“Tapping into the green economy is not only good for the environment, but good for creating local jobs,” said Dr John Blackmore who heads up the organisation that runs Acton Market, which is aiming to undergo a green transformation.
Along with Creating Good Jobs, one of the council’s three key priorities is Tackling Climate Action. And the two are, in many ways, closely linked.
There are a couple of ongoing projects in the borough which provide examples of the potential for green industries to boost our local job market by increasing demand for locally sourced skills. The Energiesprong retrofitting of council homes to make them greener and more energy efficient is only the start of a programme that could last years and eventually take in thousands of homes.
Meanwhile, the council is continuing to add charging points for electric vehicles across the borough with 300 expected by the end of 2021. This is not exclusive to Ealing and companies involved will have to recruit staff to keep pace with the growing demand across London and the country as a whole.
Indeed, green jobs could be all around us soon – because so much of the future will depend on it.
The West London Alliance (WLA) is a strategic partnership of seven west London councils – in the boroughs of Barnet, Brent, Ealing, Hammersmith & Fulham, Harrow, Hillingdon and Hounslow. It is putting together a plan for developing green skills and jobs in the region.
It is early days, but the council is already working with local organisations to help residents to take advantage of emerging opportunities. One of these is charity Action West London, which works across the whole region and runs Acton Market.
Acton Market sets out its stall
Upcycling, repairs and other ‘green’ activities could become the heart of Acton Market after the council helped with a bid for National Lottery funding to help create a climate action zone there.
Dr John Blackmore (pictured at the market, above) is chief executive of Action West London, which is based in Acton. He said: “The Lottery Climate Action funding we are hoping to receive would be for a two-year development programme and mean we could have a full-time member of staff to work on introducing a new climate action zone in the market in partnership with the council, local community and interested groups such as Ealing Repair Café and Friends of the Earth.
“The project would then be able to focus on encouraging businesses offering reuse, recycling, upcycling or repair services, as well as having stalls for local organisations with a climate action angle and those offering training courses for green jobs – such as West London College.
“Acton Market is very community focused – and the stall traders are mainly local people – and it is therefore putting money into the local economy. And this possible new climate zone would be able to build on that and provide more training and job opportunities in the green economy – as well as providing information to guide local people on how to make small changes in their life to tackle climate change.
“I’ve not come across another market doing this yet.
“We’ve got a great partnership with the council and it helped with the Lottery applications. We have common objectives – not least helping people with lower incomes and the climate action agenda.”
Opportunities for local people
Action West London has been providing free training for people wanting to be a market stall trader. You can email firstname.lastname@example.org and visit the Acton Market website to find out if places are available. It has also been offering deals for local people wanting to set up a stall in the market
“One person running a stall might do well and employ someone else,” said John. “For some, it’s their main source of income.
“This new climate action zone would also provide an opportunity for local people: Training opportunities, and job opportunities.
“As a charity, our mission is to change lives through providing opportunities for jobs and also helping enterprise and getting a chance of self-employment and that’s one of the key drivers for this project. We are an active member of West London Business, which has a focus on green jobs, and there is also obviously an increasing priority across the community and beyond around tackling climate change.
“We want to engage all sections of the community and the market has massive social benefits.
“It brings people together from all kinds of backgrounds in a safe, outdoor space. And it is a public and social space for people to go and chat and meet.
“It is the ideal place for people to engage people and help them to find out more about what they can do in a practical way in their own lives to fight climate change.
“If we go ahead and it goes well, there is a possibility of accessing further funding.”