The Kinver Sports and Community Association (KSCA) is similar to a large number of such facilities dotted around the country. Built over 50 years ago, and having suffered a period of under-investment and neglect, it faced an uncertain future.
It is used by a wide range of community groups, and includes a skateboard park, cricket and football pitches, bowls club, outdoor gym, children's play area. It is also home to numerous indoor activities and events, such as the University of the Third Age and the New Kinver Players theatre group. The loss of this facility to the community is incalculable, and there is considerable local support to make the refurbishment as sustainable as possible.
A new team of Trustees, lead by Ann Becke, recognised the need to update the building and making it climate resilient. Energy management is central to the redevelopment; conservation measures to reduce heat loss includes external cladding to improve the physical appearance and make the building more contemporary and attractive. This will have a major impact on reducing energy demand. New, renewable energy systems (solar water heating, PV and air source heat pumps) will provide much of the energy needed to run the various functions. There is community support for the addition of EV charging points.
The renewed premises would therefore attract further activities aimed at health, wellbeing and personal development such as keep fit and drama and be a central hub for further services for young and elderly, for example a repair cafe and community cafe with greater volunteer engagement.
To date, the project has identified a wide range of existing low-carbon technologies (energy conservation, efficiency and renewable generation, rainwater harvesting). The second phase includes detailed design work. It is important to engage with stakeholders at an early stage, including the local Parish Council. Given the complexity of this project, a Principal Designer is vital to co-ordinate and integrate the various elements, including legal compliance such as building regulations. This is important when considering renewable energy systems and the potential impact on the local grid, particularly if energy is exported. The project will also produce a guide on how to replicate this approach to reducing carbon emissions in similar buildings.
The project funding is also vital for engaging with funding bodies for capital expenditure needed. the Trustees of the KSCA have been instrumental in enabling this project and have been extremely tenacious and supportive; this will ensure the future prosperity of the KSCA, and make the building a much more attractive local resource. The team would welcome visits from similar organisations to encourage the wider uptake of low-carbon whole building retrofit projects to inspire others. The Rural Community Energy Fund (RCEF) team has been very supportive during this process and should be commended.