could do you the world of good. Somehow, we need to integrate the outdoors into our lives, whether it be replacing our mode of daily transport or even purposely taking the time out in the day to make a conscious effort to go for a walk.

But if you want a purpose for going outside, then why not join in with one of the Forest for Peterborough Tree Planting Days? This is a great opportunity to help create more green spaces in Peterborough whilst enabling you to experience the great outdoors.

The challenge this autumn is simple: make time for the outdoors, because, “Time in nature is not leisure time; it’s an essential investment in our health” – Richard Louv.

Michaela Anthony is the Digital Marketing Apprentice at Peterborough Environment City Trust (PECT).




Category: Public/Communities

Date: 30.09.2016

Time: 10:43

For the last couple of months I’ve been working on a Peterborough Environment City Trust (PECT) engagement project. The idea behind this piece of work is to ask people their opinions about our city: including what’s good, what’s not so good and what they think we should focus our energy on here at PECT.

Any campaign like this needs a hashtag these days and ours is #Proud2BPeterborough. Why? Well we think there’s a lot to be proud of in our city – sure, it’s not perfect, but where is? And we hope that by asking the question ‘What makes you proud?’ it will compel people to think of what it  is about this place we call home that makes us want to live here, in this small city on the edge of the fens.

Peterborough seems to me to be a place that doesn’t always take pride in itself. Anecdotally I hear people complaining about the place, the lack of nightlife, litter on the streets, homeless people and beggars and so on. These are also some of the issues that are coming up on the survey we’ve been asking people to take and on our social media.

Sure Peterborough faces some big challenges, and its important that these are recognised and addressed but unfortunately none of us has a magic wand where we can magically just wipe away all the problems we face and most, if not all, of the city’s issues are the same type of challenges that any growing urban space faces.

That said, we feel it’s really important to find out people’s opinions so that we can make sure that people are heard and that our future agenda responds to their concerns. We must try to actively seek solutions where possible by working together with other organisations in the city and most importantly with the people who live here. This piece of work isn’t the answer, instead it’s the first question, the first step towards understanding what we should be doing to help Peterborough become an even better place to live, work and play.

I did an interview with BBC Radio Cambridgeshire about our campaign and it prompted me to think about what makes me proud. I started writing a list, and it just kept growing and growing! First I thought about the wonderful natural spaces we have; including Ferry Meadows, the Embankment and the river, the nature reserves, the woodlands, and our great community growing spaces like The Green Backyard, the Olive Branch and WestRaven community garden.

There’s also our beautiful buildings, like the Cathedral and the Guild Hall to name just two, visitor attractions like Sacrewell Farm and Flag Fen. Did I mention the pubs? There are some great new independent micro breweries that have recently opened up: Stoneworks and the Bumble Inn, and there’s Charters of course. In the area where I live the Coalheaver’s Arms and the Palmerstone Arms are both great traditional pubs where you always receive a warm welcome and a great pint!

I could go on and on about the great places in the city but thinking about what makes me really proud, what really rocks my boat about this town is not the growing number of great venues or all the summer festivals – it’s the people.

I’ve been so lucky over the last few years working at PECT to meet and work with people from all over the city who are doing a fantastic job of making this a better place to be. I’ll give you just a few examples (the list is so long I couldn’t possibly mention everyone): the Rivercare group who regularly go out and clean up the banks of our river, the Nene Coppicing and Crafts group at Bretton who have been bringing the woodlands at Bretton back into use, the WestRaven Big Local residents who are working tirelessly to open a community café and garden, and all of  the people who give up their weekends and evenings to attend meetings, put on events, work in charity shops and soup kitchens.

These people and the hundreds like them across the city have something in common - they see what needs to be done and get on and do it. If there’s litter to be picked up they pick it up, and if there’s a way to bring their community together they’ll find it.

As Communities Team Manager at PECT it’s been my privilege and great pleasure to work with the people of our city over the past few years, and I’m truly grateful that they have given me cause to be proud of my city. I make no apologies for sounding sentimental and a bit gushing about this because it’s true, and I’d like to thank all the people working so hard to make this place a better place and ask others too to think about what can be  done to encourage involvement, build community, and become #Proud2BPeterborough.       

Karen Igho is Communities Team Manager at Peterborough Environment City Trust (PECT). Please do get involved and let us know your thoughts by filling in the survey here.



The accidental gardener

Category: Public/Communities

Date: 19.09.2016

Time: 14:20

I never really understood people who raved about the joys of gardening. I just didn’t get it. What on earth could be fun about digging holes and pulling up weeds? The thought of reading a gardening magazine or watching Gardeners’ World was just unthinkable to me! That was until two years ago when I finally got a house of my own, complete with garden.

These past two years I have grown to love and really appreciate my garden. Slowly, I am getting to know its intricacies, and the habits of the creatures that visit it. The more I learn about it, the more respect I have for it.

Flowers that I have planted rather randomly have done their best to survive for me, even when I have not necessarily planted them in what would be their chosen locations.  My big learning this year was when I bought myself a vegtrug and tried my hand at planting vegetables for the first time.  I rather enthusiastically planted beetroot, carrots, cauliflower and spinach and completely overcrowded them… it was not a successful harvest. 

Recognising my limited knowledge of gardening, when I got the opportunity to volunteer for Headway Cambridgeshire and take part in a new gardening course at Thorpe Hall Hospice I jumped at the chance. Not only would I get the chance to learn various aspects of gardening from an experienced gardener and horticultural therapist but I would also learn how to support people with a disability to garden.

I will be learning alongside Headway clients who have experienced a brain injury, helping them to build their confidence and horticulture skills and already I can sense that this six month course is going to teach me way more than just how to sow a seed, or propagate a plant.

I have so much to learn and I feel sure my fellow volunteers will have plenty to teach me. I love gardening, but gardening with other like -minded people – who I feel pretty sure will all become friends by the end of the course – makes it all the more fun!

Kari-ann Whitbread is the Fundraising Manager at Peterborough Environment City Trust.

Kari-ann's garden



The insider’s viewpoint (what volunteering at PECT is really like…)

Category: Public/Communities

Date: 22.08.2016

Time: 15:44

I wasn’t your usual starter at PECT. In fact, before joining I already knew the team, I had been visiting the office on a weekly basis and I even found myself attending the PECT staff day out last year! I’m assuming the title has already revealed my cover, but if you hadn’t already gathered, I started at PECT as a volunteer last year and now I am working here full time as an apprentice!

From the summer of last year, I started my volunteering placement with PECT in the marketing department. Having some previous experience in marketing for another organisation, I had an idea of the sort of thing to expect. However I knew nothing about PECT other than the fact that it is an environmental charity in Peterborough, so the experience would be new to me.

Beforehand, I was hoping that even as a volunteer, I would be given some responsibility, as I wanted to build on the skills I had already and develop my knowledge within marketing. In fact, I set my hopes quite high after seeing an article in ESP magazine about the volunteering opportunities that PECT has on offer, including anything from tree planting to becoming an events helper.

In particular, what appealed to me the most was the variety of projects that PECT delivers, as I thought this would mean there would be plenty of exciting opportunities to get involved in. However, the question was: were these preconceptions fulfilled or was I wholeheartedly disappointed?

I can confidently say neither was the case for me. From my first experience of meeting the team in the office, to the engaging work that I was given from day one, my expectations were soon exceeded. And what I thought was going to be a two week volunteering opportunity, turned into a year of voluntary work, followed now, by a year long apprenticeship!

Volunteering, particularly with a charity like PECT, is one of the best things you can do with your spare time. Particularly for me (I was a student on my summer break) thinking most days about what to do with all the free time I had, I wanted to utilise my time wisely - I’m so glad I did.

I found that PECT was very accommodating with my needs, which meant I was able to stay on as a volunteer when I began my A2s and just come in on a Wednesday afternoon. I found that volunteering has equipped me with many of the skills required within the workplace.

So, whether you’re a student like I was, or just looking for something to do in your spare time, PECT has an opportunity out there to suit you. Here’s a chance for you to make a real difference in your community, by contributing your time and talents to the work of PECT. In return for your work, think of how much you will be able to get out of it. You could take on a new challenge, develop skills to enhance your future and build connections with people and your community.

There are a whole host of volunteering opportunities at PECT, from admin based work through to tree planting, to events volunteering. But if you’re not sure what to choose, then why not give something a go? You may discover where your true talents lie.

To find out more information about volunteering with PECT, visit the volunteering page at www.pect.org.uk/volunteer.

Michaela Anthony is the Digital Marketing Apprentice at Peterborough Environment City Trust (PECT).



Hyperlocal Rainfall: August Progress Blog

Category: Public/Communities

Date: 15.08.2016

Time: 17:00

What a weekend that has just been! The Hyperlocal Rainfall app is now officially live after its launch at the Green Festival 2016. It was great to meet and speak to so many of you there! You can now download the app completely free from Google Play onto your Android phones by either searching for ‘Hyperlocal Rainfall’ through the store on your phone or by clicking here.

The launch day has been after 11 months of work for Hyperlocal Rainfall, PECT and our project partners Meniscus, Loughborough University and Anglia Ruskin University. Over this time we have had tremendous help from local residents and organisations, who have been providing input into the needs for the app’s development and testing it out for us so we could get it polished and ready to launch at the Green Festival.

What an exciting day the Green Festival was in the sunshine! There was a bit of rain first thing in the morning and I have to confess I was a bit happy that maybe I’d get to show people the app in action, mapping out and predicting the rainfall across the city but it wasn’t to be, the app showed no rain and in the end the sun came out and it was a lovely day for everyone!

At our stall it was great to have so many people interested in the app. I got to talk to so many of you about how you thought the app could help you in your daily lives, like taking the kids to school and walking your dog along with planning trips to the pub and activities such as gardening. I also got to explain the tech behind the app that our project partners have put together to get our accurate 5-minute predictions and route planning elements. If you want to find out more check out our information poster here.

I’m happy to say a lot of people at the Green Festival have now downloaded the app and those who downloaded the app at our stall on Saturday got to take home a free Hyperlocal Rainfall recycled water bottle! But the fun hasn’t stopped yet and you still have the chance to get your hands on a free Hyperlocal Rainfall water bottle at the Guided Walk!

On Tuesday 16th August 2016 I will be doing a guided walk where you can see how the app works and give it a go, meeting at the Guildhall in Cathedral Square at 12.30pm. All those that attend will receive a free Hyperlocal Rainfall water bottle! Come along for a nice leisurely walk along the Nene River towards the Boardwalks Nature Reserve and then back round into town. Take the chance to see if you would like to download the app, ask any questions you may have, and download your own copy! I look forward to seeing you there!

Freya Herman is the Project Officer for Hyperlocal Rainfall.



Communities Standing Together

Category: Public/Communities

Date: 01.08.2016

Time: 11:21

I have often wondered to myself what it means to be part of a community. If it is 'recognising myself amongst the collective’ this is most accurately revealed by looking around my house after the Transition Kings Cliffe Christmas Fair.

I can literally find myself within the eclectic mix of objects; the people represented by recycled jam jars from the Pickled Village, free and generous cake leftovers from Pudding and Pie, and Sue Kirk’s willow decorations hanging up on my wall (a basket weaver - but also great at braiding my hair on special occasions). A sense of meaning is made much stronger when my eyes rest on a supermarket bag in direct contradiction.

The harvests and crafts of these locals have been a constant element of my living room, kitchen, and more importantly lifestyle – throughout my childhood. It is the familiarity of the jam jar which gives it a curious power to capture a sense of my identity. In this moment I realise just how much the community has given me and how it is an essential part of self development.

I know Transition Kings Cliffe are aware just how many ways one can benefit from the community, promoting the knowledge that everything can be bought locally at one’s fingertips, with over 35 stalls in the Kings Cliffe village hall for the Transition Kings Cliffe Christmas Fair. With the slogan ‘avoid them all come to the hall’ they advertise local products that are ‘not just for Christmas’ but can be used throughout the whole year. The aim is to help everyone to adopt a more sustainable lifestyle.

