October newsletter: A tasty sustainable feast!


We’re very excited that tickets are now available for the launch of our Food for a Greener Future Campaign at Fitzbillies restaurant. We’ll be celebrating the best of local, sustainable, delicious food with a menu specially designed by Fitbillies first-class chef, Rosie Sykes. Booking is available through the event page on the CCF website.

As part of the Food for a Greener Future Campaign we’re also challenging you all to eat local in November! The goal? To source all of your food from within a 30-mile radius of Cambridge for three weeks. How hard can it be? Click here for lots more info on the challenge.

And if the thought of tasty sustainable food excites you, do check out our sustainable food blog if you haven’t seen it recently. There are some great posts from our regular contributors (even when we don’t have a challenge going on) – and also some delicious recipes!

Last chance! – Now is your last chance to book for our Carbon Conversations group starting next Wednesday! It’s a wonderful opportunity to find out more about low carbon living and to really kick start your low carbon life. We have a few spots left, so email alana@cambridgecarbonfootprint.org to book now.


  1. Carbon Conversations: Kick start your low carbon life!
  2. Festival of Ideas, 28 October
  3. Warm Homes Mill Road, 2 November
  4. Celebration of Sustainable Food at Fitzbillies, 21 November
  5. Eat local this November!
  6. It’s the Science
  7. Gardening in October – Something in the garden is staying warm!
  8. Public Meeting: The gagging law
  9. Global Sustainability Institute Seminar: A Fevered Planet
  10. Introduction to Permaculture with Claire White
  11. Global Sustainability Institute: Festival of Ideas event
  12. Green Enterprise: Carlos Ludlow-Palafox on opportunities in recycling

1. Carbon Conversations: Kick start your low carbon life!

Carbon Conversations is starting next week! It’s a great opportunity to connect with others and learn together about how we can live lower carbon lives. There are 6 sessions in all and each session is a supportive space to:

  • Learn about the impact of our food, travel, consumption and energy use
  • Share ideas and create plans
  • Talk and meet new people
  • Begin to get a grip on climate change

Meetings will be held fortnighly on from 7.30pm October 9th.

To register for this course, or your interest in attending any future Carbon Conversations groups please email your full name to alana@cambridgecarbonfootprint.org, or phone the CCF office on 01223 301842.

2. Festival of Ideas, 28 October

28 October 2013, 7.00-9.00pm, St Lukes Church, Victoria Road Cambridge, CB4 3DZ 

We all want to do something about climate change in light of the idea that it poses a real threat to humanity. But what can we personally do? This workshop for the Cambridge University Festival of Ideas looks at our current levels of consumption, energy use, global travel and food sourcing and asks, ‘Are the solutions within our reach?’

Participants will have the chance to compare their lifestyle expectations with lifestyle expectations as recently as 40 years ago and consider what it would be like to redraw the boundaries we have set to create a more sustainable lifestyle for ourselves. A lifestyle that would be fulfilling, enjoyable and exciting while at the same time lower in carbon.

The workshop will provide participants with a taste of the Carbon Conversations course we also run, which is a series of six engaging meetings helping participants to halve their carbon footprint.

For bookings email info@cambridgecarbonfootprint.org or call the CCF office on 01223 301842.

3. Warm Homes Mill Road, 2 November

 2 November, Mill Road Area & Ross Street Community Centre, CB1 3UZ

After the popularity of our Warm Homes Trumpington event, CCF have put together a whole day home-energy event for the Mill Road area, including a morning of visits to local houses with energy-saving improvements, as well as an afternoon at Ross St Community Centre with:

  • talks and workshops by home energy experts
  • videos of local homes and homeowners talking to energy experts
  • stalls with reliable local suppliers and installers
  • expert advice about you can do to save energy in your home including tailored advice for tenants
  • DIY improvements
  • Getting the best out of your house at no extra cost
  • latest information on loans and grants, including the Green Deal

Check out the full timetable of activities at the Ross St Centre (pdf)

The main focus will be on the many pre-1920s houses in the area (and throughout Cambridge) which have solid walls and are therefore more difficult and expensive to insulate.

Please contact us for more information, bookings for home tours will be open soon.

