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The Coddenham Centre & the Environment 2024 update

by | Jan 30, 2024 | Community

The Coddenham Centre

The Journey So Far

We are a small business with charitable status, established in 2019 with an annual turnover this year approaching £100K. Created to manage and deliver sustainable community support through a multi-activity community building and grounds, in the Suffolk village of Coddenham.

In just four years, despite the emergence of the COVID pandemic within six months of formation and significant legacy maintenance challenges, we have created a sustainable award-winning enterprise, reducing its carbon footprint by 83% (Suffolk County Council audit 2024), since a 2020 baseline. This year we will have reduced  an annual operational dependency on the local precept/rates support from of£14,000K4K  pa to zero. We have also attracted £140,000 of environmentally related asset improvement through fund raising. We currently host some 18 activities and regular community events, while leading on a range of environmental initiatives in pursuit of a role as community exemplar.

Looking Back in 2023

In the last year we have  continued to develop our Carbon Charter with Suffolk County Council’s help and in November embarked upon seeking the gold standard accreditation, with a refreshed twenty-point Environmental Statement & Action Plan.

We previously turned the failure of our fossil fuel system into a positive, by raising funds and commissioning three air source heat-pumps and improved insulation, attracting regional study visits and which in 2023, provided heating for over 2000 customers.

In 2023 we saw an 18% increase in use of our four vehicle re-charging points,  as part of the SCC/Suffolk Plug In network.

We continued to care for and add to a mixture of over 400 new hedging and trees with community participation, following damage from the 2022 drought.

We supported a green-space management plan with the Coddenham Parish Council, village charities and Suffolk Wildlife Trust. December 2023 saw the collaboration on a new signposted nature trail.

Our ‘Wildflower Workout Areas’ at the Centre, to encourage naturalisation and to be ‘bee friendly’,  expanded in 2023 producing their first wild orchids.

We worked with new start-up kitchen artisans to introduce beehives to the community, ‘Coddenham Honey’ became available in 2023 and production continued of a locally produced range of foods, ‘Cooked in Coddenham’ extending from child meals to granola, all ensuring low food miles.

In April 2023 we successfully completed the installation of 80 solar panels plus  two batteries.,

A carbon audit by  on behalf of Suffolk County Council in January 2024, calculated our carbon footprint as 5.2t of CO2, a 40% reduction in 2023 on 2022 with only nine months of solar and LED benefit. It represents an 83% reduction from our 2020 baseline. We have surpassed the County target of ‘25(%) x (20)25’.

With match funding from Suffolk County Council and donations, we replaced all internal lighting with LED bulbs and proximity switches in 2023..

Not all our efforts are ‘big ticket’, we freeze surplus crusts courtesy of the Community Shop sandwich maker to make soup croutons for our weekly Mid Suffolk District Council supported ‘Living Well in Winter’ lunches. We recycle all our printer cartridges, our kitchens work on minimum food waste.

We have now replaced 75% of our cleaning materials with eco-friendly products.

We promoted a  “We are Right Behind Being Kind to the Planet’ campaign by adopting low carbon toilet paper!.

We encouraged customers to ‘Consider your Carbon’ when travelling to us, through car sharing, walking or cycling.

We have expanded recycling collection facilities on site, collecting over 25 tons of glass and textiles in 2023.

Our Christmas Tree collection point accepted thirty-eight trees for recycling.

Every month we continued to host regular refill services for bulk domestic and food supplies. ’Choose Refills’ recently identified the Coddenham Centre as one of their busiest stops around the County.

We worked with the Parish Council & SCC to introduce infra-red cameras to study home heat loss in the community. We are currently working with community partners to establish further surveys and ‘Energy Champions’.

We co-host regular community litter picks, gardening and countryside working groups. We invited the the community to ‘Be In It to Bin It’.

In 2023 we started work with community and neighbouring villages to introduce opportunities for the introduction of community energy hubs.


Involving our Community, Customers and Stakeholders

In 2023 we wrote to all our suppliers and activities, outlining our environmental commitment, encouraging and requesting details of their commitment to help creating the ‘Greenest County’.

We have worked with (chairing from December 2023) the Coddenham Community Response Group (CCRG), a community collaboration of all voluntary, charitable, statutory and faith organisations to deliver a community plan which includes a clear Environmental and Energy Conservation workstream. Leading by example, we have this last year successfully encouraged six of the seven organisations to conduct carbon audits and adopt plans for reduction. Our local church achieved a COE recognition for this work.

Our chair manages the community website, which includes all environmental initiates and including a ’Coddenham Cares’ page.  can search on a dedicated category, ‘Environment’. Along with this website we celebrate care for the planet and carbon reduction.

We regularly celebrate the regional  #CharterTuesday with updates and anecdotes. We cheer carbon reduction on across Suffolk, ensuring any events are supported whenever we can.

Through the ‘Coddenham Cascade’ we email shoot environmental initiative updates to a volunteer community mailing list of approximately 140 households, plus social media.

·We work with our Parish Council on environmental initiatives, engagement and communication. In 2023 this included voluntary care and husbandry of publicly owned green spaces.

We host the Suffolk School of Nordic Walking to encourage regular outdoor exercise and appreciation of the Suffolk countryside.

In November 2023 our Chair joined a board of a new local Community Interest Company on behalf of TCC to develop community energy indicatives along with representatives from local villages.

The Coddenham Centre seeks to help put ‘The Unity into Community’ with a programme of engagement & communication across all initiatives, including those for the environment. Our Trustees, part-time  employees and volunteers without exception, are committed to Creating the Greenest County.actively engage in all our work, including that for the environment.

What Next?

In 2024 we are seeking accreditation for the Carbon Charter gold award.

We will develop the twenty one  points of our 2023 Action Plan, with the objective of both achieving both ’25 x 25’ and 2030 net zero carbon targets.

Through the  aforementioned  CCRG, we will encourage members to seek Carbon Charter accreditation. We have proposed and will continue to seek a more accessible tier for voluntary and charitable bodies.

We will work with SCC on the new options for managing and developing Plug In Suffolk, including our own charging rates for local residents.

We will be part of the leadership at least one community energy hub project with local collaborators.

We plan to start work on the feasibility of water recycling at the Coddenham Centre. An environmental and cost benefit analysis will be completed by year end.

We are currently obtaining calculations to establish an uninterruptable power supply through the expanded use of our solar power storage.

In the summer, we will sensitively clear our bordering stream to reduce the risk of flooding, as the result of extreme weather events.

We are proud to be Co- hosting the Carbon Charter Summer event in 2024.

Our Awards

Bronze Carbon Charter.
Our environmental progress referenced in the citation for Suffolk Community    Awards, Community Centre of the Year 2022.
Most Active Village 2023

Some Previous Posts & Events

More Carbon Care from the Coddenham Centre

We Are Right Behind Being Kinder to the Planet @the Coddenham Centre

Our Wildflowers Are Working Out!

Solar Under Way- Easter Update!

Another Step Towards Net Zero Carbon for the Coddenham Centre

Solar for the Centre

Coddenham Cares About the Environment

Choose Refills and the Coffee Station at the Coddenham Centre This Sunday!

Coddenham Recreation Ground Trail Board

Bronze Eco Church Award for St Mary’s

Thankyou Volunteers – Return of Coddenham’s Environmental Work Parties

Are You Composting to the Max?

Shape The Future – The Coddenham Parish Community Plan













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