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Oaklea Trust Goes Green

In this guest blog we hear from the Oaklea Trust about the changes they are making to incorporate sustainability into their mission.

Oaklea Trust began in Kendal more than 30 years ago. It remains headquartered in ‘the auld grey town’ and supports people across the North of England – primarily in Cumbria, Durham and Northumberland.
Our mission is to “to support and care for people and communities so they can learn, develop and thrive” – one of the ways we can do this is to be greener and more sustainable in what we do!

Oaklea and its Kendal-based Community Interest Company Right2Work have been striving to be as environmentally friendly as possible. In the past few years this has involved being certified as a ‘green small business’ and most recently getting accreditation from iiE – Investors in the Environment.

What is iiE?
Investors in the Environment (iiE) is a national environmental accreditation scheme designed to help organisations save time and money, reduce their impact on the environment, and get recognition for their progress. iiE is an accessible and proven route to help organisations get started on their sustainability journey and keep going.

“As a team we had a desire to demonstrate the work we have been undertaking for a while around our organisation’s sustainability and a new tool with which we can support our employees and customers to engage with the sustainability conversation and motivate our teams to action. After careful consideration of the options available to us we chose iiE.” Alex Wolfenden, Oaklea Director

Since starting the journey with iiE we have undertaken a number of learning projects with a diverse range of groups across the north of England. The judges were impressed with the reach of our work which involved teaching and encouraging environmental consideration and biodiversity enhancement in our learners’ communities. Activities to date have included:

• running workshops about what individuals or groups can do to tackle climate change

• testing water quality of the local river and understanding importance of protecting clean water sites

• building a greenhouse at Sandgate School using recycled plastic

• helping groups of our customers to develop allotments

• working with students from a local school to transform a bare field into a meadow of wildflowers edged with willow whips which will reduce the risk of flooding in the longer term

We are also monitoring our utilities usage and carbon footprint and our agreed strategy is to be net zero by 2037.

The gallery below showcases some of the many examples of sustainable activities taking place via the Oaklea Trust. For example, reducing waste and landfill by recycling and upcycling furniture through Right2Work at The Furniture Warehouse, which has the contract for bulky waste collections in South Lakeland. The Green Mentors scheme is a green youth club, which has been working on an allotment in Burneside with the local community. As you can see, Oaklea’s sustainable ethos is embedded in everyday activities, from waste reduction, to growing local food, and looking after the wider environment.

Find out more about Oaklea at https://www.oakleatrust.co.uk/

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