As an intern here at Peterborough Environment City Trust (PECT), I very quickly became aware that, similarly, environmental sustainability is at the heart of everything PECT does. When out of the village I have time to reflect on my amazement at the independence such a small place can achieve. Kings Cliffe’s sense of independent community should not be underestimated; not only do the village’s strolling observers prop up the local business, the individual businesses prop up each other, for instance the Little Soup Kitchen uses Mr Wooding’s Vegetables.

It is apt that the original Transition Movement, which started in 2006, was initially grown from two small places Kinsale (Ireland) and Totnes (England). The inspirational effect of these communities is self explanatory because by 2013 a total of 1,107 other places had adopted their own form of Transition movement, in more than 23 countries around the world. It is beautifully ironic that spread so globally are ideas about an independent lifestyle.

Here at PECT we work towards sustainable environmental change with ‘think global act local’, which helps support local economic circulation. It also serves to reduce the already detrimentally fast use of fossil fuels and encourage people to look into alternatives.

Establishing that people benefit from the environment, how does Transition Kings Cliffe give back to the land? Their community projects are inspiring - even benefitting sub communities. Last year they grew an orchard and the local primary school had access to the apples. They support the public’s options to change their lifestyle for the long term. With bike parking at the shop people are able to make more sustainable changes easily.

Similarly PECT has achieved so much in the way of local projects; in 2010 PECT launched Forest for Peterborough, aiming to plant over 180,000 trees in and around the city and surrounding countryside by 2030. The intention behind Forest for Peterborough is to improve the quality of the green space for the community as well as the air quality, and ultimately to plant one tree for every person living in the city.

The principals of community stem from the most natural instincts and basic of relationships. The need for community is integral to us all, and this is why it can be found everywhere, and ideally constantly improved; however I am lucky to live in what is already a beautiful example.

Marianne Habeshaw is a volunteer with PECT.



Progress on the WestRaven Community Cafe

Category: Public/Communities

Date: 26.07.2016

Time: 14:01

Dear readers, it has been a while since my last blog about the development of the WestRaven Community Cafe!

You will be pleased to know that we have been granted the change of use for the property at 24-28 Hampton Court, Peterborough. We have also decided on a contractor to undertake the work. On the 13 July 2016 a partnership board meeting was held to approve the set-up cost and the request for extra funds.

Once this has been approved, we can start work on the conversion. Once the work has been completed there will be a two-week period to set up the inside and for staff training. We will then be inviting local businesses to an event to promote the café and what we can offer to them in the way of hospitality and events. In addition to this, we will also be inviting local volunteers and volunteering services to get involved with the café.

We aim to have a ‘soft opening’ to make sure all systems are in place, and then later we will have a full opening event to promote the café to the local community. The café opening hours will be 8am-4.30pm Monday to Saturday, and 11.30am-3.30pm on Sunday. On Monday to Saturday we will be offering breakfast, grab and go, and a simple lunch menu which will change every two weeks. On a Sunday we will be offering a Sunday roast, which customers will need to book a table for. One day a week we will be offering a free three-course meal in partnership with Peterborough Foodcycle.

A community engagement officer will organise the events that will take place in the café during opening hours. The youth in localities team will run the Garage Youth Group for 14 to 18 year olds. Ideas for the future include everything from pop-up restaurants, alfresco foods, senior lunch clubs, street foods, intergenerational cooking and cultural foods from around the world. We will also operate a Loyalty Card scheme and for volunteers a discount in relation to the volunteer hours.

I have also been keeping busy piloting the Jamie Oliver’s Ministry of Food cooking classes with two local primary schools, running cooking classes at City College Peterborough for Greeniversity and for Cross Keys Homes, and we also provided a BBQ for Ravensthorpe School’s sports day and summer fair and at the local Sue Ryder event in Hampton Court, Westwood.

If you would like to know more information or would like to come and get involved with the café or other activities that WestRaven’s Big Local are doing then we would love to hear from you! Please email kevin.earl@pect.org.uk.

Current views of the soon-to-be cafe!




Hyperlocal Rainfall: July Progress Blog

Category: Public/Communities

Date: 12.07.2016

Time: 17:05

We have had a lot of fun over the past month working with some great people across Peterborough, who have been helping us test out the Hyperlocal Rainfall app. The main part of this testing is now coming to a close and it has provided us with some fantastic insight into what Peterborough residents want from this app, and how people will actually use it around the city!

The testers have come from a variety of backgrounds, including people who want ‘to get active’ , city workers wanting to know the ‘everyday weather on the commute’, or those simply wanting to see ‘how it could help planning journeys’ or ‘timing dog walks’.

We let the testers loose with the app, getting them to see how useful they found the app’s ability to link their journeys with specific weather predictions. For the testing, we asked the participants to use the app as if they had just downloaded it and along the way they gave us feedback on what they liked, didn’t like, and what they thought could be improved. We are happy to report that most of the feedback so far has been positive and the few improvements suggested are constructive and will only make our app stronger and easier to use.

Participants that have already completed their user testing have said they are happy to carry on using the app beyond the testing for their own personal use, because they have enjoyed using the app and have found it useful. Some of the great comments included:

‘I have really enjoyed using it. The routes are great, the routes are the best thing about the app’ - Participant 2

‘There were 2 days last week when I waited at home for an extra 10 minutes before I set off. Really helpful, otherwise I would have actually got drenched’ - Participant 7

To keep you all updated here is what the latest test version of the Hyperlocal Rainfall app is looking like:

Now we move onto wrapping up the remaining user tests and getting a few improvements made to the app from the testers’ helpful feedback. In addition to this we are excitedly getting ready for PECT’s Green Festival on Saturday 13 August where we are aiming to have the Hyperlocal Rainfall app ready to go for Android users! I hope to see you there!

Freya Herman is the Project Officer for Hyperlocal Rainfall.



Think global, act local

Category: Public/Communities

Date: 07.07.2016

Time: 12:11

The environment sector’s mantra ‘think global, act local’ came to mind when reading about the research of Erik van Sebille, an Oceanographer at Imperial College London. Van Sebille’s work has shown that, in the space of just two years, most of the plastic dumped in seas around the UK travels to the Arctic.

With the region’s fish and wildlife already in danger from the effects of climate change and the melting of the polar ice cap, the climate scientist reckons it “is probably the worst place for plastic to be at this moment”.  

Some try to downplay the UK’s role in the pollution of the world’s oceans, pointing out that other regions (notably Southeast Asia) dump a far greater volume of plastics into the seas. However, ocean currents around the UK mean that plastic can be swept north very quickly, making pollution in this area particularly significant. Van Sebille’s assessment is that the UK’s waste “has a very big impact on one of the most vulnerable ecosystems in the world”.

That actions close to home can have such a disastrous impact globally is undeniably shocking. However, ‘think global, act local’ works both ways- small, personal actions can have a positive impact on the rest of the world, as well as a negative one. Everyone can take simple steps to contribute towards protecting and improving the global environment.

Take a look at PECT’s tips on how to be greener at home, school and work for some great ways to get started. If recycling a single plastic bottle or tin can feels insignificant, remember that respectively, these steps would save enough energy to power a 60-watt light bulb or a TV for 3 hours. All of these materials can hold great value.

As one of people credited with first using the phrase ‘think global, act local’, the American philosopher Buckminster Fuller, said: “Pollution is nothing but resources we’re not harvesting.”

Emma Taylor is the Healthy Homes Project Support Officer at Peterborough Environment City Trust.



Hyperlocal Rainfall: June Progress

Category: Public/Communities

Date: 22.06.2016

Time: 09:30

With our beta app testing (the second phase of software testing) kicking off this week for Hyperlocal Rainfall we have been pretty busy over the past month getting everything set up and the app ready for our user testers. This has given me the opportunity to finally try out the beta version of the app for myself and I thought I’d share my experience to give everyone a taste of what the app will offer!

The rain came and went pretty fast last week, with quite a few sharp, heavy showers, and I think I may have been the only person in the country happy about this, because it gave me a chance to put the app to the test!

I thought I would test out the Hyperlocal Rainfall app by planning a couple of short walks around Peterborough city centre, trying to get some nice walks in between the showers. On my second walk I could see via the app that I might get caught by some heavy rain towards the end of my walk, so to see if this actually would be the case I grabbed my coat and planned to take some shelter when I got to that part of my walk (in the lovely gardens behind the Cathedral)! Just 3 minutes before the app had predicted the rain came and, from the app, it looked like I’d have a short wait before the next break in the rain. It was right, and with a bit of patience I could finish my walk and get back to the office nice and dry!

Now the version of the app I was using only provided prediction every 10 minutes so I was quite pleased with the rain starting within 3 minutes of the prediction! But our lucky testers will be getting our full predictions down to 5 minute intervals, so hopefully they will have an even better experience with it. 

Also, in the last week I’ve managed to use the app to avoid some very heavy rain on my walk home from the supermarket, which I was quite thankful for. I’m now looking forward to using Hyperlocal Rainfall as a staple of my commute to and from the train station and helping me be more prepared for my longer cycles when I’m not at work.  

Over the next month we will have our user testers trying out the beta version of the Hyperlocal Rainfall app, finding out how it can support them walking and cycling around Peterborough, what other uses they may find for it, and if there are any more tweaks that are needed to improve it. From there we will be gearing up for the Green Festival on Saturday 13th August where we will be showcasing the app for everyone, stay posted for more details!

As always, if you want to know more about the Hyperlocal Rainfall project and how you can get involved please get in touch!

Freya Herman is the Project Officer for Hyperlocal Rainfall. For more information on the app, please email freya.herman@pect.org.uk.



The future looks bright with volunteers

Category: Public/Communities

Date: 02.06.2016

Time: 10:41

I sometimes get the feeling that if all the people who volunteer in the UK went on strike the whole country would fall to pieces, what with cuts to public services and third sector organisations struggling to gain funding. I find, more and more, that the people who are helping to get things done are ordinary people who are willing to give up their time to make the things they care about happen.

Volunteering is a very rewarding occupation and there is certainly a ‘feel good’ factor about giving something back; it keeps people active and provides a boost in confidence for all ages, plus is a great way of beating social isolation and boredom for many.

I volunteer for Backyard Food and find that it’s a great way to hang out with my friends, fellow volunteers who I’ve met since my involvement. I feel good that I’m part of a movement that’s offering a sustainable alternative to supermarket mayhem and love my days in the shop where I get to be in beautiful surroundings, and interact with shoppers and hear their stories and share mine, even if that is just chatting about the weather! Plus I also get to play shopkeeper which is great fun!

Many of our projects at PECT rely upon the support of volunteers, from those who plant trees for Forest for Peterborough to our regular office volunteers Peter and Karen, who keep the rest of us in check! Karen busies herself in the office two mornings a week and with 15 years of service is our longest-standing PECT member. One of the community’s team projects that would not exist without support from local resident volunteers is our Big Local team in WestRaven (Westwood and Ravensthorpe).

Funded by the Big Lottery’s Local Trusts, whose mission is to enable residents to make their communities and their areas even better places in which to live, WestRaven were lucky enough to be awarded one million pounds to spend over a 10 year period to improve their area and the lives of the people who live there. I’ve been working with the resident volunteers there for two years now and during that time I’ve really come to appreciate the dedication and skills of the people involved, and made some new friends along the way!

The two main thrusts of the project are to open a community cafe (watch this space for the date of the grand opening late this summer) and to create a community garden on a piece of land adjacent to Ravensthorpe school. Other things they are up to include creating a space for the youth of the area to be safe and happy and a ‘community chest’ where local people can apply for funding for their own projects.

