What’s your dream?

Mine came true on 19th January this year when an extraordinary gathering of environmentally driven people came together to share knowledge, ideas and projects. The focus was Sussex Green Living’s support of a huge variety of Horsham District’s groups and advocates.

The meeting was attended by people representing 17 villages in Horsham District, including 8 parish councillors, 4 district councillors (including the Cabinet Member for Waste and Recycling, Cllr Toni Bradnum, and Cabinet Member for the Environment and Rural Affairs, Cllr James Wright), plus Horsham District Council’s Environment Officer, Helen Peacock and many of Sussex Green Living’s 90 volunteers, and a partridge in a …!

As Sussex Green Living’s CEO, I introduced the charity and explained my vision had been to form a network of people working together. This meeting made it a reality.

Sussex Green Living (SGL) launched the first Repair Café in West Sussex in October 2017 with the help of the Horsham Quakers. Since then, we have helped set up a dozen others. Our Repair Café has now become part of the larger Sussex Green Hub which includes the Horsham Community Fridge, which shares free supermarket food which otherwise would go to waste.

Our environmental network grew in 2019 when Nicola Peel and I organised a World SOS Climate Emergency Day meeting in Horsham, attended by 126 people from environmental groups from Sussex and Surrey, and out of this the South East Climate Alliance was born. This coalition of environmental, faith and community groups now has over 120 member groups from Kent, Hampshire, Surrey, East and West Sussex.

The SGL network kept expanding throughout 2020 as we ran weekly online Horsham Climate Cafés and in May 2020 Sussex Green Living became a charity.

Last year SGL transformed its environmental education, taking it to the people using our Inspiration Eco Station (a 1974 retrofitted milk float) and the Bright New Future Roadshow. Many schools and villages where we worked now promote TerraCycle and more: some schools run repair classes, learn bee keeping or work on food waste prevention (encouraging residents to try the Olio food exchange app). Amberley village uses their bus stop to collect non-council recycling and deliver it to the supermarket in Pulborough. There are mergers between Repair Cafés and Men’s Sheds and community hubs are forming in Billingshurst, Slinfold and Pulborough. We are eager to work with parish councils.

It’s been hard to make my dream come true, and knowing we’re in an eco-nightmare can feel overwhelming. But I just start with one small step and with others helping me along the way, we’re all acting for the good.

Will your dream come true? Are we all awake enough yet

The meeting was recorded and you can view it all or specific sections along with the presentation material here.

The inspirational Sussex Green Ideas meetings take place on Zoom on the 3rd Wednesday at 7pm every month. Go to Sussex Green Living to join us.