February/March 2015

We’re all slowly learning to adapt. In terms of local transport solutions, the E-Bike email group is growing, with more people seeking information about the various E-Bike (that’s ‘electric’ bike) deals we’ve been able to negotiate. (Call or email for more information if interested). Meanwhile, the expansion of micro renewable generation installations continues, despite industry attempts to put a damper on solar. The current Cuppa Tea article by Morgan Williams describes the growth in solar and casts a critical eye over attempts by power companies to control growing energy democratization.

I was invited in February to talk about BRCT’s work at a recent Public Health Climate Change Summer School run by the University of Otago and OraTaiao: The New Zealand Climate and Health Council. The session was titled, “Transformative action – communities, organisations and governance” and I valued the opportunity to learn about the strength of interest in the impacts of climate change from a public health perspective.

Cosy Homes Feb2015Healthy outcomes is a central objective of the Cosy Homes Charitable Trust which has now been formally established (see inset photo of the Dunedin Mayor signing the Trust documents and the group who have worked so hard to get Cosy Homes off the ground). Cosy Homes was developed with input from a huge group of dedicated people from all sectors, all concerned to deliver healthy social and environmental outcomes. BRCT continues to work for ‘Cosy Homes outcomes’, and in particular, targeting fuel poverty and helping people to create healthy homes.

If you are wanting to have your own home checked out then one of the Home Performance Advisors can help. Our monthly Home Performance Advisor group meeting was held at the end of January and was a great opportunity to prepare for the year ahead with the HPA team. A Home Performance Assessment consists of an assessment of the home performance of a house by a trained expert, in conjunction with the home's occupants; diagnosis of the underlying cause or causes of problems in the house and identification of actions to address the causes, and; as set of prioritised recommended actions to address the underlying causes of the problems. In addition BRCT provides free energy advice online and over the phone, or by appointment.

Our longstanding Chair, Ross Johnston, stepped down from that role at our February meeting and Craig Marshall was elected Chairperson. Succession is an important part of every non-governmental and community organisation and so is ensuring continuity, so its great that while Ross has stepped down as Chair, his knowledge and experience will still be accessible as a member of the board. Sadly Laurence is stepping down from his volunteer role at the trust. Laurence has provided not only key support for the Cuppa Tea, but has helped in so many ways keeping many aspects of BRCT’s work running smoothly with such a subtle and skilful touch. And big thanks to Jess who’s energetically stepped into Laurence’s Cuppa Tea shoes.

Strategic planning has been on the Trust’s agenda in the early part of this year. Having a clear strategy is an important way for BRCT to focus efforts and figure out how we’re going to achieve objectives in the mid and long term. The process of developing a strategy is just as valuable as having a strategy, as it allows us to ‘fact-check’ in the process. There’s been plenty of activity on the proposed wind development, (see the Windcluster news article) and Niki has been working on a summary document to present some of the key findings of the Blueskin Food research while the final report is being tidied up for publication. Coming up: we’re looking forward to the A&P Show in April and are working on a number of community events/workshops for later in the year.

As always, we can be found in the old dental clinic at Waitati School, call us on 4822 048, email us or just check out this website.  We have a load of free energy resources available.

By Scott Willis