Housing mentors needed to help drive net zero

Housing mentors needed to help drive net zero

An organisation leading the drive toward net zero is looking for more mentors from the housing sector to help the next generation develop carbon cutting solutions.

Fuel Change is an organisation working with businesses and schools to enable apprentices and new graduates to help develop solutions to the climate crisis.

Its Challenge Programme forms project teams of young people from companies and organisations and sets them real world carbon reduction challenges.

The challenge tasks are set by industry and worked on over 16 weeks after which findings are presented to a judging panel with a view to progressing ideas to the implementation stage. Mentors work with a group for a couple of hours per week to help them refine their ideas.

South of Scotland Community Housing (SOSCH) provides long-term support to community organisations looking to deliver community-led housing. This includes business planning and funding options, planning application support, project delivery and housing management.

The organisation’s learning and partnership manager, Annabel Pidgeon is one of three employees, along with chief executive Mike Staples and community-led housing coordinator Harry Whitmore, who are currently mentoring teams taking part in the South of Scotland Enterprise Fuel Change Challenge.

“We are always looking to engage with new people to broaden understanding of community housing so mentoring students working on this Fuel Change project was a great opportunity to do this with the next generation,” said Annabel.

The housing element of the Fuel Change Challenge was set by Cameron Strachan Yuill Architects.

“I’m a mentor to a group comprising apprentices and young office staff from the Scottish Borders Housing Association with a strong mix of skill sets within the group.

“The group I was mentoring was imagining what the future of sustainable housing and communities would look like in the South of Scotland.

“They looked at delivering a ‘green tick’ certification scheme that focused on validating sustainable housing delivery and encouraging participation from businesses in the region. As mentors it was our role at SOSCH to support their learning and help them refine their final presentation to judges.

“My colleagues and I enjoyed hearing the perspective of young people working in the sector about what sustainable housing will look like in the future.

“It’s always refreshing to hear the views on these issues from young people entering the field and it gave us a chance to feed in some of the principles of community-led housing and the role that organisations like SOSCH can play in helping communities meet housing demand.

“We were really a review panel or sounding board for their ideas. I would definitely take part again it was exciting to see sustainable housing and communities as a topic in the mix of different challenges set. We all enjoyed working with the young people on the group listening to how they see sustainable housing developing and hearing their ideas to support its evolution,” added Annabel.

“There was a lot of creativity in the group, their ideas came from looking at the sector with fresh eyes.”

Anyone in the housing sector who thinks they have the skills and experience to become a Fuel Change Mentor should contact co-founder, Jennifer Tempany at Jennifer.tempany@fuelchange.co.uk.

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