A PIONEERING green project has been hailed the jewel in Burnley’s crown after scooping a top international environment award.
The Offshoots Permaculture Project won the bronze award for best education and sustainability awareness scheme at the International Green Awards in London.
The Groundwork Pennine Lancashire-run project gives hands-on education to thousands of visitors each year on permaculture, crop growing and sustainability principles.
Judges at the awards, which have honoured famous names like Sir David Attenborough in the past, praised Offshoots’ community training programme which incorporates organic food production, eco-building construction and eco-art therapy on the site.
The award has turned a small grass-roots group into a world ranking organisation and put Burnley firmly on the map for environmental projects worldwide.
A civic reception was held at the town hall to celebrate the achievement along with civil dignitaries, environmentalists and even celebrity chef Nigel Haworth.
Mayor of Burnley Coun. David Heginbotham said: “It is a great pleasure to come here and see what this award means to the town.
“Winning a bronze award is like winning an Olympic medal. Competing against the FTSE 100 international companies to come third is amazing.
“It is one of the finest achievements this town has obtained.”
He praised Offshoots for transforming the walled garden at Towneley Hall and said the organisation had gone from strength to strength since it opened 14 years ago.
He added: “It is the jewel in Burnley’s crown and Offshoots has done a tremendous job in achieving this magnificent result.”
Chairman of the Offshoots Burnley Permaculture Project, Coun. Roger Frost, said: “We have here in Burnley a world-ranking organisation and we have planted a future which will cement that position. We want and intend to expand. We have already we have had numerous big name visitors including Prince Charles who was impressed with what he saw.
“Offshoots is only at the beginning of its mission. We want to expand its influence across the borough, across the region and all over the North-West.”
Phill Dewhurst, Offshoots project manager, said: “It is an amazing achievement. We are third in the world. It is all because of the people in this town. There have been thousands of people involved over the past 14 years. But we can achieve so much more.”