Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Grants available to churches, chapels and other places of worship built before 1896

Photo from leaflet:

The William and Jane Morris Fund is open to applications from churches, chapels and other places of worship built before 1896. The Fund offers grants of up to £1,000 towards work concerned with the conservation of decorative features such as, stained glass windows, sculpture, furniture, internal monuments and tombs, and wall paintings. Grants towards major structural repairs and fabric maintenance may be considered under exceptional circumstances.

There are two application deadlines a year, the 31st August and the 31st March.

Inter Faith Week 18-27 November 2012 Grants Available!

Information from:

The Interfaith Youth Trust has announced that it is making grants of between £300 and £500 available for  events organised by and for young people focused around Inter Faith Week 18-27 November 2012. 
Grants are awarded for proposals for inter-faith activities by children and young people from Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Sikh and other faiths and those of no formal faith in understanding and co-operation.

The age range for young people is 11-25 years.  Priority will be given to projects which :
• Actively involve young people in planning, running, and evaluation of the project
• Promote positive action i.e. young people from different backgrounds coming together to address shared problems like improving green spaces;
• Are run by non-statutory organisations, such as youth clubs, scout/guide groups, local voluntary and community organisations. 

Deadline for applications:  1 September 2012

Download the Application Form

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Funding Available to get Children Closer to Nature

Arla Foods UK plc has announced that it is inviting applications for funding through its “Get Closer to Nature” Grants Programme.

Through the programme, grants of up to £1,500 are available to individuals, local community groups and school, etc to enable children to get closer to nature. The type of activities that could be funded can include transforming derelict ground into a beautiful flower garden for the local community to enjoy; clearing an overgrown path to reveal a previously inaccessible area of nature, adding benches to allow everyone to benefit from it; transforming a city centre patch of concrete into a haven for local birds; creating a vegetable patch at your local school to help kids to learn about where food comes from; and bringing just-laid eggs into the city by setting up an urban chicken run.

The closing date for applications is the 4th June 2012.

Dunscore Goes to Budapest – Again

 70 years ago this month, Jane Haining set out from Dunscore to take up her post as matron at the Jewish Girls` Home in Budapest. She could not know then that her journey would ultimately end in Auschwitz, where she died in 1944.

On my first visit to Hungary in April this year, I thought often of how Jane had travelled over land and sea from a small Scottish village to do God`s work far from friends and family. Trying to learn a few words of Hungarian before leaving home, I was full of admiration for the clever woman (once Modern Dux at Dumfries Academy) who became fluent in the language.

Adrian Shaw (Climate Change Officer of the Church of Scotland) and I were on a different kind of mission – to encourage care for God`s creation in a country which was keen to start up an Eco-Congregation movement of its own. We had been invited by the Reformed Church of Hungary (RCH) who had organised a national conference (Okogyulekezet) at which we were to speak.

Arriving 2 days before the conference, we had time for several meetings (and meals) with members of the newly-formed Eco-Congregational Council. One of these was Barbara Botos, Head of National Climate Change Policy, who had recently represented Hungary at Durban. Over lunch (pancakes with spinach and sour cream) we learned how Hungary relies on Russian gas and oil for most of its energy needs, supplemented by nuclear power. As in Scotland, carbon emissions have fallen due to the loss of heavy industry. Emissions are lower per capita than ours, but they have less opportunity for developing renewable energy technologies since Hungary is landlocked, quite flat and not very windy. We did visit an impressive Eco project, however, at the Bethesda Childrens` Hospital where low energy heating (and cooling – it was 30 degrees C outside) was provided by a mix of solar power and air to water heat pumps.

The conference, organised by Tamas Kodacsy, who is a pastor and the Project Leader, went very well. In the morning there were presentations on the theological and scientific perspectives on climate change. Fortunately Adrian and I were provided with an excellent translator called Dora, who sat between us and whispered an English version of everything that was said. She was glad of a break for lunch (soup followed by chicken, mounds of mashed potatoes, dill pickles and paprika sauce – we never went hungry in Hungary!).

After lunch, Adrian spoke about Eco-Congregations and I gave a presentation about the work we have been doing in Dunscore. We spoke a few sentences at a time and Dora translated, which was fine until she misunderstood the kind of Pub in which we hold our meetings..I had to explain that the Flying Pig was the kind of place where we held knitting bees, not knife fights! In the discussions which followed, there was a lot of enthusiasm for setting up Eco-Congregations and also for twinning between churches in Scotland and Hungary to share ideas about how to care for the environment. Many congregations already celebrate Creationtide in September and October, and they also have a scheme called Egyhaztaji, through which farmers markets are run by local churches.

