Earth Day - As a Children's Charity How Can we Help to Fight Climate Change?21st Apr 2020
'Earth Day Network’s mission is to diversify, educate and activate the environmental movement worldwide. Growing out of the first Earth Day in 1970, Earth Day Network is the world’s largest recruiter to the environmental movement, working with more than 75,000 partners in over 190 countries to drive positive action for our planet.’
To celebrate Earth Day we’ve handed the reins over to our geography obsessed executive director Krista Sharp. Here Krista will explain our commitment to the environment and our future plans for becoming a sustainable and environmentally friendly charity...
Over to Krista...
At MYTIME Young Carers, we are wholly dedicated to helping provide the UK’s young carers with the support and opportunities they deserve. Our young carers, some as young as 5, are responsible for looking after relatives who may have a disability, illness mental health issue or a drug/alcohol problem.
There is nothing that distracts us from this focus.
However, as an organisation we are extremely conscious of the impact we leave on our natural environment. Climate change represents one of the biggest challenges to the future of humanity and the vital life systems that make this planet our home. These challenges will affect our young carers just as they will the rest of our communities.
We have thought long and hard about the role we could play in reducing our own contribution to climate change and we are really proud to share our upcoming plans.
At the heart of MYTIME is our outdoor centre in the beautiful village of Worth Matravers, Dorset. This is where we take our young carers for some R&R from their caring responsibilities. Our centre has a fascinating history as it was built during World War II and was the former home of the British radar.
Sadly, our beloved centre is beginning to crumble. The cracks are beginning to show and it is time for us to embark on a big improvement project to make sure that our young carers can continue to enjoy coming to this incredible building for generations to come.
It is through this project that we intend to revolutionise the centre and significantly reduce our environmental impact.
5 ways we are reducing our environmental impact
1. We are installing a brand new air flow heating system.
We currently use old, inefficient, electric heaters to heat our outdoor centre. Our electricity bill is eye watering and, despite those heaters’ best efforts during the winter, the place would give chills to those with the warmest of blood! We are planning to install a brand new air flow heating system which will significantly reduce our electricity bills but will also provide us with a much lower carbon source of energy to heat the building. The best bit is that it will be delivered through an underfloor heating system which means warm and toasty toes, all year round.
2. We are investing in a beautiful wooden cladding system.
Our centre was built for the purpose of housing radar during the Second World War. The architects definitely favoured functionality over aesthetics and they were huge fans of concrete. Our building is not only an eye sore on what is a beautiful landscape on the Jurassic Coast, but a wasteful one too! All the heat that our old electric heaters produce escapes immediately through the concrete walls. We are going to wrap the exterior of the building in beautiful wooden cladding, which will allow the building to blend in to its wonderful natural surroundings. This will also give the building a layer of protective insulation to stop all of the heat from the new air flow heating system escaping. This will reduce both our electricity bills and our carbon emissions.
That’s what we’d call a result!
3.We are investing in renewables.
Currently our heating runs off electricity, while the gas we use is supplied in large inefficient cylinders. Neither of these systems are good for our carbon footprint, so we are now planning to lay solar panels across our flat roof so that the building can make the most of its prime location on the sunny Jurassic coast and generate its own electricity.
It will take us between 6-8 years to recuperate the investment we are making in putting our solar panels on the roof, but it will be totally worth it. The knowledge that we can turn on the lights without worrying about our environmental impact is definitely worth the investment.
4.We are planting a wild garden.
The centre has around half an acre of land where our young carers can go outside and enjoy a game of football, have a BBQ or simply take in the beauty of the local countryside. Now, Yvonne - a resident of the local village of Worth Matravers who we’re very lucky to have - has offered to help us plant a beautiful wild garden. This garden will provide a vital habitat for native wildlife such as bats, beetles and birds, but it’ll also provide our young carers with an opportunity to connect with the sights, sounds and smells of nature.
5. We are going to create a family tree.
Young carers grow up fast and often miss out on so many opportunities other children have. They often experience feelings of isolation and loneliness. Caring for a family member can stop them from having a carefree childhood, which makes them feel different to other children their age. At the centre we are going to create a MYTIME family tree. The young carers that visit can carve their name onto a statue of a tree outside our building, leaving their mark for all the other young carers that come and visit. This is to help our young carers to see that whilst their lives may be different from those around them, they belong to our family and therefore they will never be on their own. Trees are symbolic of Mother Earth and it is believed that a great wisdom flows through them. It is our hope that the MYTime family tree with serve both as a reminder of our connection to one another as part of the MYTime family, and of our connection to nature.
How can you help?
The total cost of the project to improve the centre is estimated at £400,000. We are incredibly lucky to be working with Low Carbon Dorset, who have kindly agreed to support the improvements to the building by covering 40% of the cost of all the sustainable measures we put in place. As an organisation, we are working extremely hard to raise the rest of the money we will need to turn our plans into a reality. If you would like to help us on our journey please head over to our website to donate to the project or to get in touch.
We would love to hear from you.
Happy Earth Day 2020
“We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors. We borrow it from our children.”
Native American proverb.