On Friday, May 5, ‘Retrofit Ready’ was officially launched by Eamon Ryan, Minister for Environment, Climate, Communications and Transport at ATU Sligo.
Removing Barriers to Retrofitting
The types of grants available for home retro-fitting are evolving all of the time and it can be difficult for homeowners to know how best to avail of these supports when making efforts to improve their home’s environmental impact. In rural areas, it can also be difficult to engage with the right suppliers due to distances involved. To take the frustration out of the process, the ‘Retrofit Ready’ programme has recruited two Retrofit Champions. Kyle Flynn is based in Sligo/Leitrim and Owen McConnon in Monaghan/Cavan. They will play a key role in their communities and offer support to groups and individuals who are exploring options available to them.
Community led approach
Across the communities of the four counties, a number of events and information evenings will take place. At these events, the Retrofit Champions will discuss what retrofitting options are available to homeowners, the new grants which are coming available and will also connect the homeowners with the suppliers in their areas. We expect the Retrofit Champions to play a key role in removing the barriers to retrofitting for many individuals. They will develop supports, tools, know-how and approaches to empower local communities with the knowledge they need to effectively take climate action.
The Partners Involved
The Retrofit Ready Initiative is led by the Irish Local Development Network, and consists of four of our border Local Development Companies: Sligo LEADER Partnership, Leitrim Development Company, Cavan County Local Development and Monaghan Integrated Development. Technical expertise is supplied by Plan Energy and ATU Sligo. Pobal administer the funding on behalf of the Department of Environment, Climate, Communications and Transport
The Retrofit Launch
Jim Finn, Chairperson of the ILDN was the MC for the event and began his address by reminding people how valuable community is when it comes to instigating the change that is needed in climate matters. Community is at the heart of all we do, and the engine which drives progress, which drives change; in moving toward more sustainable living, national policies need to have life breathed into them at local level, by local communities – and this is where local development companies are essential.
Dr Carol Baumann, the CEO of the ILDN spoke to the important role that local development companies play in removing barriers to retrofitting and indeed other environmental issues such as biodiversity loss. She highlighted how local development is about the ‘how’ of everything and by putting community at the heart of development, we can achieve important goals.
Paul Skinnader, Executive Director at Pobal, who administer the funding on behalf of the Department of Environment, Climate, Communications and Transport spoke of the importance of the community driven approach to initiatives, how these programmes are so important and how inclusivity is central to this scheme which ‘leaves no-one behind’.
Gavin Forkan, CEO of Plan Energy shared the details of the programme itself. There are approximately 110,000 households across Leitrim, Sligo, Monaghan and Cavan that they are targeting. He outlined the number of ways that the initiative removes barriers facing these households. He spoke about how they are building capacity at local level, providing technical support to Community Retrofit Champions and offering a ‘Learning by Doing’ approach to their work.
Úna Parsons, Head of College, and John Bartlett, Head of Research of ATU Sligo both spoke to the significance of ATU as a location for the launch, as one of the first colleges to offer an environmental science course it was fitting to host the launch of an innovative programme such as ‘Retrofit Ready’
Finally, Minister Eamon Ryan spoke of the importance of place and how pride of place is intrinsically linked to its environment.
‘Government, Industry, Education and Community all have a key role to play’
The initiative is part of the Community Climate Action Programme, Strand 2, which focuses on climate education, capacity building and learning by doing – moving beyond ‘raising awareness’ to building the knowledge, skills, attitudes and values necessary to respond to the challenges of climate change at a community level.
The consortium is grateful to the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications for the funding support, and to Pobal for its administration support, which has made this work possible.”
Community Climate Action Programme: Climate Education, Capacity Building and Learning by Doing (Strand 2), as administered by Pobal.