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L8 Living Sustainably is an initiative inToxteth, Liverpool to promote local food growing, energy generation and to educate people on the impact of climate change and the measures they can take to improve their lives.

The five year project is funded by the Big Lottery Fund's 'Communities Living Sustainably' programme and is one of only 12 projects being funded across the country.

The project focuses on the area of Princes Park and Riverside in Liverpool which has multiple deprivation issues and a population of 27,000. The two wards are areas of significant poverty including high levels of welfare dependency, high unemployment and low educational attainment. Urban regeneration has been a particular focus including the demolition of terraced housing culminating in a £54 million project to redevelop the area.

The project will engage in particular with people within the BME communities, older people living in fuel poverty and people who have low income. The project will utilise learning and training opportunities to engage NEETs and people with learning disabilities and will use existing Community Organisers to interact with disengaged communities.

The project will focus on informing local people on topics such as energy efficiency, the costs of energy and the importance of sustainable energy sources and the promotion of local, sustainable food sources.

The project will achieve this through four strands of work which are:

1. The creation of a Neighbourhood Power Station and L8 Community Energy venture which will involve the installation of PV panels on housing stock across the area. This will enable the capture of solar energy which will be converted into electricity and which will be sold to local households on a reduced tariff. This will enable 30% of community households to reduce their fuel bills.

2. The development of a Patchwork Urban Farm, an association of food growing sites across the wards which will provide opportunities for local people to grow their own food. The farm will also raise awareness of the importance of sustainable produce which provides nutritional benefits as well as reducing food costs for families. A local food retailer, the L8 Superstore will be engaged to promote the project and local produce to the public. The project will also utilise a Veg Van which will provide a mobile support unit to promote the initiative and provide delivery services.

3. Education and awareness raising. This will involve the development of activities centred on the Green Deal. The project will promote support green business initiatives by providing training and support for business to increase their capacity to install energy efficiency measures for households. The project will undertake outreach work with the local community through Sustainability Champions (SC) who will provide support to beneficiaries on how to reduce their energy use, implement cost saving and eco-friendly measures such as insulation.

4. A Climate Change Point (CCP). This will be a resource for the community to access support and information on climate change and find out about the project’s activities. The CCP will provide a physical presence in the community through SC and existing peer support networks such as Neighbourhood Champions, Learning Champions and Digital Champions. The CCP will also provide digital access to the project through social media, a website, climate change blog and eventually Smartphone applications.

The project is engaging with a wide range of interested organisations but the formal partnership currently consists of the following organisations led by Granby Toxteth Development Trust:

Voluntary Sector: Growing Granby, Plus Dane Housing

Private Sector: The L8 Superstore

Public Sector: Liverpool City Council