A key part of this project is around engagement and building relationships, highlighted by four key points
1. Grassroots engagement:
Residents set up Hexham Climate Action (HCA) meetings in 2018 to engage those concerned about the climate crisis. In these meetings, plans were made for wider engagement through regular public meetings, attending Town Council meetings, supporting local school climate strikes and writing to the local MP.
2. Election to Hexham Town Council:
A group of independent candidates and their supporters (OpenHexham) was founded in 2021 to increase the number of town councillors giving greater voice to people’s concerns, including the impending climate crisis and how to shape community resilience. The campaign engaged the public through open Q&A zoom meetings, prominent stalls and banners in key town locations, a website, email address, telephone numbers and social media pages with a clear objective of simply listening to residents.
3. Utilising the town councillor role:
OpenHexham councillors and additional councillors further engaged the Hexham community on the subject of climate crisis and community resilience through:
- One-to-one conversations with local organisations
- A working group to develop the sustainability vision and policy for the town.
- Attending monthly market stalls seeking residents’ views to inform decision-making at council meetings.
- Three Hexham Net Zero Fairs held since 2022 to engage the town’s groups and organisations.
- Endorsement and support of monthly climate café drop-in sessions, including involvement in setting up a community assembly for 2024.
- A Town Council school poster competition, visiting every local school in 2022 to ask pupils how they envisage the town dealing with the climate emergency in 2030.