Kendal’s climate change Citizens’ Jury needs you

An exciting opportunity for residents of Kendal is landing on doorsteps this week. Kendal’s Climate Change Citizens’ Jury is being launched this summer and work is now underway to recruit local residents to join this important and influential group.

4000 recruitment letters have been sent to randomly selected addresses across Kendal and residents are encouraged to reply if they wish to be considered for a Jury position. Twenty residents will be carefully selected to reflect the diversity of Kendal’s population in terms of age, gender, attitudes to climate change and geography.

Kendal Town Council, working with Shared Future, is hosting the Citizens’ Jury. Funding has come from the Town, District and County Councils and 181 local people who contributed to a Crowdfunder campaign which raised over £6,000. This will be the first ever Climate Change Citizens’ Jury to be held at a town level in the UK and will also be the first to hold its meetings online, increasing accessibility as much as possible. Practical support will be offered, if needed, to help jury members access the online sessions through equipment loans and over the phone guidance. Kendal is leading the way in actively involving the public in influencing change through online meetings.

Cllr Chris Rowley from Kendal Town Council said: “We know from the contributions to the Crowdfunder that many people in the town are passionate about climate change. It’s vital we now recruit local residents, from a range of backgrounds and with different views, to the Jury to consider in more detail what we should do about it in Kendal.” £200 worth of High Street vouchers will be awarded to participants to compensate them for their time.

The Jury will be asked to consider the question ‘What should Kendal do about the emergency of climate change?’ Over eight online sessions, jury members will listen to and question a range of guest speakers who will be tasked with making presentations directly relevant to Kendal. The Jury style will be informal, relaxed and participatory. Jury members won’t need to have specialist environmental skills or knowledge and will be able to ‘red card’ any speakers they feel use unnecessary jargon.

The Jury will use the discussions and presentations to create a set of recommendations which will be presented in October to the Town Council and other key organisations. They will then either act on each recommendation or explain why any cannot be achieved.

Kendal Town Council is joined by Cumbria County Council and South Lakeland District Council on the Jury’s Oversight Panel who, together with local organisations and businesses, will ensure the legitimacy of the whole process and that the Jury’s recommendations are actively considered.

Eamonn Hennessy from Kendal Town Council said: “The current Covid-19 pandemic emergency has shown how coming together has led to more supportive and resilient local communities. We hope that Kendal’s strong sense of community will be reflected and celebrated in these discussions too.”

Date: 1st June 2020