Going greener together: consulting our community on our new strategic plan
In May 2023, we launched our new five-year strategic plan, A Greener and Fairer Tomorrow, Starting Today. This sets out our ambitions for the years ahead and gives us a route map for planning our projects and services between 2023 and 2028.
Greener Kirkcaldy is a community-led charity. The people who live, work and study in the local area guide everything we do. People from our community, therefore, had a key role in shaping the new plan.
We started work to develop our new strategic plan in summer 2022. We identified the programme of projects and services that we wanted to take forward by:
- Reviewing our progress and achievements towards our 2018-23 strategic plan
- Carrying out environment scanning, analysis and scenario planning to identify external challenges and opportunities
- Gathering ideas and experience from our staff and volunteer teams through a series of workshops and surveys
- Carrying out a community consultation with over 350 people through:
- A workshop at our Annual Gathering and AGM in November 2022
- An online survey
- Pop-up events in Kirkcaldy town centre
What our community told us:
Our consultations identified a several key priorities for the future:
- Projects that support our organisational values
- Tackling the climate emergency
- Supporting people through the cost of living crisis, fuel poverty and food insecurity
- Providing volunteering, training and employability opportunities
- Bringing our community together, reducing isolation and improving mental health and wellbeing
- Diversifying our funding streams and generating our own income to help us become more financially resilient
- Working in partnership with other organisations
- Remaining socially inclusive as we develop our income-generation activities
- Engaging with young people and families
- Building on the great range of skills and assets within our community
Greener Kirkcaldy are a wonderful organisation with a good vision for Kirkcaldy and make
people feel like they can actually do something.
It’s really great that you’re asking people what you should do. It really makes us feel like we’re part of the organisation and that we can have a say in what happens in Kirkcaldy.
We also found strong support for continued work on five key themes that people told us they wanted to see:
Community Engagement and Development
- Volunteering opportunities and volunteer-led projects
- Training and employability opportunities to tackle unemployment
- Activities for young people, families and intergenerational groups
- Community events to bring people together, improve mental health and wellbeing and reduce isolation
- Open days and visits to our sites
Food and Growing
- Courses and workshops teaching skills in growing and cooking
- Support to help people access food with dignity
- Advice on climate-friendly cooking and gardening
- Cooking and gardening clubs for different audiences
- More focus on plant-based diets
- Kitchen and garden open days and cooking demos
- Education on the climate emergency
- Support for people, businesses and organisations to reduce carbon emissions and transition to net zero
- Cross sector partnerships bringing people together to tackle the climate emergency
- Activities to help people prepare for climate disruption
- Training and events to increase skills and confidence in cycling
- Affordable bike repairs, sales and hires
- Electric bike sales and repairs
- Local and themed led walks
- Car-free days and events
- Support to help people who are struggling to heat their homes
- Advice on reducing energy, carbon and making homes more climate-friendly
We have taken these forward into our five-year plan.
The climate emergency is here and Scotland’s climate is changing. These changes are already impacting people and places across Fife. The science is clear that the effects will continue and intensify over the coming decades. Adaptation Scotland argues we need early action to adapt to changes. This will help increase resilience, reduce risks and support people to prepare for the opportunities that a changing climate can bring.
We will carry out a feasibility study to learn more about climate adaptation. We will explore what approaches might work best to build resilience and help people prepare for climate disruption in Fife. We will also consider what we can put in place to help our own organisation to adapt.
More focus on plant-based diets
Our community consultation highlighted significant support for more focus on plant-based food (60% of respondents). We will run workshops and courses on plant-based cooking and organise ‘taster’ events giving people the chance to try plant-based food. And we will offer more plant-based options at our community meals and pop-up café.
Offer plant based tasters at your events and make your community meals plant based –
show people how fantastic this food can be and that they won’t miss meat
Local led walks
There was strong support in our community consultation for walking activities (70%). We will add these to our travel behaviour change work. We will run programmes of walks showcasing local routes and increasing knowledge and confidence to walk more for local journeys.
We will also deliver ‘themed’ walks to educate people about the climate emergency, for example nature, coastal and geology walks. We will pilot these with grant funding. In the future, we will consider other options for funding these activities in the long-term, for example charging a small fee or asking for donations.
What’s not included?
Our consultation also found some fantastic ideas that we haven’t included in our new plan. We’ve highlighted the reasons why below:
Greener Fife (activities and projects in other towns)
Although most of our work takes place in Kirkcaldy, we also work with partners to deliver projects across Fife, for example Cosy Kingdom and Climate Action Fife. We think climate action needs to happen everywhere. That’s why we want to support and empower other groups across Fife to take action. We are always happy to share our learning and our Climate Action Fife project works with cross-sector partners across Fife to build capacity in areas where there isn’t any climate action taking place.
Town Centre regeneration
We want Kirkcaldy to be a good place to live and work. Love Oor Lang Toun and Fife Council are already doing amazing work towards this. We’ll continue to play a key role, partnering with them on projects and sharing feedback, ideas and aspirations from our community.
Waste reduction activities
Between 2015 and 2020, with the support of grant funding, we ran waste reduction classes and workshops. These covered activities including sewing, computer repair, bike repair and maintenance, tool repair, furniture repair and upcycling. We also ran clothes swaps, published a repair and reuse guide and set up a community fridge and a library of things.
In 2018-20, we trialled transitioning these activities into social enterprises. This would have allowed us to continue them when the grant funding came to a end. However, competition from other local organisations running similar activities meant we were unable to generate a viable income. Some waste reduction work remains in our work plan. Our Lang Toun Cycles Community Bike Shop offers bike repairs, sales of second-hand bikes and bike maintenance workshops and our community fridge and pantry continue to redistribute surplus donated food.
People can also drop off old IT equipment at our community building. We send items to the Edinburgh Remakery for reuse. There are also lots of other opportunities to repair and reuse locally. A few examples are sewing classes, furniture upcycling and tool libraries.
We carried out a feasibility study into starting a car club in Kirkcaldy, but decided we weren’t best placed to organise this. This is due to the logistics involved in finding dedicated parking spaces, the staff time needed to manage and administer the scheme and the long-term maintenance costs of vehicles.
However, other organisations are working on this. For example, Ore Valley Housing Association have set up a car club for tenants. And local residents in Lochgelly and Cardenden have plans to replicate this in other areas of Fife, including Kirkcaldy. We will share our community consultation results with them, and Fife Council, to help encourage this.