Having just returned from my first ‘eco’ event, I feel inspired (and a tad relieved) that the world of ‘all things environmental’ is actually interesting and dare I say…….fun.
Tonight, I found myself at Northfield Eco Centre (after driving miles past the place and performing an illegal U-turn to get back) and what a lovely little place it is! Just on the other side of the town, nestled in a corner aback from the main road, the centre is small but perfectly formed. Not just ‘eco’ in its mission but ‘eco’ in its makeup – the centre boasts lots of energy-efficient features such as solar panels for heating, insulation and energy-saving light bulbs (even the toilets have sensors on the lights incase you forget to turn them off after your visit). You name it, they’ve thought about it.
For those not-in-the-know with all things environmentally friendly, the centre is a great place to visit. The walls are covered with posters and information about all the ways you can save energy in the home, reduce waste, reduce transport emissions and make a difference to the environment (as well as your wallet).
The team are very friendly and were happy to tell me all about the centre and upcoming events that would be of interest. The centre has two part-time employees and a group of dedicated volunteers who help run different events and promote the good work of the centre. And it seems that a good base of local residents and friends really offer their support as much as they can; it gave me a real community feel, which I think is great for a small, voluntary organisation.
Anyway, the event tonight was a clothes swap – the rules; bring one to three items in good condition and swap the same amount from everyone else’s donations. On arriving, I was informed by one organiser:
The rules have kind of disintegrated, we said two or three items but most people have brought bags full. I can’t believe it!
The smile on her face said it all – as the first of such events for the centre, I don’t think they were expecting it to be such a hit. But I’m glad it was. It was clear that a lot of people give much time and effort to the centre and it was nice for them to get such tremendous support from local residents. I think what made it, apart from ‘doing its bit for the environment’, was that it was a social event, everyone enjoyed chatting to others, exchanging clothes, expanding their wardrobe, swapping fashion tips.
It was the ‘feel-good factor’ with an added dash of ‘eco’ for good measures! Recycling, yes, community spirit, yes, social networking, yes. A successful night all round I’d say.
Next step – Birmingham Recycled article. Nice first story.