• pic3Foundation awards £50,000 to help fight fuel poverty
    Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre Credit Union has been awarded £50,000 from Foundation to finance interest free loans to help fight fuel poverty in the region.

The money will be used to finance an interest free loan scheme which will be available to those who would like to make energy saving improvements to their home, but are on low wages and may not be able to afford the high one off costs of for example, a new high efficiency boiler.

By using interest free loans to pay for the installation of energy saving measures members will be saving money in the long term. This will in turn steer them away from fuel poverty and enable the money that is saved to be spent on other items which will improve the resident’s quality of life while also supporting local businesses.

The Credit Union will encourage those who take the loans to utilise local businesses by providing information on local suppliers and installers. Beneficiaries of the interest free loans will also be given access to Blackpool Trading Standard’s “Safe and Secure” directory of local traders who have been vetted by local police and subscribe to a code of contact and a dispute resolution scheme.

Mike Barry, Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre Credit Union, said: “Everybody wins and we’re delighted to be offering this service.”

Mark Turner, Chief Officer of Foundation, said: “We’re delighted to be working with the Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre Credit Union. The scheme they have set up will make a big difference to local people’s lives by providing them with a place to go for help in making energy saving improvements to their homes. These improvements will then in turn reduce their homes carbon emissions and help us to achieve our goal of a lower carbon footprint in the Northwest.”

The Credit Union is currently made up of employees of Blackpool Council, Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre NHS Trust, Blackpool and Fylde College, Blackpool Coastal Housing, Northern Care, AI Claims Solutions, Great Places registered social landlord and the Hilton Hotel Blackpool.

  • Come and join the Great Green Debate!

Foundation will be exhibiting and taking part in the Great Green Debate at this year’s Business Northwest exhibition and conference.

Business Northwest is a free to attend event that provides businesses with the opportunity to learn cutting edge business techniques, listen to inspiring keynote speakers, network with likeminded individuals and source products and services from a diverse exhibition.

Now in its fourth successful year the event is being held at Manchester Central on 28-29th October 2009.

Foundation’s very own Chief Officer, Mark Turner, will be appearing as a panellist at Wednesday’s Great Green Debate. The debate will bring together experts in the fields of sustainability and business who will respond to questions from the local business community, discuss the problems faced by companies looking to make themselves more environmentally attractive and offer solutions and advice on how they can develop sustainable strategies.

SMEs are invited to submit questions prior to the debate. To submit a question register online to attend Business North West and email If your question is selected you will be contacted prior to the event and will be invited to ask your question during the debate.

Both days will also host a full line up of keynote speakers, including Michelle Mone, founder of Ultimo Lingerie and Mark Howe, Country Director of Google UK; informative and educational seminars; speed networking and investment advice from top business angels. And of course, day one would not be complete without the region’s largest business networking drinks held in the Network Café.

Foundation will be at stand 176a in the ‘Sustainable Hub’ so please come along and visit us!

  • NWDA AGM & Conference appoints Foundation as the Carbon Partner
    Foundation is appointed as the Carbon Partner for this year’s Annual Conference and AGM for the Northwest Regional Development Agency. This event highlighted some of this year’s key achievements, as well as the Agency’s response to the downturn and how additional NWDA business finance products are benefiting the region’s businesses. Chief Executive Steven Broomhead presented an overview of some of the key work undertaken by the Agency and its partners during the year. Event host Jim Hancock also interviewed the NWDA’s new Chairman, Robert Hough, on the region’s future challenges and priorities. There was also an opportunity for the delegates who attended to pose questions to the Agency’s Board.

This event took place on the 15th October 2009 at the BT Convention Centre in Liverpool and was a great success.

  • Northern Regeneration Summit 2009 shows its support
    Foundation is pleased to announce its appointment as the carbon partner for the Northern Regeneration Summit 2009.

Delegates attending the Summit will be asked to make a donation to Foundation to compensate for their travel-related carbon emissions and prove their committment to reducing carbon and tackling climate change in the region.

The Summit is the largest regionally focussed regeneration event in the North of England. Held this year on the 20th and 21st October 2009 at the City of Manchester Stadium, it provides the opportunity for public and private sector regeneration professionals to come together in order to discuss regeneration for the North of England.

Stephen Thomas, Regeneration & Renewal Sales Manager for Haymarket Business Media says:
“We’re proud to offer our support to Foundation. By engaging the delegates who attend our event, we are offering them a unique way to show their commitment to the local environment but also the North West regional carbon compensation fund. Foundation utilises these donations to support community carbon reduction projects. As our event is based in Manchester, Foundation guarantees that these donations will provide funding to projects in the Greater Manchester region.”

  • Manchester International Festival make first major donation
    Manchester International Festival (MIF) has donated nearly £7000 to Foundation, to compensate for unavoidable carbon emissions released by artist and staff travel during the two-week celebration of arts and popular culture.

MIF marks the first major donation to Foundation and marks the beginning of our mission to raise £3m from the public and private sector over the next three years.

The donation reflects the Festival’s staff and artists’ travel emissions and will help us deliver funding for local, community based carbon-reducing projects that combat climate change, whilst advancing social justice and tackle problems such as fuel poverty.

Jennifer Cleary, Head of Creative Learning, MIF, said:
“Since the first Manchester International Festival in 2007, we’ve been working hard to find ways to make the Festival more sustainable and more beneficial to local communities. As well as introducing new ways of working that range from recycling Festival banners into useful bags, to composting waste from the Festival site to minimise our environmental impact, we’re working more closely to get local communities involved in some of our major artistic commissions.”

