Category Archives: Local News

on PR for community enterprises …

In support of our local rural Community Enterprise we are in the process of developing a PR strategy.  Following discussions with PR friends so far, my experiences and messages picked up from twitter friends I arrived at the following ‘checklist’ as a starter.

Posting here as it may help others but also to seek more help in developing this strategy. We will be meeting as a publicity sub-group early next week with potential professional help so any comments, amendments or additions to the following more would extremely welcome.

  • Think vision not project – Keep pushing the vision and objectives – why are we doing this
  • Make the message come from the community, from the children NOT the committee
  • Be clear on the strong good news messages we can talk about
  • Keep message consistent
  • Politics of the moment is on our side use it – local, local local / sustainable rural communities /green / sports, health etc / better travel etc
  • Use first person talk not corporate talk – we want to start a ‘conversation’ and be more engaging
  • Use stories – or tell a story in the message – make it real
  • Include quotes, references, endorsements and testimonials from respected people (in the community, of standing, nationally known)
  • Be visible –
    • Use new viral web sources that can be picked up bt many sources – eg Facebook groups, on a blog, and promote via twitter
    • Target those who will spread our message (‘mavens’ and ‘connectors’ )
    • Use all traditional forms – noticeboards, newsletters, local press, free press, advertorials, national etc
  • Identify our audiences – what do they read, listen to, will be different for different groups
  • Be different – we need to get people to read past first sentence
  • Be professional but personal – we are asking for big money
  • Be consistent


sustainability concerns on Preston Tithebarn

Picked up from Prestonblog, CABE (Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment), a letter of concern to the developers of the Tithebarn scheme for Preston city centre on the PrestonLancs forum, . In the letter they raise concerns that the new development does not seem to have had enough thought put into sustainabilty and other key aspects.

(comments of interest underlined)

Sustainability strategies

A scheme of this size and the mix of uses proposed suggest that it should set high standards in terms of energy efficiency and environmental design. We are therefore disappointed by the minimal targets set in this planning application. On page three of the statement under the ‘Energy’ heading, reference is made to the use of renewable energy sources to provide a proportion of the energy requirements of the private dwellings. However, the only targets relating to carbon reduction are the statutory minimum allowed by the building regulations. We are concerned that this might lead to the relaxing of energy standards of the dwellings and use of an unspecified level of on-site renewable energy to improve this up to the minimum allowed by the regulations. Therefore, we would question whether the proposals satisfy the council’s Interim Planning Statement No.3 (IPS3) which requires a 10% saving in carbon over and above total energy use.

We are also concerned that the central energy centre serving a community energy system has been excluded from the current planning application and that this might result in control over the energy systems adopted in most of the buildings being handed over to future developers. In our view, the commitment to a central energy centre should be established in this planning application and conditioned appropriately. Comprehensive redevelopment of the site creates an opportunity to put in place such infrastructure, which is far more difficult to retrofit. The document also suggests that not all buildings would connect a common energy system to achieve the benefits and synergies between different uses of CHP to reduce carbon, which would be a missed opportunity.

The sustainability statement does not seem to acknowledge the existence of the PPS1 Supplement on Climate Change and the need to consider systems at the community scale. Furthermore, given the likely extended build-out phasing (likely to extend beyond 2016) there appears to be no strategy for dealing with zero carbon homes or the scale of carbon reductions likely to be needed of the non-domestic stock given that Government intend to achieve zero carbon by 2019.

The reference to being on target to meeting the UK’s pledge to cut carbon emissions by 60% by 2050 does not acknowledge the recent revised target of 80% and is, in our view, misleading because it does not consider all the energy use of the buildings or acknowledge that the proposals are adding to the UK buildings stock and hence energy demand.

(this is an important issue – the difference between 60 and 80% would have a  very significant impact on design and energy considerations)

We would ask the design team to address the concerns raised above at this point to give the local authority the assurance that Preston Tithebarn will be meeting the standards on sustainability expected of a development of this significance.

On a related sustainability theme, that of transport, CABE also has concerns

While we acknowledge the masterplan brief required that Preston’s existing bus station be replaced, we are disappointed that an alternative way to bring buses into Preston could not have been found. Examples in other cities have shown that a simple on-street drop-off point can be more successful and effective than an expensive bus station building. Furthermore, the large footprint of a conventional bus station with many parked buses and attendant noise and exhaust fumes can have a negative impact on adjacent areas; we would expect that the necessary measures have been undertaken to minimise these nuisances. The overall strategy for the bus routes also needs careful consideration in terms of bus movements and congestion to prevent detrimental effects on the streets used by buses.

Ouch. Back to the sustainable drawing board

It will be interesting to see how Preston now deal with the planning application and whether CABE’s comments are taken on board, or a development tagged as unsustainable is allowed to proceed.

I have searched for but cannot find the application online – if I do I will review and comment – and links would be useful.

nw business start up training opportunity for females

Let our Business start up training enable you to confidently progress into self employment in the Construction Industry


Constructing the Future   (Elevate East Lancs) in conjunction with Elan are holding business start up training for females interested in starting a business or self employment in services related to the construction sector within the north west. 

