Aims of the project
The ultimate aim of the project is that all residents of the borough will benefit from lower energy and water bills and a cleaner environment. This will be delivered by establishing a team of Community Champions to undertake a range of environmental engagement work throughout the borough. The Community Champions will also benefit from the training received and the confidence the activities instil in them and the recognition given.
Stakeholders of the Merton Environmental Sub-Group have identified community engagement and communication on environmental issues as one of the biggest barriers to success for their programmes. Many Merton residents have expressed an interest in getting more involved with improving their part of the borough.
A team of volunteer Community Champions will be built up over three years to cover the whole of the borough with at least 2-3 champions per ward.
Training on a range of environmental issues and solutions will be given to champions to ensure consistent knowledge and messaging. Key skills training will be offered to Community Champions who require it, in the areas of communication, presentation and influencing skills.
Levels & Training
There are different levels of involvement that volunteers can aspire to as follows:
Level one will be the level at which all volunteers enter the project and will be the least demanding on time and skills needed.
All volunteers at this level will be asked to act as local guardians for their neighbourhoods. This might involve reporting on incidents of fly tipping, watering newly planted trees, joining the Dig Merton project to improve open spaces, reporting anti-social behaviour and taking part in organized litter picks.
All of these tasks require little training but are of value to the champion’s communities and would suit a wide range of residents from different backgrounds.
By joining the project at level one, all residents will be able to ease into the project with very little stress or pressure. They will benefit from the support of the volunteer co-ordinator (VC) while they become more confident in engaging with their local communities.
Level two will be for volunteers who wish to become more expert in one or more areas of sustainability and are happy to increase their knowledge through training, which Sustainable Merton will provide.
They will be trained for free but in return will be asked to donate time to helping their local communities understand all the ways residents can reduce their negative impact on the environment.
They will do this by giving talks to their local schools, churches, community groups and resident associations as well as working with businesses and individual residents.
They will learn to advise on the following:-
• Energy conservation and micro-generation, including action to reduce fuel poverty;
• Water conservation and harvesting.
• Recycling, composting and waste minimization.
• Food production.
• Bio-diversity and habitat protection.
• Sustainable transport.
Level two champions will be asked to deliver their information to one group per month. They will also regularly meet with the project manager to feed back on their experiences and undergo refresher training.
Level three is for volunteers who wish to take part in specialist accredited training in the topics listed above but in more detail.
Champions who benefit from such training will be expected to pass their knowledge on to fellow champions as well as to their local communities.
Champions who take part in this level of training will make themselves very employable, particularly for jobs in the ‘Green Sector’ and so this level will best suit those who are looking to start work or those looking to change direction in their work.
We would also expect to offer champions at this level, good quality work experience in ‘green sector’ companies and organizations. This will further enhance their prospects of employment.
Because the cost of training at this level is going to be higher and the training places more limited, volunteers who benefit will need to show a good level of commitment to this project.
If you are interested in becoming a Community Champion, please contact our Volunteer Coordinator. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org / Tel: 020 3417 0476