Site visits and open days

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Open days and site visits can be a fun and useful experience for your project group and for the wider community. You may want to consider such events if you have a project in the pipeline and wish to visit other projects or groups to get ideas, or if you have a project up and running and would like to welcome public visitors to have a look around your site.

The following case studies provide ideas and examples for different types of open days and site visits:

Case Studies
Country: UK

Stroud Slad Farm Community has held open days at their community supported farm involving practical tasks, talks and workshops, as well as face painting, storytelling, horse riding and wild food walks in the woods - there's something for everyone! They offer guests locally produced food and drink, and have organised a ceilidh and a bonfire. They also held a winter play in which several of their core group were cast, which raised £700 for the project. 

Source: The Story of Community Supported Agriculture in Stroud

Country: UK

Transition Town Totnes has welcomed group visits from university students, exchange students, sustainability course attendees and other Transition initiatives, in addition to anyone who wishes to attend their regular Transition Walks. Transition Walks are held on a Friday and involve a four hour guided tour of the town starting at the Transition Town Totnes office. For these events, they tend to request discretionary donations or in some cases require specific financial contributions for the work and time involved. Potential visitors are also encouraged to plan self-guided tours using information provided on their website. 

Country: UK

Carbon Co-op ran a Big Red Bus Tour of Green Houses as part of Community Energy Fortnight. The tour involved visits to three households around Greater Manchester which had made radical reductions in energy bills and carbon emissions. Attendees were encouraged to talk to and get to know other people on the tour, and were introduced to Carbon Co-op’s energy efficiency projects.

 

Country: UK

Resilient Energy Great Dunkiln (REGD) is a joint venture between The Resilience Centre, a landowner and the community of St Briavels. Together they raised £1.4 million in five months to install a 500kW wind turbine in 2012 in the parish of St Briavels.

REGD run multiple open days every year providing tours of inside the wind turbine for all ages, especially taking the time to engage with and inspire younger people. Other local groups with an energy focus take up stalls at the Annual Community Energy event in September where lots of handouts and small eco based gifts aim to engage young people. Gifts include badges, pens, literature for younger people and model wind turbines. REGD found a positive relationship with younger people to be very important as it was discovered that engaged young people pass on the enthusiasm to their families when returning home after events. 

REGD also have a strong working relationship with the Head of Geography at WyeDean Secondary School who has included the community energy project as part of the GCSE/A Level curriculum on Sustainability. Every July GCSE students come out to the site to undertake an assignment looking at an Environmental Impact Assessment of energy comparing renewables with fossil fuels. More than 200 children visit the site every year over 2 days and the REGD team is on hand to answer questions as they complete their assignment. Teachers have found their students to be more engaged when they are required to think about the pros and cons of fossil fuel vs. renewables when in the immediate presence of a large wind turbine.