The thing I’ve been most impressed with is the tenacity shown by the people involved; it’s been a long journey, which hasn’t been without its challenges (who ever thought opening a cafe would be easy?) but the residents just keep pushing on and doing their upmost best to stay in positive spirits and resolve problems as and when they arise. They have also created some impressive partnerships along the way, with the prison (the only Big Local area with inmates as residents), Cross Keys Homes, the local schools and many more.

The future is looking bright for WestRaven. Once the cafe is open and the garden is fully up and running these two places will be a great springboard for even more people to get involved and reap the rewards of volunteering.

If you would like to get involved with this project or other PECT projects please email volunteering@pect.org.uk. If you are thinking about volunteering elsewhere in the city click on the link to PCVS, there are also links to Backyard Foods and PECT volunteering opportunities.

My message is get involved – the rewards are fantastic and it’s a really good feeling to be giving something back, and, who knows you may even, like me, make some really good friends along the way.

Karen Igho is Communities Team Manager for PECT.



Hyperlocal Rainfall: May Progress

Category: Public/Communities

Date: 17.05.2016

Time: 13:25

We have some exciting news: we now have a working version of the Hyperlocal Rainfall app! It still has some small alterations to be made, but it looks great on my phone already if I do say so myself! Over the past few months our project partner Meniscus has been working hard to bring it all together, taking into consideration all of the helpful feedback everyone gave us earlier in the project.

To give us a better idea of what goes into the app’s development Aimee-Louise Hunt from Meniscus has spoken a bit about their work:

"The first version of the Hyperlocal rainfall app is now complete and we are thrilled with its progress. We’ve worked hard to get the core functionality of the app running smoothly, particularly incorporating rainfall predictions. We are excited to move into the beta stage of the development where we will aim to include new features such as personalisation within the app."

Now we still have a way to go yet before we have the final working version of the Hyperlocal Rainfall app with all the features and capabilities that we would like, and a bit of work left before we can start testing it, but it is exciting and reassuring to now have something to play with!

Over the next few months our project partners at Anglia Ruskin University will be working closely with Meniscus to build on the first version of the app and develop the personalisation aspects of it, making the app more beneficial to the individual user and how best it can work for you. 

Whilst this is going on we will be starting to test the app on android phones here in Peterborough! We, along with project partners Loughborough University, will be looking for local residents to have a go using the app around the city and surrounding areas. This will be a great opportunity for you to get involved in Hyperlocal Rainfall and make a real impact on how the app will work for Peterborough.

In late June we will be putting together sessions to introduce people to the app at Peterborough Environment City Trust's offices in the city centre, and getting them their own version of the app installed on their android phones. From here we would like the testers to use the app every day (if they can) for two weeks and feedback to us about how they are finding using it around the city. If this sounds interesting to you and you think you would like to take part helping test the Hyperlocal Rainfall app then get it touch! Please email freya.herman@pect.org.uk

Freya Herman is the Project Officer for Hyperlocal Rainfall.



Welcome aboard!

Category: Public/Communities

Date: 12.05.2016

Time: 13:51

At the end of this week I am taking a trip with my mum on the Eurostar to Paris, which got me thinking about this sustainable mode of transport. Not all of my travel is sustainable but when I can I try and take the train instead. Not only does it produce fewer emissions per passenger than by car (according to Friends of the Earth it is roughly half!) but it is a great chance to sit back and see places in a different light.

Over Easter I went Interrailing in Eastern Europe and loved the freedom of travelling between countries by rail, meeting interesting people and sampling some delicious delicacies on the way. One day I’d like to follow Joanna Lumley’s footsteps and try the longest railway line in the world: the Trans-Siberian Railway!

According to Hull Trains, closer to home in the UK, 3.5 million passengers travel by train every day. However, this mode of transport has sometimes been criticised for being expensive and so here are my three top tips for reducing costs:

1. Book ahead. Rail companies release advanced tickets roughly 12 weeks ahead and these are cheaper.
2. See if you are eligible for a Railcard. If you are, you could save up to 1/3 of the price!
3. Look out for discounts. You can often save money by booking as a group of friends and you can sign up to emails such as the one from the Money Saving Expert. Newsletters like this can keep you up to date with offers such as the Eurostar seat sale from £29 each way!

Peterborough itself is well placed for train travel, with direct links to London, Birmingham and even Edinburgh. Two of our tourist attractions, Railworld and the Nene Valley Railway (NVR) offer fun days out for the whole family, including the NVR open day this weekend.

Our city was lucky enough earlier this year to have the Flying Scotsman soaring through our station and it is also set to return later in the year. So keep your eyes peeled - maybe seeing this part of our history will inspire you to hop on board too!

Jennie Orrell is Project Co-Ordinator at Peterborough Environment City Trust (PECT).



Proud to be PECT

Category: Public/Communities

Date: 11.05.2016

Time: 14:14

When talking about Peterborough Environment City Trust’s work with Community Interest Company TTG Training (which offers support to ex-offenders and young people) during the redecoration of PECT’s offices on Cowgate, CEO Carly Leonard explained:

“As a charity, all of the decisions we make are informed by our desire to make a real difference to people’s lives. Whether it’s through the work of our projects or through the choices we make and the suppliers we work with, Peterborough Environment City Trust (PECT) endeavours to improve the local environment and the well-being of its communities whenever it can.”

It is this attitude that makes me so proud to work for PECT. Not everyone can say that about their employer, but here at PECT everyone aims to make a real difference and staff really do ‘walk the walk’. Other organisations could take inspiration from some of the initiatives run at PECT’s offices.

It’s great to see environmental considerations running through every section of our organisation. For example, the use of plastic bags is discouraged and instead there is a range of reusable bags for staff to take out for lunchtime shopping. Having that little reminder of the bags hanging by the door is fantastic for gentle persuasion!

We also have a ‘sharing table’ for all staff. Whether it’s a surplus of home-grown produce or excess hen’s eggs that needs sharing, books that have been read and recommended, or second-hand clothes – items are there for the taking to help reduce waste and to encourage reuse and recycling.

Our health and well-being is improved with weekly lunchtime yoga provided free of charge to all staff by a qualified member of staff, and smoothies created from organic fruit and veg supplied to the office by a local veg box scheme.

Staff have use of pool bikes and an electric car, to ensure we can get to meetings in the most sustainable way possible – ideally through cycling, walking or public transport wherever possible!

In addition to this, all staff have a multitude of opportunities to experience each other’s projects – whether it’s through planting trees, helping on event days, or finding out about environmental audits of businesses – it all helps staff to talk about each other’s projects confidently. In this same vein, we also hold regular ‘lunch n learns’ for staff to tell others about what they’ve learnt and to share knowledge.

Laura Fanthorpe is Marketing and Communications Manager at PECT.



Warm Home Discount marketing key for Fuel Poor households

Category: Public/Communities

Date: 03.05.2016

Time: 16:55

Starting with a positive, the national £140 Warm Home Discount (WHD) has been extended to 2021! The WHD provides financial support to help reduce energy bills for the most vulnerable.

The two categories for support are:

• Core Group: consists of older pensioner households on low incomes who are in receipt of the guarantee element of pension credit; it is a clearly defined group.
• Broader Group: this is largely left to energy suppliers to define, within a framework set by Ofgem and the relevant Regulations.

Core Group households are given the discount automatically provided the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) have the correct address for the client. Broader Group households have to apply annually, often online.

However, the charity Peterborough Environment City Trust (PECT) has surveyed nearly 500 households over the past year through home visits and found that 80% of residents didn’t know about the scheme, despite 60% potentially being eligible.

So perhaps the energy companies are not effectively marketing the scheme, particularly to the most vulnerable who don’t have access to the internet. For those companies that only accept online applications, they potentially exclude the very people the scheme aims to help.

Although preliminary discussions, led by National Energy Action (NEA), are underway to bring automatic data matching into place from 2017/18, perhaps further work could be done by the energy companies themselves.

However, in the meantime, please make anyone with a relatively low income (<£16,190) with a household vulnerability (eg: a child under 5) aware of the scheme and to check the criteria with their energy company.

Sam Bosson is the Project Officer for Healthy Homes.



Healthy Homes: Top Tips to Cut Energy Bills

Category: Public/Communities

Date: 18.04.2016

Time: 15:34

Throughout 2016, PECT’s Healthy Homes project is working with residents in Peterborough and Fenland to tackle fuel poverty. When a household struggles to pay for adequate heating due to a combination of low income, high energy costs and poor insulation, it’s classed as being in fuel poverty.

It’s a big problem, affecting about 8% of homes in Fenland and 10% in Peterborough, and has real consequences not only on a household’s finances but also on health. The impact of cold homes is estimated to cost the NHS £1.5 billion and accounts for more than 18,000 premature deaths each year.

If you live in Peterborough or Fenland, you can get in touch with the Healthy Homes team on 01733 866440 to book a home visit, which covers changing tariff, tips to cut energy costs and home improvements such as insulation and boiler replacements for eligible households. However, everyone can benefit from some simple tips to cut energy bills, boosting income and health, while cutting carbon emissions:

1. Loyalty doesn’t always pay! You could save hundreds of pounds by switching to a different tariff or supplier. You can compare prices in a few minutes using uSwitch.
2. Check if you’re eligible for any heating benefits such as the Warm Home Discount, Cold Weather Payments or Winter Fuel Payments
3. If you have an oil boiler, consider joining a buying group to cut costs.
4. Review how you pay for your bills - most suppliers will offer a discount for paying by direct debit or using internet billing, usually around £75 per year.
5. Small behaviour changes can have a big effect - reducing tumble drier use by one load per week can save £55 per year and using a washing up bowl for dishes rather than filling the sink can cut your annual energy bill by £30. There are more tips to reduce energy usage on the Energy Saving Trust’s website.
6. Check if your bills are correct - are the costs based on actual or estimated meter readings (a letter ‘A’ next to the reading indicates an actual reading; ‘E’, estimated; ‘C’, reading made by the customer)? Accurate meter readings are really important to avoid over or under paying, which could lead to a big credit or debt over time. For more information about understanding energy bills, check out uSwitch’s guide.
7. Upgrade to more efficient appliances and insulation. Healthy Homes might be able to help with this if you live in Peterborough or Fenland. Even DIY measures such as loft insulation can slash costs - a 3-bedroom semi-detached house will typically save £140 per year, with a payback period of two years.
8. Consider investing in renewable energy sources. At the moment, Peterborough City Council residents have the opportunity to apply for free solar panels - find out more on the Council's website.

Emma Taylor is the Healthy Homes Project Support Officer.



Hyperlocal Rainfall: April progress

Category: Public/Communities

Date: 14.04.2016

Time: 16:36

Whilst our Hyperlocal Rainfall app is working its way through the final stages of its initial development I thought I would take this opportunity to give a better idea of the concepts and aims behind this project, how we are achieving these, and where we will be taking Hyperlocal Rainfall over the next few months!

The weather is one of the main factors that influences how we choose to travel, and changeable or bad weather can be very off-putting when it comes to walking and cycling places. We believe that there is an opportunity here to minimise the negative influences of the weather by providing more accurate information; because this will give people more confidence in when to travel and how to be properly prepared for the day’s weather, allowing them to choose more active and sustainable options. 

Hyperlocal Rainfall is the first project of its kind to bring together a route-planning tool with hyperlocal (small, localised to a specific area) weather predictions. To be able to make this an effective tool for people to use around Peterborough, our app will be providing rainfall predictions in greater detail than currently available from other services, with predictions every five minutes for the hour ahead compared to the standard one-hour intervals.

To achieve this innovative service we are using a combination of rain radar data and historical weather data with additional real-time information from local weather stations, recently installed on schools across Peterborough. This allows us to see what is happening at many different levels with great accuracy and project partners Meniscus will be able to use their own analytics platform, MAP, to translate it all into our accurate, short-term hyperlocal predictions.

