You might be feeling the world is not making enough progress with serious action to address the climate and ecological crises, especially with attention being diverted to the energy and cost of living crisis. Crisis after crisis, hey! However, we are seeing a rising of communities coming together to show how being leaner and greener helps save money and the planet.
Recently on putting finger to keyboard for a trustee report, it enabled me to reflect over the last five years of our ten year history and helped me to see a different picture emerging, one of hope with localism, mutualism and communities uniting to shape greener, healthier and resilient futures. Let me explain.
The international Repair Café movement started in the Netherlands in 2009. At the end of 2017 we launched our first repair café here in West Sussex with lots of volunteers from Horsham. There are now over 2,000 repair cafes in the world, and we at Sussex Living have mentored the start up of about 15 in the south east with four now in the Horsham District. The early Dutch repair cafes are now called circular craft centres, are financially supported by their Government and are an essential part of the circular economy.
When we opened our doors in October 2017 we had a small group of volunteers, but soon volunteers came flooding through our doors and other environmental services became part of our monthly offering. These included personal hygiene and household cleaning product bottle refills, food refills, recycling advice and energy switching. We quickly outgrew the beautiful Quaker Meeting House and were offered more space four doors away at the Unitarian Church Hall, so proceeded with a split location. Following an eighteen month break during the pandemic we were offered a larger venue at the United Reformed Church in Horsham, so we rebranded and expanded into the Sussex Green Hub.
This is our version of what some call a climate emergency centre or Climate Action Network. On the last Saturday of every month, our repair, refill and recycling volunteers together with volunteers from Horsham Eco Churches, Transition Horsham, Horsham Community Fridge, visiting eco groups take part. We offer a community cafe run by the URC and a variety of workshops.
We have ambitious plans to take this community event and network into a Horsham shop, open as many days of the week as possible. On researching what already exists within the south east, I was delighted to discover many models of community climate hubs which have been developed and launched over the last two years. They vary in the services they offer and their focus, but what they have in common is a physical place where communities come together and make positive local change.
Our Sussex Green Hub opens on the last Saturday of every month 10am-4pm at the United Reformed Church behind Wilkos. Watch this space for news of expansion for 2023!
We would love to support other climate emergency centres to set up, do contact us if you would like help.
This is what the Lewes Climate Hub said about the support we have given them:
“Our organisation Lewes Climate Hub formed in November 2020 during the first wave of the pandemic. We were anxious to do something to encourage community and resilience to the climate crisis and became aware of Sussex Green Living. We took a huge amount of inspiration – and direct lifting of initiatives and ideas from their incredibly interesting and comprehensive output of weekly online Horsham Climate Café meetings and talks, actions and activities.
Sussex Green Living continues to be a beacon for us and groups that approach us in making a positive change in regard to views on Climate Change and how to adapt and take action to this crisis. We appreciate and fully support their aims as an organisation and are totally impressed by their creativity and dedication”.
Dinah Morgan on behalf of the team at Lewes Climate Hub
by Carrie Cort