Hackney City Farm in East London has installed solar panels after calling on local people to show their support by pledging their own climate actions.

Using sponsorship platform The DoNation (www.thedonation.org.uk), the farm set a challenge to the community that if they could save 1,617kg of CO2 through individual actions, Hackney City Farm would raise the funds to install the solar panels.

In an increasingly challenging energy climate, the Hackney City Farm’s challenge demonstrates a new model for the kind of community-based energy projects that are emerging as an alternative to the stranglehold of the big six energy companies.

“Putting solar panels on our very visible pig pen will help take renewables into the mainstream, and give the people in our area a sense of ownership over the important transition to more sustainable economies,” said Gustavo Montes de Oca, Hackney City Farm’s environment and enterprise manager.

He continued, “We’ve put the time and effort into raising the money, so we asked the community to do their part to show how much they wanted the panels. The response was fantastic!”

Less than three month’s after Hackney City Farm’s challenge was set, the target has been smashed with supporters saving 1,970kg CO2 to date. Using The DoNation, supporters pledged everyday carbon saving actions, from cycling to work to eating seasonably.

One of the key financial donors to the solar panels was UK Payments. Daren Howarth from CLEVEL, who manage UKPayments’ carbon reduction investments, commented, “The support Hackney City Farm received via The DoNation showed us how valued the farm is in the local community. It was an ideal way to maximise CO2 returns and make a wide reaching, lasting difference.

“The DoNation is tackling the difficult issue of behaviour change in a fun and social way. It’s a useful tool to drive change within organisations and an interesting way for charities and community groups to help demonstrate their value in a partnership for an improved environment.”