Within the Hyperlocal Rainfall app you will be able to plan your trip with our route planner (using Google Maps), which will then be overlaid with our rainfall predictions for your specific journey. Each journey will be provided with its own personal rainfall predictions that will be adjusted for how you choose to travel and when you will be starting your trip. A great part of the app is the more you take a trip the better it will get at predicting your journey time (improving on Google Maps), so for your regular trips and commutes you will get more personal rainfall predictions.

For more information about how the app will work have a look at our information poster here. By helping to increase the amount of walking and cycling around Peterborough there could be many positive impacts for both the local area and residents alike. There are countless environmental benefits, such as improving local air quality and reducing carbon emissions from lowering congestions, as well as personal benefits in increasing your fitness and wellbeing whilst reducing the risk of many health conditions, such as heart disease.

In the coming months PECT will be providing further information on how walking and cycling more can help you, and providing support to get you started and keep going with active sustainable travel. This will all contribute towards Peterborough become a greener, healthier, and more sustainable city, so watch this space!

We really want to engage with people from Peterborough to help this app be truly reflective of everyone’s needs, so going into the summer months we will be looking for Peterborough residents to get involved in the project again to help us try out and test the app around the city!

This will provide us with important feedback in how the app is working and if there are any further improvements that needs to be made. If this is something you think you would be interested in getting involved with or would like more information about the project, please do get in touch! Email freya.herman@pect.org.uk.

Freya Herman in the Project Officer for Hyperlocal Rainfall.



Smart Meters: The Next Generation

Category: Public/Communities

Date: 13.04.2016

Time: 16:36

As you may have heard, the government has set the target of installing a smart meter in every household in the UK by 2020. Smart meters are next generation meters for both gas and electricity; they are set to replace your existing meters, which use decades old technology. Smart technology is beginning to revolutionise how we live our lives and the introduction of these meters is another step towards an interactive, technology-dominated lifestyle.

How do smart meters work?

Smart meters use a secure national communication network to automatically and wirelessly send your actual energy usage to your supplier, it’s up to you how often your meter will send this data, but it could be as often as every half hour.

Your old meter does have to be taken out and replaced with a new meter, you’ll also receive an in-house display that will be synced with your meter to provide you with all the information that your old meter gave you, and more.

What are the benefits of smart metering?

A better understanding of how you use energy at home

As mentioned previously, your new smart meter will come with an electronic display, which you can plug in anywhere at your home. This will allow you to see your energy use live, in turn allowing you to understand what items in your house use the most electricity and therefore cost you the most.

So for example, when you turn the kettle on you will be able to see the kw/h of electricity that your house is currently using rise, the amount you have spent over the day will also increase. You should be able to relate this to all the appliances in your home and have a good understanding of your most expensive appliances in your home.

The display also allows you to find out information about your tariff, such as the standing charge and the unit price, having this information at your fingertips will also allow you to make informed decisions about whether or not to switch tariff or provider.  

The end of meter readings and estimated bills

Meter readings will now be live, its up to you how often you send the information from your meter across to your energy company, but it could be up to every half hour. Meaning that there is no need for you to ring up and give a meter reading or receive an estimated bill. This feature will be extremely helpful for anyone that finds getting to their meter a struggle.

Prepay meter users

Smart meters will prove most beneficial for houses that use prepayment meters, particularly for when you are close to running out of credit on your meter. Having an understanding of what uses what will allow you to make informed decisions about what you can do with out for a couple of days, if necessary.

Having awareness of how little some household items cost to use will also help those people who are scared of using too much and putting themselves in debt, particularly when it comes to heating their homes in winter time. For example, some people sacrifice heating their whole home and just use an electric heater in one room, which in most cases is actually a more expensive way of keeping yourself warm. This should allow residents to make better decisions about how they keep themselves warm.

What’s next?

As smart meters begin to integrate with other smart technologies it is very possible that we will be looking at a brand new type of tariff being made available to the public known as a, ‘time of use tariff’.  These tariffs will be similar to Economy 7 tariffs in the sense that they will offer you cheaper rates during off-peak hours, such as during the working week. This should hopefully help to distribute the demand for electricity away from peak hours, helping the grid to cope with the growth in demand for electricity in the UK.   

Hugh Smith is the Project Officer for Warm Homes Peterborough.



Not waving but drowning in a sea of waste

Category: Public/Communities

Date: 11.04.2016

Time: 14:49

We’re drowning in a sea of waste, especially plastic waste which carpets our environment on land and in water.

Walk down your street and note the amount of waste on the pavements, in the gutters and in people’s front gardens or parking areas: drinks containers (plastic, tin and glass), cigarette packets (cellophane wrapped), snack and sweet wrappings.

Local authority street cleaning services cannot cope by themselves with this litter mountain! We all have a part to play in binning and recycling litter even if we didn’t drop it.

Clear any rubbish from the space in front of your home and keep the pavement and gutter clean. If you have time, arm yourself with a litter-picker and clean a neighbourhood street or two, especially of recyclables. If you like company, there might be a local volunteer litter-picking team - your local councillor should be able to put you in touch – or why not start one yourself?

Plastic is the No.1 villain in this scenario. What can be done to reduce the use of plastic in modern life?

As a consumer, only buy food and drink in non-plastic containers (preferably bio-degradable material). You might want to ask your MP to persuade government to impose an environmental levy on the manufacture and use of plastic containers or bring in regulations to make use of recyclable plastic in the food and drink industry mandatory.

Some of you might not recognise the grimy vision painted above. But you do eat fish, don’t you?

Plastic pollution of the world’s oceans has reached extreme levels, both as surface-floating debris and more significantly as micro plastic confetti which can coat the ocean bed. Micro plastics act as sponges for oceanic toxins that affect the fish that ingest them, rendering these fish increasingly unfit for human consumption. We now have ‘Garbage Patches’ in most of the world’s oceans.

Human ingenuity is trying to ameliorate this catastrophic situation: the Ocean Cleanup project (www.theoceancleanup.com) is developing large-scale floating barriers which funnel surface debris into smaller areas for extraction; Sea Shepherd Conservation Society’s (www.seashepherd.org) ‘Vortex Project’ harvests ocean plastic for eco-innovator ‘Bionic Yarn’ to turn into their unique clothing fibres.

On land, Japanese scientists have discovered enzymes found in the bacterium Ideonella sakaiensis which can break down Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic into environmentally harmless constituents in a number of weeks.

Plastic pollution affects us all, so what are you going to do about your plastic use? Don’t drown in a sea of waste!

Peter Reynolds is Greeniversity Peterborough’s volunteer administrator.



WestRaven Big Local

Category: Public/Communities

Date: 29.03.2016

Time: 12:15

Hello, my name is Kevin and I have recently joined the team here at Peterborough Environment City Trust (PECT) a Peterborough-based environmental charity that runs projects both locally and nationally.

I have joined the team to work on an exciting project with the communities of Westwood and Ravensthorpe. A while back, Big Lottery funding with the Local Trust awarded 150 areas across the country each with £1,000,000 over 10 years. To qualify, the area had to be considered as a deprived area and not received Lottery funding before.

The Local Trust mission is to enable residents to make their communities a better place in which to live. So they created the Big Local, their first and major initiative. In Peterborough the local trust went about setting up a community group within the district of Westwood and Ravensthorpe, which is now known as WestRaven Big Local.

After a lot of consultation with residents on how the community could improve or make a dramatic change to the area they live in and improve the lives of local people, the board decided that a community café and green space would be the two projects they would like spend some of the Lottery money on.

So the resident-led project teamed up with a locally-trusted organisation. WestRaven Big Local chose Cross Keys Homes. The WestRaven Big Local is also working with partner organisations around the local area, including Ravensthorpe and Highlees Primary Schools, Sodexo justice services HMP Peterborough, Peterborough youth in localities services and the charity PECT.

Within Hampton Court in Westwood there is a shopping precinct, which had a double unit for rent. The WestRaven Big Local board made the necessary enquiries and secured a lease on the property with PECT being the leaseholder.

West Raven Big Local then decided that they would need key staff in place to facilitate the running of the café, a Chef Manager and a Community Engagement Officer. That is when I joined PECT and WestRaven Big Local, to manage and set up a Community Café, because I have been in the hospitality industry for over 30 years.

I am a fully qualified chef and have worked in various hotels, restaurants and contract caterers in my career. My previous job was as an Operation Support and Development Chef, working across the health care division of a contract caterer with 150 care homes. My job was to implement staff training and menus, develop concepts and offers to enhance service and to give dignity to individuals.

But this will be no ordinary café! Within the café we plan to have a safe and comfortable youth area with facilities that they have chosen. There will also be a domestic kitchen setting to enable us to train local residents in cooking from scratch, health benefits, and simple budgeting skills. There will also be an area that can be used during the day for community classes such as arts and crafts, job clubs and well-being courses. We will also have a commercial kitchen and café seating area during the day. Another thing that we are working on is pop-up restaurants in conjunction with local residents, community groups, and senior citizens’ lunch clubs and a meals on wheels service for sheltered housing, but to name just a few of the ideas.

In conjunction with Peterborough Prison, The Job Centre and Peterborough College we can offer work experience placements for local residents of Westwood and Ravensthorpe, Jack Hunt School and the wider area, to help get people into work.
Ravensthorpe Primary School kindly donated a piece of land that WestRaven Big Local can use as the green space project, which we plan to use as a ‘plot to plate’ project to enhance the café. We are now at the stage that we will start to renovate the shop unit so I have included some before pictures, and if you watch this space we will update on the ‘after pictures’ once each part is completed.

If you are interested in getting involved and can spare some time as a volunteer, either running an event for the local community or helping out in the café – or even if you have an idea for a pop-up restaurant – then please feel free to drop me an email to discuss this further on kevin.earl@pect.org.uk.

This area will be the main washing-up area. The room to the right with the hatches in the wall will be the main kitchen and the room straight ahead will be the office and staff facilities.

This will be the main kitchen, the hatch will be extended and heat lamps and stainless steel shelves put in place.

This is the view of the café’s main seating area from the washing area. There will be a servery unit and chilled decks here. To the left is the community space. 

This is the community space area, there are lots of activities planned for here. This will be divided from the café by sliding doors that could be opened to double the space when we do a pop up restaurant.



Hyperlocal Rainfall: March Progress Blog

Category: Public/Communities

Date: 10.03.2016

Time: 10:24

The independent charity Peterborough Environment City Trust has teamed up with Meniscus, Anglia Ruskin University, and Loughborough University to launch a brand new app-development project in Peterborough called Hyperlocal Rainfall, funded by Innovate UK.

The project is looking to deliver a brand new phone app that will help people to make informed decisions about travel around Peterborough, by providing up-to-the-minute and hyper-localised weather forecasts, enabling users to walk and cycle more by taking the weather into account and hence improve their health and wellbeing. Freya Herman is the Project Officer for Hyperlocal Rainfall.

Over the past few months we have taken the first major steps with the Hyperlocal Rainfall project with an amazing amount of help and support from the people of Peterborough! Now we are waiting excitedly, but patiently, to see the initial version of our app which is currently in the development phase.

To get us to this point we have engaged with over 30 Peterborough residents, who wanted to get involved with the development of the app. Late last year, we held one- to-one interviews to find out how having access to better knowledge about when and where it is going to rain could support the participants with walking, jogging, and cycling and how best it could help people travel sustainably around Peterborough.

Earlier this year, we also undertook group discussion sessions across the city to develop on the feedback from the interviews. These sessions helped us build a better picture of how people would want to interact with Hyperlocal Rainfall’s improved short-term rainfall predictions to plan their journeys and (with the help of many brightly coloured pens!) how the app could look.

Participants made great use of the coloured pens to give an idea of how they think the app could look

The feedback from these sessions was overwhelmingly positive and helpful, providing us with lots of great information to build on. The sessions also gave us interesting insights into other ways the Hyperlocal Rainfall app may be useful, such as when to hang out the laundry or have your afternoon BBQ!

