Community Powerdown

This project ran for 3 years from 2010 to 2013 and is now finished, however we continue to promote RENEWABLE ENERGY, AND REDUCE, RECYCLE, REUSE through the day to day running at Seaview House and through the support we provide in the community. Below is a list of the projects and activities during this period

Eco Schools – The ‘after school eco club’ recommenced in Lybster School on 26th August when 18 children made a selection of butterflies from recycled materials.  They have also planted a selection of spring bulbs amongst the recently planted trees in the school grounds.   The club will continue to run on a fortnightly basis and the itinerary will include, a talk and presentation from the Countryside Ranger, making wind toys and a selection of various crafts and activities using a variety of unwanted materials.
We have also been involved in teaching P6 and P7 some life skills which will encourage them to make use of what they have instead of going out to buy new.  The children are very enthusiastic and are constantly wanting to learn new skills.  They have been sewing on buttons, making belts from scrap pieces of leather, plant pot/pencil holders from plastic bottles and plastic bags and hand sewing. They are keen to take the work home to continue with in their own time.
Lybster School polytunnel has now been erected and they will spend the winter concentrating on designing and developing the inside ready for sowing/planting in the spring.  A protective fence is currently being erected by the school janitor.
Their raised beds produced a variety of vegetables and edible flowers all of which were cooked and presented to the children during a special lunch last week. One little boys comment was ‘that was the best dinner I have ever had’.  Some of the children and teachers were involved in the cooking and presentation of the food and everyone thoroughly enjoyed taking part.
Lybster Primary Eco Club has also produced their first Eco Newsletter which was distributed to all children in the school.
Dunbeath Primary School has incorporated their Eco Activities into their Friday afternoon ‘free time’.  Their activities to date have included making kites and butterflies from recycled materials and card making using old CDs.  Their itinerary for the next term includes making bug homes and wind chimes and a healthy eating session.  The whole school gets involved with the older children helping the younger ones.
Powerdown continues to be involved with the eco school activities and will help and encourage them towards achieving their silver award.
Energy Audit – A mailing to 700 homes within the community council areas of Watten and Thrumster/Tannach took place week commencing 12th September 2011.  Householders have been asked to complete the Home Energy Check form and they will then receive information and guidance on how to help reduce their home energy costs.  Two open events were held to coincide with the to encourage people to complete the short questionnaire and offer advice on energy saving measures.  To date, a return of 26% has been received.  Results from the return of HEC forms will be collated by the Energy Saving Trust and the necessary measures required will be arranged by them.  A full report on the CO2e savings will be produced by the EST once all measures have been completed.
Events – Two open events were held on Energy Awareness and how to reduce your energy bills.  One in Watten Village Hall on 27th September and the second in Thrumster Village Hall on 28th September.  Both events were advertised locally through various posters and fliers and an article also appeared in the local press and web site.  Both events were planned to coincide with other activities taking place in the halls, ie, mothers and toddlers group, craft and chatter group, patchwork classes, brownies and bowling club AGM.  These awareness events were also planned to coincide with the Energy Audit and the Powerdown Officer was available during the day and also from 6pm – 8pm during the evening.  Advice and information  was given to all who attended.  Both events were fairly well attended with approximately 20 people at each venue.
Visitors – continue to call at Seaview House to see the various projects. The most recent group visit was on 24th September from 13 members from Hoy and Walls Gardening Group in Orkney.  The group are keen to establish a similar project in Orkney and were very interested in how we had progressed.  They enjoyed the beautiful autumn afternoon while asking many questions about the Allotments and Polytunnels project.
Cycle Lane to School – we are investigating the potential for a cycle lane to school and nformation has been received from the Highland Councils Road Safety and Safer Routes to School Officer and has been passed to Lybster School’s Head Teacher.  A meeting will with the Head Teacher and the Parent Council is to be arranged.
Food Waste & Composting – We have registered with Waste Awareness Scotland regarding food waste reduction and composting of food waste and now have access to information and use any of their materials.
We are also working in conjunction with the Waste Awareness Team of the Highland Council and plan to hold further events locally in the coming months. Although a food waste collection is likely in the foreseeable future we plan to educate people on how to reduce waste in the first instance.

Composting – 20 Composting boxes, made from unwanted pallets, have now been completed by our volunteer workers and distributed to local homes to encourage them to compost their kitchen and garden waste.  Almost 1/3 of the participants are taking part in an exercise to weight what they are putting into their boxes.  This will give a base line for calculations of the amount being reduced from landfill.  Monitoring visits to all participants is scheduled to take place during October/November. A summary of the carbon savings will be created and reported towards the end of the project.  This will not only include the contents of the boxes but also the savings made from the recycling of the old pallets.

Eco Driving Training – As part of initiating a pilot car share scheme in the area we have organised an Eco Driving Training Day.  This will be held on 12th November and 8 drivers will be given the opportunity to learn, on a one to one basis, in a practical situation, how to reduce their fuel consumption.  A summary of the calculated savings each driver could make will be available at the end of the course.  Posters will be distributed locally to advertise the event.

Training Courses

  • Computer Classes for the Beginner continue at Seaview House and will run weekly for the foreseeable future.  The latest sessions will allow 12 participants to take part in an 8 week course.  We intend to run weekly classes for the foreseeable future so please register if you are interested in attending.
  • Healthy Eating – to encourage home cooked healthy eating commenced on 11th October where 10 participants will be given the opportunity to learn basic cooking skills using the home grown produce from the allotments.
  • Photography – classes for the beginner “know your camera” started in November and will run for 6 weeks.  Further classes are programmed for January 2012.
  • Craft – various classes are programmed will follow the theme of reduce, reuse, recycle.
  • Gardening – classes will commence again in early January to encourage new participants to grow their own but also to encourage and assist those already gardening.  10 people will be given the opportunity to take part in this 8 week course.

Providing these classes locally reduces the need for car travel to the town and enhances the lifestyle of those living in our area.  CO2e savings will be calculated once the courses have been completed.

We continue to run a ‘Hire a Jig Saw’ scheme.  Members of the public are donating their unwanted jig saws and they are then put on display for others to use.  This scheme is helping to promote re-use.

Partnership working continues with:

  • Waste Awareness Team, Highland Council
  • Head Teachers and the Eco Committee from the 4 Primary Schools
  • Community Energy Scotland
  • Energy Saving Trust
  • Road Safety and Safer Routes to School Officer, Highland Council
  • Countryside Ranger, Highland Council
  • School Nurse, National Health Service