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

‘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.

Help us deliver the workforce you need

Businesses are being offered a chance to help create the workforce they need – by joining the Harrogate College Employers’ Network.

The network will be launched on Thursday 21 October when some of the biggest names from the district’s business community, including Techbuyer, will be among the attendees.

Keen to support the local economy, the college wants to hear from local employers about the exact skills they need so that it can tailor its courses accordingly.

Principal of Harrogate College Danny Wild, who will be taking part on the day, said the aim of the new network was to deliver a truly employer-led curriculum.

Tailoring courses to match the needs of our community

He said: “We value the input of local employers and believe they should help shape our curriculum so they can access the skills and training they need now and in the future.

“That is why we are launching the Harrogate College Employers’ Network.

“This is an opportunity for employers to influence the content of our courses so that they get the skilled employees they need coming through.

“We are launching this network to serve and match the needs of our community and hope lots of local businesses will join up, contribute and reap the benefits.”

A multitude of benefits

Performance and Projects Coordinator at Harrogate College, Holly Hansen-Maughan, added: “The network will be an opportunity for employers to influence the content of the college’s courses so that they are provided with what they need.

“Joining involves participating in discussion groups quarterly and brings with it a multitude of benefits, including free advertising and promotion across the college’s media platforms and events.”

Network members will also get:

The initiative coincides with the Government’s drive to ‘level up’ skills across the country, as outlined in the Skills and Post-16 Education Bill.

A key part of the Bill, as outlined by Apprenticeships and Skills Minister Gillian Keegan, is to ensure that the education and training that is on offer ‘meets the needs of employers and local communities’.

TheHarrogate College Employers’ Network launch event will run from 10am to 1pm on Thursday 21 October and include a networking buffet lunch at noon.

For more details visit Events  or email: