Recognition of our work and it’s impact

Our Sustainable Cheshire Project 

Sustainable Cheshire is a project by Eco Community UK CIC. This involves our Plastic Free Cheshire and wider Sustainable Cheshire project.  Our work is managed so far on a completely voluntary basis, our directors all have other full-time jobs and do not take an income from Eco Communities. Ours is a true community enterprise supporting the whole of Cheshire, although Cheshire West is our current focus. We were very last minute with our application to the Green Expo Awards as we were busy with our own projects and the Green Expo Stalls part of the event.

Sitting down and writing the application was a great way to think about what we have achived. Over Covid our online activities increased our database of contacts from a couple of hundred to over 2,000. We provided regular online events and our weekly Tellus TV programming which reached over 4,000 individuals with messages about sustainability. We brought on speakers from around the UK and many that were involved in small projects within our own region to spread the word.  

It was fantastic to receive the award for Community Engagement at the Green Expo Awards Dinner by Cheshire West and Chester Council, along with seeing lots of other awards go to great businesses and organisations. Our work on ‘Plastic Free Cheshire‘ morphed into ‘Sustainable Cheshire‘ when I realised we could get a good domain name to fit this. We achieved Plastic Free Chester via Surfers Against Sewage when the team were working under Friends of the Earth Chester & District and our separate Plastic Free Pioneer project. Having achieved Plastic Free Chester in 2018 and being pre Covid, we decided we wanted to support other regions in Cheshire to do the same.

As we came out of Covid we restarted our regular group litter picks in Chester and have reached out to other regions to work with them to achieve Plastic Free status. This involved managing the Surfers Against Sewage data base, providing training and forms to engage with businesses. We so far have Frodsham, Ellesmere Port, Neston, Northwich and Tattenhall linked in with us. We have a regular meetings to discuss progress and ideas. 

We also came up with our ‘Litter Pick Hubs’ projects as we came out of lock down. We were aware of lots of solo picks and people were buying their own equipment. Lots of people approached us about equipment over lockdown as the Council had to stop sending out its own pickers. Our local hubs mean that litter picking is open to anyone as they can borrow equipment from us locally.  They will be located in community spaces, parks and businesses will act as hubs. You register with us and then you can access the equipment, do your pick and return it to the hub. 

Our hubs will be throughout Cheshire West over 2022 and into 2023 allowing up to 400 people to be active litter picking at any one time. We are also committed to removing some of the recyclables in litter from incineration and so reducing the regions carbon footprint significantly.  

Our Impact 

Our litter hub project is split into 3 main aims to reduce, reuse and recycle. The projects are aimed at both reducing litter, increasing recycling and increasing reuse. The 3 main projects involved a reduction in litter collected by Street Scene, reduction in emissions from petrol in the process of delivering litter equipment around the region through the creation of litter pick hubs, a coordinated approach of litter pick volunteering, diverting a proportion of street litter from bins and volunteer picks away from energy from waste to recycling saving a considerable carbon reduction over the year. We will encourage a reduction in single use plastic, help people to be able to get involved and become more informed.   

This project has the ability to reduce the CO2e by 27,000 KG just in year one. The region also spent a massive 3.1 million pounds on litter and fly tipping in 2019/20 and so this project can both reduce these costs through a more co-ordinated volunteering scheme and by separating litter for recycling potentially take 25% of street litter could be diverted to recycling.   

We have:  

  • Over 35 businesses signed up to reduce single use plastics just in Chester.  
  • 6 regions working on hitting the 3 targets for Plastic Free Community status 
  • A database of around 2,000 supporters to our online newsletters. 
  • Through our Eco Comms Giki account we have committed steps to save of 1,500 items of single use plastic from being used
  • Delivered over 108 online talks to support learning and information on Sustainability and Climate Change via Crowdcast. 
  • Connected with over 4,000 people online over Covid with our online talks.  

In 2022 we are projecting that we will have organised/ supported over 24 group litter picks in Chester.   

