On 13th May 2017 the new Active Energy water wheel was launched at Three Mills heritage site with an opening address by Jane Caldwell, Chief Executive at Age UK East London.
She took the opportunity to emphasise the value of older people’s experience to the wider society, together with the benefits of creative and purposeful activities to those involved. Artist Loraine Leeson outlined the trajectory of this decade-long project, and engineer Toby Borland indicated the importance of community input to design and the value of an open source approach whereby each new development can be taken up by others. Professor Graeme Evans of Middlesex University described the involvement of the project in Hydrocitizenship, a research initiative led by academics from nine universities to investigate how citizens can better live with each other and their environment in relation to water.
The day was stolen however by The Geezers, with Ray Gipson describing their longstanding struggle to bring renewable energy in to their community, in particular to help older people who can often not afford to heat their homes.