With our project partners from Loughborough University we pulled together all the information; highlighting key points, interesting ideas, and trends in the feedback about how the app can best show rainfall and other information to help you plan your journeys around the weather. The results from this have now been handed over to our other project partners Meniscus Ltd and Anglia Ruskin University to directly feed into the app’s development, which aims to provide personalised information to the users.

Pulling together all the information from the group discussions with our project partners from Loughborough University

So, all this fantastic information we have gathered over the past few months is now guiding the app’s development process and though it may not be possible or feasible to fit in all the ideas we would like from these sessions we know that the input is helping us work towards the strongest and most supportive app for sustainable travel around Peterborough. I would like to take this opportunity to again thank everybody who has been involved so far with Hyperlocal Rainfall, it has been greatly appreciated and I hope you enjoyed it as much as we have!

There is still a lot of work to be done on Hyperlocal Rainfall and our next step is to get the initial version of the app complete, a step I am very excited about as I can’t wait to see our app in action for the first time! Then from here, we will be looking to run user trials to test the app around Peterborough to allow us to develop it further and make any improvements that may be needed.

This is the first in a series of monthly progress blogs on everything that is happening with Hyperlocal Rainfall, so if you want to keep an eye on how this project is developing and get more information on the initial version of the app, check back next month for my April update!



Celebrating the achievements of people in Peterborough

Category: Public/Communities

Date: 29.02.2016

Time: 17:27

I was fortunate enough to attend the Peterborough Civic Awards one Wednesday afternoon in February, after two of our fantastic volunteers were told they were due to receive awards at the event.

I would - of course - always say that our volunteers are the best and truly deserving of winning Civic Awards. Their hard work and dedication makes a massive difference to what we can achieve as a charity.

On the night, our volunteer Michaela won the Young Person Civic Award for the passion and initiative she has shown. In addition, Peter won an Environmental Achievement Civic Award for volunteering with our green skills share scheme Greeniversity. It was absolutely fantastic that they were honoured for the difference they make to their local community.

What was so wonderful about the night was having the chance to meet lots of other volunteers and to hear about all the other great works people are doing across the city. The awards are a great way to say thank you to the people who go out of their way to help others and to recognise all the great work that they do.

Just some of the other winners' achievements (and there's far too many to mention all of them) include organising collection points to support refugees in Calais, the significant impact made by being a teacher for more than 40 years, being an ambassador for celebrating diversity, helping the city to achieve Fairtrade City Status and many more.

It makes me feel massively proud about the achievements of people in Peterborough.

Laura Fanthorpe is Marketing and Communications Manager at Peterborough Environment City Trust.



Working on Hyperlocal Rainfall

Category: Public/Communities

Date: 26.01.2016

Time: 17:58

So I have been with Peterborough Environment City Trust (PECT) for three whole months now and what an enjoyable time it has been so far – from being a part of a great team, to getting to meet and work with so many people around Peterborough and even planting a few trees along the way!

I am the Project Officer for Hyperlocal Rainfall, where we are developing an app that will be able to accurately predict rainfall within 5 minute intervals for the hour ahead of you, for your specific journeys, to help support and encourage Peterborough residents to use sustainable transport around the city.

I came to PECT late last year for this project having recently graduated from the University of East Anglia studying Environmental Science. I have had a passion for nature and environmental issues from a young age and my focus has grown around communicating and engaging people and communities with these environmental issues, such as sustainability and climate change.

I saw the Hyperlocal Rainfall project as a great opportunity to get involved with something truly innovative, getting people engaged with sustainable actions in a way that hadn’t been done before, and giving people a tool they themselves can use to make a real difference to their lives and their local environment. I am a true believer in ‘think global, act local’, and once I started to read up on PECT and the work it carries out I couldn’t wait to be a part of it.

Over the past few months I have learnt bucket loads and Hyperlocal Rainfall is developing nicely, having received input and help from nearly 40 people across Peterborough in how they would want this app to work for them and how best it could benefit the city.

All the feedback has been promising and I am really looking forward to getting even more people involved with Hyperlocal Rainfall over the next year. It will be great to meet more of you and to see the difference the app will be able to make in supporting the use of sustainable transport in people’s daily lives and in having a positive impact on our local environment!

Freya Herman is PECT's Project Officer for Hyperlocal Rainfall.



Reflecting on a Sustainable Christmas

Category: Public/Communities

Date: 08.01.2016

Time: 15:42

Each year at PECT we run a Secret Santa between the staff with the condition that any gift must be ethically sourced, handmade or second hand. Whilst obviously this isn’t a requirement for the rest of the gifts I give it does influence the rest of my Christmas and I think it is a good reminder for the rest of the year too.

From gifts, to food, to wrapping paper, and all the other elements of my Christmas time this PECT tradition makes me question how I do things. Last year I gave a lot of family and friends homemade cakes, biscuits, or other sweet treats as their present or part of it. Not only was this a great way for me to save money, at what is always an expensive time of year, but I think it shows more care and attention than simply giving someone a box of chocolates or a bottle of wine.

This year, although I gave fewer homemade gifts, I did reuse a lot of old gift bags from previous years and attempt to be ethical in my gift giving where possible with Fair Trade items.

Outside of gifts (and the birth of Jesus!), one of the biggest things people associate with Christmas is the big roast dinner (or dinners) which many of us make our way through over the festive period. This is an opportunity for us to think about the sustainability of the choices we make.

Many people will be eating turkey, sausages, and bacon, probably in greater amounts than normal. Whilst switching to a nut roast and some extra Brussels might be the most sustainable option it isn’t realistic to expect everyone to do that. However, at Christmas and throughout the rest of the year we can be conscious about where the meat we buy comes from.

Free range chickens and turkeys, pork and beef from high welfare farms (look for the RSPCA assured logo) and seafood from sustainable fisheries (look for the MSC logo) are all ways in which we can shop more ethically. With all the varieties of accompanying vegetables we can shop seasonally, locally and organically. This helps to keep your carbon footprint down, and reduce the demand for less sustainably grown fruit and vegetables, whilst often providing a higher quality of produce.

How and where we shop has a big effect on how sustainable we are as individuals and households, and although Christmas is a time when we do more food and other shopping than normal and excess is in our minds, good habits are needed for the whole year, so why not try and make a change for 2016 and be more ethical with how you shop?

This blog was written by Andrew Ellis, Fundraising Officer at Peterborough Environment City Trust.



Merry Christmas from everyone at PECT!

Category: Public/Communities

Date: 24.12.2015

Time: 11:30

We've had a very exciting year, with some fantastic achievements, including presenting a Green Festival that engaged with over 10,000 participants and 38 partner organisations across the city. We also launched our new Peterborough Eco Framework - embedding knowledge of sustainability issues into classes to inspire the next generation of forward-thinking students. Plus we've now planted over 84,000 trees as part of the Forest for Peterborough project.

A huge thank you to everyone that has contributed to the successes of the past year. We look forward to working with people across the city and beyond throughout 2016 to continue to achieve a positive impact together!



Creating handmade gifts

Category: Public/Communities

Date: 15.12.2015

Time: 14:23

Christmas is a wonderful time of the year. Sadly for many though, the cost of buying gifts for loved ones can put a dampener on the festivities, but there are cheaper alternatives – you can make your own gifts!

Yes, I know, who on earth has time to make gifts these days and what if you can’t knit, build or have absolutely no creativity? Well, it’s easier than you think (especially with help from projects such as Greeniversity) and it’s always nice when you know some thought has gone into a gift.  As a child, I remember getting quite random gifts off my relatives that left me wondering, is this really for me? Having a gift made especially for you shows a lot of thought has gone into it and it doesn’t need to be expensive.

One year, I got my friend a shoe box full of purple things, her favourite colour. Ok, so this ranged from chocolate to cat food but it was all purple, and the thought was most definitely there! Funnily enough, the same year, my friend gave me a shoe box of things that reminded her of me. I can’t remember everything in the box, but there was a wind up mouth that jumped around chattering ….I think she was trying to tell me I talk too much!

There are so many websites now where you can get ideas for handmade gifts and decorations that there really is no excuse to resort to soap or handkerchiefs for relatives or Secret Santas.

Admittedly, it can take time to make a gift, but just think how the recipient will feel knowing you’re investing something way more precious than money in their gift… your time and thought! If hand-made gifts really aren’t an option, then take a moment to source ethical stores or shop locally at one of the many Xmas craft fairs that pop up at this time of year.

Happy ethical Xmas to you all!

This blog was written by Kari-ann Whitbread, Peterborough Environment City Trust's Fundraising Manager.



Aiming for a green Christmas

Category: Public/Communities

Date: 14.12.2015

Time: 10:22

With the latest forecasts suggesting that rain and gales are more likely than a white Christmas for most of the UK, why not aim for a green Christmas instead?

Research from WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Programme) suggests that households in England will create nearly three quarters of a million tonnes of extra waste at Christmas – an average of five extra black bags per household. Even just removing all of the recyclables in this extra rubbish would save 352,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide – equivalent to flying Santa around the world (by plane, not reindeer!) 64,500 times on Christmas Eve.

If you want to ‘green’ your celebrations, the Christmas tree is an apt place to start. If you opt for a real tree, if possible planted in a large pot, then a tree can be reused for several years or even longer if it’s replanted outdoors. If you don’t have the space to replant, recycling is offered by many local authorities and garden centres - Recycle Now has a list of tree recycling points. Sending a tree to landfill costs more than £2.30 per tree, as well as being a missed opportunity to provide nutrients for the soil or create mulch to use as a low-cost landscaping material.

When it comes to decorations, simply switching to LED bulbs can reduce energy consumption by up to 95%. LED decorations use around 0.04 watts each, 10 times less than standard mini tree bulbs and 100 times less than outdoor bulbs. Even better, if one LED burns out, the rest of the string will stay lit – so no more fumbling to find the broken bulb!

Sending and receiving cards offers lots of opportunities for green savings – have a go at making your own, pick designs made from recycled materials or save on paper, energy and fuel by sending e-cards. After Christmas, there are loads of ways to recycle your old cards. The M&S Christmas Card Recycling Scheme has committed to working with the Woodland Trust to plant a tree for every 1,000 cards recycled in store during January. Over the last five years, the scheme has funded 32,000 trees, with this year’s target set at 6 million cards and another 6,000 trees.

A green Christmas needn’t mean missing out on turkey with all the trimmings. The Soil Association estimates that the ingredients for a typical Christmas dinner can contribute 49,000 food miles – the equivalent of two journeys around the world. However, some simple switches can make a massive difference. Opt for an organic turkey if possible, or go for a veggie option. Focus on in-season sprouts and cabbage to reduce food miles. Look into options for local suppliers – the National Farmers’ Retail and Markets Association lists lots of markets and farm shops. For other ideas, read The Guardian’s guide to a green Christmas dinner or check out BBC Good Food’s ideas for using up Christmas leftovers.

Finally, even if your green Christmas doesn’t go to plan, there’s always the chance to make an eco New Year’s resolution

This blog was written by Emma Taylor, Healthy Homes Project Support Officer at Peterborough Environment City Trust.



Fuel Poverty and the Private Rented Sector

Category: Public/Communities

Date: 16.11.2015

Time: 10:11

Winter is coming. Time to top up the insulation, switch and save, and keep your fingers crossed for a promotion – because these are the factors that will keep you out of “fuel poverty”.

But what happens if you can’t get a promotion, are stuck with a prepayment meter and the insulation in your home isn’t even your decision?

That is the situation many tenants in the Private Rented Sector (PRS) will find themselves in. Over the past decade home ownership in the UK fell for the first time since 1918, from 69% in 2001 to 64% in 2011. This decline can be attributed to the growth of the PRS which rose by 1.7 million households.

The PRS can provide accommodation very well for people like myself, and overall achieves high levels of satisfaction, with 83% of tenants happy with the service they receive from their landlord. However, by tenure grouping in England the PRS has the highest percentage of households in fuel poverty at 17%, in comparison to 11.3% in Housing Association (HA) properties.

