This story was told in a story circle at the Learning History workshop in February 2008.
An ambitious climate awareness campaign faced many stumbling blocks when it came to getting it ‘on the road’. Read about some of the familiar realities that dogged this innovative project.
Waiting for the cows to come home – a cautionary tale
A story told in the “Tales from the Carbon Face” story circle
I only know one story about Local authorities and carbon reduction because I have only been in my job for four months. And most of this story happened before I arrived! So I’m going to have to be a bit imaginative.
About two years ago, someone in our partnership of Local Authorities wrote a funding application to DEFRA for over £300K to campaign on raising awareness of climate change and attitude shift in the whole of the Local Authority area, which is however many million people, I cannot remember now. And this plan we have put together with a bit of trepidation and I suppose, quite a lot of courage and a lot of it is ambitious. We had this huge idea of websites and a touring bus and all the Local authorities working together. Bringing 20 different authorities with all the energy officers out there together and we would have a big launch event with these Authorities as well as in-house staff events and all that kind of thing. That we would draw in funding from I think British Gas and somebody else, Power Gen maybe—it was a big ambitious idea and it was quite exciting….
… and then the money actually arrived ….
and all sorts of challenges started appearing …and the people who did the of branding work who had been highly recommended, really just were not producing anything - it was rubbish! And that caused a huge delay in the project. And there was a really difficult time when the project manager had to go down to London and sack this group of people and tell them “that’s it! We’re not having you anymore”. And we found a new lot who did some really good stuff. They were great at the branding and images and colours and all that….and then were really, really, really slow at producing a website! The website is really only ready now, 18 months into the project. Then there was a problem with the design of the bus: it works, it’s out there, it goes….but…it leaks! And initially it didn’t have an awning, it didn’t have a wind-turbine, it didn’t have solar panels. These were all additions. And then we found that people didn’t really like going on the bus! Because it’s kind of scary – it’s only got one door and you don’t know what is inside. So we found you need to bring everything out of the bus. What else…there was also the feeling that there were all these Local Authority partners out there who everyone thought – hey they’re going to do stuff and be engaged. And we’ve found that some of them are really great but others of them don’t really exist. So I think it has worked in a lot of ways, but there’s been huge challenges and delays and problems and difficulties.
So hopefully a good learning experience!
Return to the listing of 20 mini stories