A month of green action at Harrogate College

Students at Harrogate College are set to turn March ‘green’ as they lead a month of environmentally -focused local events.

The college has set up all kinds of activities, ranging from wildflower planting and an art exhibition to a climate café and educational webinars, for its first ever Green Month.

Keen to push ahead with its commitment to environmental action (as outlined in its Sustainability Pledge), the college is also urging the local community to get involved.

The green activities will kick off with a presentation on sustainable technology, plus a litter pick, on Tuesday 8 March.

Harrogate College’s Partnerships and Development Manager, Holly Hansen-Maughan, said: “We were delighted to host the launch event for Harrogate’s first Climate Action Festival last year.

“The festival proved to be a real catalyst for environmental action both for ourselves and the wider community, and our Green Month is the latest example of that.

“We have worked hard to put together a schedule that includes something for everyone and a number of events that are open to residents as well as our students and staff.

“We hope to see lot of people taking part, both to make a difference and to find out more about how we can all work together to secure a more sustainable future.”

As part of its collaborative and employer-focused approach, the college has teamed up with several local businesses and organisations for Green Month.

They include Techbuyer and Ortial, who will be holding a discussion on Sustainable Technology and How It Affects You.

Social impact company Too Good To Go, meanwhile, will explain how they connect businesses with people in need so they can put their surplus food to good use, instead of going to waste.

The Harrogate District’s schools, colleges and sixth forms will also be involved as pupils and students are being invited to design a poster, or piece of art, that will inspire positive environmental action.

For dates, times and more details on all of Harrogate College’s Green Month activities visit harrogate-college.ac.uk/partners/green-agenda/.

Taking sustainability seriously

Harrogate College has been putting sustainability at the top of its agenda, making it a firm priority for years to come. 

In recent months, the college has made a sustainability pledge and hopes to soon become a Centre of Green Excellence.

To mark its commitment to climate issues, the college recently hosted the launch of the first ever Harrogate Climate Action Festival, which saw hundreds of people come together to hear from sustainability-focused exhibitors.  


Last month, Harrogate College’s environmental champion, Holly Hansen-Maughan, headed to Glasgow to represent the college at the COP26 conference.

Over two days, Holly heard from panellists on a range of pressing issues, including the adjustment to off-grid energy production and consumption, driving green change and transitioning to the green economy. There were also key discussions concerning education, highlighting the part colleges need to play in adapting courses and skills to match the green revolution. 

Holly, who works at the college as a Partnerships and Development Lead, said: “During the event, the government vowed to put climate change at the heart of education as we prepare for the green industrial revolution. Therefore, colleges have a responsibility in preparing young people entering the workforce for the first time. 

“In order to adapt to this, we must teach sustainability and environmental awareness within our curriculum. At Harrogate College, we are dedicated to empowering young people by enhancing students’ understanding of environmental issues, which will be done through our Carbon Literacy Training. We also encourage learners to participate with environmental campaigns and activities through our enrichment programme.”

Local businesses lead the way

“Discussions at COP26 highlighted the importance of working collaboratively with local businesses to ensure young people are trained with the skills they need to join the workforce. The college works closely with a range of industries to deliver an employer-led curriculum which prepares learners for future jobs in the green economy.

“Our recently launched Employers’ Network gives employers the opportunity to influence the content of our courses, so that both students and employers are provided with what they need to succeed. This involves participating in quarterly discussion groups, allowing us to shape the skills and training of the future workforce. The Employers’ Network is now open for new members to join who receive multiple benefits in return. We also have upcoming networking and feedback events in February and June – you can take a look at the full range of events here.

“We aim to live our core values, including being a progressive institution, which we do by supporting students to develop the skills and knowledge to flourish in the changing world we live in.”

Read Harrogate College’s Sustainability Pledge here.

Raising climate awareness through green jumpers

Students and staff across Harrogate College came together to raise awareness of climate change by wearing green jumpers.

In its first year, Green Jumper Day is the brainchild of Harrogate Man, Alec Walton and his daughter, in a bid to encourage the community to help the environment.

The father-daughter duo inspired the college’s staff and students to wear green jumpers, turn down the heating to conserve energy and raise money for the cause.

Megan Hawkswell, Student Enrichment Coordinator at Harrogate College, was responsible for organising the event at college.

“The aim of this day was to increase awareness of climate change across the college and encourage individuals to take action. We strive to live our core values, one of which is being progressive. Therefore, it is essential that we develop skills and awareness in our students that will prepare them for the changing world we live in and future jobs in the green economy. 

“Enhancing students’ understanding of environmental issues is a great first step towards building these valuable green skills. Students will have the opportunity to develop these skills further in the new year with our Carbon Literacy Training.

“Learners are encouraged to get involved with environmental campaigns and activities through our enrichment programme. We’ll also be hosting a range of events and activities for students, staff and the wider community for Green Month in March.”

