Multiple churches across the diocese are working towards achieving Eco Church awards and making environmentally-conscious renovations to their buildings.
Wroughton and Wichelstowe Parish Church has been awarded a grant of £20,000 towards installing solar panels on the church hall and installing sustainable drainage to create a “rain garden”. The grant, from nearby Wroughton Solar Park, will fund a substantial part of the upcoming eco renovations to the building, which will include double glazing and insulation to improve the hall’s energy efficiency.
The church is currently working towards its Silver Eco Church award, and this is part of its efforts to improve its environmental impact – which have included installing bike racks and switching to 100 per cent renewable energy for the church.
Draycot Benefice has also taken great strides towards building a cleaner future, with the development of a network of ‘eco reps’ from each of the five churches coming together to plan environmental action.
Individual churches have carried out churchyard surveys, swapped energy tariffs, installed bird feeders, joined in with village litter picks and worked with schools to make bird and bat boxes. And as a benefice they organised a Lent 2020 Eco Challenge, toilet-twinned the rectory, installed bike racks and held a bike maintenance morning.
Two churches in the benefice have gained a silver Eco Church award, and two others have applied for the bronze award. The five parish reps meet together to share ideas, support one another and plan future events. In the pipeline is a joint Climate Sunday service, an 'eco market', Wild Church activities and a mini conference to explore ethical investment, sustainable technologies and farming.
Colerne Parish Church has seen a silver lining to the upheaval caused by the pandemic, as they’ve used the time to improve the biodiversity and beauty of their much-loved churchyard and village green spaces for the benefit of plants, animals and people. Alongside Parish Council volunteers, church members have created wildflower verges within the village, and designated 3 grassy areas of the churchyard, already rich in wildflowers, to create a pollinator corridor. Spare seed was shared with the local primary school and is being grown in pots to add in the Spring. The first spring shoots are already adding colour to the new, biodiverse green spaces.