We are currently running a petition to gauge the support for a permanent, open as many days as possible a week, Community Environmental Centre in Horsham town. These centres are popping up all over the UK. At the time of writing this blog there are 40 listed on this site.

Morag and I decided to go to visit two of our nearest centres in Guildford and Godalming. There is one in Dorking and one forming in Worthing. Although we were the first repair cafe in West Sussex it looks like Horsham is trailing behind with these essential community environmental centres! This is what we learnt about the Guildford centre:

ZERO Guildford Visit March 2022

Opened with a full house-20th November 2021

General Information

  • Many partners and community groups came together to formulate ideas. Weekly zooms were held to share ideas.  Choosing the building was deliberately slow and careful.  Several were not deemed suitable by ZERO.
  • Open 7 days a week
  • Many councillors regularly attend and the MP has visited
  • No-one is employed; 40 volunteers plus a volunteer manager. Since opening many more volunteers are coming forwards.
  • Volunteers use “Better Impact” software to log what hours they can commit to. This enables all volunteer groups to share information and community support/networking is increasingly strong
  • Always at least two volunteers present
  • The building is three stories: Ground floor-public area. First floor is used for talks, events, trainings and the eco-cinema. Third floor is storage.
  • Many fittings were donated by volunteers who are builders or carpenters (eg reclaimed pallets, cable drums as a table), by the University or found on Freecycle. Total budget was £5,000.
  • All fittings are removable as there is an 8-weeks’ notice period on the 2-year contract.
  • ZERO pays just £1:00 a year as nominal rent, and the lease savings are passed on to the management company who don’t have to keep it empty.


  • Creche area
  • Green Books Library
  • Café and tables
  • Plastic free shop
  • Refills of dried foods and cleaning products
  • Seed Bank with allotments information
  • Film reel presentation area with seating
  • 6 steps Jump
  • Community Fridge

Connections with/Signposting to…

  • Baby Clothes Library: (£20 retainer)
  • Library of Things held at Guildford Library (eg tents, hose, tools)


  • Doughnut Economics: First delivered at the Council for members and officers, then to public at ZERO.
  • All volunteers are trained (eg keyholders; café- food certification; recycling etc)

Information Available/Display Boards

  • Mindfulness information
  • Electric bike
  • Doughnut Economy
  • Green space Groups with Borough Eco-map
  • Vertical farm
  • XR information on the Climate Issues
  • Home Insulation (Green Square being the only advertiser allowed in ZERO)
  • Donors Board
  • Success Board

If you are in support of forming a community environmental centre in Horsham Town and would be prepared to volunteer on this project please contact us here.