4. Celebration of Sustainable Food at Fitzbillies, 21 November

21 November, 7.00pm, Fitzbillies Restaurant 52A Trumpington Street, Cambridge CB2 1RG

Join us at Fitzbillies to celebrate the delicious and varied sustainable, local food around Cambridge, and to launch the new Food for a Green Future campaign. There will be three course sustainable set menu, including both vegan and omnivorous options. Tickets are £33 per person not including drinks.

Booking only through Cambridge Carbon Footprint. Click here for more info and to book your spot!

5. Eat local this November!

4 November – 17 November

Roll up your sleeves, switch your brain into ‘inventive cooking’ mode, and get ready to go crazy in the kitchen! After a break over the summer, we’re once again once again gearing up for our next food challenge. Your goal? To source all of your food from within a 30-mile radius of Cambridge for three weeks, with an extra emphasis on reducing your meat and dairy intake.

It should also be mentioned that we do advocate the ‘five exceptions’ rule: that is, please allow yourself five ingredients (such as rice, tea, quinoa, spices etc) that are not local…just to ensure you are getting the proper nutrition and still enjoy your food!

Participants will also have the opportunity to write about their experiences on our sustainable food blog, and to meet other participants at a bring-and-share meal.

There’s lots more information on the CCF website, but to take part in the challange and join up with other local eaters you just need to email elaina@cambridgecarbonfootprint.org.

6. It’s the Science

By Tom Bragg

Yesterday I was at DECC’s launch of the new IPCC climate science report, which provides a consensus view with unequivocal messages; most climate scientists actually think the situation is even more challenging, but it was uplifting to be with so many people who wanted to explain and act on the science.

For the first time, it describes a global carbon budget: to have a two-thirds chance of staying below a dangerous 2°C of global warming, humankind must add less than one trillion tonnes of carbon to the atmosphere. By 2011 we’d already used half this budget, and unless emissions are cut rapidly, we’ll burn the rest in 30 years. The report also warns that this budget may be smaller, because of ‘known unknowns’ in the climate system, like methane emissions from permafrost.

Heeding this climate science implies that at least two-thirds of current fossil fuel reserves must be left in the ground – a complete reversal of the rush to discover and burn more oil, gas and coal.

But with a General Election looming, politicians are falling over themselves to freeze fuel prices or fuel duty. Please oppose these and other short-term populist measures that feed climate change.

The hard truth is that fossil fuel prices will need to rise even further. We must strive to ease the effect of this on those who can’t afford it: a small example is CCF’s new Warm Homes Plus project to provide households in fuel poverty with advice and practical help to improve their homes’ thermal efficiency.

7. Gardening in October – Something in the garden is staying warm!

By Keith Jordan

As October day lengths shorten and the sun is lower in the sky, temperatures are generally on the decline. This is a natural trigger for many animals and plants to make provision for storage and survival during the winter months. Jays and squirrels will be collecting acorns to bury, insects may be laying eggs, pupating or finding safe hibernation places. Many herbaceous plants die back, shed leaves or divert their energy reserves from leaves and stems to their roots, tubers or bulbs.

Associated with mass decomposition of plant material, well-made compost heaps will be warming up.
Decomposition involves millions of microorganisms (bacteria and fungi) plus some larger organisms including earthworms, molluscs and woodlice. Under optimal aerobic conditions, composting proceeds through three phases:

1) Mesophilic phase (moderate-temperature), which lasts for a few days (look out for woodlice and worms). Composting will occur optimally if the mixture of materials is right – a good mix of greens (the wet, soft, green materials, high in nitrogen) and browns (the dry harder, absorbent materials high in carbon). It needs to be moist (water if necessary, but not too wet) and have enough air (some bulky, twiggy material provides this). Covering with old carpet will help to keep the heat in.

2) Thermophilic phase (high-temperature), lasting from a few days to several weeks depending on the time of year and material. Billions of bacteria (good species!) and fungi will chemically break down the variety of organic materials, using a broad range of enzymes, and generating heat in the process. You may have seen evidence of this exothermic process – steam rising from a heap of manure on a cold day. This is the basis of the old technique of hot beds used in the walled kitchen gardens of stately homes to raise plants in cold frames out of their normal season.

