Who are MakeyourhomeEco?

The courses have been developed and facilitated by both Martin Fodor and Maddy Longhurst, though the project is now in Martin’s hands .

We work with a mix of different skills and realised in spring 2010 that by coming together we could create something that didn’t yet exist in Bristol. The idea was to create a community learning initiative that would bridge the gap between information and action for a better world.

Changes start at home and for each of us our home is where most of our lifestyle and cultural choices are visible: what and how much we buy, what we throw away, how we achieve comfort and security, how we socialise, raise families, feed ourselves. The home is where our beliefs and values are played out and are therefore where the possibility for transformation is most potent, and the impacts of changes are most closely experienced. Thje starting point was a set of workshop ideas and materials put together by Martin, who had started through the local skill-sharing ‘Freeconomy’ in Bristol. The potential of these workshops called for a more detailed short course approach. This led to the current format for most MYHE community courses.

Maddy says…

I have a background in not-for-profit organisations looking at the environmental and social development of Bristol including the Happy City Initiative, LIFEbeat, Bristol Green Doors, Active Inclusion, BEST, and WPSD. I completed a degree in Town and Country Planning in 2000 (BA, BTP).

I am interested in working with others to develop the course into a brilliant learning experience, which is inclusive, participative, creative and inspiring. I am learning a lot from Martin about the practical, technical, political and economic aspects of home eco-retrofit, energy reduction, materials and carbon.

I think Martin is learning something from me about different learning styles and how to encourage people to make lasting changes, it is essential to create ways for each other to reflect on, challenge, understand and tap into our values and beliefs – what motivates us to want to make changes in our own lives, and then to draw that into any practical changes we make.

Martin Fodor demonstrating at the CREATE CentreMartin says…

I had already realised I have a lot of background information and experiences that I wanted to share from years of work in the energy and sustainable construction fields, locally and nationally. I’d developed some inspiring, interactive workshops through the Bristol Freeconomy skill-sharing initiative and the local Transition movement that I wanted to take further. They helped communicate how we can eco-renovate existing homes we own and rent but I knew the issues needed to be explored in more detail to help people to understand what to do in their own homes and to start to put changes into practice.

I knew Maddy as an enthusiast and campaigner seeking to make group experiences enjoyable, useful and mutually inspiring. The combining of knowledge and participatory approaches appealed to me.

With Maddy I developed a structured series of practical worksheets and tasks for beginners and renovators to use in ordinary homes – continuing the journey at home and ensuring better understanding of practical options and choices, and revealing preferences around lifestyle, seasonal and temporary projects, appliances and major investments based on their priorities and values. She has now moved on to other projects, but the approach we developed together remains.

New courses are still focussed on ensuring the approach focuses on peoples’ own priorities and values, plus the potential and the constraints they have; this makes these courses really enjoyable and worthwhile, centred on people and their own needs, and allowing them to take control of energy at home!

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