Newsletter April 2013: Auctioning experiences in April

Our big fundraising auction takes place on 27th April, so check some of the fantastic offers available on our website and come to bid on fantastic low-carbon goods and experiences for a great cause! We can still accept a few more auction lots, if you have a unique experience you would like to offer. Get in touch as soon as possible with to discuss!

Our final Carbon Conversations group before autumn is starting on 17th April, and there is only one place left, so if you want to take part this spring, be quick and read more below or on our website.

Cambridge Carbon Footprint outreach group is looking for new members, and so we are organising a training workshop for new outreach volunteers. Our outreach group members give talks and run workshops in schools, colleges, businesses and institutions, and the training workshop gives practise in introducing and discussing climate change with varied audiences. 
Runnings workshops with CCF is great fun and gets one acquainted with lots of interesting people and topics, so I can warmly recommend taking part!
Laura, outreach volunteer

Continuing Carbon Conversations group still has some spaces left, and the next meeting is on Wednesday 10th April. If you’d like to continue benefiting from the friendly support of Carbon Conversations groups, read more below.

Continuing Carbon Conversations 10 April

Wednesday 10 April, 7.30 – 9pm

Next Wednesday evening several of us will be meeting at Bev’s house for a Continuing Carbon Conversations session, mainly about our general consumption and how to develop a more low-carbon lifestyle, although we may touch on other topics as well. Normally we share successes and difficulties and exchange tips on sustainable living and the evening is relaxed, supportive and friendly. This will be the second of a series of four meetings for people who have already participated in a Carbon Conversations group and there are still a couple of places if you would like to join us. Email if you are interested.

Beginners Sewing Workshop 13 April

Saturday 13 April, 11am – 3pm, CCF office off Milton Rd

Did you know that around 30% of clothing in UK wardrobes has not been worn for at least a year, most commonly because the clothes no longer fit? Extending the average life of clothes by just three months of active use would lead to a 5-10% reduction in each of the carbon, water and waste footprints made by clothing! Learning to alter and repair your own clothes is a vital skill that will allow you to bring new life to your clothes and cut down on waste.

Towards that end CCF is offering a sewing workshop on 13th April consisting of two optional sessions.

11am to 12:30pm – session 1.
12:30pm to 1:30pm – break (bring your own lunch if you’re staying for the second session)
1:30pm to 3:00pm – session 2.

For both sessions you can choose to learn about either hand sewing skills (such as small repairs, buttons, hemming), OR make a tote bag on a sewing machine to pick up a few simple skills that useful in altering clothes (great if you’ve got a machine you never get around to using or are thinking of buying one). If you’d like to learn both, you can sign up for both the am and pm sessions to get the full experience, or just pick what you’re most interested in for one session.

Booking is very essential! Please note that the machine sewing sessions are now full and we are accepting names for the waiting list, but there are still a few places in both the am and pm hand sewing sessions. Send an email to or call 01223 301842 to register.

Both sessions are free and will be held at our office off Milton Road (address here), but small donations to help cover costs would be helpful! Bring along any clothes you might have that need a bit of repair or hemming for practice, we’ll have some as well. For the tote bag/sewing machine session, the machine and materials will be provided.

The workshops will be led by expert sewers and clothing upcyclers Lesley Guebert and Fiona Riggall.

Climate Friendly Homes – Surveyor Training 16 April

Tuesday 16 April, 7.30 – 9pm, Cambridge Carbon Footprint, Future Business, Milton Rd, Cambridge CB4 1UY

Interested in making homes cosier and more energy efficient and keen to help others?Why not come to this training and become a surveyor for CCF’s Climate Friendly Homes Project?

Climate Friendly Homes provides a free service to householders to help them make practical plans to reduce their carbon emissions.

Surveyors will learn how to:

  • create an individualised report offering suggestions and advice about what can be done to cut the carbon footprint of a home
  • provide information tailored to individual circumstances on grants, suppliers and discount
  • give home owners advice and support

If you would like to book a place on the training please

We want our events to be as accessible as possible. Please contact us if you have any additional needs and we will do our best to accommodate them.