Larger, insulated compost heaps may heat up to 40-50°C and municipal scale compost systems to 60-70°C destroying pathogens, fly larvae, and weed seeds. It would be interesting to use a thermal camera to check yours! Mix grass clippings, straw or hay to kick start slow, cool compost heaps. Natural products high in ammonia can also help (e.g. poultry manure, waste water from an aquarium, etc.).
Lack of oxygen (if too wet or compacted/ perhaps too much soil added) results in anaerobic bacteria producing ammonia and hydrogen sulphide (smelly and no heat!).

3) Cooling and maturation phase, lasting several-months. Woodlice and worms carry on the process.
Turning material once or twice will help this stage. The result is nutrient rich organic matter, perfect material for adding to your soil, making potting compost and mulching around plants.

8. Public Meeting: The gagging law

Last month Tom Bragg wrote a piece in our newsletter about the upcoming gagging law. Many charities (including CCF) are concerned about the implications to their activities. To voice these concerns 38 Degrees have set up a public meeting in Cambridge, which MP Julian Huppert will be attending. Here’s what 38 Degrees  have to say:

Want to help stop the gagging law? There’s a public meeting happening in Cambridge on 17th October. Your MP, Julian Huppert, has already confirmed that he’s attending. But we need to pack the meeting with lots of his constituents. Can you come?

Here are the details:
Friday 17th October
Wolfson Hall, Churchill College, Storey’s Way, Cambridge, CB3 0DS
7:30pm – 9:30pm

Your MP, Julian Huppert, is one of the MPs that we need to vote against the gagging law, if we’re going to stop it. 38 Degrees members voted to focus on public meetings as a way of persuading MPs to make a stand against the gagging law. We know it’s a very effective tactic. But we need to make sure the meeting is packed full to the rafters. To work, it needs to be big.

MPs will vote on the gagging law again on October 8th. Let’s make sure that for Julian Huppert MP, the thought of justifying the way he voted face-to-face with hundreds of constituents will be front of mind when he casts his votes. If we can get lots of people to turn out, it’s bound to impact on what your MP does as the law continues its way through parliament.

Everyone is welcome to come along, so please bring your friends and family. Even if you don’t want to ask a question, it will be interesting to hear what your MP, Julian Huppert, and the speakers have to say on the gagging law.

Visit our facebook event page and let us know if you can come. We need to show that as many people are planning to attend as possible, so please RSVP – and invite your friends too.

If you don’t have facebook, you can email emailtheteam@38degrees.org.uk or leave a comment on our blog to RSVP.

9. Global Sustainability Institute Seminar: A Fevered Planet

7 October, 1.00-2.00pm Lab 005 (Anglia Ruskin East Road campus) 

Speaker: Prof Hugh Montgomery, UCL

The number of humans on the planet has grown at an extraordinary rate, and in a very short space of time. At the same time, the rate of technical and industrial growth has massively accelerated- as have the demands and expectations of each individual. The net result is that humanity has degraded Earth’s biosphere at a rate which is unsustainable. On top of this, anthropogenic climate change acts as a force multiplier. For all too long, these combined impacts have been framed as ‘academic’, or at best distant and slow. They have also been framed in terms of tigers, polar bears, and tree frogs. But what does the environmental impact which humans have had on the environment mean for the environment’s impact on humans?

Any questions, or to let us know you’re coming (which is not essential) contact rosie.robison@anglia.ac.uk or julie-anne.hogbin@anglia.ac.uk, 01223 695107.

**Sustainable Lunch Provided**

10. Introduction to Permaculture with Claire White

12 – 13 October, 9.30am-5.00pm, Trumpington Pavillion 09:30-17:30

Permaculture is the underpinning philosophy behind Transition Towns. While Permaculture has it’s origins in land use and growing systems that is only a part of Permaculture. It is a design system, not just for gardening but for all aspects of living sustainably, be that in our emotional lives, how we design and use our homes and much much more. This weekend course Costs £75 (£65 unwaged).

