GO (even more) GREEN for 2018

For something completely different to the seasonal madness, I hope you enjoy these pictures of 3 of us REAP employees with our Carbon Literacy Certificates. Myself, Barney and Dorothy attended this 2-day intensive course in November in Keith along with 18 other attendees from across the North East, run by the Climate Challenge Fund. The course focused on the realities of climate change, what is happening and why, and how we can take action to help reduce emissions.

All three of us learned a lot, from the trainers but also from our fellow attendees, who included High School 6th year pupils, managers and staff from a variety of Climate Challenge funded projects, energy advisors, recyclers and growers. To gain our certificates, we all pledged to carry out a personal carbon saving action and a community or workplace based one, too.

Our pledges are listed below. One of mine was to advertise what we have pledged as examples to hopefully inspire others – this could be you! So when you are making your New Year resolutions, why not get involved, find out more about climate change and devise your own pledge to go even more green in 2018

Our pledges are:
1.To cut out one journey in and out to work per week, either by electric biking in, or working at home
Carbon saving on 20 miles round trip in car x 45 weeks = 900 miles per year
2.To replace 2 meat-based meals with vegetarian meals to total 4 meals per week for the whole family, using only locally grown vegetables for those meals
Carbon saving on meat and supermarket sourced vegetables (food miles etc)
3.To save more seeds to use in REAP projects and propagate more plants using peat-free soil
Carbon saving on transport and production costs of seeds and saving peat bog habitat for carbon capture
4.To move house to a location where I can use my bike more, saving on local trips to and from town
Carbon saving on car travel 5 miles round trip 2 x per week = 520 miles per year

Best wishes for the New Year from us all at REAP

Grow Free Food for the Future! Tree Planting Day at Maryhill Medical Practice

Thursday 30th November 1- 3pm and  Monday 4th December 1-3pm

Drop in and plant some trees, FREE tea, coffee and snacks to keep you going, and sample some wild fruit jams and jellies.

Every tree you plant will provide food for people and wildlife for decades to come!

Plant a tree  in memory of a loved one, as a dedication to someone you care about and make a wish!

No experience needed, just sturdy footwear. Tools will be provided.

Come and along visit the new Maryhill Therapeutic Garden and find out how you can get involved.

For more information contact the REAP office or Alasdair Taylor on 07873 728 587

Energy Champions Autumn update

Hello folks, as the nights draw in and Jack Frost starts to come a’ knockin’, our Community Energy Champions team have been getting busy getting out spreading the word of how to save money on your fuel bills and getting to the heart of our project.

Leaflets and freebies galore for the knitters at Elgin Community Centre

We have run two drop-in information and training sessions: in Elgin in September and Forres in October; with Buckie Community Centre (22 November 10am – 1pm, free lunch!) and Elgin Youth Cafe (5 December 3.30 – 5.15 pm) to follow – booking advised. We cover deciphering your fuel bills and switching tariff and supplier, how much different home appliances use, different heating and hot water systems, factors in Moray that contribute to affordability of domestic fuel bills and heat loss in the home, amongst others. It’s a basic overview, nothing too complicated but extremely useful!

As well as our intrepid Community Energy Champions who’ve stayed for a good while – with the allure of a certificate, the lunch (!), goodies, a follow-up bespoke home visit and the feel-good factor of then passing on the knowledge in their community – other folk have dropped in for a wee blether and to grab loads of different handy leaflets and freebies for saving energy. So something for everyone. Want to find out more? Then come on down!

In the coming months we will be visiting organisations such as tenants groups, sheltered housing units, groups supporting the elderly and vulnerable, and community and interest groups such as Men’s Sheds to put on these sessions – do you know a group who would be interested? We are targeting Buckie, Dufftown, Elgin, Forres, Keith and Lossiemouth in the main. Please contact us.

Mini wind farms at Seafield Primary

And we’ve had tremendous fun visiting Seafield and St. Sylvester’s primary schools in Elgin, Anderson’s in Forres and Cluny in Buckie, with more schools across Moray in the pipeline. In highly interactive sessions, the children have been finding out where their energy comes from and how it links to climate change, as well as simple steps they can take to help tackle climate change and save the grown ups who pay the bills at home – and for their school! – money. Lindsey Jackson from The Moray Council and her solar-powered critters and gadgets have gone down a treat!

Just a couple of the twenty-odd Summer Scorcher families at Mortlach Primary

 

And lastly, while summer can now seem a distant memory, in Elgin, Buckie, Forres and Dufftown, families loved dropping in to make simple solar ovens from pizza boxes in our Summer Scorcher events when we launched the project.

We’re looking forward to the next events!

Warm wishes to you all,

Barney and Lynne

 

Dorothy has Royal (Horticultural Society) Approval

After 3 years of blood, sweat and study followed by fingernail shredding exams, oor Dorothy has achieved her Level 2 Royal Horticultural Society Certificates in Principles of Horticulture and Principles of Garden Planning, Establishment and Maintenance.