In between the meetings and visits, Adrian and I were taken on sightseeing trips which included the Parliament, the castle, and the Chain Bridge (built by Scottish engineers).I was also able to spend an evening with Margit Halasz, the teacher from Vorosmaty School who came to Dunscore last August.

One of the highlights for me was Communion on Sunday morning at St Columba`s, the Scots Kirk, where Jane Haining worshipped, and where there are memorials to her from both the Church of Scotland and the local Jewish community. The minister (Rev Aaron Stevens) is coming to Dunscore for our special service on June 3rd.

Throughout our visit, I was impressed by the friendliness and hospitality of everyone we met. I can understand how Jane Haining must have fallen in love with this beautiful city and its people. I am so grateful to have had the chance to go, to spread the message of Eco-Congregation and to further the link between Dunscore and Budapest.

- Alison Boyes

Monday, 28 May 2012

Computers for Rural People Scheme (UK)

From Arhur Rank Centre Supporting Rural Communities and Churches

If you live or work in a rural area we can supply a fully functioning computer for as little as £130
This scheme gives YOU a computer at extra-low CHARITY PRICES
  • Internet ready laptops and desktops with pre-installed Microsoft software 
  • Order and pay online, by phone or by post
  • Free delivery (UK mainland)
  • Individuals, schools, businesses, community groups... all qualify!
Email and Internet provide enormous opportunities for those who find it difficult to get out and about, especially when the shops, library or bank are 10 miles away. Yet computers are usually expensive, and few people want to buy one ‘just to see if it might be useful’.

Arthur Rank Centre started Computers for Rural People to provide rural communities, individuals and groups with high quality, fully-refurbished second hand computers at very low cost to encourage people to take the first step.

So if you think a computer might be useful, but can’t afford several hundred pounds just to try, we can help you.  At a really low price we can provide a computer of your own, pre-loaded with Microsoft software, and delivered to your door with 3 months warranty, to get you started.

The ARC is cooperating with two other charities to supply re-furbished computers to you at extra-low charity prices. This deal is only available through the ARC.

Our prices include a donation of £12 to ARC to help us to cover our costs for this project. If you are a UK tax payer you can increase your donation by 25% at no extra cost to you by completing a Gift Aid form with  your purchase. Thank you.

Friday, 25 May 2012

Rio+20 - United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development 20-22nd June 2012

Please check out the Stop Climate Chaos Scotland page to find out what you can do to help ensure Rio+20 is a success for our planet:

This summer, 20 years on from the Earth Summit in Rio de Janiero, Brazil in 1992, government representatives from around the world will meet at a ‘Rio+20’ summit to discuss sustainable development.

The 1992 Rio Summit was genuinely game changing. It revealed to a whole new audience the injustice that the way we live in industrialised countries is impacting on the lives of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable communities and damaging the planet.

But more importantly it did this with a sense that we can stop it. Twenty years on we’ve seen huge achievements, from world leading climate legislation to widespread production of renewable energy, resulting from people like you taking action. But there is still much work to do.

So during the summit this June, people across the UK will hold Rio-themed events with their political representatives to connect global and national sustainability issues with those in their local areas, and inspire new people to talk about sustainability. In Scotland, we'll be supporting people to meet with their MSPs to raise these issues.

Check out the Toolkit for events in Scotland

Check if there are events planned in your area

Find out what we want MSPs to sign up to

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Sentamu says, “We must not abuse what does not belong to us.”

From the Christian Ecology Link

Isabel Carter, Emma Casson and Ruth Jarman in York Minster
CEL participated in Mission Earth – A Christian Response to Climate Change at York Minster on Saturday 21st April when the results of the Christian Census on Climate Change announced.
The opening service was led by an ecumenical group including the Bishop of Middlesbrough and students from local Quaker schools. The Archbishop of York gave the address, saying, “We must not abuse what does not belong to us.”  “For Christians,” he went on, “the best way to deal with climate change is to infect the world with God’s goodness.  The world is charged with God’s grandeur…..May God give us the eyes to see it.”

The service was followed by short speeches by Martin Hodson of JRI, on What is Climate Change?,  (link to talk below), Ben Niblett of Tearfund on The Impact, and Ruth Jarman of CEL and Operation Noah on Our Response .  Ben Niblett declared that climate change matters for its own sake because it is God’s creation and He said that it was good. “The church is well placed to deal with climate change,” he went on, “We know there is more to life than shopping.” Ruth Jarman urged people to read, reflect and sign the Ash Wednesday Declaration and ended with a call to conversion.