11. Global Sustainability Institute: Festival of Ideas event

23 October, 5.30-7.00pm, LAB 027 (Anglia Ruskin East Road campus)

Title: Uncomfortable conversations… why discussing the big issues is so hard

Like politics, religion and money, climate change can be one of those topics it’s not very comfortable to talk about with friends. It can provoke strong feelings, and judgement of people’s life choices, so isn’t it more considerate not to mention it at all? In this interactive talk, speakers from the Global Sustainability Institute and friends will give their thoughts on why we avoid issues that it might be helpful for us to face up to, from climate change to our own health, and ask the audience to share their views and experiences. Led by Dr Rosie Robison and Julie-Anne Hogbin from the Global Sustainability Institute, Anglia Ruskin University.

15+, Free, Full access, Talk, Arrive on time, Booking not required

For more information see the Festival of Ideas event listing.

12. Green Enterprise: Carlos Ludlow-Palafox on opportunities in recycling

October 28, 7:30-9:30pm, Friends Meeting House, 12 Jesus Lane, Cambridge, CB5 8BA

Carlos Ludlow-Palafox of Enval is successful entrepreneur who has developed a patented process and built a commercial scale recycling plant for recycling the formerly unrecyclable flexible laminate packaging (as used for toothpaste tubes, food pouches and coffee) Carlos is clearly skilled at navigating the funding maze, so this session will be of interest to anyone wondering about how to find funding for their idea, or the important topic of how we can convert landfill waste into valuable resources.

As usual in Green-enterprise events, the evening will be participative and will include plenty of time for discussion with the speaker and other participants. Cost £5.

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June 2013 newsletter: Open Eco Homes and group challenges


Julian Huppert (MP for Cambridge) will be at the Eco Renovation Question Time this Friday June 7, to help us officially launch Open Eco Homes for 2013. A panel of homeowners and home energy experts will also be on hand to answer your questions, with discussion on anything related to eco renovation. The panel will include Peter Bates, Managing Director and founder of The 80percent Company, Alex Rice, freelance low-energy building consultant, Tim Acheson of Green Hat Construction, Andy Rankin from Midsummer Energy, and environmental consultant and eco home builder Colin Harris. In addition there will be stalls and displays with the information and inspiration you need to make your home renovation project a success, and you’ll also have the chance to meet the home owners taking part in Open Eco Homes, and book your visits (if you haven’t already!). Read more below!

We’d really love to pack the hall out for Eco Renovation Question time. Please help us by forwarding on this invitation to your contacts!

Don’t forget the cinema showing of “Peak” this Wednesday! Cambridge Carbon Footprint will introduce this award-winning documentary and chair a post-film discussion with experts.

We have a new Eating Well on a Budget challenge starting in June. Read more below and join us to learn how it is possible to eat sustainably and healthily even on a small budget.

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February 2013 newsletter: Volunteer opportunities and low carbon cooking in February

Open Eco Homes is on again on 15th and 23rd June, and we are already looking for people willing to open their homes! We’re looking for houses that have undergone significant renovations or have been designed and built to be environmentally friendly. Homes should preferably be in Cambridge itself. Information about the event and last years homes are available at www.openecohomes.org.

The dates for the Milton Road Carbon Conversations group have now changed and it will run Wednesdays on February 6th, 20th, 27th, March 13th and 27th from 7.30pm – 9.30pm with the date for the 6th meeting to be decided by the group. If you would like to experience Carbon Conversations, which the Guardian called one of the ‘best 20 climate solutions’, get in touch with the office.

We have several exciting volunteer vacancies available, so if you can spare a couple of hours a week and would like to join our friendly team, read more below or on our website.

Cambridge City Council and the other Cambridgeshire Councils have been awarded funding to provide a limited number of free Green Deal Home Energy Efficiency Assessments to residents. Find out more below.

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January 2013 newsletter: Carbon Conversations and Low-Carbon Cooking in January

Our January Carbon Conversations groups are starting soon, but there is still time to book your place! Get in touch soon to find out more about finding your own, personal ways of cutting your carbon footprint.

Have you ever noticed the varied ways climate change is discusses in the media? If so, and you’d like to find out more about how media affects the way people view climate change and climate scientists, join us to hear Dr Rosie Robison talk about climate change in the media at Anglia Ruskin University on 22 January.

