SCAR - Sefton Communities Against Roadbuilding - is a new campaign group in Merseyside, formed to fight a proposed new £200M road to service freight traffic in and out of the Port of Liverpool.
In this guest blog, Si Albert from SCAR updates us on the campaign, showing how a small amount of funding can make a big difference.
SCAR (Sefton Communities Against Roadbuilding) was set up by a group of concerned residents in response to the government’s plans to massively increase the flow of HGVs between the motorway network and the Port of Liverpool.
The road expansion plans will add to the already illegally high air pollution levels, increase noise pollution and put the last remaining green space in the area at risk, as one option is to build through our local country park, Rimrose Valley.
Local residents are beside themselves with upset and anger at the prospect of our lives being ruined because of decades of poor infrastructure planning. However it’s been a real challenge getting traction to mobilise the community and make things happen. We’re working people trying to make ends meet to look after our families.
Finding the time to build a campaign has been hard enough but the real obstacle has also been a lack of money. We really struggled to afford anything other than the bare minimum to get things this far. However, going forward it was unlikely that we would have been able to afford the necessary campaign materials, such as a website and leaflets, and other expenses.
The Campaign for Better Transport suggested we apply to the cosmetics company LUSH for funding. The LUSH Charity Pot has been set up specifically to provide essential funding to small, local grassroots organisations trying to protect their environment or deliver social benefits.
Lush has made the process as easy as possible with a simple template-based Word document that we needed to complete. We had to explain who we are and why we needed money and crucially to show that we would spend the money wisely.
In just over 3 months we heard back from them to let us know we had been successful. We’ve now been able to set up a website and we’re about to print the leaflets so that we can reach out to the local communities and build on our momentum and support. With the money we now have we’ll be able to host public meetings and make our voices heard, raising the profile of the issue politically.
The funding has motivated us to crack on and get things done; it’s given us all a real lift. Not just that we’ve got the means to make things happen, but also that LUSH have put their belief and trust in us to make a difference.
We know we’ve got loads to do. The battle has only just begun. We’re up against those with deep pockets and huge resources, however we know that to decimate our environment is just plain wrong and we’ll do everything we can to fight for better alternatives.
We’re very grateful for the support LUSH have given us, it’s made a real difference to our cause; and of course we’re very grateful to the team at the Campaign for Better Transport without whom we’d be stabbing in the dark and still struggling to work out how to move things forward.
Find out more about the Sefton campaign at the SCAR website.