2000 onwards

With the opening of the Environment Centre in May 2000 another new chapter opened in the story of St Nicks. Having transformed a rubbish tip into a nature reserve, we now hope to help transform York into a sustainable city, and the Centre was designed with sustainability in mind as an inspiration and resource for such a change.

The main teaching space at the Centre is used by visiting school groups and other education courses. It is also available for hire, for meetings, workshops and community events. The St Nicks (or Friends of St Nicholas Fields) charity manages the Centre and the local nature reserve.

Highlights from recent years


  • St Nicks or York Environment Centre officially opened on May 8th, at cost of £300,000 with funding from National Lottery Charities Board.


  • Community Recycling Scheme is set up, collecting initially from 150 households.
  • The Centre is awarded “Highly Commended” in the Eurosolar UK Prize “for inspiring renewable energy projects”.


  • SEED funding secured for expanding the community recycling scheme.


  • The community recycling scheme expands to 1000 households.
  • The first Give or Take Day was held in June, now a very popular annual community event.


  • St Nicholas Fields was officially designated as a Local Nature Reserve.
  • The first Apple Day was held in October, now a popular annual community event.
  • York Rotters home composting project started.


  • The community recycling scheme gets an electric vehicle to expand its service.
  • Friends of St Nicholas Fields help to launch York Freecycle.
  • A shop counter opens at the Centre offering a selected range of composting equipment, books and recycled stationery.


  • The community recycling scheme secures funding to expand its service to over 5000 households.


  • Friends of St Nicholas Fields (FoSNF) is awarded the inaugural Biffa Climate Conscious Award for the recycling service.


  • FoSNF employs its first Volunteer Coordinator to develop volunteering opportunities at St Nicks.


  • The Sustainable City Education Programme worked with local schools to help reduce their carbon emissions and waste.


  • York Environment Centre celebrated 10 years of practising sustainability.