As a small seaside town, Ilfracombe is one of many coastal communities likely to experience the early impacts of rising sea levels.
Whilst governments (of all parties) have failed to act with urgency, local authorities, individuals and families across the country are beginning to take action within their communities to reduce their carbon emissions, take responsibility over household waste and prepare to adapt to the changing climate.
The good news is we can all improve our quality of life and help to tackle climate change at the same time. Most lifestyle changes are known to improve health and well-being, as well as saving households money!
Ilfracombe boasts a wonderful, caring and spirited community! (a 12,000-strong community!) Many people, especially families with young children, are showing concern about the climate crisis; forming action groups, and asking what they can do.
So in 2019, a handful of us set up a small action group called the Ilfracombe Climate Emergency Community Action Team (ICECAT).
We decided that we could tangibly help to influence our coastal community by setting up a Climate Change hub; a ‘drop-in’ centre providing information, advice, ideas and a base from which to take creative action!
Among other organisations, we have also ‘partnered’ with 361 Community Energy, which holds a weekly energy surgery on the premises – and work closely with Plastic Free North Devon.
We managed to secure a premises on the High St in 2020, having successfully carried out several local fundraising events to get us kick-started.
Due to the pandemic, we were only able to open our ‘green doors’ on 17th April this year.
We have a core team of 7 ‘shop keeper’ volunteers, so currently can only open 2.5 days a week, but we have many people on board to help with specific campaigns and events.
Not only has the hub proved really popular with our ‘climate-concerned’ residents, but we attracted funding from a local business (Big-up TDK-Lambda UK!)
We even helped to get Ilfracombe Town Council to declare a #ClimateEmergency in 2019 and to back the #CEEBill in June 2021.
Ilfracombe Town Council supports the CEEBill!
Sowing the Seeds of Change - Earth Repair Shop Talk
It’s still early days, but we have plans in place for several events, talks and workshops in 2021, covering key topics such as re-wilding, grow-your-own, (we're setting up a heritage seed bank!), ‘mend & make do’, 'craftivism' a plastic ‘junk art’ project with schools, beach cleaning, and so much more!
We jumped on board ‘The Great British Spring Clean’ in June, organising successful litter picking and beach cleaning events.
Sustainable living lies at the heart of reducing carbon emissions - especially effective and measurable in a small community.
Many of our small businesses are evolving sustainable practices; locally sourced, plastic free, refill, ‘waste not’ initiatives etc., so we thought they deserved a 'big-up', which could also influence other companies to shift to be more environmentally friendly.
Enter, 'ECOmbe'! We're setting up a type of 'kite mark' scheme, whereby businesses will be able to proudly show off their eco achievements with a window sticker. There's much work yet to be done and new funding will help us to develop more professionally designed materials, which would undoubtedly make joining the scheme more desirable!
Of course, running and equipping our premises costs money! As does getting campaign materials designed and printed and paying for (socially-distanced) venues for talks and events. Whilst we have managed to furnish the shop by upcycling and with donated furnishings – we even had a laptop donated, we need funds to keep the shop going and maximise our community outreach.
The funding raised by this amazing Crowdfunder project will be invaluable in maintaining the hub and achieving our mission, over the longer term! We hope to raise the running costs for the first five years, at the very least covering rent and utilities (approx £5.5k over 5 yrs).
At a time of great uncertainty, we are determined to secure our community hub for the long term; to be a lasting beacon of hope and influence for positive change!
This is a pivotal time for community climate action! As we move out of Covid restrictions; many people have suffered both emotional and financial difficulties and are ready for a positive change to their lifestyles. Community plays a huge role in building back people's confidence as does adopting new ways of living and re-connecting to nature.
We’re absolutely thrilled to be able to offer some amazing ‘Pledge Rewards’! Some of our talented local artists have generously donated a range of beautiful original paintings, plus there’s a two-night stay for two at one of Ilfracombe’s most prestigious holiday homes and a professional landscaping consultation! (local only) - details given on the right-hand side of this page.