Interreg Europe supporting community energy and smart food production in Greater Manchester

Two new projects have started in Greater Manchester with funding from the last round of the Interreg Europe programme.

Community Owned And Led Energy tackling Security, Climate Change and Employment. (COALESCCE)

Led by Oldham Council, COALESCCE, was develop to increase the take up of community energy.

Community energy is defined as the provision of energy infrastructure, primarily renewable energy generating infrastructure but also energy efficiency measures, led by community groups and owned wholly or partly by local communities typically through the issue of community shares, using local supply chains and providing local employment opportunities.

Although one key aspect of community energy is local community ownership of projects, this does not mean that finance for every development stage of a community energy project is easy to come by (grants, loans, expertise or market mechanisms). In UK, as well as many other European Member States, government interventions are often aimed at supporting larger organisations which are often offering poor social value to local communities.

The partners will make use of the Interreg Europe funding to find new ways to increase investment in local community energy investment.

The project brings together Oldham, who have developed their ideas from the Generation Oldham programme, the Regional Energy Agency of Valencia (Spain), European Perspectives Foundation (Bulgaria), the regional Energy Agency of Prahova (Romania) and the region of Abruzzo (Italy).

The total budget will be approximately €1.4million.


Strengthening regional innovation policies to build sustainable food chains – FoodChains4Europe

FoodChains4Europe will help to improve the regional governance and opportunity around the food industry in all participating regions. The project will help to development new innovative measure in the food value chain for sector development, and it will also capitalise on the knowledge emerging from universities and research institutions in support of the sector.

In GM, the focus will be to:

  • Inform the development of a GM Food Hub that will bring strategic partners and stakeholders together to map and utilise the opportunities for innovation in the food value chain. It will contribute to the development of a governance structure to coordinate the whole sector from growing to waste disposal, and will identify opportunities to innovate at different levels of the food value chain.
  • Support innovation by community actors focused on food, the supply of food to new consumers and the redistribution of food through innovative channels. In particular the project is seeking to enable GM local communities to help step into gaps in the food industry by strengthening the relationship with major research institutes such as Manchester Metropolitan University.

Greater Manchester has a mix of urban and rural environments. It has the ambition to develop innovative ways to feed its population through local food supply systems, e.g. developing urban farming, integrating urban and rural spaces and improving public procurement to encourage the development food innovation and local supply. This innovation will come through collaborations between knowledge institutes with small businesses and organisations (e.g. groups in the Oldham Food Network) who work locally and are flexible to respond to changing need and market demands.

Oldham Council and Manchester Metropolitan University are the two GM partners of this project. They will be working with the Flevoland Region (Netherlands) and partners in Bulgaria, Italy and Romania.

For further info please contact Dave Catherall in Oldham Council.