Carbon Literate Leicestershire

After the success of the Carbon Literacy Courses we were funded by Charnwood Borough Council to deliver last year, we’ve now been funded by Leicestershire County Council through the “SHIRE Environment Grant” to deliver a similar set of courses for residents in the whole of Leicestershire.

The Carbon Literacy Project aims to aims to instill an understanding of the role of carbon dioxide and similar “greenhouse gases” in Climate Change, and provide the motivation and abilities for individuals to help tackle the issue, not only within their own lives but within the wider community through the organisations they work with and for.

Carbon Literacy courses offers a day’s worth of learning, covering:

  • Climate change science
  • Carbon footprints
  • Social equity in relation to climate change
  • What you can do to act – as an individual and at community level
  • Strategies and skills for communicating action on climate change
  • A chance to reflect on the impact climate change is and will have.

In order to achieve accreditation you will need to:

  • Attend the course (three x 2 hour online evening sessions)
  • Do some work at home ahead of the course (1.5 hours. Involves watching a documentary and completing an online carbon footprint tool)
  • Complete a short written assessment during the course. This will be submitted to the Carbon Literacy Project (CLP). CLP accredits the course and will check your assessment before issuing certificates

The fee of £10+Eventbrite’s fee is simply to cover the cost of accreditation so that attendees can receive a certificate after the course. If the fee is a barrier to you attending, please get in touch with us, via Eventbrite, as Transition Loughborough has a bursary fund for this course and may be able to waive this cost.

We currently have two courses lined up – one in May and one in June.  We also plan to host two more courses in the Autumn at dates to be arranged.

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Allotment potato planting on 31st March

With the next easing of Coronavirus restrictions due this coming Monday, the allotment group are planning to hold a potato planting session at the community allotment between 4pm and 7pm on Wednesday 31st March.

As there will be a a maximum of 6 people allowed on the plots at one time under the new Government guidelines, a three hour period should help space out the activity.  The planting will be done in a socially distanced way and anybody coming to help is requested to wear a mask (unless medically exempt). People attending will also be invited to contribute their ideas for what to grow and how to organise the allotment site for the coming year.

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Notes on Transition Loughborough Zoom Meeting 16th March 2021 at 7pm

Present: Bertil, Donna, Jason, Jon, Dawn, Janet Smith, Ken, Martha, Meg, Ruth, Emily Sharman, Sue

Meeting notes

Had introductions as not everyone had met before. Jon summarised the minutes from the last meeting. Sue said that the Quakers have been active about COP26 and one person from TL had contacted her after the last meeting.  They’d had some information back from Jane Hunt MP’s office and the Quakers are doing an internal meeting in April about it.

ACTION: Anyone interested in being involved in COP26 campaigning should contact Sue.


Jason is waiting to take on the treasurers post from Steve once the lockdowns are over and they can have a face to face meeting. They will update the co-signatories on the account at the same time, removing Sue. Jason said there wasn’t an account update from Steve but we haven’t run many events so haven’t spent very much.

Fearon Hall

Jason said we need to consider events such as Repair Cafes and if we could be involved with the gardens around the hall. Meg showed us an animation of the plans for Fearon Hall and the parish green, which included replacing the garage we rent with a covered patio/meeting space. The plan aimed to encourage more people to come to the Hall and green and then promote their sustainable/environmental agenda. The proposal was accepted as part of a wider project and they are now awaiting funding. In the meantime the garage is still available to TL to use for our storage and events. Janet asked what the timescales were but Meg didn’t know as it is a small part of a larger CBC plan and Town Deal funding bid.

Dawn then covered events at the Hall. They have two gardening groups. One is the Rectory Wildlife Garden (also involving Martha and LAGS). They are is replanting the amenity beds at the front of the Hall with edibles, based on the Incredible Edibles ideas. The second group is being formed by a lady called Catherine who wants to start a therapeutic gardening group. This will be launched during Mental Health week in May. Catherine will be doing the Hall’s pots, the beds near our garage and help with the amenity beds.

