Norwich’s green heroes: What each winner did to deserve their Norwich Eco Award
08:59 08 March 2014
Today we celebrate each of the five worthy winners of this year’s Norwich Eco Awards.
West Earlham Junior School won the primary school category for the dedication shown by its pupils towards making Norwich a more eco-friendly place to live.
The school has a passionate Eco Council which inspires pupils’ friends, families and the local community through their enthusiasm for the Earlham area and their school environment.
Activities last year included: lunch waste reduction week – encouraging less use of packaging in packed lunches and measuring waste of school lunches; planting vegetables for Munchy Monday (tuck shop) rather than buying them in; planting 112 trees to create an outdoor learning area; daily monitoring of heating, lighting and water to reduce usage and waste of energy and daily litter picking in the school grounds.
The school also runs Polar Bear Awards to encourage class members to contribute to eco-efficiency to win a certificate for the most energy-
efficient class. Kayley Goldie, 9, said: “I think it’s really good. I have to do the bins to make sure people use them properly and don’t put the wrong things in them. I have to go around and make sure people are turning off the lights and make sure the heating is off.”
The judges chose the Open Academy as secondary school winners this year for its huge range of environmental projects – largely thanks to its fantastic school Green Council.
One impressive project was the school allotment, which, despite terrible weather conditions, was tended so well it produced great crops including herbs, beans, chards and radishes. They have also been involved in Switch Off fortnight, held a successful environment day and a bike to school week, as well as many other environmentally focused projects.
The Fifth Quarter was named as eco community group. It is a community group established by local residents in 2011 with the aim of involving local people in developing edible community gardens and organic waste recycling schemes in central Norwich.
Co-founder Richard Southwood said: “It’s successful because there is a need for people to meet their neighbours. If you are in a block of flats sometimes you don’t meet your neighbours. This is a way to meet people in a non-threatening way. Pottering around in a garden is a great way to get to know each other.”
Harnessing the power of the bicycle for social good is the ethos behind Bicycle Links, which won the small business category.
Jason Smith and Lucy Hall set up the social enterprise in 2012 as a recycling workshop, getting unwanted and abandoned bikes back into use with a little elbow grease and mechanical know-how. Revamped bikes are either sold on to cover overheads or given to vulnerable and disadvantaged people.
Ms Hall said: “We recycle bikes. We also repair bikes and we give people who are unemployed training and experience in bike mechanics.”
The Friends of Norwich in Bloom won the Eco Hero category.
The organisation is made up of a team of dedicated volunteers who, through partnerships with the community and local businesses, generate goods and funding to help run local floral competitions and enable horticultural, environmental and heritage projects.
Julie Brociek-Coulton, secretary of the Friends of Norwich in Bloom, said: “If you come into Norwich you see the roundabouts and hanging baskets on the railings and you think that’s all that Norwich in Bloom does. However, the Friends of Norwich in Bloom are people who go around encouraging other groups to take part in Anglia and Britain in Bloom.”