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Clapham Sustainability Group

Our community lies in the far south west of the county. Some 6 miles, as the crow flies, from the border with Lancashire, but 60 miles from Northallerton and Thirsk and over 100 miles from the furthest point in the county - Scarborough.


The community background is that since 1978 Clapham has had the status of a conservation area, and  part of the community lies within the boundaries of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Some 50 per cent of the local area, including houses and farms  (lowland and upland),  are owned by the Ingleborough Estate. All these circumstances impact on what we can and cannot achieve. The community is small, a population, usually steady at 650 . We have three farms in the village and are surrounded by farmland. There are no large towns nearby…….Skipton the nearest is 30 miles away. With Ingleborough on our doorstep, Pen-y-Ghent and Whernside not far away, Clapham is a popular attraction for Dales visitors.  In spite of this Clapham and the surrounding community is supportive and cohesive which, despite visitor popularity, has virtually no second homes or holiday lets.


The Clapham Sustainability Group came into being in 2007 with the aim of working with the community towards becoming less carbon reliant and more sustainable . We have a core group of around 8 who meet bi-monthly and an online membership of about 42.


Over the past 17 years we have experienced successes and, of course failures.


I will just mention what we have been doing recently and then note a couple of failures. We held our eighth Give and Take event recently with very little having to go to Household Waste - the main aim. Our Clapham Curlew Cluster Group, with 12 participating farmers and 18 survey volunteers, will be approaching its third operational year next spring. The group recently received a grant of just over £9000 to assist with Curlew nest protection during the breeding season for this highly endangered species, funding for farmers, and payment for a Curlew art project. We were also lucky to receive another grant for a ‘top of the range’ infrared camera which can reveal where households are losing heat. In the new year the camera will be made available for everyone in the community. We do not have piped gas, so depend on electricity, oil and bottled gas. 12 years ago a scheme was introduced to research the oil provider offering the lowest oil price, with the advantage of a bulk delivery.  A saving for community members on oil, and less road miles for the oil company.


In December 2020 we worked to initiate the passing of a Climate Emergency Motion by our local Parish Council. They were one of the first Parish Councils in the country to do so. When, 7 years ago, the village convenience store came up for sale the Sustainability Group brought together a group of people to form a committee in order to save the shop and have it run by volunteers. This was achieved and the shop still flourishes.


Failures include an expensive hydroelectric audit which rejected the scheme on environmental grounds. More recently we hoped to install EV charging points for use by local residents who were unable to have access to their own homes. This failed because neither the Yorkshire Dales National Park (in their own Clapham car-park) nor the Ingleborough Estate could provide us with the land for EV Charge installations.


It was down to a response last March, following news of  the county locations where the shared prosperity fund teams would be running workshops that prompted me to write this email. Skipton had been named as one of the locations for the workshops and one comment was “Why Skipton?”.


Finally, we heard this week that our Shared Prosperity Fund Pre-application for a feasibility study/audit has been granted. We had asked for this to be based on community insulation and/or a shared community energy scheme.


It would be really good to hear how other groups have got on with their UKSPF applications.

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