On 2nd/3rd Oct Dawn is planning a Fun Palace free events for people to “have a go” (rather than just watch someone doing something). She already has people wanting to do things as diverse as martial arts and poetry, and they have 199 1 hour slots to fill. Dawn would like TL to be involved in this – we need to think what hands on events we could run!

ACTION: Everyone in TL to think about what “have a go” 1 hour sessions we could run in the Fearon Hall October event.

Dawn would also be keen on us getting a Repair Cafe running again, probably in July/August/September when lockdown restrictions may have ended. Emily keen on being involved and helping to promote it. Jason suggested we do one at the hall and maybe one at another location. Jon asked if Fearon Hall had a bike repair group running as we don’t want to duplicate/step on toes, but Meg said they didn’t. Sue suggested a wildlife garden talk alongside the Repair Cafe.

Meg said that the cafe will be open on Saturday mornings once lockdowns are over and are looking at “Utilise style” social cooking/eating. Fearon Hall are launching a sunflower growing competition for local children (and Jason!) – they have 900 giant sunflower seeds to give out and there will be prizes for the best. Jason said as TL community allotment grow produce we could help supply Fearon Hall’s food poverty programmes. Meg said that they have a community shop that can help pass on 2nd hand items that people would throw away to people who really need them.

ACTION: Dawn will email Jon with some potential dates for Repair Cafes which he will then share with potential repairers.

Nottingham Trent Research Project Proposal

Donna, an associate professor at NTU, introduced a funding call she is interested in that is looking at food, community growing and a sense of place. She said that community gardens are one of the best connectors she has found, and each of them has their own culture. She would like to run a project to look at a number of community gardens, what activities they do, what connections to their local community they have and how they can affect the larger food system. Meg mentioned building on the Fruit Routes from the University out across the town, resulting in an “edible map of Loughborough”. Donna said the project is going to run over three years, so if it is funded we could have a three year plan for developing community gardening involving TL, Fearon Hall and other edible community growing schemes in the area. Meg was keen on upskilling people to ensure community gardening schemes are resilient to people leaving, moving away, etc. Emily suggested mapping community gardens and edible planting in the town.

ACTION: People interested to get in touch with Donna (can be done via our website contact us page)

Community Allotment

Jason said we’ve not been doing as much at the allotment during the pandemic and there was some issues and disagreements that people on the mailing list would have seen. Martha and Steve have been instrumental in keeping the allotment going during 2020 with others such as Jason and Ruth also going there during the year. Jason has talked to Steve (who wasn’t joining us online tonight) about the work he’s been doing here and Martha has also been working there in the last year.

Steve told Jason that he would like the gardening group to restate the group vision for the area, how we can introduce new people to the site, and shared community gardens vs giving people small individual plots. Ruth said its looking incredibly tidy and ready to go. Jason discussed how we could get a vision for the allotment set out – for example suggestions via a new thread on the TL Google Group mailing list. A separate meeting face to face isn’t possible at the moment as Martha pointed out.

ACTION: Jon to start a thread on the community allotment vision on the Google Group.

Talked about spending the £340 we have for the allotment. Martha suggested buying compost, and Steve and Jason had suggested maintenance issues such as fixing/painting the shed and getting the fruit cage net put back in. Suggestion that the potato planting take place on 31st March but there may still be a restriction of only six people from two households. LAGS are planning a similar potato planting at their site around the same time.

Suggestion of having a whiteboard that people use to write down what they are doing/what needs to be done. Ken is looking to do some of the repairs to the shed. Martha mentioned wanting a pump and Jon said that there should be a 12V battery pump still at the allotment that we used to raise water from the stream a few years ago. Jason asked if there was an issue with using stream water but Jon said that the Environment Agency doesn’t care about people abstracting the amounts of water we use in a day. Will start open community allotment Wednesday evening sessions as soon as we are allowed to have larger groups meet face to face. Jason showed the previous plans that Martha and Steve had given him.