“The transformation that needs to happen to society requires nothing less than a transformation of desire brought about through repentance. But repentance is not something that we can decide to do.  It is something that happens to us when, in true humility, we open ourselves to the conviction of the Holy Spirit.  Only then will we, and the world, be saved.

So the church has a whole new field of mission.  There is now new urgency, impetus and meaning to Jesus’ exhortation to us to ‘preach the good news to all creation.’”

For the afternoon the conference delegates moved to York St. John University where CEL had a stall run by Richard and Nicky Kierton and the results of the census were presented.  Of the 700 respondents three quarters were aware that climate change was due to human activities and over half thought the government should make it at least a major policy, with 20% wanting it to be of “utmost importance”. Isabel Carter, Operation Noah’s chair, gave a presentation A call to the church; responding with hope and urgency, where she said, “You are precious in God’s sight. Make yourself available to be used by him in what is probably the biggest challenge the church has ever faced.” 

Workshops followed, including Lost for words? – Responding to Scepticism and ‘shrug culture’, run by Isabel Carter and Ruth Jarman.

The event was organised by Emma Casson and other members of the Ecumenical Working Group from the Catholic Diocese of Middlesbrough.

What is climate change? Martin Hodson,JRI

Report, photos and videos of York Minster service and speeches can be found here.

Grants for Environment Community Projects

From CSV Action Earth page

We give two types of Grant.

  1. CSV Action Earth Awards of up to £250 are available to groups of volunteers carrying out environmental activities.

    This could include planting nectar-rich flowers or fruit-bearing trees and shrubs to support butterflies, bees and birds, creating new habitats for wildlife: for example wildflower meadows, ponds and hedgerows or generally improving woodlands and other green spaces to make them more wildlife friendly.
  3. CSV Local Nature Reserve Awards offer up to £500 for activities taking place on LNR .

    These should encourage volunteer involvement and bring new volunteers onto the reserve, involve people in recording and learning about wildlife, raise the local profile of the site and protect and enhance biodiversity. We will prioritise applications from community or ‘Friends of’ groups which bring new volunteers onto LNR or which celebrate work carried out by those with existing affiliations. Events should involve the local Ranger Service.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Final worship at heart and soul

The end of a very successful event.

Presbytery flags being taken to the stage

At heart and soul in Edinburgh.

Another update from Heart and Soul

Well it's been a busy afternoon so far. Lots of interest. Also met lots of people I haven't seen for a long time. The good weather has made it a pleasure!

Update from Heart and Soul

Things are very busy here. Lots if interest and a number of congregations saying they are already planning to register as Eco-Congregations.

Heart and Soul event report #1

We are taking part in today's Church of Scotland event in Princes Street Gardens. Our stall is all set up and ready to go. We will post some updates during the day.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

More than 110 events to celebrate Scottish Biodiversity Week

Message from Scottish National Heritage:

Scottish Biodiversity Week kicks off on May 19 with over 110 free wildlife events across Scotland.

Organised by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and partners, the week boosts a huge array of community events taking place from the top of the country in Caithness and Sutherland, down to Angus, Argyll and Scottish Borders.

Participants can spot a puffin colony or search for whales and dolphins in Caithness; walk through ‘bone’ caves where ice age reindeer, humans and polar bears were discovered or take part in a worm charming championship in Sutherland; take part in guided beaver walks near Lochgilphead; search for bats in Letham; watch for peregines near Kirriemuir; join a ranger-led walk around Possil March local nature reserve in Glasgow; find out about barn owls in Galashiels; learn about birdsong near Newton Stewart; take part in a biodiversity scavenger hunt in the Pentland Hills; or join in any number of activities at the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh.

There are two naturalist celebrities taking part in Scottish Biodiversity Week as well. Well-known nature writer Sir John Lister-Kaye will be speaking and showing his spectacular pictures at the Eden Court Theatre in Inverness on May 22, while popular wildlife cameraman, Gordon Buchanan, will be planting the Tree for Life’s millionth volunteer-planted tree at Dundreggan Estate on May 20.

For more information on these and many other events across Scotland, see Most events are free, with a few events with minimal charges.

Scottish Biodiversity Week organiser, Zeshan Akhter, said:

“There are so many great events on offer this year - there’s something for everyone, whether you want to be out in a remote spot, learning about and watching wildlife, or taking part in a busy woodland activity day. With over 110 events across Scotland, I’d really encourage everyone to take a look at our website and find an event nearby.”
Scottish Biodiversity Week has been held every year since 2001, starting as a local initiative in Fife in 2000 and growing into a national event. Many organisations put on events, including park ranger services, councils, environmental charities, botanic gardens, businesses, schools and community organisations. For more information and event listings, see The purpose of Scottish Biodiversity Week is to celebrate Scotland's precious wildlife and landscapes and offer the chance to everyone to get out and about and experience them.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Energy Saving Scotland advice centre : Free insulation offers in South East Scotland

From Energy Saving Scotland advice centre South East:

What’s on offer?
The scheme offers free loft insulation, including ‘top-up’ insulation, and cavity wall insulation to all properties in Edinburgh, Fife, the Lothians and the Scottish Borders.

