The Bioregional Learning Centre works in South Devon in the approximate area of the new Joint Local Plan (Plymouth, West Devon and South Hams) plus Torbay and the Teign Valley.
It has been set up as a Community Interest Company (CIC) to be a backbone organisation serving the sustainable future of this area. Our work lies in bringing many organisations and groups together to address whole-systems change towards a flourishing bioregion. We are currently establishing our learning network through which we can start to co-create projects and tackle real world problems. We believe that by working together in practical and imaginative ways citizens of South Devon can more effectively look after their natural assets, regenerate regional systems for food, water, energy and waste and enjoy life.
Four interlocking programmes support the future resilience of this area:
An ecology programme to a) engage citizens in taking care of the environment and b) work at whole-systems level (food, energy, water, waste, fibre and the connections between them). We are building on the whole-catchment approach that is part of the EU Water Framework Directive and working with the South Devon Catchment Partnership and West Country Rivers Trust. We plan to use Community Charters to help communities steward their natural and cultural heritage. And to use the growing Advisory Council that sits around the CIC as a forum for addressing complex problems and whole-systems change.
An arts and design programme that gives local people a greater sense of belonging, and opens up the question of what it means to be a citizen of this place. Imagining our shared future is central to the brief that will be given to artists. We will engage the arts with ecology and economy and create events that open up our imaginations. We are particularly interested in mentoring/training young adults in curating arts installations and engagements.
An economy programme that promotes sustainable, low-carbon enterprise as an existing feature of this region, counterbalancing the Local Enterprise Partnership’s economic strategy with an alternative economic plan. Our community-and-business generated future economic scenarios will inform next steps: skills and business training for a greener wellbeing economy; green investment for our area; and community-led problem solving, creating livelihoods and new community enterprise in the gaps in social services.
A learning programme that offers direct experience of real-world problem-solving in the context of sustainable economies and ecologies. We have taken on the running of One Year in Transition, the sustainable livelihood-creation programme for young adults, from Transition Network. And we are developing new learning programmes with partner organisations at the moment.