Carbon Conversations starting 17 April

Wednesday 17 April, 7.30 – 9.30pm, Hills Road (near the station)

Carbon Conversations is a series of six practical and friendly evening meetings to help you discover low-carbon living with like minded people. Led by trained facilitators the meetings the group will explore the basic climate change problem, their responses to it, their ideas for a low-carbon future and the four key areas of the footprint – home energy, travel, food and other consumption. Most members make reductions of 1 tonne CO2 during the meetings and develop plans to halve their footprints over a longer period.

“This course is brilliant because it doesn’t preach, and it doesn’t make you feel guilty. It asks stimulating questions, provides clear information and helps you make your own decisions.”

“Taking part in carbon conversations was incredibly useful for me because it really helped me to feel comfortable with my consumer choices. It finally gave me the information I needed to make choices that I had struggled over before.”

Join us for a new Carbon Conversations group at Hills Road (near the station) and discover your low-carbon life. The group will meet 7.30pm – 9.30pm, April 17th, May 1st, 15th, 29th and June 12th, with the sixth meeting to be decided as a group.

For more information or to book email

Cost is just £15 which includes a handbook.

Mill Green Brewery Tour 20 April

Saturday 20 April, 9.30am – 2pm

Cambridge Carbon Footprint is pleased to offer a tour of Mill Green Brewery in Suffolk this April. Mill Green Brewery is a multi award-winning forward-thinking, but traditional brewery, using green technologies and local resources in brewing their beer. We will be carpooling to the brewery for our very own tour.

Check out some of Mill Green’s green credentials:

  • The brewery building was built using local wood, reclaimed bricks, sheeps wool, and lime plaster.
  • The brewing liquor is heated using bio and solar power.
  • A 3000 litre storage tank is constantly heated by our solar panels and is then topped up to brewing temperature by a high efficiency wood boiler. (All the wood coming from a local Suffolk Wildlife Trust wood).
  • They have a field 3 miles away in Chelsworth where they grow a large amount of our own malting barley and hops.
  • A 6kw 9m wind turbine is situated on the campsite and helps provide electricity for the site
  • The used grains are fed to local cattle, and the hops spread on the White Horse’s beer garden hedge.


The cost for the tour is £20 and includes a meal and a pint at the White Horse pub, which is right next door to the brewery.
We will be carpooling from Cambridge (if you would like to be one of our drivers, please let us know in your booking request), leaving Cambridge by 9:30am, to arrive at the brewery around 10:45am. The location to meet for carpool will be given upon booking.
The tour will start at 11am and last for about an hour.
We will return to Cambridge after lunch, around 2-2:30pm.
To book, please email or call 01223 301842.

Training workshop for CCF’s outreach programme 25 April

Thursday 25 April, 7.30 – 9.30pm

Would you like to join our outreach team and co-facilitate workshops or give presentations to different organisations on behalf of CCF?

We are offering a training course for people interested in running workshops and giving presentations, as part of CCF’s essential outreach. Our outreach team ran 14 workshops for other organisations during 2012, from schools and colleges to businesses and the British Antarctic Survey.

The 2-hour sessions will be facilitated by Liz Serocold and Bev Sedley from 7.30-9.30pm on Thursdays April 25th, May 9th (and May 23rd if there are more than four participants). During the first session, participants will choose a partner and a topic. Between sessions the pair will plan a 1-hour session on their topic for a particular audience of their choice. During the second (and possibly third) session, each pair will have the opportunity to present 15 minutes of their session to the rest of the group, which will provide a safe option to try out presentation/workshop skills.  Participants will give and receive constructive feedback in this supportive atmosphere and will need to attend all three sessions.

This will be a closed group for a maximum of eight people and a minimum of four. It’s a great opportunity to develop your presentation and workshop skills with a view to putting these into practice later on, helping us to increase other organisations’ understanding of climate change and carbon reduction. Ideally you should have completed a Carbon Conversations course or other low carbon/sustainability training and have some experience of leading groups or speaking in public. See here for more information about our outreach programme.

For more information or to book please contact Alana at

Goods and Experiences Fundraising Auction 27 April

Saturday 27 April, 7.30 – 9.30pm, St. Andrew’s Hall, St. Andrew’s Road, Chesterton

Get ready to scoop up some amazing experiences at our Fundraising Auction this April! The evening will include both a silent and a live auction of over 25 fantastic prizes donated from businesses and individuals around Cambridge. Unlike most auctions which only focus on taking home “stuff”, the main focus of our auction is unique experiences and services donated by CCF volunteers and supporters.

