Todmorden's School of Natural Building awarded funds for projects

Posted: 31.03.17 by

Local not-for-profit School of Natural Building secures 6.3 million euros
Grant Funding to build with straw!
The Todmorden based School of Natural Building (SNaB) has been jointly awarded 6.3m euros to increase the uses of low carbon technologies in sectors with high energy saving potential.
By working with UK partners Hastings Borough Council & Groundwork South as well as European partners in France, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands, SNaB will help to reduce GreenHouseGas emissions across North West Europe. SNaB originally wanted to use this potential funding in their home town, to help re-build Todmorden High school, but Calderdale MBC turned them down. They subsequently approached one of their other clients in Hastings who were delighted to work with them.
The project is called ‘Up Straw.’
The aim of the project is to showcase sustainable building projects with reduced carbon footprints. The UK will build the first building of the project, a strawbale Visitor Centre in Hastings. It will be the first straw building in the Borough and will be a focus for new interpretation and events at the Country Park.
The project will continue to embed the concept of natural building in the UK by working with schools, colleges and universities and by hosting the European Strawbale gathering (ESBG) in the UK in 2019.
The partners submitted an initial expression of interest to Interreg North West Europe for the programme in February 2016. Getting through the first round was a major achievement as the application was one of only 4 projects out of 79 applicants under the Low Carbon funding stream that were then invited to submit a further full application.
The Interreg North West Europe (NWE) Programme is a transnational European Territorial Cooperation Programme funded by the European Commission. The programme mixes public bodies and Voluntary sector organisations and provides support to projects with a funding rate of 60%. The grant is worth approximately 1m euros to the School of Natural Building, the UK’s leading organisation for strawbale building and training, Hastings Borough Council and Groundwork South together with sub partner, the Strawbale Building Association (SBUK)
Eileen Sutherland MBA FRSA, one of the Directors of SNaB explained:
‘This project is a significant milestone on the road to sustainable building across NW Europe. By working with other European specialists, SNaB will deliver much needed workforce skills and curriculum innovation in the field of Natural Building. We’re very excited to have the opportunity to work with all our partners and can’t wait to get started and make a difference.
Other Activities of SNaB
Todmorden Learning Centre (TLC)
Barbara Jones, Principal of SNaB is currently working towards taking over the Todmorden Community College, in partnership with Incredible Farm and members of the local Community, to transform it into a Learning Centre and Community Hub, and to retain the Children’s Centre and Youth provision that currently use the College. This effort began once it became known that CMBC were about to sell the land the College stands on to Aldi, knock the College down, and allow Aldi to have a larger store, building a new children’s centre and youth club at a cost of £1m to Calderdale.
Barbara and many members of the Todmorden Community believe that the town will be better served by retaining its College and making it into a National Centre of Learning for natural building skills and agro-economy, whilst at the same time making space for community projects and activities. So far they have gained the support of such prestigious organisations as the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB), the Building Limes Forum (BLF), the Association of Environment Conscious Builders (AECB) all of whom would welcome a National Centre and would run conferences and events there. See facebook page and go fund me

Todmorden Strawbale Hotel
Barbara is also involved through SNaB with a not-for-profit group that aims to build a much needed Community Hotel from strawbales in the heart of Todmorden, creating a true town Centre framed by the Methodist Church, the Town Hall, the open Market and Market Hall, and the Strawbale Hotel. It would have Pollination Street at its centre, creating a whole that would be used for conferences and outdoor events. Todmorden residents are desperate for accommodation as most family homes in the town are too small to hold family gatherings and relatives have to travel as far afield as Rochdale or Halifax to find accommodation. The Hotel has been designed by Straw Works and would be owned by a not-for-profit Community organisation, and built by members of the local community under the training and supervision of SNaB, for more see

here are some example of their work

Haringey Community EcoHub and café,
Haringey Community EcoHub and café
part built by SNaB in 2012 for Haringey Council, London;

Cuerden Valley Park Visitor Centre, Bamber Bridge, a Community Hub and café designed by Straw Works and part built by SNaB in 2015-17,
Cuerden Valley Park Visitor Centre

and Tulse Hill Neighbourhood Hub, designed by Straw Works and currently under construction in London.

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