Further details from Chris Gold, CtF Team, Elevate

The course, commencing at the end of February will include:

·       The Business Idea

·       Business Structures & Finance

·       Marketing on a Shoestring

·       Information Technology

·       Standards, Health & Safety

·       Human Resources

·       Construction & the Law




facilities carbon management

Indication that carbon management is becoming a key element of the facilities management role is evident through the Guardian article Cut and Run which focuses on UCLAN’s excellence performance in obtaining the Carbon Trust Standard.

The Carbon Trust says that universities and higher education institutes spend more than £200m each year on energy, and emit 3.2m tonnes of carbon dioxide over the same period – the equivalent of heating more than a million average households.

This puts the facilities management of carbon into perspective – not only as an environmental obligation but also as a social and moral one.  And yet “there is currently a capacity gap in the skills required to manage carbon reductions across large institutions”  FM organisations and institutes take note!

Interestingly UCLAN see the big challenge in carbon reduction as being travel:

Though the university lobbies the council for improvements, problems with the interchange between rail and bus timetables, for example, discourage students and staff from using them. This means transport is a factor in the university’s carbon performance that is proving particularly difficult to improve upon.

Now wash your hands and reduce your carbons … 

I have a slight concern over the quote from Richard Rugg, head of the public sector department at the Carbon Trust. “carbon management is essential. It needs to be viewed in the same way as health and safety”  

In terms of resources, focus and appropriate funds a big yes, but carbon management (as indeed is H and S) is a people, hearts and mind topic, not one of policing, instruction and order as Health and Safety is in danger of becoming / has become.  Facilities Management tend to be fast and easy with littering (even spamming?) walls with notices and instructions to visitors building users… no more please !!

women into construction

Over the last couple of months I have found myself project managing or involved in a number of women into construction projects in the North West. One of these is a Women and Work mentoring programme:

Could you provide mentoring support to a female in the construction industry? or Could you benefit from the experience or guidance of a mentor in the construction industry?

Due to kick off soon with the following funded events:


Accent group, Burnley                         Bootle Town Hall Liverpool

Mentor Training 25th November              Mentor Training 5th December

Mentee Training 26th November              Mentee Training 8th December


New Charter  Manchester                   CREA  Redhills Cumbria

Mentor Training 11th December              Mentor Training 15th January

Mentee Training 18th December              Mentee Training 21st January


Download a mentoring flyer from here or contact for further information

Sustainable Construction and Purchasing Manager

Elevate East Lancashire are advertising for a Sustainable Construction and Purchasing Manager, details here

Elevate are currently recruiting for a Sustainable Construction and Purchasing Manager to manage the relationships with the five Local Authority partners for all purchasing activity of the Elevate East Lancashire housing market renewal programme; to ensure all purchasing is compliant with Elevate’s procurement strategy and achieves Elevate’s overall objectives and outputs in line with the Government’s Best Value agenda. Additionally the post holder will promote the principle of sustainable construction and ensure that best practice is applied in both the procurement of works to improve the housing stock and the new build programme.

zero carbon ‘floating’ development for Preston

Green, innovative and zero carbon project development on our doorstep in Preston, Lancs, !

The RIBA have recently awarded a zero carbon design as the visitor center at the new Brockholes Wetland and Woodland Nature Reserve in Preston, to regenerate a former quarry site into a major visitor attraction.

The project called “A Floating World”, consists of zero-carbon floating buildings (the name coming from the fact that the zero-carbon buildings will be built on an island of floating pontoons)

Adam Khan Architects, won the RIBA design competition to work on the ‘jewel in the crown’ of Britain’s largest eco-regeneration scheme. The project is zero-carbon in both use and production, with materials of low embodied energy – thatch, willow, timber, with off-site prefabrication and on-site energy generation and waste treatment.

Floating world will feature cafe, shops, gallery, education areas and meeting rooms and is part of the £59 million Newlands Scheme, a project that will turn 900 hectares to community woodland and green space.

On announcement of the winner, Peter White, Head of Infrastructure & Development at the Northwest Regional Development Agency said:

“This site has the potential to become an important visitor attraction for the region, building on its rich natural assets and impressive biodiversity. The Agency is supporting its development through Newlands, a wide reaching scheme that aims to reclaim brownfield land and transform it into thriving community open spaces, and has so far invested £800,000 in Brockholes. The chosen design will not only create an inspirational open space for the local community to enjoy but will also enhance a key gateway into Lancashire and attract further investment into the area. We look forward to working with our partners to progress these plans.”

More on this as the project develops …

Women into work events NW

I have been asked to communicate the events being held through Elevate and Women Into Work over the next month or so.

The training is free and is available to all female staff within the built environment sector – including accounts, reception , administration, trades, office and professional.

Training on offer includes:


Managing Safely


Positive Action

Get more details via email here

Carbon management, route to zero and waste management event

Over 70 people from the regional construction, fm and energy sector attended last nights Lancashire Best Practice Club event at the Solarus Center in Blackpool.  The event , in two parts, covered sustainability, targets for the built environment  and carbon issues from Martin Brown and in the second half site waste management plans from Colin Woods

Presentation and links will be available on the events page for downloading.

For more information, or for those present, to discuss any of the issues raised in the evening email Martin or Colin – or both!