Sustainability West Midlands
Project Manager: Beck Collins, Senior Sustainability Adviser
This project was a training programme for local authority teams working in retrofit. It sought to support the development of their work by exploring how to develop effective partnerships locally and nationally. The project focused on three key themes: training providers, communities and the retrofit supply chain. SWM worked with member organisations the Sustainable Housing Action Partnership who provided technical expertise and retrofit, and Contented Ltd who provided coaching and mentoring expertise.
- To run a series of five technical briefings: one on partnership working, three on each of the key themes (training providers, communities and the supply chain) and one on action planning.
- To run coaching sessions following the technical briefings with regional groups of council officers, providing a safe space to work out challenges and share ideas.
- To support the councils to each create an ‘output’ which would form a critical next step in their retrofit action.
- To capture the learning from the programme to host on the LGA website in the form of blogs, videos of the sessions, and the council outputs.
- The programme proved to be very popular. The LGA had originally planned for 15 councils to attend however over 50 councils committed to the programme.
- The five technical briefings reviewed best practice across the country, demonstrating how effective engagement with partners and stakeholders can drive forward retrofit. The learning from each technical briefing was summarised in a blog that was published on the LGA website, along with videos of the briefings and the presenters’ slides.
- The coaching sessions provided a real opportunity to share challenges and possible ways forward. Many council officers reported ‘eureka’ moments during these conversations, and others appreciated the safe space to share pain in a cathartic and productive way.
- In response to popular demand, SWM organised a supplementary and voluntary technical briefing looking at innovative ways to fund retrofit.
- With support from SWM, the councils themselves produced outputs that represented important actions in the path to retrofit, that could be shared with others.
- The blogs, technical briefing videos, presentations and council outputs are all available on the LGA website.