In January and February Cambridge hosts several opportunities to learn more about climate friendly food from different perspectives. We are organising a vegetarian cooking workshop on 17 January and a networking event for people interested or involved in local food on 12 February. Additionally, Sally Fenn, a CCF volunteer, is running a sustainable cooking course this January in Sawston. Now is a good time to learn to cook delicious, sustainable food!
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November 2012 newsletter: Warm homes in November

Do come to our big home energy event in Trumpington on November 10th – there is something for everyone, whether you live in Trumpington or not: DIY and “no cost energy savings” workshops,  films made with local residents, house visits, talks from sustainability experts, children’s activities. With energy prices constantly on the rise, this is not to be missed!

In mid-November, we are delighted to have Molly Scott Cato discuss the role of local economies in the progress towards a more sustainable lifestyle. A few days later, on 20th November, we’ll have a practical introduction to one side of local, sustainable communities, as our expert panel shares their experiences in starting a community garden.
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Newsletter October 2012: Sustainability skills and ceilidh in October!

Our great SkillsFest is this Saturday – no need to book, just show up on the day to learn new, exciting skills towards a sustainable future!

If you haven’t experienced our Carbon Conversations yet, you still have time to sign up to one of the groups this autumn. We are also training new facilitators this autumn, so if you have already taken part and would like to facilitate groups yourself, get in touch!

Later this month we are organising a ceilidh. Our ceilidhs have always been great fun with lots of dancing and great music, so join us for truly amazing evening! We are also looking for some volunteers to give us a hand, so if you’d like to help, read more below.

To read about our highly successful celebration of local food, with talks from local producers and feedback from a panel of Eating Local participants, see here.
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Mid-September 2012 newsletter: Mid-September greetings from Cambridge Carbon Footprint!

You’ll have to act fast if you want to book for our popular Eat Buy Local event this Friday! There are still a few places on our October Carbon Conversations groups, but these are going fast, too – and there won’t be any more groups until the new year after this!

Want to learn new ways to make and mend? Our SkillsFest is coming on 6th October, so save the date! If you want to help others learn new skills too, join our pre-SkillsFest learning party next week, pick a new skill and share it with others at the SkillsFest.

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September 2012 newsletter: Celebrating local food in September

Now is the very last minute to join this autumn’s Eating Well on a Budget challenge! If you’re quick, you can still join our fab group in this fun and eye-opening experience. Great low-carbon food doesn’t need to be expensive! Or would you like to taste great local food and hear from our Eating Local bloggers, what life really is like with a local diet? Then book a place at out Eat Buy Local event! Great new ideas on sourcing and cooking local and seasonal food.

Carbon Conversations are starting again – make this the autumn you really get started on your low carbon lifestyle! Find out why so many people think this is fantastic, life-changing course! These are the final courses for this year, so sign up now if you don’t want to wait till 2013!

If you have already experienced Carbon Conversations, join others at the annual Carbon Conversations Reunion on September 13th. A nice way to share experiences on cutting down carbon, works also well if you feel like adding a little oomph to your carbon cutting!

We are looking for a volunteer admin to join our friendly team. If you’d like to gain some valuable office work experience, find out more below!
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August 2012 newsletter: Planning a low-carbon autumn in August

This autumn, Cambridge Carbon Footprint is challenging everyone to eat locally, no matter what the budget! We are starting another Eating Well on a Budget food challenge in September, so join us in our quest to create local, sustainable meals on £21/week. We are also delighted to invite everyone interested in local food to our Eat Buy Local event on 21 September. Enjoy a nice meal, get new ideas and meet local producers at this exciting celebration of local, sustainable produce.

Going back to work and in need of something new to wear? Instead of hitting the high street, CCF offers a more fun, low-carbon alternative – our second swishing party on 1 September! Find treasures to create an exciting new autumn look, and help others do the same by bringing something from your own wardrobe.

This autumn we are running three Carbon Conversations groups in Cambridge and one in Cottenham. All the Cambridge groups start in October and have six meetings, usually fortnightly, running till late November and early December. Learn more about reducing your carbon footprint in a friendly atmosphere, with plenty of information and support available on how to find your own lower carbon lifestyle.

