In a transnational exchange, the city of Essen (DE) welcomed representatives from Energise Sussex Coast (UK), between the 10th and 13th of October 2018. Participants recognised that the peer to peer transfer of knowledge in a community of practice as well as the exchange of approaches and ideas in both directions is an important and useful tool for the development and correction of both strategies and projects. Even if the structures and current events in the two countries are different, the challenges with regard to renewable energies as well as the topics of energy poverty and climate justice are very similar. According to the participants, linking NGOs with each other is a good opportunity for further cooperation. The CAN final conference in Arnhem was identified as a great opportunity for exploring cooperation.
Following a busy planning, on the first day, the participants went to the main CAN Neighbourhood “City Nord”, where they discovered local projects such as the Freiraum Weberplatz, a welcoming point in the northern city centre - a very active area in which many nationalities, creative people and entrepreneurs live, collaborate and get engaged. They also got the opportunity to learn about the actions of a project which financially and logistically supports eight neighbourhood climate initiatives in their respective efforts. Afterwards, they visited a large integrated urban development project in a deprived neighbourhood and discovered a multi-dimensional employment projects, for example one in which long-term unemployed people are trained to give energy advice in peoples’ homes.
Excursions on bike highways and green spaces took place on the following day, as well as meetings with the Transition Town Movement for the city of Essen, urban gardening projects and representatives of a citizen energy cooperative. On the last day, the participants met with the local citizen advice centre to discover their work against energy poverty and had a talk with representatives of the Economy for the Common Good Movement. Pictures of the exchange can be found here.