Derwenthorpe Action on Climate Change: Solar Panels Update

Sadly, there’s an energy crisis on top of the climate crisis. Though we’re not, here in Derwenthorpe, individually on gas, buying electricity isn’t immune from generally spiralling energy costs. If we can generate our own electricity, using solar panels, then we’re off that escalator. It costs to install them, but you save money in time. And it all helps in the struggle to reduce carbon emissions and global heating.

In 2020 we did a major exercise on the costs, benefits and practicalities of installing solar panels on our roofs. The result was that we short-listed five firms that we felt were competent and able to deliver installations on roofs on our estate. After a comparison exercise we recommended two firms, ASK Renewables and Carbon Legacy, and encouraged all our neighbours who were interested to get detailed estimates from them. About twenty houses got photo-voltaic (PV) solar panels installed, and there have been more since.

Details of that project are in a previous article on the DRA website:

Last month (April 2022) we wrote to people on our mailing list to get feedback on their experience. Quite a few hadn’t gone ahead last time for money reasons (costs ranging from about £3500 to £7500 for the panels, £1400 to £7650 for the battery). Several of those people are reconsidering, wanting an updated quote. 

All the feedback we’ve had from those who did get them installed has been positive. “It’s been brilliant!”, says one. Another: “ASK were excellent with installation and service”. As a rough guide, solar provided 55% of their electricity. Our own experience is that, before, we “imported” (bought) 2200 to 2450 kWh of electricity in a year. In the last 12 months after installation of panels and a big battery that shrank to 670 kWh.

If you’re thinking now’s the time to get panels installed, do make sure that whoever does the installation is making a safe and satisfactory offer. It doesn’t seem to be a buyer’s market, so you’ll have to find a supplier/installer and work to their schedule. But of course, shop around. Below we’ve listed some firms we’ve been in touch with, and there may be others. Here are some things to bear in mind when dealing with any such firm:

  • Are they registered with the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS)? If so, you can be confident that they are technically competent and your installation will be good enough to allow any surplus to be exported to the grid. See MCS website.
  • Are they registered with Renewable Energy Consumer Code? That means the firm has been vetted for fairness in its dealings with you, the customer. See RECC website.
  • Will they visit your home and relate their installation and quote to your actual house, its orientation, size of roof, and your household’s energy needs?
  • How do they work out the performance of their installation? (there’s a Government-recommended method).
  • Will they advise about a complete installation? – including inverter (to change the DC generated on your roof to AC for use in your home) and battery (so you’re able to store what you generate in the day and use it at night) – and discuss options where in your house this kit might go and how the wiring will run.
  • What warranties are they offering for the various items? 
  • What after-care do they offer, in case of any snags? And will you get full documentation about the system and its components?
  • Will they see to any approval necessary to allow you to export surplus power to the grid (and get paid for it!)?
  • Does their quote include any sub-contracting such as scaffolding? And VAT?
  • What payment schedule are they asking for (25% on signing a contract is normal, but check that your deposit is protected).
  • Before signing up, make sure you get JRHT approval – normally not a problem but the installer should give you a drawing/diagram to take to JRHT.

Here are some contact details:

  • Ecocute Limited, Wakefield, 01924 675000 or 0800 246 1221 (there’s a contact form on their website)

For general advice:

One final tip from us, from our experience:

For not very much extra, get netting against pigeons! It’s not that, with our steep roofs, their “deposits” interfere with the efficiency of the panels – the rain washes it all off. But they love to nest under the panels, and that billing and cooing can keep you awake those short summer nights. And they make a mess!

Nick Hall and Jean Lavers

38 Derwent Mews, Stephenson Quarter (come and chat if you’re passing and we’re out front!)


Derwenthorpe Arts Festival Photos

Earth Day Art

Lantern Parade

Art On The Railings

Painted Stones Trail

Photo Competition

The theme for the competition was “My Happy Place”

Stalls On The Green

Origami Workshop


Lockdown Wall Hanging


St Aelreds Players

DAFT (Some of the festival team)




We have an exciting programme planned, starting with Earth Day Art and a Lantern Lit Family Fancy Dress Parade around the estate on Friday evening. The programme continues all day Saturday with events and activities for all ages. Below is the full programme, as currently planned – some details may change. The final programme will be distributed in print form along with the April/May LotsOn.



Remember all the beautiful rainbows in our windows during lockdown? Let’s make something different for people to enjoy as they walk around. Choose something you love about our earth and make pictures of it for your front window – could be a favourite tree or animal, butterfly or flower, a picture of a place that you love around Derwenthorpe. Show your love for our planet and let people know Earth Day is coming on 22 April. We aim to have a low impact on the environment so we’ll spend no money and buy nothing for these projects – reuse and recycle whatever material you can find.

LANTERN WORKSHOPS – FRIDAY 1st, 8th, 15th April

In the lead up to the festival we will be holding a series of three two lantern making workshops led by Heather Dawe, an experienced lantern maker, on Friday evenings at the Energy Centre, from 7:30 pm. The first (8th April) will help you create a design for your lantern. In the second and you will begin to make the frame from willow canes. And finally in the third In the second workshop (15h April) you will install lights and cover the frame with tissue paper.

These workshops are free and all materials (willow canes, masking tape, tissue, glue and lights) will be provided. Spaces are limited, and to help us when ordering materials, please register your intention to attend the workshops by email to


10:00 – 12:00: Art For Earth Day

To celebrate Earth Day; meet in the playground and create some climate change art, with Debby Cobbett from Derwenthorpe Action on Climate Change. This workshop is for children of all ages. Young children should be accompanied by their caregiver.

  • Create some messy art using natural, found materials. Bring your seaside bucket and spade, or just a flower pot and an old spoon and a paper plate or dish. You might end up making a funny face, or a picture of an animal or even a mini-garden. 
  • How about joining us to make posters for our planet and for climate justice?  Bring whatever materials you can from home, such as pens and paints and old cardboard boxes. We’ll also supply some materials.  There will be space to display all our art on the playground railings, alongside panels from York Stitches for Survival which were on display at COP26 in Glasgow.

BONUS – there will be some seeds and seedlings to swap and share, so you’ll be able to take home something to grow. 

8:30 – 9:30 pm: Family Lantern and Fancy Dress Parade

Gather outside the Energy Centre from 8:15 pm. The parade will start 10 minutes after sunset, at 8:30 and will follow a route passing through each quarter, led by Sheelagh Loftus and taking about 45 minutes.

Gather in the Energy Centre afterwards for light refreshments.



10:00 – 11:00 Move It Or Lose It with Karen Hill

Learn about an exercise class programme developed by Move It or Lose It! for the over 60s and people with mobility problems. The speaker is a qualified chartered physiotherapist and Move It or Lose It instructor. There will be an opportunity to join in with some simple exercises during the session.

11:00 – 12:00 Singing For All

Join Carol Warren to learn some simple rounds and harmony songs from all over the world. No experience necessary, just bring your voice. Suitable for adults and accompanied children over 10 years old.

12:30 – 13:00 Outdoor Drawing / Painting Workshop – Part 1

Gather in the Energy Centre. Bring your own materials, if you can, and something to sit on. Some paper and boards will be available if you don’t have any. Led by Juliet MacMichael. Open to all.

13:00 – 13:45 Whispering House – Film

This film was created with people from the Tang Hall and Heworth communities and recorded at Riding Lights Theatre.

14:00 – 15:00 Origami Workshop

Lean the ancient Japanese art of paper folding. Led by Megumi Bailey of York University. This workshop is free and all materials will be provided. Space is limited so please register your intention to participate by email to

15:00 – 16:00 Outdoor Drawing / Painting Workshop – Part 2

Return to Energy Centre to share and display your art

17:00 – 18:00 St Aelreds Players

The Players are a community theatre group, based in Tang Hall, who provide a performance of music, song and dance, showcasing our wonderful local talent.


10:00 – 16:00: Derwenthorpe Lockdown Wall Hanging. 

See the marvellous seasonal panels the crafters have created during lockdown.


10:45 – 11:15 The Hare In The Moon by Hoglets.

Hoglets Theatre will take you on a magical journey, exploring the true meaning of kindness using interactive storytelling, puppetry and original music. Suitable for pre-school and primary children.

11:45 – 12:30 Kindermusik 

Cath Smithson invites young families to celebrate the season with a Kindermusik Springtime Special. We’ll sing, dance and explore simple percussion together. Session suitable for 0-5s with their caregivers.

12:30 – 13:00 Minster Ukes

Minster Ukes is a sing along ukulele band that meets every Tuesday evening at the Corner Pin pub. The band has a wide ranging repertoire of songs, including classics from Buddy Holly, The Beatles, Bonzo Dog Dooda Band, Neil Diamond and Amy Winehouse.

13:15 – 14:15 Caramba – Folk/world music trio

Founded in 2002, Caramba is based in York. We’re a multi-instrumental group (fiddle, guitars, mandolin, African thumb piano, whistles, and percussion) and we sing in 3-part harmony. Caramba specialises in music from Africa (where band member John was raised) and Latin America, but also covers other styles, such as Cajun, blue grass, folk and others.

14:30 – 15:30 White Sail 

White Sail are York-based trio Sarah Dean, Jane Stockdale & Chris Bartram. With a glorious melding of harmony vocals & guitars, mandolin, Celtic harp, Appalachian dulcimer, shruti box, trumpet, flute, woodwinds & percussion, the trio perform their own unique material at gigs and festivals.

15:45 – 16:45 Bargestra

Bargestra!  An all inclusive community band from The Arts Barge Project about 25 strong.  We play a wide range of styles, incorporating improvisation, classics and new music.  Bargestra rehearses Thursday nights and always looking for new collaborations, players and compositions.


Craft Group Stall

Crafts and activities. Also, there will be a 2nd hand art book table; bring old art or craft books you no longer want and/or take away any books that grab your interest.

Artists Stalls

– Irma Gemmell, is a printmaker, painter and children’s illustrator. 

– Hilary Walker’s nature inspired jewellery and homeware items are made of paper clay and reclaimed wood, with an emphasis on recycled and recyclable materials and minimal waste.

Wandering Minstrels

See if you can spot our resident lutelele musician doing a walkabout and members of Minster Ukes playing elsewhere throughout the day.

Yorky Pud Street Band

This energetic, brassy, busking group will be performing by the oak tree or perhaps down by the lakes. Give them a good cheer. And some reward.

10:30 – 11:30 and 14:30 – 15:30 Tea / Coffee and Cake

Take a break under the Energy Centre portico where they will be serving tea coffee and homemade cakes. This is provided by the CAN group.

12:00 – 16:00 Guy Wapples Pizza Van 

The van will be parked to one side of the grassy area serving hot food most of the afternoon.

14:00 – 15:00 Ice Cream Van

Time to cool off? An ice cream van will be near the pizza van.


Art Exhibition

Art from the local art group will be on display – hung from the railings.

Invited Artists and Crafters from York River Art Market and York Open Studios

Stroll and browse the art and crafts on display and for sale

Photography Competition

Why not enter the DAF photo competition. This year’s theme is ‘My Happy Place’ – get out your camera or smartphone and send up to 3 photos of your happy places wherever or whatever they might be (in Derwenthorpe or elsewhere) to by Friday 8th April. The age groups are :- up to 5 years; 6-10 years; 11-17 years; and adults. Include your name and age group and a title for each photo. If any of your images includes people please make sure you have their consent before submitting. 

The winning photographs will be mounted and displayed on the railings around the playground. Further information is available at

Earth Day Art

See the fantastic Earth Day Art created by the children on Friday

 Painted Stones Trail

Take a stone, paint it and add it to a colourful trail of stones


Got Talent? Come along to the Derwent Arms, from 8:00pm on Saturday evening to show us what you can do. All musicians, poets and writers are welcome. Please register your intention to participate by email to



We care for the place we live in and the planet we live on. Please show you care too and put any rubbish in the bins provided.


DAF is easily approached on foot, bicycle (racks beside the Energy Centre) or bus (routes 25, 6 or 11). If you are coming by car please park in the visitors car park beside the Osbaldwick village entrance – visitor car parking elsewhere on the estate is very limited.


Members of DAFT, the DAF Team, will be around throughout the festival, helping set things up, stewarding and so forth. They will be wearing sky blue tabards printed with the festival logo. Please ask them if you have any queries on the day.


Funding for DAF has been provided by DPAC, for which we are very grateful. These funds help us with performers fees, materials and hire costs enabling us to make DAF freely available and accessible to all. To help us make DAF a sustainable and repeatable event we respectfully ask that you give generously at the several donation points you will find around the festival.

Supported by DRA (Derwenthorpe Residents Association) and CAN (Community Action Network). Funded by DPAC (Derwenthorpe Partnership Advisory Committee).

aglow community

Aglow 2021 Trail Map

Here is the Trail Map for Derwenthorpe Aglow 2021. We’ve had a marvellous response and throughout December you will be able to see beautiful, creative art works in the front windows of over 50 homes around the estate.

Do join us if you are able on Friday 3rd December between 16:30 and 17:30 at the Energy Centre (SSC) for some mulled wine and mince pies. If you are are unable to download the attached file and print your own trail map, there will be some available on Friday evening. Also, during December, maps can be found outside John Pugh’s, 25 St Aelreds Mews, and Ley Eiloart’s, 61 Lotherington Mews.

Happy viewing and Happy Christmas to you all.

Blogroll Electric Vehicles

Going Electric – Issues For Derwenthorpe

Of course, we all know that the greenest form of transport for those who are able to do it, is walking. Or cycling. Or buses.  But many if not most Derwenthorpe residents still feel that they need access to a car, and some are thinking about a switch to an electric car. While at first sight this is a costly choice, a combination of leasing and reduced running costs may make it a possible choice for more and more of us.  One reason why people don’t make the switch is the problem of charging, particularly for residents without off-street parking. 

It seems like a good time, then, to get together with some experts – including experts by experience (i.e. residents who already own electric cars) – to chat about the issues involved, and to ask and get answers to questions about all this.  JRHT will also be represented, so we should also be able to get a sense of its views on charging. We are hoping that it won’t be an evening full of jargon and technical stuff, but will be understandable to everyone. Please, if you’re interested and can find the time, join us for a Zoom meeting to discuss this at 7.30pm on Wednesday 1st December

This is the Zoom link:

Meeting ID: 821 2045 0901
Passcode: 949332

‘Doors will open’ at around 7.20pm. Hope to see you there!

aglow Blogroll Uncategorized

Aglow 2021

Derwenthorpe Aglow lights up the windows on the estate with illuminated seasonal pictures. Here are some samples from last year:

Everyone is welcome to participate; just follow these simple instructions

  1. Register your interest: please email your name and address to John Pugh on or phone 07462 592833. We need your address so we can make a trail map that people can follow to see your artwork.
  2. Learn how: if this is your first Aglow click this link for a couple of short “How To” videos.
  3. Collect a pack: we have free starter packs (card and tissue paper) available from 1st November courtesy of the DRA. Contact John to arrange a time and collect your starter pack from John’s at 25 St Aelreds Mews.
  4. Get creative: create a card and tissue paper artwork and display it in your front window during December (from 1st to 30th)
  5. Pick up a map: join us if you can on Friday 3rd December between 4:30 and 5:30 pm at the SSC for a launch event, with refreshments, and to collect your own copy of the trail map. If you miss this event trail maps will be available online on the DRA website and on the chair outside John’s and also outside Ley Eiloart’s at 61 Lotherington Mews.
Development Public areas

Derwenthorpe Green Spaces Are Now Named

Derwenthorpe is designed to be low density and as a consequence we are fortunate to have several large green spaces. A collaboration between the Nature Group and JRHT has resulted in names for these spaces; Beck Field, Crescent Park, Holly Ings, Meadlands Green and St Aelreds Meadow.

Consequently our map of the estate has been updated. Click here to download a pdf version of the map, which should print neatly on A4 paper.

Do let us know in the comments below if you spot any wrong or missing details.


Photo Competition Winners

A very big Thank You to all those who entered our first Derwenthorpe photo competition. We received lots of excellent photographs, making it difficult to decide which ones to select as the winners. The judge was an accredited photographic judge Bob Helliwell ARPS. His decisions were reached based on composition, interest and imagination in the photograph (in case you are wondering the photographs were anonymised before Bob saw them).

Below are the winning and runner up entries.

Childrens’ Category

First prize (£20 book token): Alexander Povey for his image ‘Once Upon a Time’

Second prize (£15 book token): Evie Cornforth for her image ‘Flower on a tree’

Third prize (£10 book token): Rosie Gray for her image ‘Two Swans’

Runner up photographs 

  • ‘Pink Flower’ by Rosie Gray
  • ‘Swan Picture’ Mary Cornforth.

Adults Category

First prize (book – Landscape Photographer Of The Year 2020): Thijs van der Feltz for his image ‘Good morning Mr Swan’

Second prize (book – The Photographers Eye): Natalie Povey for her image ‘Lock Down’

Third prize (book – National Geographic – Simply Beautiful Photographs): Thijs van der Feltz for his image ‘Encounters on Metcalfe Lane’

Runner up photographs:

  • ‘A Sunday Stroll’ by Angela Williams
  • ‘After the Rain’ by John Pugh
  • ‘After the Sunny Day’ by John Pugh
  • ‘Stressed Mum Trying to Keep the Kids in order’ by Steven Burkeman
  • ‘Timing is Everything’ by Chris Hall
  • ‘’Tis a Hard Life’ by Tara Mason
  • ‘Upside Down Duck’ by Thijs van der Feltz
  • ‘View Across Lotherington Lake’ by Sue Leach

Congratulations to all the winners. And to all others who took part, we’re wishing you better luck next time.

You can see all the entries on the Derwenthorpe web page


Photo Competition – Entries

Thank you to everyone who has participated in this competition. The standard of entries has been high

The entries will be judged shortly and the winners announced on this site over the coming week.

Here are the entries for the photo competition. First the entries in the children’s age group. Please note that some of the images you see below are cropped – click on an image to see it full size.

There were no entries by people in the teenage group. So here are the entries in the adult group.


Photo Competition

Enter our first ever photographic competition, using your phone or camera to take pictures of any aspect of life in Derwenthorpe – indoors, outdoors, action, nature, architecture, weather etc. Get creative.

There are three age groups:-

  • child (up to 12 years)
  • teen (13 – 18 years)
  • adult (19+ years)

Prizes will be available in each age group.

Submit up to 3 photos, maximum size 5Mb per photo to  You can enter at any time up to Friday 30 April. Please give your name and age group and a title for each photo. 

Entries will be posted on the DRA website so if any of your images include people, make sure you have their consent before submitting.

We hope you enjoy taking your photos and wish you good luck in the competition.