Some of the lots up for auction include:

– A one-day bicycle maintenance training course, courtesy of Outspoke Cycle Training

– A behind the scenes tour of The Polar Museum at the Scott Polar Research Institute for up to 10 people

-Self-catering accomodation for 2-8 people at the Cowshed in Waveney Valley courtesy of Bikeways Unlimited, either 4 nights during the week or a two night weekend break

– Three course formal dinner for two in Clare College’s 17th Century Great Hall, on a Friday during term-time

-An evening (or afternoon) of board game instruction and play for between 2 to 4 people for any of the following games (you can select more than one): Settlers of Catan, Carcassone, 7 Wonders, Munchkin, EcoFlux, or Pandemic

– Two dinner party desserts for a single occasion, to be delivered to your home

– A personal styling session from a member of our Second Hand Style team, whose work is being featured in the April issue of Style magazine

And so many other amazing items! Payment for lots must be settled on the evening, with only cash or cheque please. See you there!

Vegan Baking Workshop 8 May

Wednesday 8 May, 6.30 – 9pm, Parkside Community College

Following from our highly popular Burgers Delight and Super Salads workshops earlier this year, CCF is pleased to offer a workshop on Vegan Baking this May.

Our expert vegans, Oscar Gillespie and Tehnuka Ilanko will show you common substitutions and give you the chance to try out a couple recipes on the evening. Remember to bring a container to take home your baked goodies in!

We are switching venues to Parkside Community College (CB1 1EH). Materials will be included, but to cover the costs of these materials, we suggest a donation of £3-5, which can be paid in person on the night.

To register, please email Space is limited and tends to fill up early, so register soon to avoid disappointment!

Annual General Meeting 16 May

Thursday 16 May, 7.30 – 9.30pm, St. Lukes Church, Victoria Road.

It’s been a great year for CCF, and it’s time to take a look back at what we’ve accomplished and where we’d like to go. Join us for our Annual General Meeting where we will present highlights from our annual report for 2012 and give a look at what’s coming up in the year ahead.

There’s no need to book, but if you would like to vote on trustee appointments or other matters you need to become a company member, which is as simple as filling out a form. Contact for more information.

Living Well with Less Stuff 22 May

Wednesday 22 May, 7.30 – 9.30pm, venue TBC

A year ago a group of us at CCF decided to try living one year with less stuff. Each of our challenges was personal: some of us just reflected on our consumption, others pledged to buy nothing but essentials for the whole year. Come and find out what it was like for those of us Living Well with Less Stuff: how did we do? Was it enjoyable, agonising, hair-shirt or satisfying? What did we learn?

The event will include a pannel of our participants, a swap shop and other activities to help you live well with less stuff too. Booking is required, just or call 01223 301842 to save a place!

Still a chance to catch up on second-hand style!

If you missed our Second Hand Style event on 15th March, you can visit our past events page for photos and a video of the fashion show, as well as links to our spread in Cambridge Style Magazine this month and our guest spots on Cambridge 105 discussing second hand fashion. If you’re in the city centre, you can also check out our photo and clothing display on Sussex St. from 8th to 22nd April, courtesy of Changing Spaces.

Gardening in April: Get prepared for the return of spring!

On a late March morning I awoke to find a layer of snow covering the garden. Ironically, the same day a local church newsletter dropped on the doormat announcing ‘Warm Easter greetings….’. The snowfall was light in Cambridge, but other parts if the UK received heavy falls and drifts brought by the strong easterly winds from Siberia.  It is not unusual to experience snow and cold weather at Easter time (e.g. significant snow at Easter 2008), but the recent long spell of winter is quite unprecedented.

Read Keith Jordan’s full article on our website.

Cold Man of Europe

by Tom Bragg

Most UK housing is so poor that Britain has become the “Cold man of Europe”, with theworst fuel poverty in Western Europe. I wish the Green Deal success, but it won’t deliver the home energy improvements we need. The Energy Bill Revolution, calls on the government to deliver warm homes and lower energy bills by using the money it gets from carbon taxes to make homes super-energy efficient. Please consider signing their petition.

