Action for Sustainable Living (AfSL), a charity that helps individuals and communities make reductions in their carbon emissions, has suffered a major financial blow at the hands of Manchester City Council. Ten weeks before a major conference on the Manchester Climate Change Action Plan, the City Council has … decided not to renew its funding of the work they do.
AfSL have confirmed they have “a number of contracts across Greater Manchester harnessing the passion, enthusiasm and skill of volunteers to promote sustainable living, in all its aspects, in their own communities. One of those contracts, with Manchester City Council, has come to an end. This decision will have an impact on a small number of areas within the City although our Reaching Communities programme in South Manchester will continue.”
[Read their full statement here]
The City Council has adamantly objected to the use of the word “cuts”, and in response to a very specific set of questions have chosen instead to answer questions that were not in fact asked. They do concede that “the time-limited project funding for a number of projects, including some run by AfSL, has come to an end, and these projects are now in the process of being completed.”
[Read their full statement here, now with added comments]
So – let’s be clear; weeks before the stakeholder conference, it is going to get harder for stakeholders to take action to live sustainably thanks to these financial decisions. The Council – which had not objected to the use of the word “pulled” – may be nervous about its record. It announced £1 million in February 2008, barely spending a penny of that “Carbon Innovation Fund” until July 2009 and then using a hundred grand on a climate festival nobody can remember. It has not renewed the Carbon Innovation fund.
In Susanna Moore’s gruesome novel “In the Cut”, the protagonist learns very late in the day not to trust authority figures. There may be a lesson in there somewhere if we look hard enough.
[* or “discontinued,” or “not renewed,” or the not-objected-to “pulled” – you can choose your lyric, but the song remains the same.]