In order to drive wider engagement and reach the pockets of the community who aren’t online, we created our first printed newsletter in Spring 2022, Tellus Magazine to update people on local activities and events, educate people on sustainability and empower people to get involved.  We then distributed this through the local libraries and relevant companies in our business network e.g coffee shops and veg box deliveries.    

 

Our online Tellus Magazines and other circulations have reached over 5,600 people since we launched.  Over 200 people have read our online Spring/Summer Tellus Magazine and 4,000 printed copies are available. We have from emails reached lots of new residents and organisations. We would like to deliver an Autumn/ Winter edition of our printed newsletter, to ensure we reach areas of the community who aren’t online and to widen our reach.  This will require additional funding.    

Read the Spring/Summer Online Edition here

Can we make better use of School Uniform?

Helen Chambers, Director Eco Communities

With the rising cost of living school uniform is something that most families are dreading the thought of, which makes sense as Uniform actually gets thrown out far quicker than it wears out.

I have just totalled up the cost for my eldest going up a size in most of his uniform and PE kit for next term and it’s a whopping £188.25, and that’s without new shoes which he will most likely need after a summer of eating, sleeping and growing. Thankfully he wont need a new coat either, as I bought the last one far too big for him to ‘grow into’. 

Luckily his uniform will be handed down to my youngest, but it is estimated more than 1.4 million school uniforms are thrown away every year rather than recycled.  On the other hand latest figures show that 1 in 5 families struggle to access affordable school uniform for their Children and this is resulting in higher levels of bullying and truancy.

The day I started writing this I got a very welcome email from my sons’ school to say that, now we are able to, with the help of volunteers they have sorted through a pile of donated uniform over the last two years. They will now be letting parents put in requests of what items they might need, for a small donation to the school. Hopefully more schools will now be able to do this.

I have also recently come across a website Uniformerly https://uniformerly.co.uk/. It is a platform to make donating, purchasing and selling uniform easy in the UK. There are 32,000 schools in UK and only 2,600 currently on the platform so lots more to get involved. It will hopefully help to remove the stigma, families to reduce costs, improve education access and give uniform a second life!

Cheshire West and Chester Libraries

Public libraries are free to join and free to borrow from, including eBooks and eAudiobooks. The library service prides itself on always being environmentally friendly because a library book is often on the shelves for five years and can be borrowed more than fifty times during that period. There are also loads of events and regular sessions in the libraries. Check out the Facebook page.

Did you know Chester Library at Storyhouse has over 274 years’ worth of Cheshire newspapers on microfilm. The collection starts at 1733 and ends at 2009. You are welcome to use our microfilm reader for free. Just ask a member of the library team to book an appointment.

Find a Library

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Chester Community Energy

Chester Community Energy Ltd. is a registered Community Benefit Society which develops and facilitates renewable energy schemes in Chester and the surrounding area. Our aim is to produce renewable energy generation, reduce the carbon emissions in our area and encourage energy efficiency. We raise funds to carry out our work via grants and public share offers.

Website

Woodland Trust

As well as stalls at events, Chester Fair Tradeing has a shop at the Wesley Church in Chester. The shop continues to look fantastic and so welcoming. They have had a new range of goods from Shared Earth which are selling well alongside all the usual Traidcraft products.

Taken from the current newsletter is the news that Chester is celebrating 20 years as a Fairtrade City.

‘Being a Fairtrade community takes commitment, creativity, organisation, perseverance, and the belief that together we have more power to help create a better, fairer world. To bring all of this together in a Fairtrade campaign, uniting a city for two decades is a huge and special achievement – many congratulations and respect to all of the individuals and organisations who have been involved!

Unfairness in global trade is deep-rooted over many generations of exploitation of people and our planet. So Fairtrade is a long term campaign for trade justice, and the ongoing work to unite our communities in action for fairer trade is at the heart of achieving it.  Every Fairtrade purchase makes a difference – but it is when we come together as organisations, as communities that we really grow the movement for fairness in trade, and weave the values of respect, action, and justice into our society.