The government’s Renewable Heat Incentive, supporting heat-pumps, solar thermal and biomass heating has been delayed again. Heat-pumps would get better still if we decarbonise our electricity – with much more renewable and low-carbon energy (not gas!)

You’ve probably seen the 26MW Wadlow Wind Farm, near West Wratting, on Cambridge’s SE skyline. It caused considerable protest. Does it offend you? I like its place in the landscape and was delighted to see hares & skylarks enjoying it too.

Solar PV farms are springing up too, like the 5MW sites at WilburtonHaslingfield and Chittering . Now a 13MWinstallation is planned at Wimpole. Sheep will graze the site, which could easily be returned to normal farm land after its 25 year design life. Please commentin support of this application.

As with these commercial PV developments, it’s still a good time for you to install PV, if you have a house with a suitable roof. Although the FITs subsidy has been cut, so has the installation cost, still giving a good return if you can afford the outlay – now less of a barrier.

Ro Randall: Funny weather, funny feelings and what we expect from scientists

Last week government chief scientist John Beddington stepped down with words similar to those of the ‘perfect storm’ speech with which he took office in 2009. Then he warned that the threats of climate change combined with food, water and energy shortages would converge in 2030 in a storm of social and political upheaval. This time, in an interview with John Humphreys on Radio 4’s Today programme his time frame had shifted. Although he made the usual caveat ‘We can’t attribute any one event…’ Beddington was clearer than many scientists who appear on radio or TV that the strange weather the UK has experienced over the last 18 months is the effect of a changing climate. Unusual drought, followed by unusual rain, followed by unusual cold is the kind of unpredictable variability that the science would predict, he said.

Read Ro Randall’s full article at

Grow Your Own Session in Trumpington 13 April

Saturday 13 April, 10am – 1pm, Trumpington allotments

Join experienced allotmenteer Dave Fox on his plot in Trumpington. These sessions are for novices and people with any amount of practical growing experience – it’s more of a mutual sharing than a lesson! In the April session we will be sowing various crops including potatoes and nurturing early crops in the community polytunnel. Booking essential. More onTransition Cambridge website.

Transition Cafe: Permaculture film “Building with Nature” with Gay Veal 18 April

Thursday 18 April, 7.30 – 9pm, CB1 Cafe, 32 Mill Road

Gay Veal will introduce the film that she and her husband made while living in Brazil over a 10 year period. They had acquired 100 acres of land in the beautiful setting of the Serra Sao Jose (mountains) near Tiradentes in the state of Minas Gerias. The area was designated the equivalent of a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and is home to rare dragonflies, butterflies, monkeys and orchids. Nevertheless the forest had been felled 20 years previously and most of the trees were secondary growth. It had recovered well in that time and they planted many more trees, including native fruits. Their aim was to increase the natural habitat and build a sustainable house from local materials. Their 40-min film shows the methods and materials they used across the two years it took to complete it without electricity, using basic tools and water from springs on the land. They had horses and chickens as well as an organic vegetable garden. Their builders, from the nearby village, still had the memories and skills of building with earth. Gay will give a short introduction to the film and will answer questions at the end. All welcome, free.

Community Food Enterprises – Cropshare, Cambake and Sustainable Souk 22 April

Monday 22 April, 7.30 – 9.30pm, Friends Meeting House, Jesus Lane

This green enterprise session focuses on “Community Food”, looking at three different early stage community food enterprises in the Cambridge area: Cropshare (a Community Supported Agriculture scheme working with a local farmer), Cambake (a community supported bakery), and Sustainable Souk (an online ordering and cycle delivery service for local food). All have been incubated in the Transition Cambridge Food Group. We will hear the inside story – the principles that underlie a community food enterprise, and the vision, opportunities and challenges for each. Do join us to learn more about these inspiring local examples, contribute your ideas about how they can overcome the challenges they are facing, and discuss how we can build a resilient local food system. As usual in Green-enterprise events, the evening will be participative and will include plenty of time for discussion with the speakers and other participants. All welcome, cost £5. More at:



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