Updated: Sep 17
In August 2022 a Facebook post explained the history of the page, as well as changes to the purpose and administration of the group. It was an important turning point post election. Since then the admin and project leadership team have fully considered the group's constitution and authority and whilst we have plans and a structure ready for an Island wide not for profit organisation, we have no plans at this stage to change the constitution of this group. Following a recent question from Deputy Carolyn Labey, we have developed this article which explains how the group came into being, its authority, the group's main projects, their leadership, and why the Municipality should engage with the group.
How the Facebook Group Came into Being
Sarah Howard brought a successful Climate Emergency proposition to a Parish Assembly on 10th July 2019. The proposition required Connétable Le Maistre to draw up a plan to achieve carbon neutrality for the Parish by 2030. A Parish working group chaired by the Connétable, facilitated by Sarah and comprised of self nominated parishioners with an interest (both for and against) was established. To support the process the Facebook page was created with Sarah as administrator. We published the Connétable's response report which was approved by him, Deputy Carolyn Labey and the working group on 10th December 2019. It was published on the Parish website, where it can still be found. Implementation of the report's recommendations was delayed by COVID-19, but we were verbally assured by Connétable Le Maistre at a meeting on 23rd February 2022 that the Municipality were following the recommendations of the Climate Response Report.
The Group's Authority
On 8th December 2021, the Municipality delegated community leadership for climate change action in the Parish to Sarah when it was approached externally for a contact for Grouville. This was embedded through the Joint Parishes Climate Action Working Group established by Connétable Jehan on 19th January 2022, a group that meets quarterly. Post the June 2022 elections, Connétable Mark Labey confirmed via email on 24th November 2022, that Sarah's delegated community climate response leadership role for Grouville would continue.
The Carbon Neutral Roadmap references, recognises, and funds Parish action groups like Grouville Community, that are leading the local response to the climate emergency. Many of the policies set out in the strategic roadmap aim to sustain, strengthen and grow the people-power in Jersey, and the Government's Environment Fund welcomes applications from community groups like ours. Earlier this year Sarah was successful in an application for funding for the permaculture project from the Government's Connect Me: Connecting our Communities Grant Scheme who recognise the importance and contribution that non incorporated groups make through grass roots projects.
Grouville Community's Main Projects
We currently have 3 main projects which can be found on the home page of the group's website.
The Grouville Repair Cafe, is bi-monthly circular economy event led by Jennifer Bridge. It develops a repair culture, reduces waste/landfill and deepens parishioners' sense of community and belonging. Safer Routes to school, work & shops is a campaign led by Peter Hargreaves to promote provision of safe walking and cycling in Grouville joining up with neighbouring Parishes. A key component of an environmentally sustainable transport system, it seeks to improve the health and quality of life of the community. Community Growing through Permaculture is a project led by Sarah Howard to create an inclusive gardening community which reconnects and learns through nature to be responsible for soil and water management. Through this the community will grow nutritious food, increase physical activity, improve mental well being whilst also providing education and awareness of the climate and biodiversity emergencies.
These three projects cover all four pillars and sub projects included in the final climate response report. The Repair Cafe and Permaculture projects are community change projects which fall within the delegated community climate response leadership role remit. The safer routes project seeks to be a community think tank making recommendations to the Parish and Department of Infrastructure of changes that support the implementation of sustainable transport. The group has an ongoing dialogue with Infrastructure. We aim to work more closely with the Municipality and Infrastructure to support the creation and joining up a network of safer routes.
The group has an active and growing membership of just under 600 people. The Repair Cafe has its own Facebook page currently with just under 900 members.
The group made a significant contribution to the historic Requête on10th March 2022 which led to the halting of re-zoning of marais for housing, for now.
Grouville Community is not a conventional hierarchical group, its structure is flat. Sarah's leadership style is regenerative, a modern type of leadership which supports the progression of difficult transitions and change by promoting collaboration, co-creation and delegated authority through clear objectives laid out by the climate response report. Project leaders step up to run projects, and mini projects within projects out of a wish to create regenerative and sustainable change that will help the community to cope with the crises of our times and come out the other side experiencing the least stress possible.
Mini projects arise in response to events such as the felling of trees in La Rue du Marais à la Cocque, the use of agricultural land for solar panels,the raising of rates during a cost of living crisis, and Island wide consultations.
Any member of Grouville Community can lead a project. In November 2019 Peter Hargreaves expressed his interest in being the community lead to support the expansion and enforcement of the green lanes network across the whole Island. His role was documented in the parish climate response report in Figure 9, section 3. of point 5.3.3. Jennifer Bridge volunteered to lead the implementation of the Repair Cafe following a post in the Facebook group on 26th February 2022.
Grouville Community, Environment & Change will continue to implement the Grouville community elements of the Parish Climate Change Response report through its delegated authority from the Municipality. You can become part of the change by joining and participating in Grouville community events through the Facebook group or by subscribing to its website.