A key influence on this result is the significantly poorer quality of energy efficiency across the PRS with a mean average Standard Assessment Proceduce (SAP) score of 55.4, in comparison to 63.8 in the HA sector.  

In response to this the UK Government are implementing two key policy initiatives:

1. From April 2016, domestic landlords in England and Wales should not be able to unreasonably refuse requests from their tenants for consent to energy efficiency improvements, where financial support is available from national or local schemes.
2. It is also expected that from April 2018, all private rented properties (domestic and non-domestic) should be brought up to a minimum energy efficiency standard rating, likely to be set at EPC rating “E” (39-54).

This legislation can be used in partnership with the Energy Companies Obligation (ECO) which is still offering free cavity wall and loft insulation to households, and there is hope for a scheme to replace the “Green Deal”, which ended in June 2015.

These changes should be welcomed as more rights for tenants and improvements to our housing stock will reduce carbon emissions and help protect against fuel poverty.

Sam Bosson is the Warm Homes Peterborough Project Officer at Peterborough Environment City Trust.

Further References





Category: Public/Communities

Date: 02.11.2015

Time: 18:35

Conventional wisdom has it that life speeds up as we get older. It certainly seems the older I get that the months and years fly by much faster, and I'm always amazed to discover: “It’s autumn already!”

The feeling of mild anxiety that time is passing me by is never more prominent than during this time of year. Nature is stubbornly marching to its own pace. It races on while I am left wondering what happened to summer? Is it over already?

Well, yes but the year still has so much more to give and now is the time to slow down and enjoy that splash of autumn colour and a time of year that has a much deeper meaning, relating to our own life more than you may think!

Trees provide food for wildlife and are a source of fuel for winter warmth. Trees are a shelter from the elements and a producer of clean air. Just like our feathered friends, we use trees to build our own houses but beyond their practical uses, trees can stimulate imagination and to some carry deep symbolism.

As the final leaves fall and the colour fades the trees seem to disappear and a sense of hibernation soon takes over - but don’t forget the importance and impact they have on all of us in our daily life. Take a moment to sit back and remember the expression: trees gave knowledge to Adam and Eve, enlightenment to Buddha, and gravity to Isaac Newton.

Simon Belham is PECT's Forest for Peterborough Project Officer.


#ForestFor Peterborough

Introducing Nene Coppicing & Crafts

Category: Public/Communities

Date: 26.10.2015

Time: 16:55

Matthew Robinson, PECT’s Woodland Management and Volunteer Manager, talks about the formation of a new community group for our local woodlands.

Nene Coppicing & Crafts is a group of enthusiastic volunteers who have, under Peterborough Environment City Trust’s guidance for the last three years, been acquiring skills in coppicing, woodland management and greenwood crafts.

In the winter of 2014-15, the first plots in Bretton woodlands and Castor Hanglands were coppiced (a traditional method of managing woodlands and encouraging a greater biodiversity).

Once cleared of the dense Silver Birch growth, it was found that many of the old Hazel stools in this abandoned coppice were no longer viable, but it enabled us to practice layering techniques and infill planting with locally-sourced Hazel saplings. The need to fence the coppice plot to prevent deer from browsing on the new growth led us to experiment with various dead hedging techniques until we evolved something that suited the material we had available.

During the following summer, despite the need to control brambles and the vigorous Silver Birch re-growth, we found plenty of time to make charcoal from much of the felled Silver Birch and practice greenwood crafts, using shave horses and a pole lathe made by some of our members.

Shelters for a camp kitchen and a tea area have also been constructed, using tarpaulins and Birch poles. Group members are ever researching and practicing new woodcraft skills, from making cordage (cords or ropes) to hedgerow sauce using woodland materials.

Bretton’s woods and Castor Hanglands are rich in biodiversity and hopefully our coppicing efforts will bring benefits too. We will be keeping an eye on the changes in our plots as they mature.

We actively encourage other volunteers to join our activities and we have had a diverse set of visitors, from staff on corporate team-building days to families keen to get their children to engage with nature, plus we also run volunteer woodland management days on Tuesdays. We are always keen to learn more ourselves and are more than happy to share what we have learned.

For more information about volunteering, call Matthew Robinson on 07736 308475 or email matthew.robinson@pect.org.uk.



Energy Matters Project

Category: Public/Communities

Date: 15.10.2015

Time: 13:33

Alice Lister, the Energy Matters Project Officer, tells us more about her role working with Peterborough communities.

Fuel poverty isn’t something people often talk about, but why would they when very few people know what it is? The basic definition of fuel poverty is when someone cannot afford to adequately heat their home to a comfortable temperature (somewhere between 18 and 21 degrees Celsius).

Luckily the number of people classified as “fuel poor” remains to be a minority, yet having visited over 100 houses so far in Peterborough, energy bills appear to be a concern for the majority – especially with winter on its way.

I have learned a lot so far during my time as an Energy Matters Project Officer, and am pleased to say I’ve been able to help a large number of people. Bills can seem confusing, but now I can confidently lead people through their energy bills and explain what they mean. This makes tariff comparisons far easier, so residents can understand what they are paying for and be aware of any potential savings they could make.

Sometimes switching tariffs is a little daunting, so it’s nice for people to have a helping hand when deciding what to do. I find myself now recommending to family and friends to get themselves online and look out for the best deals!

Although my project is running for six months, it is not the first (nor will it be the last) fuel poverty project that Peterborough Environment City Trust (PECT) has run. It really is brilliant to see dedication to a good cause, since after all, these projects benefit not just the environment but people too.

I am aiming to have boosted awareness of fuel poverty by the end of my project, as well as the knowledge that we’re here to help. So with some hard work and my fingers crossed, let this winter be a manageable one for everyone in Peterborough!

If you’d like to find out how the Energy Matters project could help you, call Alice on 01733 882540, email alice.lister@pect.org.uk or visit www.pect.org.uk/EnergyMatters.



Celebrating our local heroes

Category: Public/Communities

Date: 25.09.2015

Time: 10:27

Laura Fanthorpe talks about some of our local landmarks, individuals and groups making a real difference to the lives of people within the city.

PECT’s Communities Team Leader, Karen Lawrence, recently attended the Pride in Peterborough Awards where she was recognised in the Community Spirit category.

Anyone who knows about Karen and her work would fully understand why she was nominated! Over the years Karen has launched numerous community projects, which have revolutionised the city’s social and environmental landscape and helped to link people up so that they aren’t isolated or without support. Not only that, but her enthusiasm is unstoppable!

This got me thinking about the other people and places that make our city and surrounding areas a better place to be. The list ended up being pretty extensive, so I thought I’d pull out just a few!

I recently enjoyed a visit to the city’s community space The Green Backyard, and was incredibly impressed to discover a vibrant, positive place that is making a real difference to the lives of communities in Peterborough.

For everyone who goes to The Green Backyard, it’s not just about gardening, wonderful as it is. It is about forming social connections, learning new skills and increasing in confidence – whatever age you are. If you haven’t taken a trip to the site yet then I urge you to go!

Then there are our local food heroes – those heroes who are championing local, seasonal produce to encourage everyone to eat healthily and understand more about where our food comes from. Just to mention a few: there’s Riverford (the organic veg box scheme at Sacrewell), healthy lunches from Bohos in the Cathedral grounds, and of course we can’t forget our city market.

If you head just outside the city you will find a shop that’s a particular favourite of mine. The Collyweston Community Shop is a fantastic model of a not- for-profit organisation, which reinvests any profits into other community activities. The shop is manned entirely by a team of volunteers, and where possible all food is sourced within a tiny radius to support other local producers.

In addition to this, a group making a big difference to the city is RiverCare. Teams of volunteers have been working together to tidy up stretches of the River Nene, in order to improve the local environment for both city residents and wildlife. It’s wonderful to see people dedicate their free time to making a difference.

It’s been hard to limit this list to just a few, but it would be great to hear your nominations for the people, places and groups you feel are making a real difference to our city and surrounding areas!



The Great PECT Bake Off!

Category: Public/Communities

Date: 27.08.2015

Time: 10:11

Kari-ann from Peterborough Environment City Trust (PECT) describes her time in the PECT Bake Off challenge.

I’m not competitive. Ok, maybe I am, just a little. So, when I entered into the Great PECT Bake Off, I was determined to do my best and bake a masterpiece! I got bread week, which, I’ve been reliably informed, is actually an ‘easy’ week to get. It was also a pretty good week for me because I’m a cyclist – I wouldn’t have liked to have tried carrying a dozen crème brulees in my backpack on the way to work!

My only experience of baking, other than the traumatic experience of having someone describe my Victoria Sponge as having been sat on, is some rather ropey attempts at paleo baking earlier this year. I’d been intrigued by some of the paleo bread and cakes a colleague had brought in so decided to experiment – I wasn’t very successful. I soon learnt that measuring is important, and that you can’t really substitute ingredients!

So, for the PECT Bake Off competition - which required the use of local and sustainably-sourced ingredients - I decided to do things ‘properly’. I got the ingredients ready first thing on Saturday morning and was all set to get baking when I realised I had no scales. Scuppered at the first hurdle!  Luckily, mum was at hand to save the day and a quick call later, I had some scales and a measuring jug delivered to my door.

I made two soda breads – one with cheese and caramelised onion, the other with honey and home-grown rosemary – the first time I’d ever had the opportunity to cook with it! They both turned out well, although the cheese loaf looked a little ugly so I entered the honey bread into the competition.

I had made the assumption people would judge partly by looks so entered the more aesthetically pleasing honey loaf! Big mistake! They all preferred the savoury loaf so I lost out to a deserving winner, who baked a tasty parmesan and tomato loaf. But hey, I now know how easy it is to bake a loaf, and have all the ingredients to continue baking, which I fully intend to do. 

It's quite addictive once you try, and realise how quick and easy it can be. Shame I didn’t get through to the final though, my show stopper was going to be out of this world!



Flourishing with Greeniversity Peterborough!

Category: Public/Communities

Date: 14.08.2015

Time: 16:01

I’m Peter Reynolds and I’ve been a volunteer administrator with the Greeniversity project at Peterborough Environment City Trust (PECT) for almost two years. Before Greeniversity I was in charge of the Reference and Information Services at Peterborough Central Library until 2002 and then an information officer at RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) in London until late 2012 (I’m a veteran commuter!).

My local environmental credentials are modest: creation of an environmental information collection at the Central Library, participation in the Green Festival for many years, and a long-term member of Friends of the Earth.

I believe that my professional experience has been of benefit to PECT/Greeniversity and I know that volunteering has grounded me in something very worthwhile after the end to my working life.

My main tasks have been looking after the Greeniversity Peterborough class database www.greeniversity.org.uk/peterborough, increasing the number and variety of classes, encouraging new teachers, and promoting brand Greeniversity in the Peterborough area including at local events.

I work now for two and a half days a week and really feel a part of the PECT team. PECT recognises the positive input of its volunteers by awards such as Volunteer of the Year and recommends individuals for other external awards – including the annual Peterborough Green Awards and PCVS Volunteer Awards. You may need to build a new shelf to house all those certificates!

PECT is a great organisation to work as a volunteer for and is welcoming to both young and old. If you’re interested in volunteering some time to PECT, call 01733 568408 or email selina.west@pect.org.uk to discuss any current opportunities.



My first week at PECT

Category: Public/Communities

Date: 10.08.2015

Time: 11:18

By Alice Lister, Energy Matters Project Officer.

The first day of work is a bit like the first day of school. You’re probably running late, you’ll get lost on the way, and when you get there you wish you’d seriously revised your choice of outfit. To make things a little more interesting, my lunch had leaked all over the chocolates I’d packed with me (always a good tactic to make friends – present them with soggy chocolates). Luckily I was taken to a shop where I could buy a nice replacement lunch, which of course soon found its way into my lap.

