Sustainable Didcot had a storming 2017 year, with many successful events and highlights. From getting their hands in the soil and nurturing wonderful produce, to using high-tech thermal imaging cameras to help their neighbours save money on their bills – they’ve done it all.You can read about their 2017 successes below. But they’re not stopping there, and have new activities planned for this year too.
Exciting plans for 2018
- Repair Cafe – our first repair cafe will be held on 17th February 2018 at All Saints Community Hall, 4.30 – 7.30pm – see Sustainable Didcot’s website, or the Facebook event, for more details!
- Didcot Seed Swap – at Cornerstone on 18th February 2018, 11am – 2pm, we will be swapping seeds, showing a film and making new signs for the Incredible Edible garden.
- Freecycle – on 24th February 2018 we will be giving/swapping items for free.
- Didcot Summer Fair – jointly with Play2Give, we have been awarded a big grant from the Town Council to organise the summer fair, so save the date: 4th August 2018!
The first big event of this year will be the Repair Cafe. The idea behind a Repair Cafe is to match people who have broken household items with expert volunteers who love to fix things. Ed Polehampton from Sustainable Didcot explains, “We’ve been assembling a team of enthusiastic volunteers who have expertise in electrical items, computers, watches, clocks, and clothes and fabrics. We’ll also be able to glue broken things and sharpen tools. The volunteers are keen to share their knowledge, and we’re aiming for a relaxed social atmosphere with tea, coffee and cakes provided!”.
Some 2017 Highlights
The Sustainable Didcot team wrote this brief summary of their 2017 highlights. Hopefully it gives you some ideas, or inspires you to join them and be part of making 2018 even better.
Freecycle and Vegcycle
Our regular freecycle and vegcycle stall in the Didcot Saturday market was held in February, May, August and November 2017, with an additional stall at the Guides May Fair. At Vegcycle, we worked closely with SOFEA to give away supermarket surplus food, as well as passing on items from allotments. In total, we redirected more than 200 kg of unwanted items from being thrown away!
In January and February 2017, we borrowed a thermal imaging camera from SODC, and imaged 35 homes to try to show if/where heat was being lost. We also imaged the Baptist Church and the offices of Go Green Taxis, and we did an experiment with the Didcot Guides to show that they could save heat by covering their single glazed windows with cling film. In November, we re-visited one house and showed that the improvements they had made to their insulation since January had worked!
Our Incredible Edible garden between Cornerstone and the Cinema looked great last year, and still has plenty growing even now. We had a work day in May 2017 and planted fruit in the upper tiers, including the strawberries which are really thriving!
The community allotment on the New Road site provided some great crops last year. The polytunnel looked wonderful, particularly as our allotment neighbour Huw constructed some staging from reclaimed wood to provide plenty of space for potting and growing. We also built a new chicken coop and extended the chicken run for our 4 chickens. In June, the Didcot Guides visited to help out and do an allotment quiz, and in November we cooked marshmallows and dampers over a small bonfire. Contact us if you would like to get involved with the allotment this year – we have space for you to grow things and use the polytunnel! We worked closely with the Didcot Allotment Society through the year, including running a Seed Swap in March. Look out for this years Seed Swap on 18th Feb.
Didcot Food Festival
We are very interested in reducing food waste and giving people ideas of how to cook with leftovers. This year at the Didcot Food Festival we cooked using ingredients from allotments, donations, and stock from shops near the use by date to highlight the issue of food waste.
Starting in April 2017, we have maintained (almost) weekly collections of used coffee grounds from the Cornerstone café. They usually produce between 2 and 3 sacks per week and we take them to the allotments for composting.
In 2017 we started holding “Green Drinks” evenings at Cornerstone on the 2nd Thursday of the month. We held our first one in September with over 20 people attending, and then every month since then. Green drinks provides a relaxed way to chat about environmental issues and catch up with friends – the next one is on 8th Feb.
Low Carbon Hub
Sustainable Didcot is a community shareholder in the Low Carbon Hub, and this means that we get money to spend! This year, we spent our £500 grant on an energy audit for Manor Primary School, which was carried out in November.
We’ve been active around the town at a whole host of other events, including Fun At Fleet Meadow in October where we did some apple pressing, the Christmas Street Fair in November, gave a talk about what we do to the Baptist Church in July, and actively participating in the consultations about the Didcot Garden Town.
We participated in several of the Oxfordshire Community Action Group Network collaborative working groups, for example about waste, and this led us to be part of a county wide project to work on waste electrical items which just gained £25,000 of funding.
We’ve also just been awarded a grant of £1650 from SODC Councillor Mocky Khan to organise repair and reuse events, including some bicycle maintenance sessions with the Broken Spoke Bike Coop in the summer!
Sustainable Didcot can always use more help – please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to
get involved! We have planning meetings on the 4th Tuesday of the month, and Green Drinks socials on the 2nd Thursday of the month. Both at Cornerstone, starting 7.30pm.