The Green Squirrel StoryComments Off on The Green Squirrel Story
When Hannah Garcia knocked on the door of my flat in Adamsdown back in 2012 to collect a tonne of fresh rosemary, little did we know that we would spend the next 6 years planning projects, delivering workshops, having a million ‘work meetings’ over cups of tea and cake (there’s been a lot of cake) and trying to make our dreams of a greener Cardiff a reality!
The idea for our Green Squirrel workshops emerged from a conversation (over cake of course) about all the green skills we would like to learn to help make our lifestyles a little more sustainable (and fun!). But when we started researching we found that we would have to travel outside of Cardiff and in many cases spend a lot of money to even get started with these topics. However we did know lots of people in and around Cardiff that had great skills to share and many small green projects and businesses that were just getting started.
So in 2014 we launched our first series of ‘skills for sustainable living’ workshops – yep not very catchy we know! For the first two years we were finding our feet, testing workshop topics and formats (we discovered people weren’t too keen to learn about wormeries for example – which is a shame because we love those little wrigglers!) and then in 2016 we were lucky enough to receive a small grant from The Big Lottery Awards for All programme. With this support we were able to re-brand and re-launch a whole new series of exciting ‘Green Squirrel’ workshops!
Over the past two years we have grown and nurtured our Green Squirrel community. With our local tutors help we have delivered more than thirty workshops, with topics ranging from urban food growing and preserving, beekeeping and chicken keeping to household DIY, bike maintenance, food foraging and sustainable fashion. More than four hundred people have attended these workshops, learned new skills and met like-minded people along the way.
After an end of year celebration event in 2016 we realised that our participants were eager for more opportunities to connect with each other socially and initiate positive change in their own communities. This led to the launch of our ‘Secret Squirrel Supper clubs’ where our guests would come together in a unique setting to cook, eat and share skills. These have proved exceptionally popular and have created new friendships, new initiatives and more connected communities across Cardiff.
So now for the big announcement … The Green Squirrel project has just been awarded three years of funding from The Big Lottery People and Places programme! This means we can continue to run our existing programme of workshops and skill shares as well as expanding the project further. Huge thanks to the Big Lottery for making this possible, we are over the moon!
Those of you that filled in our survey last year might already have an idea of how we plan to grow our project. We want to make our workshops more accessible to a wider range of people in Cardiff. We will work with groups that often experiences barriers to accessing these kinds of workshops and learning experiences and will help to build connections with their communities. We have built relationships with several lovely local organisations but we are still seeking partners so do get in contact if you have a group that may like to work with us in the future.
Lastly we would like to say a HUGE thank you to all our talented tutors, host venues, volunteers and of course all our participants over the past years. You have helped us to create a positive community of passionate people that are making changes to our little city. Look out for our first workshop announcements in the next month and please pass on our news – we want more Green Squirrels!