Schools from across the East of England and beyond now have easy access to state of the art green education facilities at a brand new ‘Green Schools Revolution’ Education Centre at The Co-operative Group’s wind farm in Coldham, Cambridgeshire.
A brand new £18.5 million 14 mega watt wind farm, called White Mill, was also officially opened this week. The seven new turbines have been installed adjacent to The Co-operative’s existing eight turbines, all on its own farmland.
White Mill wind farm, which has been built as part of a joint venture between The Co-operative Group, including The Co-operative Bank, and Ventus VCT plc, along with the existing eight turbines on the farm, will be a major draw for schools from far and wide.
The farm’s brand new ‘Green Schools Revolution’ Education Centre will enable schools to study a whole host of sustainability topics in one location from renewable energy, where pupils will be able to visit a wind turbine; to healthy living, through its From Farm to Fork experience, where school pupils will be able to get out in to the arable farmland to learn all about how food is grown and how to prepare healthy meals.
The new education centre has been created in partnership with Fenland District Council and will provide a key education facility for The Co-operative’s national Green Schools Revolution programme, which has already been joined by over 5,000 primary and secondary schools right across the UK.
All Green Schools Revolution schools across the country have access to a wide range of free cross-curricular classroom resources and activities through www.greenschools.coop, giving young people and teachers the tools to inspire change in their schools, homes and local communities.
The seven new turbines at White Mill will offset 26,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide each year and, combined with the existing wind farm, will generate in excess of 70 GW hrs electricity per year – enough to supply approx. 16,500 homes.
All the energy generated from White Mill will be directly procured by the Group, securing a long term green energy source for the business.
Thanks to developments such as this, The Co-operative is well on the way to achieving a key element of its ethical plan to generate 25 per cent of its electricity needs from its own renewable energy projects by 2017.
Rob Ellis, Sustainable Development Manager at The Co-operative Group, said: “We are very pleased to be able to celebrate the completion of our seven brand new wind turbines at White Mill and to be able to do this alongside the opening of a fantastic new education facility for schools right across the country.
“This is a fantastic example of how The Co-operative Group’s businesses can work together with a focussed social agenda that will benefit local communities and inspire the next generation to be the green pioneers of the future.”
Melanie Phillips, who heads up The Co-operative’s Green Schools Revolution programme, said: “Green Schools Revolution was launched one year ago and already over 5,000 schools are taking part. This demonstrates a clear appetite for environmental learning and it’s great to see so many schools really making the most of all the programme has to offer.
“Our brand new ‘Green Schools Revolution' Education Centre in Coldham will provide Cambridgeshire schools with fantastic free trips and education facilities. Schools interested in joining can register now at www.greenschools.coop to take advantage of all that’s on offer.”
Green Schools Revolution is a comprehensive learning resource prepared by education specialists and available to all UK primary and secondary schools for free by visiting www.greenschools.coop.
Through Green Schools Revolution, The Co-operative offers schools free, fun and educational visits to its own wind farm to see renewable energy in action and to eight Co-operative farms to see first hand how food grows, how to cook it and also how to protect and conserve local wildlife.
As one of Britain's largest farmers, over 80,000 children have already visited one of our Co-operative farms, gaining hands-on experience about where their food comes from.
The Co-operative Group is the UK's largest mutual business, owned not by private shareholders but by over seven million consumers. It is the UK's fifth biggest food retailer and a major financial services provider, operating The Co-operative Bank and The Co-operative Insurance. Among its other businesses are the number one funeral services provider, the third largest pharmacy chain and one of Britain's largest farming operations. As well as having clear financial and operational objectives, the Group has also set out its social and sustainability goals in its groundbreaking Ethical Plan, which specifies over 50 commitments in these areas.
The Group operates 4,800 retail trading outlets, employs more than 100,000 people and has an annual turnover of more than £13bn. Further information is available at www.co-operative.coop