Climate hub prepares to open in Lewes town centre
A climate hub is set to open in Lewes town centre later this month – becoming one of the first centres of its kind in the UK.
The Lewes Climate Hub will open its doors at 2 Fisher Street on May 22.
Dinah Lee Morgan, one of the trustees, said it would be ‘a one-stop shop for all things to do with taking action on the environment crisis’.
It is one of a network of Climate Emergency Centres which are springing up in communities right across the UK.
Dinah said around six centres were already up and running in other areas, making the hub in Lewes among the first.
The unit, which was formerly used as a pop-up shop, was provided by Lewes District Council.
The climate hub will share the space with Lewes Community Volunteers, formerly known as the Lewes Coronavirus Volunteers.
Staffed by volunteers, Dinah said it would be ‘a friendly space to come and ask what you want to know’.
“It’s not particularly huge but we’re going to have lots of leaflets, computers where people can look things up, have a cup of tea and look through written material,” she said.
The space would help empower people to take action, she said, and allow ‘as many people as possible to access information’.
People will be able to find out how to make changes in their daily lives, whether it be swapping chemical products for bio-friendly cleaning products or discovering where to get organic food.
A key part will be helping to match up residents with local projects – which could be anything from planting trees and permaculture to getting involved with insulation schemes.
“While they are there, we can ask them ‘what are your interests’? We can probably find some action that they can do, somewhere they can volunteer,” she said. “There’s something for everybody to do.”
This is because the Lewes Climate Hub is an alliance between the numerous community groups in and around the town.
These include Transition Town Lewes, Lewes Swift Supporters, Common Cause and Ovesco Community Energy – to name but a few.
Together, Dinah said they had a ‘bank of knowledge’ which could be drawn on to help advise residents.
She said: “It’s really to put all these different organisations which are all doing such a grand job in touch with each other, so that there’s some joined up thinking and so that we have a more powerful voice.”
Ahead of the physical space opening, Lewes Climate Hub was launched online – visit the website here.
The virtual hub has already delivered a number of webinairs, on topics such as rewilding in Sussex and the legacy of colonialism and racism in the climate crisis – and plans to keep adding new sessions.
Despite the success of the online hub, Dinah said it was important to have a physical space in order to reach more people, especially those who ‘aren’t already in the loop’ when it comes to the climate crisis.
It is symbolic that the hub will be flanked on both sides by town council buildings.
“It’s probably the most important issue [of our time]. It’s a global issue and it’s not going to go away,” Dinah said.
“It’s good to have a high street presence, it’s good to be noticeable.
“People have to feel empowered to come in and ask questions.
“We are not saying we know everything. We’re a starting point to work together and do whatever we can locally.
“Lewes it a lucky town, we’re far more fortunate than a lot of other places in the UK. If we can’t do it, who can?”
Lewes Climate Hub will be open Tuesdays to Saturdays, from 10am to 4pm.