Tom Parker – Chair
Tom has lived and worked in Turners Hill for over 20 years as a Head Gardener, and is currently chair of the REPOWERBalcombe Co-operative and a director at Springbok Sustainable Wood Heat. As a governor at Turners Hill School Tom has been responsible for a number of environmental initiatives including solar power, wind turbines, air source heat pumps, rainwater harvesting, LED lighting and planting a woodland. Tom has made his century-old house carbon neutral and has recently purchased an electric car. He is very keen to see community energy groups develop locally and benefit our area in the same way as others he has been involved with. He is married with two children at a local school.
A Brightonian by birth, Julian has always lived in Sussex and embraces the diverse qualities of both counties. Julian and his wife, Eleri, have lived in Balcombe since 2010. Since 2016 Julian has been been a director of Repower Balcombe and has provided legal advice and support since 2015. Having a keen interest in the automotive industry and also a supporter of clean renewable energy technologies Julian is excited by the gradual move to non fossil fuelled vehicles and disruptors in the market such as Tesla. Julian practices in London as a qualified solicitor, Notary Public and commercial mediator. He has lectured at the University of Sussex; is on the register of visiting lecturers for the University of Law and is on the EU Audiovisual Observatory’s UK editorial panel and a member of the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain. Since late 2017 Julian has provided legal advice to Community Energy South. Also, since 2017 Julian has edited the ITN 1955 Club newsletter.
Laura is the principal manager of the six existing E4A co-operatives in the south-east, working with the boards of those co-operatives to deliver their objectives. She is also responsible for the identification and assessment of potential renewable energy/carbon reduction projects suitable for community ownership across a range of technologies. Previously, Laura has worked for a solar installer, managing a range of installations within the community sector.
The rest of the Team
Charles is an internationally renowned wine critic, known to TV audiences as Richard and Judy’s drinks expert. Charles moved to Balcombe with his wife Kathryn and their three children just over 10 years ago. They have both played an enthusiastic part in village life since then, and look forward to the day when Balcombe can generate its own renewable energy, rather than wrenching the last drops and hisses of fossil fuels from under its green fields and ancient woodlands.
Jackie has lived in the village for 8 years. She has two adult children and now teaches Health and Social Care to adults at Central Sussex College, having had a 30 year career as a qualified nurse, including time working in Sweden. Jackie has lived in a number of other countries and has a strong appreciation of the beauty and fragility of our planet. She is keen to work to find positive ways that we can “keep the lights on”.
Jane’s family moved to Balcombe in the mid 1950’s. She attended Staplefield Primary School and then the Grammar School in Haywards Heath. After living for periods of time in London, Brussels and New Zealand, she returned to live in Balcombe in 1987 and work as a teacher. Having become increasingly concerned about global warming, and the consequences of our reliance on fossil fuels, she tries to be aware of and minimise her own carbon footprint. Jane sees the formation of REPOWERBalcombe as a positive move in the right direction and hopes that it will be part of a bigger, nationwide trend towards adopting more sustainable ways of living. She also hopes it will inspire young people in particular and encourage them to create a world built on renewable energy.
Gillian’s awareness of environmental disruption developed young, when the coal fires which heated our homes were banned, after the resulting smogs paralysed London and our major cities, causing thousands of deaths – and many others to develop acute respiratory conditions.
In the 1960’s Gillian noticed that the small flies which had smothered the windscreen of her electric car on summer evenings, had disappeared.
In the 1980’s our butterfly and bee populations began to collapse too. Now, an increasing number of viruses are killing our trees and shrubs at the same time as we are experiencing unprecedented levels of air pollution across all of the country.
Is there a connection?
Perhaps we should not wait for confirmation; but focus on developing clean, sustainable, cheap and locally produced energy, which allows our natural world to flourish.
REPOWER BALCOMBE is Gillian’s answer to Nature’s prayers!
I was born in Brighton and have lived in Balcombe with my family since 1988. I am now retired after a long career in Information Technology, starting back in the days of punched cards and mainframe computers with just 32k of memory, which made Programming extremely challenging at the time! My interest in RePower is due to wanting to do something positive about moving away from burning fossil fuels for energy generation and the resultant impact on our climate. All life depends on clean air, water and food, above all else, and it is our duty to provide this for all of mankind both today and for future generations. The achievements of RePower and of the many similar initiatives throughout the UK, show that local communities can make a positive contribution towards improving our environment.
RePower Balcombe bringing “Power to the People” – the words of Citizen Smith (Robert Lindsay), 1977 to 1980.
10:10 brings people together to do positive, practical stuff that helps solve climate change. 10:10 set up a dedicated campaign – #BackBalcombe – for people outside the Balcombe area to support our mission and find out how they can get started repowering their area.
Energy4All‘s mission is to expand the number of renewable energy co-operatives in the UK as an integral part of our transition to a low carbon economy.
The Ouse Valley Energy Services Company (OVESCO) aims to use community investment to increase the development of renewable energy and share skills with others to do the same in the South East.
Community Energy South (CES) is an association of community energy groups across Southeast England, including Sussex, Hampshire and Kent. Their mission is to encourage the growth of community owned renewable energy in the South East, increase energy efficiency and to help educate the communities in the South East to use less oil, coal and gas.
A huge thank you also for the advice and support from the following lovely people:
- Julian Fitzsimons – contributed countless hours as the chair of the group as we established ourselves and developed our solar installations.
- Joe Nixon – also contributed huge amounts of time and effort as a director in the first 2-3 years of Repower Balcombe’s journey.
- Millie Darling – A renewables ambassador without whom this project would not have got off the ground.
- Leo Murray from 10:10 – An inspirational environmental ambassador providing us with huge amounts of information and support
- Howard Johns from Souther Solar – A UK renewables pioneer who has shared his knowledge and lent us support
- Mike Smyth from Energy4All – A UK Renewables legend who has more community energy experience than probably anyone else!
- Rachael Hunter from Wey Valley Solar – Sharing her valued knowledge to help us start
- Ollie Pendered from Community Energy South – Support us and all community energy groups across Sussex
- Stephen Reid for setting up our website