ACAN is delighted to announce that, thanks to generous funding from the HCC Leader’s Community Grants, with contributions from Cllr Andrew Joy and Alton Town Council, they have been able to employ their first paid worker.

Environmentalist Scott Gudrich is leading ‘Eco-Streets’, a grass-roots community project in part of Alton’s Whitedown ward, finding out where its residents stand on the climate crisis, how much they know and what the problems are for them.  As a pilot research project, which he hopes will become a blueprint for future similar projects, it aims to increase people’s awareness of climate change and their ability to undertaken action to counter it.

Informing the whole community

Scott’s first challenge is to inform the whole community around The Butts and involve as broad a section of it as possible.  He doesn’t want to depress people with the bad news about climate change but to concentrate on presenting positive messages and telling people about some of the good things that have been happening.  This, he hopes, will encourage everyone to do at least a small bit themselves to help the planet.

His first act has been to post a flier through every letterbox in the Butts Green area, filled with positive messages and an invitation to look out for a street party to be held on the Butts Green later this summer (now confirmed as Sat 23 July) and to which everyone in the ward will be invited.

At the party, people will be able to listen to several bands, all related to the environment, including Scott’s own band Lürxx, which he describes as ‘heavy rock for the planet’ and which many will remember from last year’s Eco-Fair.  As well as stalls representing local environmental organisations, there will be a story-telling and heritage section with reminiscences from long-time Alton residents about the changes they have seen in their lifetime.  AVLAN (Alton and Villages Local Action for Nature) will provide information on invertebrates, those important unsung heroes of our ecosystem, and children will be able to get their faces painted with their favourite creepy crawly! 

Whatever people think is important

Scott is very keen for people to contribute their own thoughts and ambitions for the community and he will shortly carry out a survey, both in person and online, among the residents to find out what they would like to see.  And at the party, a large-scale plan of the neighbourhood will be on display for visitors to add stickers about where they think their environment can be improved – be it fewer cars in the streets, areas to be rewilded or whatever people think is important to them. 

As a graduate in Environmental and Sustainability Studies, Scott is well aware that this will just be the beginning of what he hopes will be much more to come.  Just a few of the possible future activities he has in mind are interactive workshops for different age groups, community champions to carry on community outreach after his project has ended, activities with children and their parents and garden adoptions for those who need help in looking after their own gardens.  ‘The list is endless’, says Scott, ‘it all depends on what emerges from the initial event and what local people want for their neighbourhood.’

More information on the Eco-Streets project can be found on its Facebook and Instagram pages: @ecostreetsalton.

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