Despite the wobbly start, I settled in quickly thanks to the brilliant team at Peterborough Environment City Trust (PECT). I became interested in working for the charity after reading about the projects they run, their ambitious environmental targets and impressive achievements.

A great fact about the Energy Matters project that I am working on is that it supports both the environment and Peterborough residents. This is really what interested me in the position.

My first day was spent being introduced to colleagues and familiarising myself with the office. Everyone was super friendly and helpful, and have continued to be so – I already have heaps of tips for my project!

By the second day I found myself out in the field helping to deliver PECT’s Warm Homes project, which has given me lots of ideas for Energy Matters. I got stuck into a PECT yoga class on my third day and found my ‘inner Zen’ during the busy week, followed by useful project training sessions, which I have learnt so much from.

Now my first week is drawing to a close, and I feel like I have been a PECT employee for months… It’s a great feeling!



Organising the Peterborough Green Festival 2015

Category: Public/Communities

Date: 02.07.2015

Time: 14:08

I had the immense privilege of organising the PECT Green Festival this year. Over the past several months of planning, I have had unique opportunities to meet with some of the city’s many creative and innovative organisations with an eye towards showcasing their work and the people who are really making a difference in Peterborough.

The 2015 festival was bigger than ever and we had a huge amount of interest from new partners and old friends – it really seemed like everyone was up for getting involved in the festival this year, which certainly made my job easier!

The planning process for this type of event can be hectic, but I can honestly say that I have enjoyed some of the unexpected turns it has taken – some of which helped us to formulate new relationships and come up with unique ways of engaging with people who might not necessarily understand what it mean to be ‘green,’ because part of the event’s mission was creating awareness of the environmental issues facing our city.

I tried hard to come up with a single favourite or even a few favourites from the launch day but I really struggled to narrow it down! I loved the unique and beautiful Life Boat (created by the talented folks from the Institute of Crazy Dancing – their presence on the day was thanks to IKEA sponsorship) where people had a chance to climb in and forget about their troubles for a short spell, whilst relaxing to the gentle sway of the hammocks with St Johns Church in the background.

The Urban Street Art Space that we had running down King Street (and Cowgate) was the first time we’ve ever done something of its kind, and I loved seeing what was created there. Having fun with our sustainable transport theme, we had a quarter-pipe brought in and some graffiti boards were set up to bring in a lot of young people to involve them with the festival for the first time. It was a big success, with beatbox music and skateboard and BMX trials throughout the day. 

Of course, our multiple arts element really blew me away – from our artists’ projects to our folk and country bands, and our talented local dancers. The festival had a really great atmosphere and the variety of people, activities, and new spaces used really made it feel like a countryside festival in the middle of the city centre – our first ever Real Ale Tent helped with that too!

I can’t wait to see what new excitement next year’s festival brings.



Empty roofs offer great potential

Category: Public/Communities

Date: 30.06.2015

Time: 10:14

Claire Higgins, Chief Executive of Cross Keys Homes, explains how empty roofs in Peterborough enable the use of free solar panels, providing free electricity.

Taking advantage of empty, unused roof space, available funding and looking at things in a slightly different way has meant Cross Keys Homes has been able to provide tenants in Peterborough with plentiful free electricity thanks to our solar panel initiative – and that’s not the only benefit.

With rising fuel prices and more people getting worried about how their energy is produced, this scheme offers a great solution… and all at no cost to us or our tenants.

It was estimated in 2014, 2.5 million households in England were in fuel poverty and that was broadly unchanged from the previous year (Fuel Poverty Annual Report 2015). This scheme aims to change this.

By enabling 4,700 households in Peterborough – we expect over 6,000 by the time the solar panel scheme is finished – we are also generating £16.5million of capital investment and over 50 local jobs.

CO2 emissions are causing concern for many and with this scheme we have helped to extract 13Mw of energy – just over 9,400 tonnes of CO2 each year from the running costs of our housing stock. It has been said that this is more of a saving than some large solar farms in the country!

But that’s not all we’re doing. We’ve trained our front-line staff in how to identify and support tenants who have been struggling with funding high fuel costs and recently delivered a campaign to tackle fuel poverty, helping many residents switch suppliers and save money. We’ve also ensured all Cross Keys Homes’ departments are working together to create a joined-up approach in supporting our tenants through these changes.

To say I’m really proud of our team’s hard work with this initiative would be an understatement. We knew it was going to be an important project when we started, but the difference it has made has been remarkable and I think the figures speak for themselves.

This approach has helped to provide the right solution for us, our tenants and the city of Peterborough: we want our residents to have the best possible quality of life and for this we need a city which has a thriving local economy, strong communities and a sustainable way of life, which as a locally focused social enterprise is what Cross Keys Homes is always aspiring to do.



Fake Moustaches and Secret Messages

Category: Public/Communities

Date: 24.06.2015

Time: 09:34

Theatre practitioner and director from Lamphouse Theatre, Tom Fox, explains how detectives took over Peterborough during the Green Festival in May 2015.

If you’re curious about the title of this blog you might not know that, for the Green Festival 2015, some world-renowned Detectives arrived in the city to solve the greatest puzzle of today. They wandered around Peterborough city centre and slightly beyond to discover how to stop the underground crime syndicate from taking over the world. They met characters, found clues and followed their noses!

Detective [Insert Name] was a walking performance that put the audience in the centre of the action, playing the detectives. The themes of the narrative, although I won’t give too much away, were climate change, the environment and art heists. It is definitely something you need to experience to understand fully.

My role on the days of the show was to introduce the concept to audiences in an ‘initiation’ style scene - where detectives collected their gadgets, gave themselves a fake name and, most importantly, got handed their trusty fake moustache, to be used once and to be used wisely.

For us, the performers, it was quite a complex run of shows. Up to five shows could run every day starting every half an hour. With a duration of an hour and a half, we could have three groups within the show at one time. We had to find ways to communicate with each other without getting caught. Our own secret mission! I would receive texts from other performers such as ‘The eagles have left the nest…’ and ‘The cats are on the roof’.

The aim of the show was to get audiences to work together as a team and for them to have fun together. It was fascinating seeing families work with other families, adults working with young people, culturally diverse groups mixing and working together. We have had many good comments back such as:

‘It took us to a part of Peterborough we hadn't been to before in the 13yrs I've lived here. It made us look at the world around us and notice more detail. Interactive theatre is great and I hope you keep it up in the future.’

Hopefully the mission was achieved and that the audience looked around more, they appreciated their surroundings and walking in the open air. As the Chief Detective says at the end of the play:

‘Stand for what you believe in and work together to make a decent life for the next generations. We don’t need to be the destroyers, but the nurturers of a living world. Good luck in all you do… you are now released back to your normal lives. Be resourceful! Be active! Be brilliant!’



The Three Peaks Challenge

Category: Public/Communities

Date: 23.06.2015

Time: 13:56

Sophie Antonelli, Co-Founder of Peterborough’s community garden project The Green Backyard (GBY), explains why she and a team of fundraisers will be attempting the Three Peaks Challenge this June.

On June 27th I, along with five other walkers and two volunteer drivers, will be attempting the national Three Peaks Challenge. We’ll be doing our best to climb the three highest peaks in the UK – Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon – within a 24 hour window, and all in aid of The Green Backyard (GBY), the community garden I co-founded and have volunteered with for almost seven years now.

Whilst I am lucky to have a fairly active lifestyle, the only time I go running is when I’m late for a train. This, along with the fact that Peterborough’s fenland landscape is not exactly known for its hills, means that this is going to be a massive challenge! But despite the almost magnetic way that I am repelled away from exercise and attracted to the cheese counter, this year I wanted to attempt a physical challenge that would really test me.

Since we started fundraising in earnest for The Green Backyard last year, all of us here have been overwhelmed by the support and incredibly generous donations from people not just from Peterborough, but all over the UK, who have come together to say that they want to keep a community managed green space in the heart of Peterborough. To date we have raised over £18,000, and that’s without even knowing how much we will eventually have to raise to buy the site.

It’s likely that we have a lot more fundraising ahead, so before I ask anyone else to undertake sponsored walks, fun runs or yard sales I knew I had to put my money where my mouth is and get my walking boots on.

As the date approaches I find myself wondering whose stupid idea this was (it was mine for the record), but the thought of all the people that the GBY has helped over the years will keep me going. We don’t shout about them too much, but in my mind they’re always there with me; from the lady so agoraphobic she could barely leave the house and is now out of therapy and a remarkably creative and active figure, to the guy signed off work with stress, now making his living as a very busy and happy gardener!

Community-led spaces like the GBY transform people’s lives in so many, often intangible, ways. We try things, we welcome people, and we celebrate together. We don’t always get things right, and that’s how we learn what works. We are committed to creating a community that cares for and supports each other, differences and all. A Peterborough without The Green Backyard would be a colder, greyer, more dispassionate place, and that’s not the kind of place I want to live.

So that’s why the six of us will be dragging our weary Fen legs over hill and down dale this weekend, and why our drivers have signed up for a 1,000 mile round trip. You can sponsor us if you like, or start thinking about a challenge of your own. We’ll be live blogging the whole excruciating experience, so please follow and share it with your own followers. This is just part of a much longer journey for us, so I hope you’ll come along for the ride.




Electric Pedals: On being part of the Green Festival 2015

Category: Public/Communities

Date: 09.06.2015

Time: 14:56

Electric Pedals was excited to be part of the PECT Green Festival in Peterborough again this year and enjoyed seeing some familiar and new faces when bringing back pedal power for a music stage on the Saturday and a cinema on the Sunday!

Electric Pedals uses the energy from people cycling to power cinemas, sound-systems, outdoor classrooms in schools and much more. Pedal power can be used for home appliances or entertainment purposes – we can power almost anything, all in a clean and green way!

The way it works is very simple. As we move, whether it is cycling, walking or dancing, the chemical energy that is stored in us humans is transferred into kinetic energy. Electric Pedals was born out of the realisation that the kinetic energy produced by people cycling can be transferred into electrical energy to power things! What could be more fun and energy efficient than cycling to charge your own phone or power your own cinema?

The bike is an incredible invention: as a method of transport it helps us to save the environment whilst giving us the opportunity to exercise and improve our own health. When we realised we could also use the bicycle to transfer kinetic energy from movement into electrical energy through a simple set-up, our understanding of pedal power truly began.

We accommodate for all ages and all you have to do is pedal to generate the power. The stationary bikes are fixed to motors which spin as the back wheel whirls round. This spinning motion generates electricity in the motor and is transferred through cables to whatever we want to power. For larger set-ups, we have built our own Power Stations which transfer the low voltage DC electricity (this is suitable for phone-charging and other appliances that don’t require much power) into AC electricity which is what runs through all our homes, schools, and workplaces. This is then how we can power things like projectors and sound systems for cinemas and music festivals. It’s really very easy!

We don’t only use pedal power for cinemas and music stages. We also help to spread energy awareness through Educational Workshops and Power Challenges so please check out our website for more bike-powered fun (www.electricpedals.com). You can also see what we’re up to through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram under the name Electric Pedals.

Power to the pedal!



My first Green Festival!

Category: Public/Communities

Date: 18.05.2015

Time: 17:02

Excitement is building for the Green Festival, just a few days away now. I am particularly excited as it will be my first Green Festival – a community event that PECT has been running annually in the city for over 20 years. 

This year the theme of the festival is sustainable transport. It’s a theme close to my heart because I travel in by train every day and thoroughly enjoy my commute to work. On just one journey a few weeks ago I spotted 15 species of bird on the route from Ely to Peterborough, including a barn owl and a hooper swan.

On other days it’s a chance to read the news, check emails or chat to friends and colleagues. Every day it involves a brisk walk to the station and a less brisk walk home which gives me some fresh air and exercise, helping me to wake up and to wind down. The contrast from the stress of driving in is astounding and, with the exception of the benefit of being able to sing loudly in the car, travelling by train wins every time!

