Ecobrick Settee & Coffee Table

After what seems like forever we have at last been able to build and install a project built here in the UK following the principles of plastic sequestration as laid out in the guidelines produced by the Global Ecobrick Alliance. 

I would like to introduce to you the Ecobrick Settee and coffee table Four Acres academy in Bristol. 

Encon construction Ltd have built a new Waste and Recycling centre in Bristol.  As part of the community benefits that run alongside the build they have been working with Four Acres Academy in Bristol. 

They have run lots of educational workshops for the children and one of those was to create an ecobrick project. 

I was asked to run one of the Global Ecobrick Alliances (GEA) starter workshops for the children, and to build a settee and coffee table following the guidelines of the GEA plastic sequestration principles. 

And here it is!

358 ecobricks all logged and authenticated on gobrik.com with a combined weight of 180.09 kgs put to use in the school. It is in the area of the school that the foodbank works from, combining messaging to the children of good healthy food and taking care of the plastic that they have no control of coming into their hands. 

The equivalent amount of AES sequestered plastic was purchased, and a certificate produced via the plastic offsetting system on gobrik.com

Follow the link to see how easy it is for you to offset your plastic usage that you cannot avoid to support ecobrick projects around the world and in the UK who are taking care of the plastic in their communities https://www.gobrik.com/#offset/

The settee and coffee table was designed and built by Robert Green who at 18 is the UK’s master ecobrick module maker having been trained By Russell Maier from the GEA and has now made over 150 modules. If you would like to book him to teach you how to build modules with your ecobricks, or Ecobricks UK to lead workshops – either starter workshops or ecobrick Trainer courses get in touch. UKecobricks@gmail.com

AES plastic offsetting is available from gobrik.com

Life Skills

One of the things I hear so often is – that ‘it’ should be taught in schools, doesn’t matter what the ‘it’  is, that’s the line that everyone comes out with. 

But sadly that’s not what happens, when I was at school, we did learn some of the skills I have needed in my adult life, but not in depth enough, and I can assure you I have forgotten a lot of it since then!

I have gone out and re learnt to help me remember, and taken it upon myself to gain many more skills. Not everyone is able to do that, there are many barriers to access hands on skills, not all of them are obvious as barriers. 

We want to listen to people, find out what they would like to learn to help them, and find out what skills they can bring to share with the community. What’s your skill?

The list we have made as part of our working ethos is only a fraction of what we could do. And who knows what the long term benefits will be as our society changes, and we head towards a more regenerative way of living in our modern world. 

To do that we need somewhere to act as a demonstration model of the hows.  

And that is what this series of posts are about.  

Sharing our working ethos, so you can understand the why, to inspire you to be part of that journey. 

This picture is the tenth page of our working ethos, life skills  – you can read the rest on our website ( the open source development of the website is part of bringing community to work together ) www.newforestaquaponics.com 

We also have a survey which we would love to get your opinions on how much support we will have for a democratic  (one member one vote) share offer to be part of our regenerative farm community. 

Please do fill in the survey – it is really important we can show we have the support to get to the next stage. follow the link or use the QR code

https://forms.gle/otCaze6JDjL3LzmG6

Coding and Film making for home ed children

28 August 2019|community, Our amazing youth, Social

Coding and Film making for home educated children with  Lights, Camera, Code 

Hosted by New Forest Aquaponics cic.

Kevin teaching coding.

One of the things we are passionate about is learning , and learning takes form in many different ways.  Sometimes that’s school sometimes that’s at home. But learning in groups is always fun. We help support an informal group of home educated children within our local areas of SO45 and SO40 by providing the space for group learning. If we have spaces we then offer these out to other groups in Hampshire and Dorset. Everyone is always welcome, no matter where you live, but places are always open to the local community first, as we believe in helping the children make long lasting friendships that will carry them on through to adulthood.

Friendships happen when we interact with each other in a safe and welcoming environment, where “doing” as a team and adding our own contribution helps us find our place. 

For 5 weeks during June and July 2019 the first test of  getting a group together took place in Blackfield.  We asked the talented Kevin from Lights, Camera, Code in to deliver one of the coding courses he runs.  It was amazing!  The starting point was to see how coding is fun, and is a useful tool to be able to help others. Kevin’s courses all incorporate a social or environmental message along side skills, in this first course we learnt how to code a doorbell for a deaf person. It was wonderful to see the children come to understand why this would be needed, and how they could solve a problem for someone else. Here Kevin takes up the story…..

When we first discussed the idea of putting workshops on for children during the holidays, my business partner and I were both full time primary school teachers with hectic schedules. We were also computing lead teachers for Islington (a north London borough with an excellent record of supporting schools in implementing the computing curriculum) and had seen a real need for children to be allowed to explore coding at length and not as a ‘one hour a week’ stand alone lesson. We wanted children to be completely immersed in coding for a longer period of time. In the same way we learn to read and write (by practising daily and making it a part of everything we do) we knew children needed more exposure to coding and its many different languages in order to be able to do it competently. 

As teachers with over 15 years experience between us, we are adept at creating engaging and fun lesson plans with a purpose. It was important to us that children did not just randomly place blocks of code together and hope for the best. They needed a sense of purpose if they were going to become better coders who could potentially end up saving the world – we really do think that big. We want them to be able to collaborate, problem-solve and create. Hence why our workshops are based around in-depth projects and will have themes ranging from social awareness to Minecraft. 

So with Kevin’s guidance so many other skills were introduced, coding (obviously), typing, reading and following instructions, planning, designing, turning a design from paper to the physical, communicating via coding, working together, how computing can be useful, how games are made, how coding doesn’t have to be done via a computer, and how to have fun and learn together!

I am happy to say that all the children managed to make their door bells, and are excitedly  awaiting the next course.  I am even more happy to say that providing a small group for the children helped one overcome a fear of failing due to not being confident with reading, one learn they had skills to share, one to see friends are out there for them, and one can see that they could still learn even though they are suffering from severe school trauma.

Our plans are for this coming year to run as many courses as finances allow, we can only do this with support. The plan is to run 3 sets of 5 week courses during autumn and winter 2019. Each course has a maximum of ten children, This would give 30 learning opportunities, although I suspect it may well be the same ten children each time as they were all so keen! This will cost £1000 to hold the three courses. We would ask parents to cover some of the cost according to their financial ability, many home ed families are on a reduced income (due to not having education choices suitable for their children), I hope between the families we can cover at least half of each course, enabling us to run at least four courses and with help we could run so many more.  I truly hope we will be able to carry on offering these in the long term,  Lights, Camera, Coding have many many lesson plans they can offer.  Including film making courses, which we would run from our aquaponics farm in Cadham.  With the right backing we could also be able to offer these courses to disengaged teenagers, and groups from further afield get into coding and filmaking……..How can you help us?

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2021 update.

We ran two courses, and then had a break whilst we tried to get funding. We had chosen to wait for funding to come through before starting up again, that took us into 2020 and covid. The funding sources we had hoped for were diverted to school children, and we now cannot use the hall space we had. Many of our families income has been affected, so we are not sure when we will be able to run coding and film making again. But we keep trying to provide this for the children.

Could you help us do that? either with funds or a space to run from.