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A local environmental sustainability group in Cockermouth called Riversmeet had been active for over two years. In that period, members of the group have tackled a number of environmental issues, ranging from cleaning the litter from the River Cocker, running a local food-growing programme, and organising an environmental conference with over 60 attendees.

The group recognised the need for more community and youth involvement. Local people had expressed a wish to do something to support the local environment, economy, and jobs, but did not know what they could do to help. 

At a conference on a low carbon Lake District, we met a manager for an International charity called Global Action Plan (GAP). Their approach is to train Ecoteam leaders, who then run Ecoteams in their neighbourhood based on the information and training they have been given.

We invited her to make a presentation to one of our regular environmental forums held in the All Saints rooms. More than 30 people attended, and presentations were made on local environmental sustainability. As is the custom, the group then voted on the topic that most interested them and should be actioned. Ecoteams easily won the vote and several attendees volunteered to be Ecoteam leaders.

Further meetings were held in Cockermouth and London to understand how Ecoteams worked in practice. The aim was to formulate a proposal that we could fund and run in our locality using the Ecoteams approach.