Review of the Climate Challenge Fund - Appendix C: Case Studies Report

This report reviews the Climate Challenge Fund (CCF), a Scottish Government scheme that supports communities to take action to address climate change.

Overcoming Barriers - Fyne Futures

Project value High (£130,295 - £450,000)
Duration Three years
Refresh Elements Deepen: Mature group, previously funded by CCF
Topic(s) Energy Efficiency, Transport

Project Details

Background to group

Fyne Futures is the sustainability arm of the housing association Fyne Homes. Fyne Futures is a registered charity and social enterprise which creates jobs and training opportunities for the local community and work to improve recycling and the Green Economy of Bute. Fyne Futures formed Towards Zero Carbon Bute as part of a previous CCF project which they worked on with Caledonian University from 2009 to 2011. At the time of the project the group consisted of a voluntary steering group and two project officers assisted by five volunteers.

Reasons for project and inspiration

The group's previous CCF project 'Towards Zero Carbon Bute' calculated the carbon footprint for the island and piloted a number of active travel and energy efficiency retrofit approaches to reduce it. Barriers to active travel were identified and included a lack of resources to identify existing cycling and walking routes and a shortage of safe routes and trip end facilities. Retrofit barriers largely concerned the high percentage of 'hard to treat' properties (pre 1919 stone) and the affordability of measures (27% of the population were income-deprived). 'Overcoming barriers' appealed to the deepen refresh theme and was exclusively funded by CCF to help people overcome these challenges.

Aims and approach

The main aim was to reduce obstacles to encourage the community to begin using forms of active transport and make behavioural and physical changes in their home; improving energy efficiency and reducing carbon emissions. Their main approach was to raise awareness by creating links between Bute's carbon footprint and the actions taken by individuals, and provide information, guidance and suitable infrastructure to facilitate change.

Achieving Behaviour Change

The target audience for energy efficiency was broad, reaching out to all householders on the island. The active travel aspect of the project was more specific; concentrating on those who commute less than 2km and currently do so by car. This focus was decided as community feedback suggested this to be a reasonable distance to expect people to cycle or walk.

From previous projects the group had found that it was easier to encourage children to cycle than it was adults. Thus the group wanted to use a diverse range of activities to ensure that they were able to engage with members across the whole community. This activity was both strategically planned and opportunistic.

A summary of group activities based on the ISM contexts is as follows:


  • Dr Bike repair and maintenance workshops through the local bike shop.
  • A monitoring tool, originally designed to calculate carbon emission savings, was used to give participants positive feedback on their active travel progress.
  • Home visits delivered tailored advice on energy saving behaviours, measures and signposts to organisations for grants and further support.
  • Workshops demonstrated low cost, sustainable ways to draught proof.
  • Newsletters were frequently sent out to every home on the island, and a regular slot on local radio advertised the project's various activities.


  • Organised group bike rides for a range of abilities which ended with a social at a café. This built confidence and allowed shared experiences.
  • Competitions in schools encouraged children to cycle or walk to school.


  • Bike shed installed at the Rothesay ferry port to provide a sheltered place for islanders commuting to the ferry to store bikes.
  • Signs installed across the island to highlight safe cycle routes. These detailed the journey time (not distance) to the next village or attraction.
  • A map of the island displaying the cycling and walking routes was produced and distributed. This also detailed the journey time in minutes. A copy of this map is given free to locals and tourists who hire bikes.
  • Free bike hire vouchers were distributed for those who did not own a bicycle.
  • Pedometers distributed to encourage people to walk and energy monitors to encourage people to reduce their consumption.
  • One project worker trained as a Green Deal Assessor to make assessments and subsequent grant funding more accessible.

Successes and Benefits

Project development and delivery

Project workers received guidance from the voluntary steering group. This included the owner of the local bike shop who was able to provide direction and feedback throughout the cycle route map and signage design process. Both these measures have since received positive feedback from customers at the cycle shop.

A number of householders and businesses installed energy efficiency or renewable measures as a result of the information and guidance received through the project. This ranged from draught excluders to solar PV panels.


Participants appreciated having someone local that they could contact for advice who was able to understand the uniqueness and challenges of island life. Carbon savings were detailed in the local newspaper at the end of the project and many commented that this had given them a sense of community achievement.

Wider benefits

A participant of the active travel project felt that their health had benefited as a result of the increased activity, explaining that they had been meaning to walk to work for some time but the project gave them 'another push' to start.

The cycle route map and signage has encouraged visitors to explore more of the island as the times make the distances easier to comprehend. The bike shop owner explained "[Previously] visitors would just go out and come back an hour later because they didn't know how long it would take them to do that distance so they just didn't do any further".

CCF agreed to allow the group to invest some remaining budget in improving the energy efficiency of their offices. Infrared heating panels, energy efficient lighting, thermal blinds, solid wall and floor insulation were installed and the offices are now used regularly as a demonstration area for the public.

Carbon Calculations

The group found that the data collections and calculations relating to active travel were easier than the energy efficiency aspects. It was more straightforward to determine the savings from someone not using their car when compared to a variety of potential savings through energy efficiency measures and behaviour change. For the travel calculations participants were asked to complete a miles log when they substituted a car journey with walking or cycling. This was entered into a monitoring spreadsheet, which automatically calculated the savings figures.

Energy efficiency savings were calculated by asking participants to submit fuel bills for the periods before and after the home visit. The group had previously been performing calculations based on surveys designed to capture behaviour change and measures installed. However this data was more challenging to collect and they found that it over-estimated savings compared to the actual figures taken from fuel bills. From the data collected the lifetime carbon emission savings achieved by the project were calculated to be 321.33 tonnes.

Challenges and Lessons Learned

Project development

The group had wanted to pedestrianize the main shopping area for a day to encourage people to walk or cycle to town. However this plan was unable to proceed as it was met by opposition from local businesses.


The process of instigating the cycle signage took longer than they had previously expected as detailing the time in minutes did not sit with existing signage policy; something on which they worked with the Council to overcome.

Parents were concerned about the safety of children cycling to school. The group had hoped to train staff at the bike shop as Bikeability trainers so that they could cascade their knowledge onto parents at the school. This would have allowed them to teach both children and adults how to ride a bike safely, bringing further business and encouraging more people to cycle. Unfortunately they were unable to find a course held close enough for them to attend.

The group also tried to support an installer on the island through the PAS 2030 process to enable them to install measures through the Green Deal. The installer needed to complete an install to achieve the qualification, but there was no funding available at the time thus preventing this happening.

Legacy / Looking Forward

The signage and bike shelter will help members of the community and tourists for years to come. The cycle lane feasibility study and plans developed during the project were not taken forward as a successful funding source was not found, but another local sustainability group are now using these plans to pursue further funding. The active travel monitoring spreadsheet that the group designed has been shared and is being utilised by other CCF groups with active travel projects.

A volunteer who was trained to carry out energy audits had been unemployed for some time, but this training gave them the confidence to complete a successful job application. The project worker who received training to enable the group to offer Green Deal Assessments now works for a local housing association; helping them to improve their housing stock in line with the Scottish Housing Quality Standard and Energy Efficiency Standard for Social Housing.

Fyne Futures have continued to grow as a social enterprise, delivering a range of environmental sustainable services and goods which they are using to provide jobs and training opportunities for the local community.



Email: Debbie Sagar

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