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! 

2 Part Gardening Course at Cooper Park, Elgin

A great chance to come along and learn or develop your gardening skills and its FREE!!
2 Part course, Wednesday 20th September & Wednesday 27th September, 12.30pm-2.00pm at Cooper Park, Elgin.
This course has a limited number of places.
To book a place please email info@reapscotland.org.uk or call our office 01542 888070

 

First blog for Grow Elgin part 3!

Hello there, Barney Thompson here, I’m back in the blog-writing seat, as one of the two Outreach Workers on phase three of this exciting project, aka Grow Elgin and Beyond; the other being the Community Gardening Queen of Moray, nay, Scotland surely (the world even?) – the inimitable Dorothy Allan. It has been a pleasure to get back involved with this particular project, even though I must offer my apologies for the tardy first installment of the blog – what can I say, we have just been so darn busy getting things rolling…

A lot has been going on and in this first blog I’ll report on what I’ve been up to; hot on its heels I’ll post a second blog letting you know all the splendid things that Dorothy’s been doing.

This year we have a focus on therapeutic gardening and a major part of this is developing food growing activities at Maryhill Health Centre. People can get referred by their GP or other health care professional to come join us in building the garden and growing tasty fruit and veg. Us REAP folks are well aware of the many ways in which doing this can be good for the soul – and one’s mental and physical health well-being – and we look forward to others seeing the benefit by joining in. I have been busy preparing a design for the garden, which we recently displayed at the surgery for everyone’s feedback – activities start next week!

AYP’s freshly planted bed

I’ve been doing sessions with many of the other groups I work with. Two Friday evening sessions at Elgin Youth Cafe as part of their summer programme proved lots of fun. Thanks to the hard work of the young people, there are now four new raised beds in their backyard space, sowed and planted up with french beans, peas, brassicas, pumpkins and various salads, to name but a few. Over at  Aberlour Youth Point, the young people and staff have been really proactive in planning what they’d like in order to reinvigorate their garden – a couple of sessions there have resulted in lots of weeding with a wide variety of brassicas going in – such as purple sprouting broccoli, various kales and Brussel Sprouts – with various faster growing salads sown in between for a quicker harvest without being shaded out. We refreshed ourselves with freshly picked strawberries and blackcurrants – mmm…

And time spent with the mums and much tinier ones at a couple of summer sessions (one of which was put on by our friends at Earthtime) at Step-by-Step’s new home at Winchester House proved equally rewarding. We ate a local lunch of broad bean pate to give us strength to blitz some weeding (my, were they quick…) and planted out and sowed a good variety of veggies. As well as collecting poppies for their seeds, I left the workers armed with various veg and salad seeds for more sowing and am looking forward to going back soon to see progress and to put all the ready compost from their bin (collected by the previous occupants, Action for Children) into one of the beds, ready for sowing – truly closing the loop! Talking of composting, the youngsters at Seafield Primary had a fun afternoon totally revamping their composting system and looking for beasties, along with some tidying and planting, but I suspect their most favourite part was eating the freshly harvested strawberries.

The elder folk of Moray have been involved too – we had a lovely time at Gurness Day Centre doing some indoor planting up of containers and tattie bags, finishing off with a delicious fresh herbal tea tasting session – lavender, calendula, rosemary and sage makes for a tasty blend. I’m looking forward to tasting the rhubarb chutney they made on another occasion…

And I’ve been on the road with colleagues at a couple of summer events, promoting the project, giving away seeds and other freebies and putting on some workshops – lots of fun!

So it really has been a summer of working with people of all ages – fantastic to connect with you all!

Hill of Towie Community Benefit Fund

The closing date for the next round of funding for Hill of Towie Community Benefit Fund is 22nd September 2017. Funding is available for local constituted community groups, registered charities and social enterprises for environmental or social projects and activities. 

For more information and application forms, see the grants page. You can also call 01542 888070 or email info@reapscotland.org.uk for more information or an informal chat before applying. Paper copies are also available at the office or can be posted out on request.

Make your own sun-powered oven with the bairns!

Would you and the bairns like to make a super-quick and easy DIY solar oven – which uses only the power of the sun to heat food? What about taking part in other fun crafting activities relating to home energy use, whilst having a blether about how to save cash on your fuel bills?

Well then, come along to our free Summer Scorcher roadshows:

Elgin  – outside the library entrance, on Tuesday 18th July 3pm – 4.30pm

Buckie – outside the library entrance, on Tuesday 1st August 3pm – 4.30pm.

 

There will be a marquee to keep dry just in case it isn’t a scorching day. Just drop in wheneverno need to book. It’s all free!

These sessions are part of REAP’s Community Energy Champions project; this also includes putting on free training to up-skill people in being more savvy about their home energy use, so they can pass their knowledge on to family, friends and neighbours. We’re now on the look-out for budding Energy Champions too – could it be you?

For further information about the event or our project please contact the REAP team on info@reapscotland.org.uk or 01542 888071.