A new sustainability centre is being set up by the Diocese of Salford in a move which aims to make the city a 'flagship' for effective action on climate change.
The Laudato Si Centre on the grounds of the Grade-I listed Wardley Hall in Worsley promises to be a centre of 'sustainability research and excellence'.
The centre was announced by the Bishop of Salford, the Right Reverend John Arnold, in Lent 2019 in response to the climate crisis and a call from Pope Francis for all to 'care for our common home' in a letter entitled Laudato Si.
Plans to renovate the former stables and coaching house to create research and educational facilities on site have now been approved by Salford council.
The Bishop of Salford said he is pleased that the Diocese is moving forward in its journey towards opening the Laudato Si Centre at Wardley Hall to visitors.
He said: "It marks a positive step towards making the Diocese of Salford a flagship for effective action on climate change – an issue that we all share a responsibility to act on with urgency.
"The Laudato Si Centre will be a place for practical action, rooted in prayer, and a place that we can learn about our environment and how we can all play our part in living more simply to protect our common home, the Earth.
"We hope that it will encourage schools, parishes and people of all faiths and none around our Diocese and beyond to take home some of the ideas on display into their own communities, helping to build a better world for all."
The proposal for the centre was born out of the Laudato Si philosophy, which means Praise Be to You in English, and was the second encyclical of Pope Francis – a papal letter sent to all bishops of the Roman Catholic Church.
In the letter, the Pope critiques consumerism, laments irresponsible development, environmental degradation and global warming, calling for all people of the world to take 'swift and unified global action'.
The Diocese of Salford now wishes to establish its own Laudato Si centre at Wardley Hall using buildings which are currently unused and in poor condition.
The intention is to create bespoke and flexible space to enable businesses, individuals, companies, academics and researchers to devise, test, advance and display new and innovative sustainable technologies.
The centre will function as an academic and technical ‘think tank’ for incubator businesses, and also as an education resource for the community and those studying or with an interest in this field of technology.
It will use sustainable technology to supplement its energy and water usage.
A small camping area will be created on the former ‘Brothers’ Lawn’ adjacent to the former stables, which will be used for overnight camping, principally for groups of students and younger people taking part in school activities.
The local authority approved the planning application on January 15.