Empowering local communities: Parish and town councils' role in the Great Big Green Week
Author: Jake Woodier of The Climate Coalition
Organised by The Climate Coalition, Great Big Green Week is a celebration of community action to address climate change and protect our natural world. Now in its third year, this nationwide event brings together communities and groups from across the country to showcase their efforts in safeguarding the planet. Local (parish and town) councils have a vital role to play in supporting and promoting Great Big Green Week alongside people from all walks of life that engage in the campaign.
Great Big Green Week: Uniting Communities
During Great Big Green Week, held from 10th to 18th June in 2023, communities across the UK will engage in various activities, from festivals to football matches, community energy tours to sustainable fairs and much more. The bedrock of the campaign is the passionate individuals and groups organising events and initiatives that aim to raise awareness about climate change and demonstrate the importance of collective action while showcasing what communities are already doing to protect the environment for generations to come.
Town and parish councils, as focal points of local communities, have a unique opportunity to get residents involved in taking part and creating local Green Weeks while also serving as community hubs for the national campaign. Councils can utilise their centrality in their area to bring together local organisations, schools, businesses, and residents to organise events highlighting how communities can tackle climate change and come together to make a difference. This can, in turn, positively influence local decision-makers and demonstrate the local public mandate for taking action.
Local Councils Taking the Lead
Town and parish councils can play a crucial role in the success of the Great Big Green Week by being visible champions for environmental initiatives and facilitating community engagement. Here are some ideas for actions that can be taken:
- Event promotion: Town and parish councils can use their communication channels, such as websites, newsletters, and social media, to raise awareness about Great Big Green Week and encourage participation in local events. They can collaborate with local organisations to create an event calendar and promote it widely.
- Resources and support: Councils can allocate resources, such as funding, equipment, and venues, to support community-led events. Offering guidance and assistance in obtaining necessary permissions for outdoor activities.
- School collaborations: Town and parish councils can engage with local schools to organise educational programs and workshops on climate change and sustainability. This collaboration can raise awareness among young people and inspire them to take action. The Climate Coalition has developed secondary and primary school resources.
- Advocate for change: Councils can use their position to advocate for and implement climate and nature-friendly policies and initiatives at the local level. They can work towards implementing sustainable practices within council operations, such as renewable energy adoption and waste reduction.
- Partnerships and networking: Councils can use their central role in a community to facilitate networking opportunities between local organisations, businesses, and community groups to foster collaboration and knowledge sharing. This can lead to long-term partnerships focused on sustainable development within the community.
Great Big Green Week presents an exciting and vital opportunity for town and parish councils to demonstrate their commitment to tackling climate change and protecting nature at the grassroots level. By promoting events, providing resources, collaborating with schools, advocating for change, and developing crucial partnerships, local councils can create a lasting impact within their communities for generations to come. Together, with the collective efforts of individuals, organisations, and town and parish councils, we can build a greener, more sustainable future for all. Join Great Big Green Week events near you, and make sure to put next year’s campaign (9th-16th June 2024) in the diary!
The following blog post is for informational purposes only and should not be considered professional or legal advice. The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the National Association of Local Councils. Any links to external sources included in this blog post are provided for convenience and do not constitute endorsement or approval of those websites' content, products, services, or policies. Therefore, readers should use discretion and judgment when applying the information to their circumstances. Finally, this blog post may be updated or revised without notice.