For me, the Green Festival is an excellent example of what PECT is all about and part of what I love so much about our independent and innovative charity. Working with partners in and around the city to co-ordinate an event that is informative, thought-provoking and enjoyable, with something for everybody. All themed around creating a cleaner, greener and healthier Peterborough in a way that is engaging and inspiring.

The launch day is packed full of everything from music and art to a children’s play bus and a photo booth. There will be activities on sustainable transport, woodland crafts and creating spaces for wildlife as well as plenty of opportunities to chill out and try some seasonal food and drink or even a spot of meditation on the Life Boat!

The range of fringe events is really impressive too. I’m delighted that the events include a talk at the Cathedral on ‘The Biological Evidence for Climate Change’ from Professor Sir Ghillean Prance. There are also lots of chances for walking and wildlife spotting and two film options over the course of the week as well.  

We’re really grateful for the support this year from Travelchoice, the Arts Council, Peterborough City Council, IKEA, Stagecoach and the Heritage Lottery Fund.

So, I look forward to seeing lots of familiar and new faces in the city on Saturday for an action-packed day.... and if it all gets too much, you might find me in the beer tent!

Carly Leonard is PECT's Chief Executive Officer, and she has written on the subject of the Peterborough Green Festival. The Festival Launch Day is on Saturday 23 May in Cathedral Square and fringe events run until Sunday 31 May.



Only a few more sleeps...

Category: Public/Communities

Date: 14.05.2015

Time: 16:07

There’s a real buzz in the office this week because we’ve just a few more sleeps until the Green Festival 2015!

I’m particularly excited about this one! I’ve been at PECT for six of the previous twenty-odd festivals that we’ve put on, but this is a festival of firsts. This is the first time we’ve had Arts Council funding, amazing huh? This is the first time we’re going to have a dedicated street art area and the first time we’re going to have a bar, plus for me it’s the first time I’ve been managing the festival - buzzing!

It’s really exciting for my team because it gives everyone the chance to celebrate the work they do week-in-week-out. We are currently managing 12 projects in my team, and whilst we all work together as much as we can each project officer has the responsibility for their own project and often they are working on their own. So to have the opportunity to join forces with the rest of the PECT team, all our other stakeholders, and the big green community of Peterborough means we’re all on a bit of a high.

You can (and probably have) looked at other areas of the website to find out more about my team’s projects and details for the festival, so I want to tell you more about the arts element of the festival. We’ve commissioned three local artists from different disciplines who are being ably looked after by our artistic producer, Tony Henderson.

The first of our artists is Keely Mills, local poet, writer and performer. Keely is using poetry as her medium, and dispelling the city’s reputation for being difficult to get around using public transport. She has been travelling around on our buses, taking in the landscape, talking to other travellers and getting her experiences down in rhyme. On the launch day you will be able to hear poetry live on the Stagecoach bus in St Johns Square and on the PA systems of various places around the city.

The second of our artists is Tom Fox, local performance artist, who is trying out something very new and innovative for Peterborough. Detective (Insert Name) is an audience participation piece which you can take part in; you become the detective and help solve the crime! This pre-bookable event will allow you to discover a crime of huge magnitude, then move around the city centre to discover the clues and become a real life detective solving the art heist of the century. I warn you places for this event are limited so book your place now!

Our third artist Stuart Payne, one of Peterborough’s premier visual artists, is building a pledge tree out of recycled and reused items. Stuart has been working hard to design and build this sculptural piece which will have an interactive pledge system on the festival launch day.

To see all this and take part in the numerous free green activities for all the family, at this year’s Green Festival, come along to Cathedral Square, Peterborough, on the 23rd May and for more details go to www.pect.org.uk/GreenFestival.

Karen is PECT’s Communities Team Leader. She has written about this year’s Peterborough Green Festival, which will be held on 23-31 May 2015, with a free launch day of Saturday 23rd May, in Cathedral Square. 



Eco-friendly BMW i3 and i8 vehicles to be on display at Peterborough Green Festival

Category: Public/Communities

Date: 14.05.2015

Time: 09:47

David Woodhouse, iBrand Manager, explains how Sycamore (Peterborough) Ltd is excited to attend this year’s Peterborough Green Festival in order to showcase the eco-friendly BMW i3 and i8 cars in support of the Festival's sustainable transport theme. Sycamore is the region’s only ‘i’ agent, and will have a presence in Cathedral Square on the Peterborough Green Festival Launch Day of Saturday 23 May.

What’s so exciting about these cars is that they are the first products to go on sale from BMW’s i sub-brand. The i3 features an innovative Carbon Fibre Reinforced Plastic (CFRP) structure which optimises space whilst keeping weight to an absolute minimum.

The CFRP is manufactured in a production facility powered by Hydro Electricity. Producing CFRP is very costly in terms of energy used, but BMW are able to manufacture this extremely durable and incredibly strong material utilising totally renewable energy.

The cars themselves are manufactured in a state-of-the-art facility. Again BMW are concerned with their Carbon Footprint and this facility is powered by four massive wind turbines. With this sort of thinking it comes as no surprise that BMW Group is the Dow Jones Sustainability Index Leader for the 8th consecutive year.

Customers can even switch their household energy suppliers to Green Energy, so that when they use their cars day-to-day they are minimising the CO2 produced at point of use.

Interested prospective customers can even test drive the i3 on the day of the Green Festival to see just how good these cars are to drive. In addition to the cars, children at the Festival will be able to complete a quiz sheet on the i3 and their older siblings can take a look at the electric racing car built by a local school under the Greenpower initiative.

For more information visit www.sycamorebmw.co.uk or www.greenpower.co.uk.



Musical Cycling?

Category: Public/Communities

Date: 13.05.2015

Time: 15:51

I want to start with a word of warning: cycling whilst listening to music is extremely dangerous and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. However, I have to credit listening to music with getting me back into cycling again.

After years of commuting to work on my bike, I had lost interest and motivation. It was hardest in the winter months, with the cold, the rain and worst of all the wind. I got to the stage of being a fair weather cyclist, which made me angry – I wanted to be better than that!

So I decided to ignore my own advice. This was mainly because my cycle route to work was a completely off-road experience, and I started listening to music with the sound turned down low enough so that I could still hear what was going on around me – the bells of other cyclists for example – but loud enough to take my mind off the horribly cold wind!

A short while after I discovered Podcasts, I know they’ve been around for a while but since listening to them on my commute to work they’ve really changed my cycling experience. During those rainy cold days I now can’t wait to get on my bike so I can catch up with my favourites – Josh Widdicombe on xfm, Frank Skinner on Absolute and Kermode and Mayo’s Wittertainment. 

So ending where I started, although I’m not suggesting that people plug in their headphones whilst cycling, for me it has helped massively with my motivation and I don’t have to call myself a fair weather cyclist anymore!

Janine is PECT’s Resources Manager, and she has written on the topic of cycling to tie in with this year’s Peterborough Green Festival, which will be held on 23-31 May 2015.



A new currency for Peterborough

Category: Public/Communities

Date: 05.05.2015

Time: 09:52

I first heard of local currencies around five years ago. At that time it seemed like far too much hard work, because I was in the process of going to university. A lot of the people I spoke to about it all those years ago were understandably wary – isn’t it illegal to print your own money? It turns out the answer to that question isn’t as cut and dried as you might think.

Fast forward to the middle of last year, and I had finished university. I had been self-employed ever since, working on various projects in and around Peterborough, but that work was drying up and I was facing a return to the job centre.

The Governor of the Bank of England had recently released his report on how money is created in the UK, and this re-engaged my interest in the idea of local currencies and their potential for helping to support and develop local economies. I had obviously heard of BitCoin, and its derivatives, but it seemed counterintuitive to limit an internet-based currency to a local area. In any case, BitCoin derives its value from its scarcity, like gold, and requires ‘mining’ (using the processing power of account holders’ computers to perform the calculations necessary to maintain the public ledger of transactions) to make more, which would naturally limit the scope and uptake of any emergent digital crypto-currency.

A little bit of research uncovered several local currencies that were already up and running in the UK, notably in Brixton and Bristol, who had very kindly made their work open to others interested in the idea. They had even spoken to the Bank of England already and worked out the legal framework under which it works. (The paper pounds have an expiry date, and so they are legally counted as vouchers rather than legal tender.) Armed with these examples of successful models, I was able to start ringing round some friends to see if anyone in Peterborough thought it would be a good idea that could work here too.

When I told them I was thinking of printing money, quite a few were interested in talking to me – mostly to try and dissuade me from forging a bunch of tenners, but it got people talking!

We got to go and speak to the Bristol Pound (£B) team in October of last year at their Guild of Independent Currencies conference in Bristol. Their model is a complementary sterling backed currency, exchangeable at a 1:1 rate with the national currency. Every £B in existence has a corresponding pound in sterling which is held at their local credit union, and anyone who engages with the scheme can get their money back at any time, which means there is no risk to the individual or business that decides to trade in the local currency.

As only those businesses that sign up to the initiative will accept the paper pounds, and those businesses are based locally and owned and run by local people, this will help people think about where they spend their money and what happens to it after they hand it over the counter. Only 20p from every pound you spend in high-street stores stays within the local economy, while more like 60p sticks around if you spend it in your local shop. It also benefits from the ‘local multiplier’ effect, as local businesses are more likely to source stock, staff and services from the local community, being spent four times on average before it heads out to the national economy.

By encouraging local people to use local businesses, we will help to maintain wealth within the local economy so that local people benefit. We will also be helping to improve our city’s carbon footprint, because local businesses have shorter supply chains than the big stores.

As yet we don’t know what our currency will look like. We want the design to be produced by someone from Peterborough - so we will be running a competition in the near future. Keep your eyes peeled for details!

We already have over £500 in pledges to buy P£s when they become available, and we are hoping to put together a short trial at some point this year. If you’d like more information, or to get involved, please visit our website at www.peterboroughpound.org or visit our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/PeterboroughPound.

Alex Airey is a volunteer on PECT’s communities team, and he has also been project managing the Peterborough Pound project for the last eight months.



Ride for your Lives event at Ferry Meadows

Category: Public/Communities

Date: 01.05.2015

Time: 13:38

Leanne Tyers, from the East Anglian Air Ambulance, writes about the upcoming ‘Ride for your Lives’ cycle ride.

East Anglian Air Ambulance (EAAA) is a 365-day-a-year lifesaving service working across Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Suffolk. We fly our two helicopters containing critical care paramedics and doctors, day and night, to the scenes of accidents and serious medical incidents.

Every year we receive many calls about cyclists who have been involved in an accident. One of the most common injuries for a cyclist is a head injury. It is vital to be wearing a helmet when riding your bike to minimise any damage in the event of an accident.

Although head injuries are common, a patient can suffer any type of trauma injury from the impact of a crash. By looking after yourself, and your bike when riding, you can minimise the chances of being involved in a serious accident that requires the service of EAAA.

If you are a cyclist and would like to show your support to your local air ambulance charity, there are many ways that you can do this. We hold many fundraising events throughout the year, with one of our signature events being our annual Ride for your Lives cycle ride. Ride for your Lives is in its fourth year and we have decided to bring it to Ferry Meadows, Peterborough, on Sunday 28 June 2015.

The route is a family-friendly 15km, in honour of EAAA’s 15th anniversary, and is suitable for all ages and abilities. Cyclists can ride any time between 9am and 3pm on the day but we advise that you register for the event in advance.

Registration can be completed online at: www.eaaa.org.uk/events/ride-for-your-lives/ with a payment of £10 for an individual rider or £20 for a family or corporate team via debit/credit card or PayPal. However, if you would like to pay by cash/cheque please call 01733 367208 or email leanne.tyers@eaaa.org.uk.

There will be a raffle on the day to win a children’s ‘Frog 48’ bike, kindly donated by the new Rutland Cycling store at Ferry Meadows, with tickets being sold at £1 each.

We look forward to seeing local cyclists at our event!