It’s been a busy couple of months for Reading Hydro since our AGM at the end of March.
Firstly we want to say thank you to all who joined us there, voted, ate cake and helped us take Reading Hydro forward. Alongside this a huge and overdue welcome to all our new members that joined that evening and since. Apologies for our slow response in sharing more information about what we’ve been up to since then, alongside the different ways you can get involved:
To name a few:
There’s our facebook group where all can share ideas, inspiration and events (whether you’re a member or not). You can also follow and interact on our various social medis platforms, Twitter and Instagram. You can also ping us @rdgHydro or #rdgukHydro and we’ll pick up what you’re sharing (we love anything around the river, on the river, incolving the community, environment and renewable energy).
We’ve been holding monthly action evenings although in the last months have interspersed this with being and taking part at some events andworking on our plans.
As well as this, members can also opt in to join our slack working group communication, if you want to get active on particular topics. A key one at the moment is further publicty and communication support, digital online, graphic design, social media and community building.
Sun and Smiles on Bean Pole Day
No it wasn’t a spelling mistake in the title. Last month we took part in a wonderful yearly event held in the beautiful Caversham Court grounds. Bean Pole day, put on by Reading’s and Berkshire’s EcoNet conservation volunteers.
What is Bean Pole day, I hear you say? Well it’s an opportunity to buy Bean Poles (long thin peices of wood) as well as peas sticks, that you will be able to use to truss your beans and peas to.
Alongside this there were a whole host of local growing and green, ethical groups inlcuding growers from Tilehurst, Friends of the Earth, Global Justice now, the Reading Beekeepers and Food 4 Familes.
” But this seems to be something that would be too good to be true in Reading” – New member
We had a great time sharing what we’re up to at Reading Hydro as well as welcoming new member to the Community Benefit Society. A definite event to look out for and attend next year (especially when the sun shines)!
Hydro Field Trip
Members of the team and some of our wider board of experts also undertook a trip to the wilds of Cambridgeshire to visit a hydro scheme under development at the moment at Eaton Socon.
Here they are actually implementing the same VerdErg Venturi Enhanced Turbine Technology that we are looking at implementing in Reading. Like us, the part of the River Great Ouse that it is being implemented in has a low head of 1.4m.
It’s actually being installed right beside The River Mill pub that was the old mill there, so soon the pub will be getting much of it’s electricity from renewable hydro power and in a lovely sort of way, reclaiming it’s original heritage. We can’t wait to see it working later this year.
The great thing about Reading Hydro is seeing the different skills and support from our members and team that come forward to help with certain aspects.
Over the last number of Action Evenings, we’d been focusing on planning and structuring the different tasks. Ultimately ensuring that all the activities were documented and the flow of getting to building the Hydro were captured.
Recently we got together and restructured and detailed our planning and now have our Project Control Centre or PCC, (as all good engineering projects should be filled with acronyms), up and running. Particular thanks to all who have been involved with this.
Look Out For Our GDPR Communication and Updates
By now you’ve no doubt been unundated by countless emails from organisations, asking you to reconfirm you’d still like to hear from them, alongside our own.
For those of you who are members, as part of your membership is our communication to you on Reading Hydro and key events such as our AGM, so this additional email is primariliy related to our wider supporters who may not be members. Howevere, it’s quick and easy though to review and update your email details (or even sign up to our newsletter if not already) here.
We look forward to collaborating and sharing more with our growing community.
Come along to Reading Hydro’s 2nd AGM , hear updates, get involved and celebrate the progress we’ve all made!
We’ll be sharing where we’re up to with the project and reflect what we’ve done towards our objectives. Then carry on building on this together.
As a member it’s important that you are able to share your views, ideas and help us shape Reading Hydro going forward!
If you are not already a member you are more than welcome to join us as well and if you want can also join there. Just £1 to join our community co-op (we are a Community Benefit Society)
We’ll be downstairs at The Outlook (which also serves food) and we’ll be bringing some cake (including Vegan).
We’re looking forward to seeing and working with our members, volunteers and supporters to continue moving Reading Hydro forward!
Wouldn’t it be wonderful for Reading to have a Hydro Energy scheme on Caversham Weir that would be able to fund and support sustainability community projects in Reading?
Only a few years ago, in 2013, this was the origins of the idea being explored the Transition Town Reading Energy Group. Like all good ideas, it has developed over time and gone with the flow.
A brief history of Reading Hydro
From this, in January 2014 Reading Sustainability Centre launched out of the Greater Reading Environmental Network (GREN) as a community group. It was then formalised as The Reading Sustainability Centre CIC in January 2015 and was able to apply for and be awarded grants from several local charities and the Urban Community Energy Fund, to explore and develop the hydro project further.
Securing the Site
This enabled the Reading Hydro Project to
invest the time and energy into assessing and getting all the Environmental requirements together for obtaining the Environment licences in 2016.
The last big milestone happened in the spring of 2017 when planning permission was finally granted to allow the scheme to be built at Caversham Weir.
Becoming an Independent Organisation
In 2017 Reading Hydro also moved from being a project under The Reading Sustainability Centre into a stand alone Community Benefit Society (CBS), in readiness for the launch of a public share offer to raise the capital necessary to build the scheme.
Growing our Community
From an initial 4 directors, 2017 saw us growing to 6, bringing a range of skills and enthusiasm to the team. Alongside this, and perhaps more importantly, we’ve seen our membership grow to now over 50, and with a number of active volunteers supporting in areas from publicity and logo design to technical advice and funding applications. Members and supporters are now able to get involved during one of our Open Action Evenings , through discussions on our facebook group interact via Twitter, Instagram and get updates via our website and newsletters. We’re also connecting with schools and are looking forward to working with the ORSAnauts on renewable energy projects.
Bringing Renewable Energy to 2018!
What will 2018 bring for Reading Hydro? We look forward to developing it further with our active volunteers, supporting members and the local community! Join us at our next Open Action Evening.
A huge thanks to all our volunteers, members and supporters for helping Reading Hydro progress so much in 2017.
Here’s to an amazing and energy filled (renewable) 2018 where we’ve already got some exciting plans in the “pipeline” from your ideas (so better recharge those batteries before):
- Working with schools on educational resources and activities
- Building awareness through open data and signage in collaboration with The Things Network Reading
- Supporting the environment through enhanced Fish Passes
- Ensuring financially and environmentally viable by finalising the preferred tech
- Monthly Open Action Evenings and Socials
- Community and fundraising events – quiz’s, walks, runs, picnics, riverside photography competitions……and?
Don’t forget, there are loads of ways you can get involved and support bringing Renewable Hydro Community Energy to Reading.