In 2011, the Veolia Environmental Trust awarded £300,000 to the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust to fund the creation of the Cre8 Barn. Over a decade on, we revisited the Barn to find out how the site is benefitting both the environment and local community.
What is the Cre8 Barn?
Part of the Stirley nature reserve, which spans 240 acres and is located in West Yorkshire, the Cre8 Barn provides an educational facility for schools and community groups. These groups are able to grow their own food and produce in the on-site allotments, before learning how to cook what they have grown in the Cre8 Barn kitchen. The Barn also offers a versatile space which can be used for a range of educational activities, and even corporate events. During the decade since it was established, the Barn has welcomed 8,622 people at 312 events and school visits, providing a fantastic resource for the local community.
How does the Cre8 Barn help the environment?
Following the allocation of funding, the Barn was able to become the first retrofitted Passivhaus in the UK. This means the building is Net Zero ready, and uses very little energy for heating and cooling. To achieve this, the Barn has solar panels on the roof, a sophisticated air filtration system and highly efficient insulation. The site is largely self-sufficient, with a minimal carbon footprint - ensuring the Barn is a sustainable space that makes a positive contribution to the planet.
The site's positive impact on the environment is reinforced by the entire Stirley reserve's commitment to biodiversity. A range of wildflowers have been planted across the site's orchards, along with the installation of bird boxes and the creation of habitats for worms and bugs. Stirley even has its own Practical Conservation Volunteer Group, which carries out activities such as dry stone walling and building bird boxes.
What have been the benefits to the local community?
The Cre8 Barn has helped the Stirley site become a valuable resource for local educational groups, allowing young people to experience a closed-loop system by growing and then consuming their own produce firsthand. The Barn's eco-design and Passivhaus accreditation provide a benchmark for similar community facilities, and demonstrate how a site like this can have a positive impact on the planet in addition to its users.
Mike Winstanley, Regional Manager at Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, said, “We’re very proud of our award-winning Cre8 Barn, and without the Veolia Environment Trust’s incredible support this beautiful building would not have been possible. We’re thrilled to share such an inspiring and welcoming venue with thousands of students thanks to funding from our partners. The style and feel of these types of buildings, the construction and materials used, make it a more relaxed and receptive place to work, teach and learn about nature and the environment.”
The Veolia Environmental Trust was established in 1997 under the Landfill Communities Fund*. Since then, Veolia has contributed over £85m to the Trust. These funds have been used to support in excess of 2,400 community and environmental projects in England.
Our provision of water, waste and energy management services gives a greater impetus for us to drive emission reductions, achieve Net Zero across our business operations and enhance biodiversity.
The Veolia Environmental Trust attended the opening of the Broadgreen Hospital Community Garden in Liverpool, along with Sue Musson, Chair of Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
Beyond providing essential waste, water and energy services, we are committed to supporting societal development in all of the regions in which we operate. That's why society is one of the five areas that make up our multifaceted performance.