The Waterside Clothes Swaps launch.

Clothes swaps – at last!!! 

Been on my list to get going in my area for so long and now they are here!

I love clothes swaps, with a passion. Let’s face it, we all love new clothes, but our planet doesn’t, so clothes swaps are the answer. 

They are also the answer to many other issues we face in our modern society.  So what part do they play in regenerative culture?

On 29th January a team of people came together in the waterside, New Forest UK for the launch of Waterside Clothes swaps.  Under my guidance as the only member of the team who had been to a clothes swap before, and with the help of Natalie Haigh, who is a passionate crafter and bag maker, we wanted to test the water and see who would come. 

The hall was quite small, to keep the costs down for the first one, we then got sponsorship from the waterside women – a local community group to help cover the costs of running the first one.

The volunteers numbered around 15, and everyone got stuck in to help make the day run perfectly! The Waterside Party Kit hire came along, although Katie who runs it spent more time helping out than promoting her party kit, but it becomes addictive seeing what clothes are coming through the door!

So how do we run the clothes swaps? 

During the week before we collect clothes from the community, so some presorting can take place and for those who can’t make it on the day, but wish to contribute. 

In the morning of the event we take clothing donations, we get as many of the clothes on rails as we can, so it has a shopping feel to the swap. 

Once we are open, it is free to come in – all our welcome – and then everything is free, regardless of whether you have anything to swap.  A team of volunteers sort clothes as they come in, and help people find their way round the different sections. A changing room is available, so much fun can be had trying things on!

Teas, coffee, and cakes were also free, and the Waterside Food Project brought along supermarket surplus bread, cakes and flowers, all again free. 

How many things do you go to where it is totally free? 

We did have a donation pot out, a give what you feel approach, and we ended up with just over £200!  I think people really loved the clothes swap. They are asking for the next one. 

So back to regenerative culture.  If we wish to really ‘save the planet’ to ensure this beautiful world of ours, for there to be a place for us within it, we have to dramatically change the way we do things, the way we demand things, and value everything and everyone. 

What does that have to do with clothes? Everything, there are enough pieces of clothing produced each year for each person to have 14 new items – or 100 billion items. Each one involving fossil fuels in the manufacture, even natural fibres, have far more connection to the fossil fuel industries than is commonly recognized. Of course all of these items of clothing are not evenly distributed around the world, with many never ever seeing a brand new piece of clothing with others seeing far more than their fair share. 

We often see talk of food poverty, but very rarely is clothing poverty talked about, but both go hand in hand. The drivers behind social media and fast fashion also can have very serious effects on our mental health. 

If we can change the way we view clothing, and understand its impact on our world and all the lives that inhabit our biosphere we can all win. 

There are far too many issues for me to cover in this blog post, and really I wanted to start by celebrating the success of our first Waterside Clothes swap. Please do some research if you feel you would like to understand more about the impact of textiles. 

And if that feels too much for you, then at least try to make your next purchases from a charity shop, or search out your local clothes swap – and if there are none, MAKE IT HAPPEN in your area!

Introducing Waterside EcoHub

23 January 2020| Community

Pictures from Fawley church conservation group

**January 2020 felt like the right time to bring my skills in helping people live a greener lifestyle to the place I call home.  I live in the New Forest, a very beautiful place that is being crushed by the sheer number of visitors who come to enjoy the beauty, bringing air pollution and litter, as well as the economic benefits to the area, as well as big commercial developments. The side of the forest I live in is referred to as the Waterside, this tends to include the villages that are situated between the edge of the New Forest and Southampton waters. The main road is the A326 and often referred to as the UK’s longest cul de sac, and at the end of it is the sea!  

I knew I wasn’t the only one to care locally about what was happening to our beautiful biosphere, time to get everyone talking to each other and to bring the things I wanted access too into the waterside area for everyone to benefit from.

14th January saw our first meeting where I explained some of my ideas, and we talked way past the time as it seemed there was so much to talk about  In our second meeting the discussion took more of what personal actions we can take in our own lives. It became apparent that this will be an important part of what the hub will do, and I really hope that individuals will bring the solutions and changes that have worked for them to share with others. We started with the most biosphere friendly way to wash your hair, if baths or showers were better, what is the best diet to follow when thinking of our personal impact ( a huge and complicated subject) , community gardening, and how we heat our homes, and that was just the start!

I had been sent a message by someone who wasn’t able to come along to ask our collective thoughts about the impact the possible roadworks along the A326 will have, if it will involve cutting down the trees along the road, when we know we need more trees? And would it serve the area well to have a network of cycle paths in the area?

Collectively we came to the conclusion that as far as the A326 is concerned we didn’t know enough about the plans and what we did know seemed to indicate that the parts of the road that get clogged quickly with traffic will end up with more traffic so will clog up quicker and cause more pollution……….

As for a cycle path network, yes this would be amazing, especially in the forest towns and villages. The first place we would like to see a path would be down to Lepe beach, not only would this cut car journeys to the beach and so pollution, but would make it safe on a busy country road for walkers and cyclists alike and open up access for locals who don’t drive or can’t afford the car parking.

We also had the really lovely gentleman who looks after Fawley church conservation area, he has been doing an amazing job creating a home for wildlife, we are connecting him with local scout groups and our local home ed group so he can share his knowledge and the youth can help him with some of the more physical jobs in return.  The pictures below are from his display board he brought along to show us. 

***If you live in the waterside area and you would like to join us please do, we are meeting every Tuesday in Blackfield and we have a Facebook group and a group on the  nextdoor app. 

There are plans for the group to run clothes swaps, litter picks, jumble trails, local food events, community gardening and more. We would welcome your help and support and to hear your ideas.

And if you don’t live in the waterside area is there a group like this in your area? Can you connect with others and make a difference to your local community?  It doesn’t have to be huge, it can start by inviting a few friends round one evening to share ideas and see where it takes you.  Just remember now is the time to act, be the change you want to see 

Love and light to you all – go do the stuff…….. 

** This was written January 2020 – we ran weekly meetings till March 2020….and of course you know what happened then!

***We are hoping to get monthly meetings going again soon, if you can find us a venue or suggest a place to meet please let me know. there is a page and a group on FB or you can get in touch through this page.