Barnsley Council, working in partnership with The Business Village (Barnsley Business Innovation Centre Limited), has been named the regional winner by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) in the 'Future-Ready' category for our Net Zero Accelerator project.
The council was among 250 councils in England who entered the Local Government awards run by Britain’s biggest business representation group, and it emerged triumphant in the ‘Future-Ready’ category across Yorkshire, Humber and the North East.
Local authorities from across England responded to the call when FSB launched their Local Government awards sponsored by Maybe*, which were aimed at celebrating and recognising those that had made the biggest impact on local SMEs during the Covid crisis and beyond.
The council declared a climate emergency in September 2019 and set out our aims to achieve net zero carbon within the council by 2040 and across the borough by 2045.
As a response, we launched the Net Zero Accelerator; an exclusive project for thirty-six ambitious Barnsley businesses to contribute to net zero. Through this innovative project, we've helped businesses all across Barnsley to reduce their carbon emissions and work towards net zero.
The project offered free and intensive support, designed exclusively for businesses based in the Barnsley area, which have high-impact potential for contributing to the net zero carbon emission targets. Support included in-person, peer-to-peer, training and information.
Paula Gouldthorpe, FSB Development Manager for South Yorkshire and the Humber said: “It is fantastic to see Barnsley Council rewarded for their innovative and engaging approach to help businesses understand, adopt, and embed net zero measures that we know will continue to go a long way to helping their productivity, efficiency and saving them money during what is a very challenging time.
“Both the quality and quantity of entries from this region and beyond was incredibly high so Barnsley Council, its teams and the businesses taking part should feel very proud to be among the winners. I’m delighted to add that Sheffield City Council was also shortlisted for the ‘programme of business support’ category. We look forward to continuing to work with all our business-supporting councils in South Yorkshire - to ensure we have a vibrant and strong small business community”
Due to the positive feedback from participants, the council and The Business Village will now be using the feedback and evaluation from the programme to provide the foundation for a much larger Barnsley Net Zero programme.
Funding for the Net Zero Accelerator, delivered at The Business Village, came from the UK Government through the UK Community Renewal Fund, South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority and Barnsley Council.
The award is excellent recognition of partnership working to deliver our ambitious targets for net zero, working with our local businesses.
Cllr Robert Frost, Cabinet Spokesperson for Regeneration and Culture, said: "The Net Zero Accelerator project has been a real success, and we're delighted to receive this award from the FSB recognising our work with local businesses.
"The programme has been delivered by a team of highly experienced professionals working closely with businesses across Barnsley. These businesses have shown a real commitment by looking at ways to identify energy-saving initiatives and improve efficiency.
"As a council, we are focused on reducing carbon, and this project has been a great example of how this can be achieved by working together."
Metalliform are a local company who have seen the benefits of the programme within its business operations.
Even before joining the 'Net Zero Accelerator' Metalliform took their environmental responsibilities seriously. They were proactively working on reducing carbon emissions through waste control, electric vehicles, PIR lighting, energy management technology, and leading best practice. However, to go further towards achieving net zero, the programme has provided the perfect opportunity towards achieving this goal.
Steve Musgrave, Production Engineer, said: "With the help of the 'Net Zero Accelerator' programme, we were able to establish our baseline figures, giving us a reference to assess the impact for further improvements. The programme has provided expert consultant support to help identify numerous innovative ways to further reduce our emissions. A building energy audit has also taken place, which will help identify alternative methods of energy reduction."
We all have a part to play in helping Barnsley to be net zero carbon by 2045, protecting our borough for future generations. You can find out more about our Sustainable Barnsley ambitions.
Pictured L-R, Martin Beasley, Group Leader - Enterprising Barnsley (Barnsley Council), Adrian Waite, Chief Executive at The Business Village, Paula Gouldthorpe, Development Manager FSB.