On Monday the Fit for the Future team were at the House of Commons for the Green Apple awards, waiting to see if we had been successful at winning a medal for ‘Best Environmental Work’. Not only did we get a medal, but we won gold! The award demonstrates national recognition for all of the fantastic energy and environmental work the National Trust has been doing recently, as well as an encouraging start for the Fit for the Future Network.
Set up almost a year ago, the Fit for the Future Network is about enabling people in non-commercial organisations who are working on energy projects to talk, share and collaborate. The overall aim is for a more sustainable relationship with the natural and built environment. The Network does this by sharing both good and bad practice from previous energy projects and linking up members to help those in need talk to those with some experience. With that in mind, the Network is best imagined as being something in between a ‘victim support group’ and ‘environmental dating agency’.
For example, the YHA wants to install LED lighting across their hostels but is unsure which ones are best or what the process is. Field Studies Council has just been on this journey and so we put them in touch with each other. One simple conversation to share what worked and what didn’t results in a quicker, cheaper and more resource efficient process. Most importantly for the NGOs involved in the Network (and they make up most of the members) that means more resource available to spend on charitable objectives, such as saving lives at sea, regenerating communities or looking after heritage buildings.
So far 85 non-commercial organisations have joined the Fit for the Future Network and as the first anniversary approaches it is fantastic to receive an award which recognises the work that has already been delivered. With funding secured to enable the Network to continue beyond 2015, organisations can continue to work together and ensure the best environmental practices are shared and repeated.