It's not means-tested in any way; the only condition is that the property must be suitable for the type of insulation available.

This is determined by a free no-obligation survey by an installer. Households living in other areas of Scotland can also access free or discounted loft insulation and cavity wall insulation by calling their local advice centre free on 0800 512 012.

Who is funding this?
The Scottish Government has invested over £16 million for this financial year, divided up between Scottish councils to deliver the scheme in proportion with the size of the area’s population. The scheme also makes use of funding that’s already available through the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (CERT), a UK wide scheme that uses money from the energy companies to fund carbon-saving measures like insulation.
Why is that a good deal?
This is an example of a joined-up approach to reducing carbon emissions, tackling fuel poverty and reducing the impact of high energy costs. Not only does it make sense to pool the funding schemes (for every £1 of government money spent almost twice as much CERT funding is used to supplement the work being done) it makes practical sense too.
In the current economic climate people are increasingly concerned about their energy bills, so being able to offer a solution like this is a great opportunity to engage with householders and support them to take action.
Why act now?
CERT funding is available now but it won’t be here forever. Now is a good time to cash in on the funding before the current system is changed. Local Authorities want to maximise the positive impact these grants can have by making the most of the funding while it lasts. The Scottish Government is serious about tackling the growing issue of fuel poverty in Scotland, as well as reducing carbon emissions in line with our 2050 targets.

Householders can book a free no-obligation survey by calling the Home Energy Scotland Hotline free on 0800 512 012 or by texting ‘WARM’ to 81025 to register for a call back.
Photo from:

Monday, 14 May 2012

Climate Change deniers mostly men argues Rev John Bell

In part of a wider ranging BBC Radio 4 "thought for the day" on masculinity and corporate sin, Rev John Bell argues that most climate change deniers are male:

"Because we live in a broadly patriarchal society, we should not be surprised that the culture which brought about the worldwide financial meltdown was overwhelmingly masculine. But consider also that the people who are most vocal in denying human responsibility for the disastrous effects of climate change are mostly male."

Read or listen to the full broadcast here:

Friday, 11 May 2012

The Climate Change Jobs Tour Starts 12th May

World Fair Trade Day - May 12th 2012

One World Shop highlights World Fair Trade Day:

"World Fair Trade Day (WFTDay) is an initiative of the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO) and is being supported by thousands of people, Fair Trade Organisations, social and environmental movements, producers and consumers all around the planet."

For more information see the One World Shop April Newsletter:

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Grants for church building conservation.

Thanks to Community Energy Scotland for bringing this to our attention:

The William and Jane Morris Fund is open to applications from churches, chapels and other places of worship built before 1896. The Fund offers grants of up to £1,000 towards work concerned with the conservation of decorative features such as, stained glass windows, sculpture, furniture, internal monuments and tombs, and wall paintings. Grants towards major structural repairs and fabric maintenance may be considered under exceptional circumstances.

Deadline: 31st August 2012

Further information here:

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Fundraising campaign to support African youth climate leaders

Message from Claire Morris: 

Fundraising campaign
I am launching a huge crowdsourced fundraising campaign to support African youth climate leaders to be able to travel and participate at the Earth Summit too. It's come to my attention that European and N. American youth activists and campaigners are MUCH more supported to get their voice heard in the international negotiating arena, than African youth are, and I think it's time for us to begin to equalise at least the access and opportunity for young Africans to defend their future, as I would be able to go to a UN meeting and defend mine. The need is also so much more urgent in the developing world, where crop failure, floods, famine and Climate Change are hitting so hard.

If you can support and promote this fundraising page, I would be so grateful!
We're looking for $20 dollars (~£15) from 200 people in the "Global North" in 2 weeks, to fund Njideka (Nigeria), James (Malawi) and Alpha (Kenya) to attend the Earth Summit.

Youth representative to the UN assembly at the Rio Earth Summit in June
At the moment, I am actually applying to speak as the youth representative to the UN assembly at the Rio Earth Summit in June. My entry is here,

It's such an exciting opportunity, to have the chance to address the 192 UN member states at the Earth Summit in person, as Severn Suzuki did in 1992, 20 years ago now: