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Our Green Story: The Caravan and Motorhome Club
You could say the Caravan and Motorhome Club's sustainability journey began over a century ago in 1907 when a group of like-minded individuals came together with a shared love of the great outdoors and adventure. Their vision was to create a community that could enjoy the beauty of nature and the freedom a leisure vehicle provides. Over the last 116 years, the Caravan and Motorhome Club has continuously grown and developed but the overriding love for the great outdoors has remained.
Fast forward to 2023, I (Stacey Head) joined the Club as the Sustainability Executive. Even though I haven't witnessed the entire history of the Club, my role is to make sure that sustainability remains embedded in everything we do, as it's one of our seven strategic goals and Club focuses.
The Club is a diverse community, with more than 2700 sites across the UK and abroad, over 1200 employees, and representing over 1.1 million members with our members being the foremost focus. The Club has 160 owned or managed Club Campsites across the UK open to members and non-members with members receiving a monthly magazine and discount off of site stays.
In 2019, the Club decided to further cement its long commitment to sustainability by joining Green Tourism. Our first submission in 2022 was a success, earning us a silver accreditation. But this year, in 2023, we proudly achieved a gold accreditation overall, with three of our Club Campsites (Cayton Village, Rowan Park, and Lady Margaret's Park) also receiving gold accreditations, while the rest of our network received silver.
Cayton Village- One of our gold accredited Club Campsites
As many will already know, Green Tourism assesses us on three key areas: People, Places, and Planet, with various subcategories. Going through the process allowed us to highlight the incredible work happening on our Club Campsites and at our Head Office. It also serves as a starting point and baseline for our continued focus on sustainability. It was also very beneficial for me to see the work already being done in regard to sustainability and where I will need to spend more focus.
In the "People" category, our Club performed highly. The Club communicates via its Sustainability Hub as well as articles and updates in the magazine, newsletters, and website. Many Club Campsites also contribute to communication by having information boards like the one below found at Tewkesbury Abbey Club Campsite.
Many of our Club Campsites support the local communities by raising money for local charities through unique initiatives such as book swaps, painted pebble sales, and beach equipment rentals. At the CAMC Head Office community charities are also supported with 25 charities being supported and donated to in 2022.
Willingcott site - Beach equipment rental where the money goes to the local RNLI
The Club also has Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity Champions and steering group who champion equality, diversity and inclusion across the Club. The Club holds Lunch and Learn sessions on different subjects such as LGBTQ+ and Hidden Disabilities.
In the "Places" category, our Club Campsites have performed exceptionally well due to our key focus on the great outdoors and the beautiful locations in which they operate. We've implemented initiatives like "No Mow May" and the "Dark Skies" program, which have been successfully adopted across many of the Club Campsites. The Club Campsites also have created many bug hotels, bird/bat boxes and furry friend teepees. The Club’s members continue to support local communities and it was predicted in 2023 that our members spend £480 million in the UK tourism industry by supporting local attractions, eateries etc. helping to keep these open and available to all. The Club also has the Great Savings Guide which gives members discounts on local attractions.
Bromyard Downs - No Mow May area
Slinfold - Boutique bug hotel
Many of our Club Campsites also encourage the use of local public transport with many information rooms displaying local timetables. The Head Office has a car share scheme after a member of staff suggested it through the staff suggestion scheme.
Broadway - hail and ride bus stop created by upcycling old tires
The "Planet" category involves longer-term projects that require careful testing. In 2008, Poolsbrook Country Park became the UK's greenest caravan site and was used by the Club to trial different technologies such as geothermal heat recovery, solar panels, greywater recycling, and a wind turbine. Some of these were successful and have been rolled out on different Club Campsites such as solar panels and air source heat pumps. In 2013, the Club installed electric car charging points at our Brighton site. While it continues to develop more Club Campsites with renewable energy and electric charging points. In 2023, we started metered electricity trials to help members monitor and reduce their electricity usage.
Many of our Club Campsites upcycle and reuse many items to prevent items from ending up in landfill. Using broken items for planters, herb gardens, and displays by the entrances.
Rowan Park - broken dome lights used as planters
Our sustainability journey has been long, and we're excited to see where the next century will take us. I am also very excited to join the Club at such a pivotal time as we remain committed to preserving the planet while offering our members unforgettable outdoor adventures.
From smart metering to biodiversity, find out more about sustainability at the CAMC
Stacey Head, Caravan and Motorhome Club Strategic Product Development and Sustainability Executive
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