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July 2012 newsletter: Open Eco Gardens and Eco Renovations in July

The first Open Eco Gardens event is almost here! Following in the footsteps of our hugely popular Open Eco Homes events, Open Eco Gardens is a source of inspiration to all eco minded gardeners. Read more below or on our website and book a visit to your favourite gardens soon.

Before Gardens, Transition Cambridge is hosting a Home Energy Fair on 5th July, with short talks and stalls to offer advice on how to make your home more energy efficient.

Towards the end of the month we also have another eco-renovation in progress event. This time we will go examine two Victorian cottages to find out how the owners have improved them and what could still be done. These events are always popular, so booking is essential.

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Mid-June greetings from Cambridge Carbon Footprint!

We have an exciting CCF fortnight coming up! First we have our Sharing in the Community event this Wednesday. Join us to find new ways to spend less and get to know the community better. Next Wednesday, 27th June, it is time for our summer social. Find out what CCF is planning to do later this year and have great discussions with like-minded people.

The gardens featured in Open Eco Gardens on 14th July are now listed on the CCF website, so take a look and book your tour. The gardens vary from communal to family gardens, but all offer lots of inspiration on how to create a beautiful and sustainable garden.

If you’d like to start planning something nice for autumn after all the summery celebrations and events, CCF is organising a ceilidh this autumn, and in order to make it a success, we’d love your help! If you’d like to volunteer, find out more below!

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June 2012 newsletter: Sustainable summer treats in June!


We currently have exciting opportunities for a part-time admin volunteer and volunteers to join our fundraising group! Find out more below or on out website.

Ever wondered how to cook food that is good for you and the planet? To find out, join us this Friday to watch PlanEAT and enjoy a delicious, sustainable dinner. It is possible to make good, healthy and sustainable food, we’ll prove that on Friday. The day before, on Thursday, Transition Cambridge will be brainstorming the future of transport with short talks, information stands and open discussion on the topic. Join in the discussion to help create visions for transport of the future.

The Work that Reconnects workshop is on 15 – 17 June, so if you’d like to learn how to turn your concerns and emotions into action, join us for a truly inspirational weekend. This weekend workshop is just outside of Cambridge, on an organic farm in the beautiful fens, providing the perfect background to strengthen the feeling of interconnectedness with nature.
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May 2012 newsletter: Open Eco Homes and opportunities in May


Our fantastic Co-ordinator Mary is leaving at the end of June, and now we are looking for a new Co-ordinator to ensure that our projects continue running smoothly. This is a great opportunity to become the heart of a lively and active charity! Find out more below or on our website.

Questions about eco-renovating your property? Join the Open Eco Homes launch event, Eco-renovation Question Time, on 2 May to meet a panel of experts to answer your questions. We are also still looking for volunteer stewards – get an inside view of the Open Eco Homes! Find out more below or on our website.

Remember – if you are thinking of making a donation to CCF, May 14th is the day to do it and double your money!
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April 2012 newsletter: AGM, sharing and gardening in April

Hope you are able to come to the AGM. We would love to hear from you as we discuss the past year and plan the future, so come along for a cup of tea and a friendly chat!

Open Eco Homes are back and this time more exciting than ever! Booking lines are now open (closed over Easter) and the tours are filling up quickly. Get a good start and find out how to make your own house an eco home at the Eco-renovation Question Time launch event on 2 May.

Want to consume less and help build stronger communities? Come to our Sharing Economy event next Thursday for an interesting discussion on how sharing can change our ways of consumption.

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March 2012 newsletter: Books, blogs and breaking habits in March!

Spring is coming and Cambridge is buzzing with exciting events. Come and meet us at the Science Festival, change a few good reads or sign up to become a Carbon Conversations facilitator – we can’t wait to hear from you!

We now have a new phone number, which is working perfectly! You can now reach us on 01223 301842. Apologies for previous issues with the phone line.

Lost property:  we’re looking for the owner of an HP Photosmart R507 camera, left at one of our stalls last year.  It’s well-worn, and contains a photo of a girl with black hair and headscarf.  Please contact the office to reclaim.

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