“Foundation provided the opportunity to take this a step further. We wanted to find a way to compensate for unavoidable emissions caused by staff and artists travelling to and from the Festival. We’re excited that we can do this in a way that directly benefits local communities and we wish Foundation all the best in reaching their £3m target.”

Mark Turner, Chief Officer of Foundation, said:
“I’m delighted and incredibly proud that our first major donation has come from such a prestigious event as Manchester International Festival. The Festival is dedicated to putting on world firsts and they’ve continued this tradition by choosing to invest in Foundation.”

  • Building the case for a brighter future
    “Students certainly create an awful lot of energy,” says Christopher Kirkup, Principal at Queen Elizabeth Grammar School. “But until we’re able to bottle it, we’ll continue to be heavily reliant on other resources.”

The Penrith school is part of a Cumbria Action For Sustainability (CAFS) project supported with £35,000 from Foundation. The project increases energy efficiency in two buildings near the Lake District – the school and Rosley Village Hall.

Local firm Sundog Energy has fitted 42 photovoltaic panels to the school roof – turning light into electricity and allowing the substantial savings to be ploughed back into the children’s education.

Mr Kirkup said: “Apart from the cost issue, it’s a fantastic opportunity to teach our young people more about climate change and the technology being developed to tackle carbon emissions. They can see it in action first hand, and it can support their learning in a range of subjects including maths, science and environmental science.”

Stuart Harrison, Design Technology teacher at the school, added: “My department is keen to highlight the benefits of engineering as a career choice. There’s no better way of stimulating interest than involving students in this kind of scheme.”
The CAFS project also saw a village hall at the heart of this small Cumbrian community increase its own efficiency with the best insulator nature can provide – sheep’s wool.

Local firm Second Nature UK spent years perfecting the ideal blend of sheep’s wool to give all the benefits of insulation, without the downsides associated with synthetic materials such as fibreglass.

Managing Director Christine Armstrong is in no doubt that users of the village hall, the scheme’s beneficiaries, will see a number of improvements from this natural solution to energy loss.

She said: “The building will be warmer in winter and cooler in the summer, and the trustees will see a reduction in their energy bills as a result. Our insulation -Thermafleece – only needs to be fitted once, as it will last as long as the building itself.
“I think when you use a natural British product like this, it captures the imagination of the community, getting them involved and engaged.”
Richard Suddaby is the Project Officer at CAFS that set the schemes in motion. He said: “Here are two different venues that require subtly different solutions to their energy issues.

“Foundation helped deliver the right answers for each individual case.”

  • Sheep’s wool, peat bogs and burning wood…
    England’s Northwest is striking out to be a low carbon pioneer in the UK, today (16th April) with the launch of Foundation, a climate fund for the Northwest, which will deliver £1m per year for local, community based carbon-reducing projects.

Energy and Climate Change Minister Joan Ruddock MP will officially launch the fund with a personal video message to business and public sector leaders at an event at Halliwells Solicitors in central Manchester.

Called ‘Foundation’, the fund is being established to give individuals and businesses the opportunity to donate to local community projects across the region that are helping to combat climate change, whilst advancing social justice and tackling problems like fuel poverty.

Money raised will be spent on carbon reduction projects ranging from insulation, solar panels and wind turbines, to biological carbon sinks like peat bogs.

Managed by Groundwork Northwest, chaired by United Utilities and with an initial investment of £1.6m from the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA), Foundation has a target to raise an additional £3m in donations over the next three years.

Energy and Climate Change Minister, Joan Ruddock, said:

“I am hugely impressed by the leadership being shown by the NWDA and Groundwork, which shows the commitment to fighting climate change at all levels across the UK. The work being done in the Northwest should be seen as an example to everyone of what we need to be doing to meet our ambitious emissions reduction targets.

“During the current economic difficulties it is important that we look after the most vulnerable in our society and I am particularly pleased to see a central theme of Foundation’s work is helping households reduce their bills by introducing energy efficiency measures.”

Foundation projects will be selected based on an ability to demonstrate their carbon savings, whilst projects that otherwise struggle to find support elsewhere will be prioritised. Projects will not simply be selected for their pound per carbon saving ratio, rather innovative projects that tackle issues like fuel poverty or biodiversity will be given priority.

Foundation is available to community groups and organisations and those wishing to find out more can visit or more information or call the Foundation team on 0161 237 3200.

Foundation is unique in that money raised will be spent entirely in the region. Businesses and individuals finally have a way to donate directly to their local community to compensate for unavoidable carbon emissions.

Foundation is as much about social equity as carbon reduction – projects must realise a reduction in carbon, but equally must deliver a wider range of benefits; including supporting families struggling to pay their heating bills, assisting local schools and community groups, investing in ‘green collar’ jobs and ultimately developing the region’s low carbon economy.

Business will benefit from investing in their local area where their customers and staff live and work – directly assisting their own communities will offer the business a highly visible, tangible return on any donation to Foundation. Businesses can see their donation working twice as hard with Foundation, serving to compensate for unavoidable emissions and fulfilling corporate social responsibility goals.

An action in the Northwest Climate Change Action Plan, Foundation is a not-for-profit fund managed by Groundwork Northwest and a consortium of the NWDA, Energy Savings Trust, ENWORKS, Quantum, CO2 Balance and Creative Concern.