Looking back at 2020

Now we have said goodbye to 2020, we take a look back at the year.

It began with the publishing of the new Climate Change Strategy for Wirral, developed by the Cool Wirral Partnership (which includes Wirral Environmental Network). Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic taking hold in the UK, we began a full programme of events and courses. Between January and the middle of March, our Crafters and Gardening groups met up, we visited Gillmoss Recycling Centre for a tour and took part in the Wirral Volunteering event at Birkenhead Town Hall. We ran furniture upcycling workshops with Urban Vintage, held a Thank You event for our volunteers and started helping to create a community garden with the Callister Trust in Oxton. Carol Seery, our Sustainability Officer, won a Wirral Award recognising her hard work and dedication in over 13 years working for WEN. We collected and delivered van loads of preloved furniture, diverting it from landfill and enabling it to be reused by new owners. We attended the Birkenhead Spring Spectacular run by Energy Project Plus, giving people in Birkenhead North the chance to learn how to reduce carbon emissions whilst cutting bills. We helped to run a Cool Communities event at Building Bridges CIC in Birkenhead, focussing on understanding carbon footprints and creating community action plans.

And then… Lockdown…

We had to close our doors to the public and cancel events but our work continued. The plants in the community garden were looked after by our gardening group members and by May we were able to implement a covid-secure system for allowing the public to access the garden and buy plants. We continued our furniture collection scheme throughout the year, with the addition of the wearing of face coverings. In July we paid a visit to Koala North West in Birkenhead to run some socially distanced Grow Your Own sessions.

Like much of the world, we took events and meetings online. In November we held one of our Cool Community events via Zoom and enjoyed a discussion with the Rotary Club of West Wirral and Rethink Now CIC. We also used Zoom to run the first session of the Community Garden course for Liscard Community Links, which was followed by a practical session at some of the community gardening spaces. We collaborated with Transition Liverpool to launch the Mersey Green Map to make it easier for people to identify and support organisations and businesses with green credentials. We held a virtual Christmas Craft and Plant Sale on Facebook. Our various gardening groups sold plants grown from cuttings and seeds and the Crafters sold items they had made, including blankets, hats, cushion covers and aprons. A newly formed group, the Reclaimers, sold Christmas trees and reindeer made from pallets and scrap wood, which proved very popular. Our last event of the year was Wirral Speaks on Climate Change, featuring our local MPs, Wirral’s Councillor for Environment and Climate Emergency and a range of experts and decision makers discussing climate change and how to take action.

2020 was a year which brought challenges for everyone but with thanks to all our staff, trustees, volunteers, members and supporters we were able to carry on helping Wirral residents to adopt greener lifestyles and to preserve and improve our local environment.