EMPOWERING OUR COMMUNITY TO TAKE CLIMATE ACTION TOGETHER – PACCT

[Members of Cranbrook Community Food Garden]

What is PACCT?

PACCT stands for Parkview and Cranbrook Climate Taskforce.  

It’s a new hyperlocal community climate action group and incubator for long-term community-led climate projects. 

That’s a mouthful. What does it mean? 

Put simply, PACCT is a group of local residents on our two estates in Bethnal Green joining forces to do good things together – specifically things that reduce the impact we have on the planet.  

The group will gather at a series of events and workshops where they will share ideas, choose, devise and organise actions together. 

Some of the actions the group decides to take may be one-time actions, while others might develop into regular activities or long-term projects. At PACCT workshops, community members will be supported to develop and launch those projects in ways that enable them to continue beyond PACCT’s initial funding. This is what we mean by PACCT being an “incubator” of long-term projects. 

[Chilli and squash growing workshop at Parkview]

You mention funding. Where is it from and what is it for? 

PACCT is being funded by the National Lottery Community Fund through a new 5 year programme called Just FACT. This partnership of Tower Hamlets community groups and charities, led by Wen, will work collaboratively on a borough-wide project together. PACCT is one of 10 partners on the project.
Our part of the funding will pay a small team of part-time co-ordinators, recruited from within the community, who will:
  • help residents to establish PACCT as an independent community group, 
  • organise and facilitate the programme of free events and workshops where PACCT members will meet, learn together, share ideas, support each other in taking climate actions at home, and develop long-term project ideas together, 
  • and carry out deep engagement within the community to ensure that as many people as possible know about the events, and are enabled to take part. 

This way, PACCT members will be free to focus entirely on devising community-led climate solutions without having to run the events themselves, promote the group among the community or raise funds just to make the events possible – all common barriers to starting new groups.  

What is the borough-wide project? 

The borough-wide project is called Just FACT – a Just Food and Climate Transition. Wen are the lead partners in the project, and are supporting PACCT in a few ways including hosting this FAQ on their website while the group gets set up. 

PACCT’s role in the Just FACT project will be as a “Community Hub”. Some events in the PACCT programme will be specifically related to food and will bring in expertise from other Just FACT partners. 

[Community meal at Cranbrook]

What events will there be? 

The core programme of events will be: 

  • monthly climate workshops – an inclusive and creative space for residents to meet, learn together, share ideas, choose actions to take, support each other in those actions, and develop and launch project ideas together. Over time these workshops will become hubs of activity, with smaller groups forming and working on their own projects. It’s a dedicated time and space each month, making it easy to build climate action into busy lives. 
  • weekly coffee mornings – a space for mums/ primary care givers to get together, learn about climate-friendly household management, share tips, support and advice on making changes at home, and feed ideas in to the monthly workshops. 
  • from year 2 onwards, seasonal festivals – a time to celebrate and share emerging projects with the wider community. For example, if a group sets up a community composting system, a seasonal festival will be an opportunity to spread the word to residents who want to contribute their food waste, without being part of the team running it. 
  • occasional Just FACT workshops – to feed into and learn from the borough-wide project. 

The programme has been designed to enable different levels of participation in PACCT, and to interact with each other. This way the solutions offered will be developed by the community, entirely in response to the needs of the community, and with the skills and interests of the community at their heart.  

[Children planting in Cranbrook Community Food Garden]

What kind of long-term projects will be developed? 

The community will decide! It depends entirely who joins the group, what needs are identified through the events and community outreach, and which ideas have most interest. 

At a taster workshop in February 2020 we started to create a community vision – residents were encouraged to dream big as to what changes they’d like to seeThe word clouds below show all the ideas that were shared. The more times an idea was suggested, the bigger the words appear. 

As more people start to attend PACCT workshops and contribute to the developing vision, groups will begin to form around particular ideas, and those groups will be given whatever support they need to develop their plans and get their ideas off the ground.  

What kind of support will the projects get? 

It depends on the needs of the group and the project ideas that emerge. The co-ordinators will organise the monthly workshops in response to those needs, for example: 

  • If a group forms who wants to create a community energy scheme, they might benefit from inviting someone with direct experience to help them devise a business plan.  
  • If a group forms who wants to plant more fruit trees, they would benefit from working with a charity such as The Orchard Project who can help supply trees and organise watering 
  • If a group forms who wants to hold a Repair Café, they could be provided space for a pilot to take place as part of the event programme 
  • Other groups may need help applying for funding, or need training in specific skills to help them run their project. 

Great! When does this all start? 

We planned to begin holding events in early 2021. However, if covid-19 restrictions are still in place, meeting in large groups may not be possible until later. If so, we will make alternative arrangements to achieve the same objectives – for example meeting online or in smaller groups. 

Something that’s really important to us is that PACCT events are as inclusive as possible. We will do what we can to ensure that any alternative plans will not exclude anyone who wants to take part in PACCT activities from being able to do so. 

Until then, and before the official group launch, we will be holding some informal gatherings online. To find out when these are, either: 

Join the Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/PACCTE2  or join the mailing list by sending a request to PACCTE2@gmail.com  

Lizzy Mace

lizzy mace

Lizzy has worked as a freelance graphic designer, website manager, and for over a decade as a writer and actor. Since moving to Cranbrook Estate in 2015, Lizzy has put these diverse skills to use in her voluntary environmental activities: in nearly four years as Chair of Cranbrook Community Food Garden guiding the garden to attain London in Bloom “Outstanding” awards four years running; co-founding Plastic-free Roman Road in 2018 which spawned the Roman Road Borrow-a-Bag scheme in 2019; and contributing to hyperlocal news website RomanRoadLDN as their environmental correspondent.

[Cover photo: GoodGym volunteers helping in Parkview and Cranbrook]

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