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Zoom meeting 16th March 2021 at 7PM

We’ve picked a date and time for our next Zoom based meeting – 16th March 2021 at 7pm. At it we’ll be discussing plans for the Transition Loughborough Community Allotment for the coming year, talking about how we can restart Repair Cafes once we can all meet face-to-face in large numbers again and considering what other projects and events we might want (and be able!) to run in 2021.

All are welcome to join the meeting – just contact us for joining details.

Video conference

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Planning a Zoom meeting in March

As we still can’t currently meet together it has been suggested on our mailing list that we hold a Zoom meeting at some point in March to consider plans for the Community Allotment site and potential events that we may be able to hold later in the year when lockdowns are relaxed.  The currently suggested dates are:

  • 7pm Thurs 11th March,
  • 7pm Tues 16th March,
  • 7pm Thurs 18th March

If you’d like to attend and have a preferred date please get in touch with us. We can’t promise that we’ll choose your preferred date but we’re going to try to please as many people as possible.

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Only onion sets left!

Just a very quick note to say that of the Potato Day 2021 extra stock we listed in a posting earlier in the week, we now only have onion sets left. If you want any of those please contact us as soon as possible so that we can arrange a time for payment (cash only) and pickup.

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A Potato Day Thank You and Some Seeds Left

Despite the restrictions imposed by the pandemic and associated lockdowns, our team were able to successfully collect, sort and distribute the Potato Day orders within the rules we had to work to. So a big thank you to everyone involved, and especially all of you who pre-ordered your seed potatoes and supplies again with us again this year. We hope that they grow well for you all in 2021, and that 2022 Potato Day will be back to something closer to normal!

seed packets

Some of our extra Potato Day seed packets

Although Potato Day was by pre-orders this year, we do have some surplus as Chesterfield order in bulk and shared their excess with us.

If you would like to buy any of the following please get in touch as soon as possible. Collection of your order, with cash only payment, will be from the Purple Pumpkin Patch, Ashby Rd. Other collection or delivery arrangements can be made if that isn’t possible for you.

Onion Sets 75p per 100g bag

Centurion – 15 bags available

Turbo – 6 bags available

(approx 25 – 30 per bag)

Stuttgarter Giant – 6 bags available (approx 12 per bag)

Pea Seeds £1.00 per packet (approx 200 seeds)
Hurst Green Shaft – 1 available

Onward – 2 available

Dwarf French Beans £1.00 per packet (approx 50 seeds)

Tendergreen – 2 available

All of these are available on a first come, first served basis.  Please get in touch with us if you’d like to order some of these extra seeds.

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Cutting down food waste at Christmas

As the third part of our series of posts helping you to reduce your “Christmas footprint” we’ve got some ideas and suggestions for cutting down on food waste over the festive period. Christmas is traditionally a time when families tend to buy more food than normal, and items that they might not buy at other times of the year. Unfortunately as a country we then waste quite a lot of this – food waste can increase by up to 80% over the holidays!