Holly Hansen-Maughan, Partnerships and Development Lead, is a keen advocate for environmental sustainability and recently attended COP26.

“As a college, we are dedicated to tackling environmental issues; we have made a sustainability pledge and aim to be a centre of green excellence. The success of Harrogate’s Climate Action Festival has demonstrated the level of interest and work going on across the region, which we’re committed to being involved in.”

Listen here to Megan talking about the importance of getting involved with the day. 

Great day out for a great cause

Saving the planet can be fun!

That’s the message organisers want visitors to the launch of the first Harrogate District Climate Action Festival (CAFé) to take home after enjoying a great day out.

The three-week event will be launched at Harrogate College on Saturday 2 October when dozens of exhibitors will be talking about, and showing, how they are adapting to secure a more sustainable future.

What Does the Future Look Like? is free to attend, runs from 10am to 4pm and aims to inspire visitors while shining a light on all kinds of green innovations.

Live music, educational sheep and some digital orienteering

The day’s entertainment highlights are set to include:

The college’s hospitality students will also be selling food they’ve prepared especially for the occasion. And, at 2pm, festival organisers Harrogate District Climate Change Coalition (HDCCC) will announce the winner of its ‘climate friendly ideas’ schools competition.

Inspiring ideas – and a great day out

Harrogate College’s Partnerships and Development Lead, Holly Hansen-Maughan, said: “Supporting district-wide efforts to secure a greener and fairer future, and providing the green skills that will be needed as we move to a stronger, circular economy is a key part of the college’s work and values.

“This launch day for the district’s first ever Climate Action Festival will be packed with activities that have been designed to entertain, as well as educate, to ensure visitors experience the best of both worlds.

“We would urge everyone to come along and find out more about sustainability and the things we can all do to make a difference – while also enjoying a great day out with some really fun attractions and activities.

“We can’t wait to welcome visitors and get the whole festival off to a flying start!”

The launch, sponsored by Techbuyer, will also include keynote speeches from Andy Shepherd, Professor of Earth Observation at the University of Leeds, and Harrogate and Knaresborough MP Andrew Jones.

The full itinerary for the day includes:

From 10am – 4pm: Over 30 outdoor exhibits including: a model passive house, built on site; electric cars; a map of the world to walk on and follow technology journeys; models of different energy supplies; demonstrations of building and heating systems; information on how homes and businesses can change for the better; digital orienteering activity; furry friends to play with whilst you learn about sustainable wool.

11am-12 noon: Welcome and Keynote speeches from: Neil Coles, Chair of HDCCC; Danny Wild, Principal of Harrogate College; Andrew Jones, MP for Harrogate & Knaresborough; Professor Andy Shepherd, from the School of Earth & Environment, University of Leeds; Clive Wilson, author of Designing the Purposeful World; Trevor Chapman, Mayor of the Borough of Harrogate.

12 noon: A bespoke musical performance by Leeds Conservatoire.

2pm: Festival organisers HDCCC will announce the winner of its ‘climate friendly ideas’ schools competition.

The CAFé as a whole, which runs until 21 October, has been organised to provide a green focal point for the district just before the government hosts the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow on October 31.

The festival will also include a Net Zero business conference at Harrogate Convention Centre on Friday 15 October and a variety of fringe events, including a Sustainability Conference for Children on Thursday 14 October.

For more details visit hdccc.info/whats-on

‘Spreading climate change positivity’ – the Festival’s launch event sponsor

The countdown to the first ever Harrogate District Climate Action Festival has begun.

There is less than a month to go now until the festival’s launch, What Does the Future Look Like? , at Harrogate College.

Featuring exhibitors from across the county and beyond who will be showcasing innovations in sustainability, the event runs from 10am to 4pm on Saturday 2 October and is being sponsored by Techbuyer – an IT business with sustainability at its core.

The launch will be followed by three weeks of activities, including a Net Zero Business conference and a Sustainability Conference for Children, put together by festival organisers the Harrogate District Climate Change Coalition.

A good fit

Techbuyer may now be a global success story but its roots and headquarters remain in Harrogate. Here, Techbuyer UK’s MD, Mick Payne explains why the business is excited about playing a key role in the Climate Action Festival by supporting its launch.

Q: Why is Techbuyer backing the first Harrogate District Climate Action Festival?

Techbuyer was invited to join the Harrogate District Climate Change Coalition board meetings in late 2019, and has been part of the organisation ever since. It is wonderful to see the coalition’s work take wings with an event like this one, which should raise awareness of the issue locally. It is also nice to support a community event with a positive message.

Q: Do you think the company’s business model, which has refurbishing previously used, refurbished equipment at its core, aligns well with the goals of a green economy?

