I am a freelance project manager with focus in sustainability, the environment, education and community action. With over thirty years’ experience in project development, strategic work, education and event management, I have gained a breadth of skills and knowledge across a range of disciplines. For much of the past twenty five years, I have worked with Swansea Environmental Forum, my Renew Wales host organisation, on several different projects. The first of these was setting-up the Environment Centre in Swansea, which I then managed for nearly ten years (a role I have recently returned to on a part-time, temporary basis). I coordinated Swansea’s first Environment Strategy, undertaking biennial reviews and updates over the past decade. I coordinate Low Carbon Swansea Bay network and various other forums and projects. I am also contracted by other organisations on a range of projects from producing publications or preparing business plans to chairing committees or undertaking community consultations. I believe Renew Wales offers a great model for helping community organisations to share good practice develop a positive response to the challenges of climate change. I am now also a local coordinator for the Enterprising Solutions programme which has a similar structure and approach.
Tell us about one experience of your work with Renew…
I joined Renew Wales as a local coordinator in January 2017 and one of the first projects I supported was CUSP a not-for-profit organisation that runs an indoor skate park near the centre of Swansea. They were keen to find ways to reduce their energy costs and at the same time do their bit for the environment and help reduce their impact on climate change.
We discussed what they wanted to achieve and worked with them to develop an action plan which included how to reduce their energy use and improve their recycling and waste management. We also discussed some of their longer-term aspirations, such as installing renewables and hosting a growing project.
I arranged the voluntary support of an experienced energy consultant who helped them understand their energy bills, helped them switch their energy supplier for a better deal and analysed their energy use. This included undertaking an energy audit and producing a comprehensive report which identified some measures that could be taken to reduce their energy use. They made some simple changes such as installing timers to their fridges and using more efficient heaters. Having identified lighting in the main area of the skate park as one of their main energy uses, I put them in touch with a project that was offering cost-effective lighting solutions. I also brought in a Renew Wales mentor with lighting expertise to help them explore alternative options.
Using my contacts with the council’s recycling team, I arranged a meeting to renegotiate their waste and recycling collection contract and discussed with them strategies for increasing recycling on site.
It was very rewarding to work with such an enthusiastic group of people and be able to find them free advice and support to help them on their way towards more sustainable practices.
What is your vision of your region in 2050?
It would be great to see our region implementing the Wellbeing Goals and Ways of Working effectively. This would probably result in it being significantly more self-sufficient in terms of food, energy, etc. and less polluting and wasteful with resources than it is today. The natural environment and resources would be valued, respected and protected. Towns and cities would be more people friendly and rural communities would have easy access to services and not feel isolated. People would need to travel less to work and services, and would generally do so by more active means or using public transport.