The green achievements of businesses, community groups and educational establishments have been celebrated at this year’s Making Birmingham Greener and Healthier Awards.
A total of 13 winners and one overall winner were named during a ceremony at the Council House on June 5.
The awards, co-ordinated by the Birmingham Green Commission and sponsored by Veolia, promote and celebrate sustainable development, green projects, sustainable travel, health and wellbeing initiatives for people living and working within the city and going the extra mile to make Birmingham greener and healthier.
The winners were as follows:
OVERALL WINNER: Witton Lodge Community Association
• Best Energy Efficiency Scheme
Business Category: The Warehouse Café
Community Category: Witton Lodge Community Association
Education Establishment: South & City College Birmingham & Birmingham Sustainable Schools Programme (2 x joint winners)
• Best Waste & Recycling Scheme
Business Category: Tuckshop Flowers
Community Category: Birmingham City Council Ranger Service (Growing School)
Education Establishment: SKIPS Educational Ltd
• Best Greener & Healthier Lifestyles (Food) Scheme
Business Category: University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust
Community Category: Kingstanding Food Community
Education Establishment: Bishop Challoner Catholic College
• Birmingham Connected Sustainable Travel Award
Business Category: Sandwell & West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust
Community Category: Bike North Birmingham Community Cycling Group
Education Establishment: University of Birmingham
The judging panel was made up of representatives from different council departments such as Public Health, the Smarter Choices travel team, Climate Change and Environment as well as external partners including Veolia and MEBC (Midlands Environmental Business Company).
Witton Lodge Community Association was named overall winner as the judges felt that as well as winning their category in the energy efficiency awards, they also demonstrated commitment to the sustainable travel and greener & healthier lifestyles categories.
Their energy efficiency work includes installing energy solar panels to all of their new-build properties and to many of their existing properties as well as to the roof of their base at Perry Common Community Hall. They promote energy saving measures to their staff and the wider community through their newsletter “Perry Common and Me” as well as a website, local media and community events.
To support sustainable travel the association has set up a walking group called ‘The Red Hot Chilli Steppers’ run by local residents which encourages people to use their local parks and green spaces. They are also working to get more people cycling. In Perry Common they have worked with partners to promote green walking routes and a local outdoor gym has been built which doesn’t needs a power supply and keeps people fit and healthy.
To demonstrate commitment to greener & healthier lifestyles, the association are setting up Witton Lakes Environment and Enterprise Centre which is the location of their thriving Community Orchard that grows a wide range of home-grown fruit and vegetables on what used to be a storage area and rubbish tip for the council’s parks department.
The area has been transformed into a productive area that is bringing skills to local people and producing healthy food. From the centre they will be teaching the environmental and financial benefits of sustainability to local schools and the community.
Overall it was felt Witton Lodge Community Association had gone the extra mile to embrace the ideal of making Birmingham greener and healthier and were worthy green champions for Birmingham.
Cllr Lisa Trickett, Cabinet Member for Sustainability at Birmingham City Council, said: “There are so many organisations working hard to make Birmingham greener and healthier for everyone who works, lives in or visits the city.
“The winners in this year’s edition of the awards are the standard-setters for other organisations. It was really difficult to choose the best entries this year, and if this year’s entries act as inspiration for others, we will have an almost impossible task on our hands when judging next year.
“I congratulate everyone who has got involved this year – they have a clear passion for improving the quality life in Birmingham, making the most effective and innovative use of the earth’s precious resources.”
A picture of the winners, Witton Lodge Community Association, receiving their award, can be found on the Birminghamnewsroom Flickr feed
For more information please contact Kris Kowalewski on 0121 303 3621