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Greening your Charity workshop update

This session focused on ways for the voluntary and community sector to become greener and how to save on running costs as well as explore what initiatives are available to support this.

This session focused on ways for the voluntary and community sector to become greener and how to save on running costs.


Councillor Emily Hickson(Deputy Cabinet Member for Green Finance, Labour Councillor for London Bridge and West Bermondsey)

Southwark Council declared a climate emergency in 2019 and aimed to commit to net zero. They have a team of 15 working in the climate change team. Southwark is an inner-city borough affected by air pollution, disproportionately affected compared to the national average. They conducted a climate risk survey  which icluded heatwaves, pollution, flood risk etc. that led to the climate resilience adaptation plan,

Transport – Launched streets for people

Ensuring streets work better for pedestrians and cyclists to tackle emissions. To encourage residents to reduce car transport, Southwark Council ran various intiitives e.g. 600 people took cycling lessons, more cycling hangovers, and EV charging points were implemented.

Buildings – Green building fund in late 2024 or early 2025

Retrofit work in Southwark Council offices and fitness centres – struggling to raise finances. Looking at ways to structure the finances e.g. private investors, Govt support.

Southwark Council will be introducing green buildings funds, and community access funds to contribute towards retrofit work aimed at small businesses including voluntary and community groups.

Southwark Community Energy Fund – 2025

For small wind farms (south of the borough), using solar panels, energy poverty audits, money for feasibility (early stages), capital and evaluation


100,000 trees planted, aimed to expand.

Library of things

Canada Water library, rent tools and equipment

Southwark Green Investments – reserves and endowments

Local investment fund – guaranteed 4.6% return every 6 months and invest in projects in the borough, held 5 years, long term investment, ESG climate return

Greening of pension fund

LBS 2.5 billion invest fund

Various committees groups can join to share what the needs of the community are.


Donnachadh McCarthy FRSA (funded by the City Bridge Foundation)


The programme offers free eco audits for charities London-based charities. You do not need to be funded by City Bridge Trust to apply. For religious centres – to be eligible you must serve the wider community. For example, Eco Audit can be funded for a church hall, mosque or temple that provides services that are open to people of all faiths. For more information visit https://www.citybridgefoundation.org.uk/funding/eco-audits. You may also be eligible for an eco-audit when you do not own your building but have a 10-year lease.

Up tp £150,000 Capital funding for building works identified through an Eco Audit

You must have had an eco-audit to apply for this funding. Works could include (but are not necessarily limited to) insulation, solar panels, heat pumps, on-site biodiversity schemes, and energy-efficient lighting systems.

Top tips on saving costs – many organisations have saved up to 50% on their utility bills by improving how they run their premises
  • When you turn on heating or air-conditioning always keep windows and doors closed.
  • Time, Occupation, and Temperature (TOT) – Use timers at peak periods e.g. if your office has a 10am start, turn on time for 9am. The building will warm up by the start time and retain heat. Avoid having heating and air-conditioning continuously on.
  • Different staff members will have different temperature comfort zones. To manage this have an agreed central person who decides on the appropriate temperature the building should be and manages the heating and air-conditioning systems
  • Do not use servers – upgrade to cloud
  • Use LED lighting
  • Unless your building is already going through refurbishment, double glazing is not cost-effective. Explore insulation options e.g. if you have a false room there is installing a plastic field option or if you have a single cavity wall then insulation can be filled by drilling a hole.
  • Explore green tariff options. Some suppliers may charge premium rates but suppliers like SSE and Scottish Power who deal with green energy may be able to provide a standard rate.
  • Explore ethical banks 

An eco-audit will provide more detailed guidance tailored to your premises’ green needs.

If you attended the workshop and have any follow-up questions please contact Donnachadh at contact@3acorns.co.uk,  www.3acorns.co.uk

Support for Residents

You can contact the below organisations to provide workshops for your service users on how they can save costs on utility bills, grants that are applied for, and resources that can be provided to help households.

National Energy Action – omoze.edeki@nea.org.uk

Groundworks Green Doctors – carolina.castilla@groundwork.org.uk


Next Eco-workshop will be online in September – https://communitysouthwark.org/event/eco-tips-to-help-you-reduce-your-daily-living-costs/



Catering was provided by Falafel Rush, a small local business operating in Waterloo Lower Marsh Market – Email: ramzybdour@hotmail.co.uk