  • Firstly: don’t panic! These days shops are only shut for one or two days over Christmas, so there’s no need to buy a month’s supplies for an entire army. Reducing “impulse purchases” before Christmas means they don’t have to turn into waste after Christmas. It also means that you might be able to score some bargains on 27th December when the shops are open, so saving money at what can already be an expensive season.
  • Draw up a shopping list before you go to the shops, and stick to it. Shopping online can also help as you may be less tempted by in store offers and advertising, plus you’ll reduce the carbon footprint for travelling to/from the shops. The delivery van will still have a carbon footprint but these often have carefully planned routes intended optimise the journeys around the town and your Christmas provisions will be sharing that fuel use with lots of other people’s orders.
  • If you do go to the shops, try to walk, cycle or take the bus. This nor only directly reduces your carbon footprint but also reduces town centre air quality problems and discourages you from buying unnecessary food items as you have to carry them home yourself!
  • Check on the “use by” dates of items you buy to make sure that they’ll last through the Xmas period. If you have got some things with particularly short shelf lives plan in advance to have those in meals on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day or Boxing Day.
  • Planning meals can also help you budget and buy just what you need.  The Love Food Hate Waste folk have a handy online portion planner so you can check how much you need in advance.
  • Ask your family/guests what they’d really like for Christmas dinner. It might surprise you! It’s much easier and cheaper to plan for a Christmas Day lunch of homemade pizza than it is a full roast dinner. And probably would result in considerably less waste and less energy use too.
  • Remember that whilst rich food is a great treat once in a while, it can soon get too much after a few solid days of digestive indulgence. Plan to have a few simple “store cupboard” meals as well which can make use of items you already have with long shelf lives.
  • Large gatherings with big meals almost inevitably result in “left overs”. Plan in advance for this happening – for example if you’re cooking brussel sprouts or cabbage for Christmas Day lunch, why not have bubble-and-squeak planned on Boxing Day lunch (which is quick and easy so you can also go for family walks or shopping trips)?
  • As well as using leftovers immediately, consider if any can be frozen for use in meals in January. It can also be good to refill empty space in the freezer resulting from using up Christmas food, which makes the freezer more efficient (you’re not trying to chill empty space).
  • When bringing your shopping into the house, make sure you store things correctly. Follow the instructions on packets and labels, and also check that your fridge is cold enough to keep food refrigerated safely.
  • If you do have uncooked fruit and vegetables that have spoiled, you can compost them in a back garden compost bin, along with any peelings that you generate whilst cooking and eating others. Cardboard food packaging can also be torn up and composted. Don’t put fats, meat or cooked food into the compost bin though as that can attract vermin.

We hope these tips will help you have a happy, joyful and peaceful Christmas. Eat, drink and be merry!

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Eco friendly Christmas decoration ideas

With Christmas fast approaching, many household will be adding decorations around their homes for the festive season.  As with many aspects of Christmas, decorations may result in waste in January, so we’ve put together some ideas which you may find helpful to reduce your “Christmas footprint”.

  • The centrepiece of most home decorations is the Christmas Tree.  Many buy a cut down real conifer tree, which has the advantage over an artificial tree that it has been growing and absorbing carbon dioxide. Try to buy a locally and sustainably grown tree – these are grown as crops in the UK and help provide farmers with extra income on marginal land that can’t be used for other crops. After Christmas many councils will collect real trees for composting, or you can cut it up yourself and use it as a mulch in the garden (pine needles are slightly acidic, so great spread round acid loving plants like blueberries, rhododendrons and azaleas).
  • Many shops now sell rooted, potted real trees, that you can plant outside in the New Year.  Ideally you shouldn’t keep these indoors more than 12 days as they don’t like the warm, dry conditions in most modern homes, so they aren’t so useful if you tend to put your tree up well before Christmas Eve and want to keep the tree in place until 6th January. They do best in cool rooms away from radiators, so might be suitable for a porch or entrance hall for example. Some people just grow a tree in their garden and decorate that.
  • Rent a potted tree: if you don’t have a garden or space to plant or display a potted real tree for 11 months of the year, you can now find some companies that will rent you a potted tree for the holiday period and then collect it to grow on for next year at their base.
  • Artificial trees make heavy use of plastics, and the Carbon Trust have calculated that you’d need to use a single artificial tree for over 10 years to give it a lower carbon footprint than real trees. If you do want an artificial tree that you can reuse for many years look for good quality ones, or considering reusing someone else’s artificial tree by looking on second hand and rehoming websites. Buying second hand, even if you are getting plastic, artificial items, is better than buying new as you’re keeping these decorations in use and out of the waste stream and not consuming “virgin” material.
  • Keep your tree decorations safely boxed and reuse them year after year. Many people still have decorations going back to their childhood, so there’s no need to go for the latest “Xmas fashion” each year. If this is your first year decorating your own tree, ask friends and family if they have old decorations they no longer want.
  • If you are buying new decorations, avoid plastic or fragile ones.  Decorations made of wood are a carbon sink and can last for decades… and they’re less likely to break than glass baubles!
  • When buying fairy lights, opt for LED lights as these will consume less power, and don’t go over the top (or the roof!) if hanging lights up outside.
  • Put lights on timers so they aren’t lit 24 hours a day.  They won’t be particularly visible in the middle of the day, and very few people will be awake to see them at 3am! 4pm to midnight might be a good range for example.
  • Involve your children in making their own Christmas decorations. For example instead of buying plastic tinsel, get them to make colourful paper chains. You can buy packs of paper ready to make the chains, or make them our of colourful magazine pages. After Christmas the paper chains can be composted or recycled.
  • Make your own wreaths for your front door from evergreen prunings from your garden or hedges. Freshly cut willow sticks can easily be bent round into the circular hoop that supports the wreath and then twigs, branches, leaves and berries tied on with black cotton.  Avoid spraying it with glitter or “frosting” – the wreaths look better natural anyway and in January you’ll be able to compost the wreath material. If you do want a bit of sparkle in a wreath, you can get small strings of twinkling LED lights that can be powered from rechargeable batteries and used for many years.