Yes. There has been a lot of talk about ‘Building Back Better’ after the pandemic, and green jobs are a big part of that. Most people think of these as in renewables, but refurbishment is a big potential growth area too. Following the Right to Repair laws introduced this summer, the Green Alliance estimates that 450,000 jobs could be created in repair and reuse of manufactured goods over the next 15 years to replace manufacturing new equipment.

You also have to look at what goes into initially producing the hardware. The enterprise equipment we deal in requires a lot of carbon to produce. Mining, manufacture, transport to assembly and first use, mean that the average server uses just under a metric ton of carbon in the pre-use phase. Refurbishment and reuse helps reduce the need for that by extending useable product lifespan. It helps with materials shortages too.

What many people don’t realise is that some of the rare materials that go into ICT are predicted to run out in just a few decades’ time. These same materials are also needed to build renewable infrastructure like wind turbines and solar panels. So by making best use of resources in IT, you are helping the green economy develop in energy production too.

A bike to remember

Q: What can you tell us about the amazing looking bicycle you’ll be bringing along to the festival’s launch day at Harrogate College?

One of our marketing gurus commissioned the bike from local artist Steve Blaylock to help publicise the UCI Championships in 2019, as well as raising awareness of the rising global tide in e-waste (now approximately 53m tonnes a year and growing fast).

There was a similar idea around Mount Recyclemore this year for the G7 meeting but ours was earlier and an actual bike! She – I think we named her Victoria Pedalton – is made out of almost 1,000 redundant IT parts and weighs 60kg. She has heatsinks as the pedals and seat, 20 server rails moulded to construct the frame, hundreds of server memory modules and a server fan which gives the bike a set of eyes. She will be available for photos at the community event but not to sit on. It’s a bit too delicate for that!

We can do something about it

Q: How do you think the district and its businesses / organisations are placed to meet the environmental challenges that lie ahead as we try to minimise the damage of global heating?

I think the key to this is attitude and belief. When you look at the numbers, they are a challenge but the good news is that we are in a position to do something about it. That is part of what the festival is about – showing people alternatives for the future and encouraging them to take positive steps.

Q: What can visitors look forward to during the festival, and what would you say to anyone who is interested in coming along / getting involved?

The community launch event is going to be great. There are loads of activities that have been set up by the organisations exhibiting. We’ll be bringing down laptops so people can get to know what’s inside ICT and how it can be upgraded. There will even be pieces for people to work on themselves.

We are also looking at a fossil hunt of obsolete technology with our sister company, Ortial. I believe they are also putting together an interactive trail with QR codes for your phone. There will be electric bikes on show too, and a passive house, so it will be a good event to come to, spend some time, see something interesting and maybe learn something along the way.

I would say come along and get involved! There are also community events happening later in the month for the festival so, if you have an idea, contact the organisers.

Chance to shape a greener future for Harrogate

‘Don’t miss the chance to play a part in Harrogate’s first ever Climate Action Festival!’

That’s the message from Harrogate College as preparations firm up for an event that aims to showcase the many different ‘solutions to climate damage’ that are being pursued by individuals, groups and businesses.

The inaugural Harrogate District Climate Action Festival (CAFé) takes place from October 1 to 23 and Harrogate College will play a key role by hosting the launch day on Saturday 2 October.

Sponsored by Techbuyer and entitled What Does the Future Look Like? the launch event is being run through the Harrogate District Climate Change Coalition and will feature exhibitors from across the country.

Sign up for Climate Action Festival launch day

Harrogate College’s Performance and Projects Coordinator, Holly Hansen-Maughan, says lots of people have already signed up  – but there’s still time to get involved.

She said: “This festival will be a huge asset for the Harrogate District and play an important part in the wider drive to protect our environment.

“The event will raise awareness of climate change and the need for sustainability to be embedded into everything we do.

“The college wants to be at the forefront of helping to provide the skills that are required for the green economy and jobs of the future.

“That’s why we want as many people as possible, including charities, community groups and businesses, to come along to the launch event – which has been generously sponsored by local firm Techbuyer – and explore what the future looks like.”

An opportunity to make a difference

She added: “Please get in touch to secure an opportunity to network with other businesses, exhibit to the public and make a difference!”

The CAFé launch event and community action day runs at Harrogate College from 10am to 4pm on October 2 and will include a variety of hands-on demonstrations and talks celebrating achievements in the green economy.

To register send an email to Holly.Hansen-Maughan@harrogate.ac.uk.

The festival will also include a business conference, entitled Towards Net Zero Business and sponsored by Chameleon Technology, at Harrogate Convention Centre on 15 October. 

Businesses that wish to be involved can be directed to the relevant members of the Harrogate District Climate Change Coalition by emailing Holly or visiting hdccc.info/climate-action-festival.

A variety of fringe events, including a Digital Sustainability Conference for Children, will also be held by businesses and community groups across the event’s whole three weeks.

Harrogate College has made becoming a Net Zero Carbon College one of its strategic priorities.