Step 1: We ask Councils to vote and agree on a Declaration
You can find a link to that on this page:
When they vote for the Declaration, we ask them to appoint a Council person to liaise with us and other groups. Significant relationship.
Step 2: Approach local NGOs and organisations involved in addressing the climate and ecological crisis and begin the process of identifying the key groups.
We found that the timing is right and there are already ‘clusters’ of groups forming in all these areas. For example here in Stroud a group of 30 NGOs having to do with the land came together recently and we approached them as one group. Networking is the key here as you are looking to be inclusive and representative, and also to work on the principles of ‘not re-inventing the wheel’, and forming partnerships beyond ‘organisational ego’. The Climate and ecological crisis is bringing people together..
Step 3: Invite the key groups to form a core networking action group.
We (all participants in this core group i.e. Stroud Town Council, Transition Stroud, Stroud Nature, Stroud Valleys Project, Landwise, Earth Protector Communities) called it the Stroud Town Community Action Network for Climate and Ecology- (STCAN for short), to facilitate interface with local and regional Climate Action initiatives and funding.
Discuss and draft the aims of this core network group and the principles.
The group included at first 4 key NGOs, EPCs, the Town Council and Youth (a representative from the youth movement). This is the first core group in Stroud and was hosted by the City Council ( for reasons of neutrality). This core group then decides who to invite from Education, Business and Health groups if at all and at the appropriate time (this seems to be related with the expansion of the group through working groups to create a Local Action Plan). Members at present include Earth Protector Communities group, Transition Stroud, Stroud Nature Forum, Stroud Valleys Project, Landwise, Stroud Town Council.
Here are the aims of the Stroud Town CAN networking group as initially drafted (and subject to change as the group evolves):
“The aim of the Stroud Town Community Action Network for Climate and Ecology (Stroud Town CAN) is to bring together community organisations, businesses and other institutions within Stroud Town working to tackle the climate and ecological crisis, in order to:
- Exchange information, experience and learning about initiatives and projects
- Explore the scope for joint projects that reduce carbon emissions, promote regenerative practices, and community resilience
- Inform Stroud Town Council’s approach to tackling climate change
- Assist the Town Council to fulfil its pledge as an Earth Protector Town
- Link into the Stroud District Local Climate Action Group Forum
- Liaise with the Carbon Neutral 2030 Partnership Board
“It is envisaged that a Stroud Town CAN core group will be convened by Stroud Town Council and meet several times a year – possibly to include six monthly open meetings for all the developing network of organisations in Stroud addressing the climate and ecological crisis.” (we have been meeting for 90 minutes every 5-6 weeks and that seems to work well). We have limited participation from each group to two members each, flexible between 1-3 as groups have been involving various members according to the agenda and expertise/interest).
Step 4: The CAN Local Action Plan Process:
The network group meets regularly ( every 4-6 weeks) to make plans and evolve projects to achieve its aims and the Councils EPTs declaration.
The groups are invited to contribute proposals for actions to be considered in the LAP.
These are compiled online through a form submission process. Members can see each other’s proposals and comment on them. The compiled actions are then clustered in broader action areas.
The CAN assists in the formation of partnerships and clusters of working groups on the different areas, such as Energy, Transport (Carbon Neutrality), Communications (Education/Awareness raising, Public participation, Health/wellbeing, engaging business etc), Recycle/Reuse (Green Economy/business), Ecological (Tree planting, Biodiversity/wildlife, Land use/community food resilience). These all become part of the CANs Local Action Plan process. The process aims at supporting on the ground projects that are realistic and doable in the short term whilst also initiating longer term more ambitious projects.
At this point the CAN can expand to incorporate expertise and support by inviting others to participate in the working groups. This could include individuals and organisations from Education, health/wellbeing, Business and other community groups.
Step 5: Re-visit the concept of the CAN and clarify its purpose in lieu of the experience gained at this stage and the expansion of its activities through the LAP process. It is advisable to co-create a memorandum of understanding that clarifies some things but leaves room for the ongoing evolution of the role of the CAN as it deals with potential collaboration with neighbouring Parishes and towns and as it begins to advocate for solutions at the County and District levels.
Funding: Somewhere along the line, and surely by step 4, you need to start thinking of applying for funding to make the projects arising a reality, so a need for someone to focus on this. We quickly found out that various groups were already bidding for funds from the same sources and thus formed a sub-group to co-ordinate funding applications. Allocating some funds from the Town Council to create a post supporting the TownCAN is a good idea and becomes necessary to facilitate the work of the CAN especially at the working group formation/Local Action Plan stage.
Alternative funding approaches could work for communities with high levels of stakeholder engagement. New digital currencies have are being developed that address community development funding in a new way. See https://www.joinseeds.com/ . Digital frameworks on eco-villages using such currency are good illustrative examples of how that might work. See https://hypha.earth/ and this video from SEEDS,
Mapping. A couple of groups have already started their own mapping projects focused on their areas of interest/action such as CO2 and Biodiversity. A first map that immediately emerged as necessary is the organisational map of the area. This could be as simple as a table cross-referencing organisations with their aims/projects. This is essential in order to enact the principle of “do not re-invent the wheel”. There is no time for duplication of effort and missed opportunities for co-operation.
Mapping can be introduced early on in the process, and is certainly useful at stage 2, in identifying the right groups to form the core networking group. See https://www.7vortex.com/ for a user-friendly mapping tool.