Congratulations to our friends at Treloar’s School and College in Holybourne who have sent us details of their excellent progress in reducing their carbon footprint.

Lucinda Gillingham, Director of Fundraising and Marketing at Treloar’s, explains the background to this project: “In June 2022, we published our first Environmental Report which sets out our primary goal to cut the campus greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 50% by 31st August 2030. It also highlights our secondary goals, to reduce emissions of others through behaviour change and facilitation and to reduce non-recyclable waste.”

Treloar’s is a charity that provides a school and college for around 170 young people who are physically disabled with complex needs. Over half of their students stay in one of their five residential houses, they have a significant number of staff who work 52 weeks a year, around 90 staff live on-site and site lettings in the holidays mean that their campus is in use day and night for 365 days a year.  So this is an ambitious goal!

Now, thanks to funders including East Hampshire District Council’s Community Climate Action Fund and individual donors, they will increase the number of solar panels across their campus.  The new PV panels will complement others on site that are proven to be environmentally friendly with low operating/maintenance costs in comparison to other renewable energy systems. The PV panels are also a silent form of generating electricity, an added consideration for their sensory students.  The predicted annual energy generation of their new panels will be 69,498 kWh and the annual offset will be 36,347kgCO2.

Who and how many people will benefit from the project?

In the main, the PV panels will benefit all of the 170 Treloar’s students who reside in Alton for their education. They have complex disabilities and challenges like visual impairments, little or no verbal communication, medical and dietary issues, mental health problems and life-limiting conditions. The 876 staff who support the 170 students at Treloar’s will also benefit; many of them are EHDC residents.

Treloar’s hires its facilities in the holiday periods to disability groups; on average 260 young people a year utilise their on-site facilities during these times. Two examples are: ‘Through the Roof’ who have 20 disabled young people attending a summer camp and using the pool and ‘KEF Kids’, a UK charity supporting disabled young people, which has 185 people stay for a two-week period, around 50 of whom use the pool daily during their stay.

In addition, the PV panels will help to ensure that the swimming pool remains open to the community on Friday evenings and weekends. ‘Tadpole Swim School’ hires the pool for 10 hours per week during these times and it is used by 120+ East Hampshire families.

The installation of the PV panels will start in September, aiming for completion in December 2023. And they expect to save at least £15,000 per annum on their electricity bill from January 2024

Climate change and the environment at Treloar’s

Treloar’s staff are working with their students to help them develop life-long environmentally friendly habits. Thanks to the efforts of the student-led College ‘Eco Council’, they have been awarded an Eco Schools Green Flag. The Council meets every month to raise awareness of climate change, discuss energy saving projects and improvements to the Treloar’s campus.

Other initiatives include expansion of their ‘Cycle to Work’ and bike loan schemes (supported through an EHDC Councillor Community Grant), a formal lift-share scheme for staff, electric charging points in the car park, an increased recycling programme and removal of single use plastics where possible. Following an extremely generous gift from an individual donor, they have purchased their first electric mini-bus (see picture below). It has been specially modified to meet their students’ needs and is used for hospital visits, home drop-offs and extra-curricular trips.

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