She said, “It has been hard work but totally worth it. It has been great to study then go out and deliver my new knowledge to the public at our sessions and workshops. It really reinforced my learning and it was great to pass on information.”

We are all very proud of Dorothy!

Funding deadlines for Community Benefit Farms

The deadlines for the next round of funding for the two local community benefit funds that REAP administers have now been set.

The second round of Edintore Community Benefit Fund will have a deadline of 30th March 2018 for applications. The decision making panel will meet at the end of April. The twelfth round of Hill of Towie Community Benefit Fund will have a deadline of 20th April for applications and the decision making panel will meet in May.

Applications can be handed in at any time and applicants are urged not to wait to the last minute before applying. Support is available for anyone who needs help completing application forms and you are welcome to contact REAP for an informal chat before applying. Forms and guidance notes are available to download from REAP’s website as Word documents or pdfs. Paper copies are available on request.

Both funds are open to constituted community groups and organisations, charities and social enterprises that operate in each fund’s area of benefit or benefit people living in the area of benefit. For more details on area of benefit, please see the guidance and area of benefit maps. If you are not sure if your group or your idea is eligible for funding, please do contact REAP in the first instance.

Free Energy Champions training hits Forres next week!

As winter approaches come and find out more about saving money on your home fuel bills, with a free Energy Champions session put on by the friendly folk at REAP. The session runs in Forres on Tuesday 24th October, 10 am to 1pm, with free lunch and refreshments and travel expenses covered. We’ll be covering topics such as changing fuel supplier and tariffs, simple energy saving measures you can take and other help you can get. You can then spread the good news amongst your neighbours, friends and family. There are further sessions coming up in Buckie (22nd November) and Elgin (5th December). To book or for further information call 07835 068481 or email energychamps@reapscotland.org.uk. Look forward to seeing you there!

REAP seeks Board Members!!

We’re looking for Board members to help oversee REAP’s work and support our staff and volunteers. No previous Board experience is required. The Board meets about 8 times a year, refreshments and travel expenses are provided and as our current Chair Elizabeth says, “You get more out of it than you put in!”

We are looking for reliable people with an interest in any or all aspects of our work:

  • helping people grow their own food, compost more, cut food waste and carbon emissions
  • therapeutic gardening
  • providing free and impartial energy advice to households in Moray
  • administering local community benefit funds
  • Supporting credit unions, working with community groups, carrying out research, developing our social enterprise and overseeing the business of being a local environmental charity

If that sounds like something you’d be interested in, please get in touch to arrange an informal chat by calling 01542 888070 or emailing info@reapscotland.org.uk You are welcome to come and visit our office, some of the places we work and meet the Board without making any commitment.

Second Grow Elgin blog

As promised, here’s an update on the amazing range of activities that Dorothy has been up to over the first months of this project. Where to start…?

I have had the pleasure of helping Dorothy out the two bimonthly volunteer days at Cooper Park, we’ve hosted so far. People can just pop along and help us maintain the splendid stone edible beds. You can come along and sow some seeds, learn about propagating, planting out, seed saving and, of course, eat and take home the delights on offer. These have included strawberries, blackcurrants, peas and salad leaves so far! A great place to meet others with similar interests. The next one is Saturday 7th October, 10.30am – 12.30pm.

And just last week I joined Dorothy down at the Gardenshare, to lend a wee hand for one session of her popular two-part gardening courses, which was a lot of fun. We learnt all sorts about composting, which included how to make nettle and comfrey liquid feed ‘teas’ – easy-peasy! You can can dilute these in your watering can to give your plants lots of nitrogen (nettle) and potassium (comfrey) as well as other minerals, great for leaf/stem growth and root/fruit growth, respectively.  We propagated herbs from cuttings, saved some seeds, ate some edible flowers, made a fresh rosemary, thyme, calendula and lavender tea (rather zingy!), ate a freshly harvested salad and made some fresh juice using our new cute portable juicer – you can just taste the healthiness..mm. And that was all in one session…Check the website posts and posters for more details of the third round of these, in September – book soon!

I enjoyed covering for Dorothy on her electric bike tours round Elgin (when she recently took a well-earnt holiday), picking up food waste and dropping it off at one of our community composting hot-spots around the city. We’re always looking for more businesses and organisations to donate their fruit and veg peel, tea bags, coffee grounds and shredded paper for us to collect – and all to make lovely compost to then grow food here in Elgin! Contact us if you’re interested.

But that is just the tip of her iceberg, in June Dorothy hosted a wee Eco-Gathering at the Gardenshare where a monster salad was harvested; Elgin’s first Big Lunch with a selection of her home-made soups from locally grown veg; and a stall at Moray Resource Centre with other home-made treats like beetroot hummus and garlic bread, using produce from their beds. I don’t know about you, but I’m getting hungry just writing this!

And she’s been busy raising awareness of the importance of bees, seed saving and composting with the wee ones at West End Primary and heading off with Greenwards Primary into the trees at The Wards, finding food for free and ID’ing trees. What fun we have!