It’s an amazing achievement for any community – but Chester deserves a unique and special mention as the first ever Fairtrade City in the UK. Following Garstang you are one of the early pioneers of the Fairtrade movement in the UK, which over 600 communities across the UK have since followed in your footsteps, and has had an incredible impact. Those who remember becoming the 1st Fairtrade City back in 2002 might not have thought you would be at the vanguard of such an important social movement for change, that would put Fairtrade into the mainstream of our society; in classrooms, town halls, supermarket shelves – and grow to reach over 1.8 million farmers and workers in 72 countries.

We hope that you can celebrate and take pride in this amazing milestone of 20 years. And keep on believing in what we can achieve together in another 20!’

Adam Acting Head of Campaigns Fairtrade Foundation   “Aspire not to have more but to be more” Archbishop Romero

The Woodland Trust have planted 50 million trees since 1972.

‘Native woods and trees are one of the best ways to tackle the climate crisis. And we’re pledging to get 50 million trees in the ground over the next five years, helping to put the UK on track to meet its carbon net-zero target.,’

Website

Sophia’s Illustrations

Website

Sophia Shaw a regular at our events, a freelance illustrator based near the beautiful city of Chester on the Shropshire Union canal aboard 42ft narrowboat ‘Roanoke’ with partner Andrew and little rescue dog, John. 

A love of travel, nature and beautiful gardens very much inspires Sophia’s work, from map-making to her unique artist greeting cards and commissioned portraits, she loves to bring colour and an element of story-telling to her work. 

Working from her off-grid recycled shed, sustainability has always been important. Any printed work is outsourced as locally as possible, cardstocks used are always recycled and her greeting cards are sold plastic-free. Sophia also uses her skills to fundraise for local wildlife organisations.   You can also find her work – ​Place for the Art, Northgate Street (next to Boots)

Mersey Wax Wraps

Welcome to Mersey Wax Wraps.  You will find us nestled on the Wirral Peninsula, besides the famous River Mersey.  

​You do not have to look far to read an article or see a video highlighting the global environmental impact of single use plastic.   We want to help people like yourself to make small changes in their everyday life, so that together we can live in a more sustainable way and reduce our plastic consumption.

We hope you fall in love with our Organic Cotton range as much as we have.  As part of our commitment to a sustainable product, we continue to use organic products as much as possible in the making of our wraps.  

A sustainable product should be good for the planet as well as your home.

​To further complement our pursuit of sustainable living, we also have a range of plastic free items for everyday life. Lisa

Website

Zelenci Natural Health

I handmake natural skincare products and Aromatherapy blends. My products harness the healing power of Nature.

Zelenci Natural Heath is itself named after a nature reserve in Slovenia.  See photo attached.

All of my products, a selection of photographs are included, are:

Include within my range are natural aerosol and aluminium free deodorants 

Are made in small batches- so no damage to the environment by large emissions or waste 

Plant based

Use only natural ingredients

Are waterless

Are cruelty free

Are palm oil free

Are organic

My packaging is minimal and 90% plastic free ( for hygeine purposes that 10% I cannot get around) I offer an aluminium lid choice. I offer a refill / recycling facility

My ingredients are sourced from ethical sustainable suppliers only Inc Argan oil from a women’s co operative in ghana. I also donate a percentage of my profits to the uk national parks .

Cadenza Crafts

I call myself Cadenza Crafts. I make and sell various items. I sew things using upcycled fabrics (clothing, bedding etc) and anything that needs stuffing has old pillows as stuffing.

Lavender used is home grown and wheat is British wheat. I also make items such as fairy houses using upcycled clothing and pots, shoes, bottles etc and Powertex. Powertex is an environmentally friendly medium.

I do have plastics in some of these items but only because I take them from my recycling box and turn them into something lovely or useful. My husband does get fed up as I don’t throw many things away as they all have potential to be something else.