However you decorate your home this Christmas just remember to have fun and enjoy doing it!

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Hints for reducing waste in the run up to Christmas

We’re well into December now, so many peoples’ minds are turning to Christmas.  This year, more than most, many people are looking to Christmas as a joyful break from the hard realities around us. However Christmas celebrations do often come with an increased footprint with more consumption and waste than other times of the year. So to help you reduce any “green guilt” this year, here’s some hints to reduce your Christmas impact!

  • Try to pick paper wrapping and avoid shiny, plastic coated paper that can’t be recycled.  A quick test to tell the difference is to scrunch some up – if it stays scrunched its probably paper and so recyclable, if it tries to jump back into shape it may be plasticised “gift wrap” and should be avoided. Another test is how easily it tears – real paper tears easily (too easily sometimes!) whereas gift wrap is very difficult to rip. Also be wary of paper wrapping that has gold or silver printing on it – that metallic printing might may well make the paper unrecyclable.
  • Don’t add plasticy ribbons, bows or non-recyclable string round your presents, unless you’re able to ensure that they are all collected and reused. If given to other people they may get mixed up with otherwise recyclable wrapping paper and spoil whole loads of recycled paper.
  • Do not use glitter. Even “eco friendly” biodegradable glitter has been found to have bad effects on the environment. And let’s face it – glitter gets everywhere and is a pain to clear up so lets not inflict it on people we like!
  • Instead of buying new wrapping paper you could reuse other materials for wrapping presents.  For example decorate paper bags or cardboard boxes, old but colourful cloth, old maps, or reused wrapping paper you saved from last year.
  • If people are asking what to buy for you and you don’t really want/need anything, suggest they either donate to a charity you support or buy a charity “sponsorship” gift to help others (for example sponsoring tree plantings, well digging, improved sanitation, animal sanctuary, child health, etc).
  • For larger gifts that might not fit/be quite right for the recipient, include the receipt with a note to say that you’re happy if they want to take it back/exchange it/etc.
  • If you’re buying more than one gift for the same person, try to wrap multiple objects together so that the amount of wrapping is reduced.
  • To reduce the need for physical items that will eventually end up in waste streams, consider “experience” gifts such as theatre tickets or subscriptions to organisations.
  • Some people will be happy to receive “reused” gifts, especially if it has sentimental value.
  • Look for “ethical gifts”. For example items made from recycled material, made by local crafts people, made to support people in need, or that can help reduce the recipients’ carbon footprints.

We’ll have some more hints to help you green your Yuletide in the weeks to come!

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