Have you heard of Climate Action Hubs? The Scottish Government have allocated £4.3 million for 2023-24 to set up around 20 hubs throughout Scotland. We’re pleased to announce that Glasgow has successfully secured funding for its own Hub as part of this national network. This exciting new project is just kicking off and will include a busy programme designed to support communities to take forward climate action in their areas.
As well as helping to coordinate and build on existing activity, hubs will work together to learn from each other and share good practices. There is potential that this will continue into 2024-25 and beyond.
The Glasgow Climate Action Hub (GCAH) has an important role to play in balancing the many strengths and challenges of our city. Glasgow is a brilliant city with a rich heritage, culture and a tradition of community activism in strong neighbourhoods. It’s well known as a friendly city, but it’s also a city with entrenched poverty and inequality, and like most of the developed world, it is a city which consumes the earth’s resources at an unsustainable rate, contributing to climate change. The threat of climate change is now well known. The window to respond to prevent irreversible damage to the world’s climate is narrowing rapidly, and the effects of climate change are already clearly visible. While progress is being made, it’s not enough. We are now at a point in time when we must not only take greater action to prevent climate change; we must also respond to the rapidly emerging effects. Action is needed now that both reduces carbon emissions and supports communities to prepare for a worsening climate.
With high levels of poverty, the city is particularly vulnerable – but it is the city’s people that will lead the change. We need to ensure everyone is included while recognising that some of our citizens have more pressing problems, like putting food on the table for their families.
There is already a growing network of community groups and other partners coming together around climate action. The Glasgow Community Climate Action Network (GCCAN) is keen to welcome new members and will form the basis for the Hub’s activities. The delivery of the activities will be supported by an initial group of six partners who have been chosen because they help us to do three key things that we think are important. Firstly, to ensure that the hub has access to the expertise and resources that it will need to deliver. Secondly, it has a strategic reach across the city to key partners. And thirdly and perhaps most importantly, how it has reached into communities – building on existing relationships that partners have with the communities they serve.
The partners share an ambition of building community action in response to climate change – encouraging greater involvement of citizens, building connections within and between communities, sharing knowledge, developing capacity and accessing and focusing resources. We call these strands Engagement, Building Capacity, and Creating Connections.
GCVS is the lead partner working closely with Glasgow Eco Trust, Loco Homes Retrofit, Rags to Riches (Govanhill Baths Trust), Merry Go Round and Parents for Future Scotland. While the hub manager will be hosted within GCVS, development officers will work amongst the partners and link to a wider network of colleagues, all playing an important part in building the hub and supporting change.
As part of the hub, partners such as Parents for Future Scotland, Rags to Riches, Merry Go Round and Glasgow Eco Trust will connect with their communities to encourage change. Critically, they’ll also be informing the hub about the priorities that people have and how the hub’s offer should develop to support communities better. They’ll do that in excitingly different ways. Engaging people in things that help them save money and the environment is a win-win. There will be 30 different engagement sessions reaching out to communities.
We want to build the capacity of people, communities and organisations to act on climate change. Partners like Loco Homes, GCVS and Glasgow Eco Trust are well-placed to provide advice, support and training so that people can achieve more. We’ll run 10 training workshops to build the capacity of groups around climate action, provide information briefings, share what works and critically support communities to identify the resources like funding that are needed to make change. For example, as part of this project, a GCVS funding officer will be available to guide and support climate-related funding applications.
We’re keen to build solutions that have a longer use in this short period – developing online materials and access to independent online training will help us do that.
Connecting and networking are so important in building a movement. Glasgow is a large local authority – the biggest by population in Scotland. So, we need city-wide networking opportunities, but we also need to think about the communities that people identify with at a local level. There will be a combination of them, along with some thematic hubs for people and groups with a specific interest. There will be 10 networking opportunities in total, a newsletter and unique stories to tell. We will also be building on the mapping work that SCCAN has undertaken to help groups find each other within the hub umbrella.
This is an exciting programme, but it is important to spend time on the hub itself, establishing an identity that will serve us well into the future. That’s important because the partnership model has the potential to be powerful and impactful, but not if it makes it harder for people to find the hub, engage with it, or understand what it does. To achieve the best of both worlds we’ve prioritised developing a strong identity. We have created a website, an email address for queries and will soon offer a regular newsletter to share the opportunities and learning.
Watch Out For …
- Coming this year – Potential funding is available to support the Glasgow Climate Action Hub in 2024-25. Almost some of the first activities will be asking groups and communities what the priorities for climate action support are for next year. The good news is that if that is successful, we will be set up and have a whole year to work together and strengthen the Hub.
- Sign-up to be involved – We want to spread the word, so sign up as a group now to the Glasgow Community Climate Action Network. It’s free and gives you more of a say in future direction. Groups are asked to confirm that they support the aims of the network. In the New Year, we will have a mailing list for individuals to join and keep up to date.
We’re ambitious for Glasgow with this project because we need to be. The recent extreme weather and storms and the impact of those on the most vulnerable show there is no more time to waste.
Head of Sector Development, GCVS