The Social and Environmental Sustainability of Clothes

Interested in sustainability and clothing issues? We have been asked to help promote this event by Mike from Finsbury Rd who attends the LAT. Looks interesting – anyone wanting to go or know more, contact Mike by email at

I’m running a one-off event for which I need committed environmental people to contribute to research with colleagues at the Open University on sustainability.

This will involve attending a focus group/workshop at the Hanover Centre, Southover Street on Thursday 3rd July (8 – 9.30pm), looking at people’s views on sustainable and ethical clothing and there will also be some chance for discussion, a bit of a snack and I hope we’ll have some props, displays too and a bit of fun. You don’t need to know anything about clothes!

The aim of the focus group is to understand how we can encourage consumers and also retailers to change practice. For this we want to get views of individuals who are: already committed to related sustainability/eco issues and explore some questions together. It is part of a short piece of exploratory work – being undertaken in Brighton because of the Green concentration – and it will help inform a major research project planned to influence DEFRA and policy.

The poster below summarises the main theme. It would be great if you were able to take part in the focus group – please let me know as I need to have an idea of numbers for snack, handout and seating purposes.

Please let me know

Best wishes


Mike Clothes

A bit about Mike
Mike is a freelance researcher, living in Brighton, who specialises in community projects, co-operatives and social justice causes.

He is a Visiting Research Fellow in the Co-operatives Research Unit at the Open University since 1998 where he has researched social enterprise organisations. Mike is also a research associate at the Institute for Voluntary Action Research (IVAR), where he has been involved since 2004 on projects concerned with community development, advocacy, state/third sector representation mechanisms, community participation, impact and measurement, and the role of community asset ownership. Before this, Mike worked in the sector for nearly 20 years at the Development Trusts Association, Community Matters and Save the Children. He holds a PhD from the Open University and an MA in Social Policy from the University of Sussex. He has spoken at academic and practitioner events in Germany, Mexico, Poland, Sweden and Japan. Mike is a member of the Voluntary Sector Studies Network (VSSN, UK), Social Policy Association (UK), European Social Enterprise Research Network (EMES, Belgium) and ISTR (Baltimore) He has published work on social enterprises, civil society and advocacy and remains active as a volunteer and activist in local community action.

Choosing the best wildlife sites in Brighton and Hove

(A Guest post by council ecologist Mathew Thomas)

Dear Local Action Team,

I am writing to invite Local Action Teams in Brighton and Hove to take part in choosing the best wildlife sites in Brighton and Hove. Once chosen, these sites will be protected from development and will be the focus for future conservation work.

Over the past couple of years, around 150 potential sites in Brighton and Hove have been visited and surveyed in detail, both in the inner urban area and surrounding countryside. As well as recording important species and habitats, the surveys have taken account of the value of local green spaces as places simply to walk and enjoy nature.

The next stage is for the compiled survey information to be presented to selection panels. The panels will assess each site against pre-agreed criteria and decide whether they should be formally recognised as a ‘Local Wildlife Site’. The panels will also be able to recommend sites to go forward for designation as Local Nature Reserves, which are protected by law.

It is important that the selection panels take full account of local knowledge, views and values, as well as more ‘scientific’ criteria, so you do not have to be an acknowledged expert in a particular species or habitat to be involved (although acknowledged experts are very welcome too!).

The selection panels take place at the following times and venues:

  • 7pm, Tuesday 23rd April, Portslade Town Hall, Victoria Road, Brighton, BN41 1YF (for the Hove, Mile Oak and Portslade areas).
  • 7pm, Monday 29th April, Saltdean Community Centre, Saltdean Park Road, Saltdean, BN2 8SP (for east Brighton, Rottingdean and Saltdean).
  • 7pm, Tuesday 30th April, Brighton Town Hall, Bartholomews, Brighton, BN1 1JA (for central Brighton, Wild Park and farmland to the north).

If you, or a member of your Local Action Team would like to attend one or more of the selection panels, please reply to me by e-mail, indicating which (or all) panel meetings you would like to attend.(see below for contact)

Each selection panel is limited to 20 people and places will be allocated on a first come, first served basis, so please reply promptly to secure your place. All confirmed panel members will receive more information shortly.

If you would like to discuss any aspect of the SNCI project, please contact me by e-mail or on 01273 292371.

Thank you for your interest

Yours sincerely,

Matthew Thomas


Brighton & Hove City Council




Vote Hanover, Vote Paul!

A guest post from Paul Norman (@PaulinBrighton ) from Hanover 10:10 who is well on the way to raising TEN GRAND for the Hanover Centre for roof insulation – though he needs your help! Please read, be inspired and follow the link at the end to vote for Paul and help improve your community centre.


Raising interest in a more sustainable lifestyle that drives down carbon means you have to focus…. but how? What are the priorities? What are the problems in practice? With these issues in mind Hanover10:10 have developed a project with our well-used Hanover Community Centre building. This former Victorian school currently has little insulation, and none in the roof!   

We have developed the Hanover Centre Carbon RACE (Reduction, Awareness & Community Engagement) to lead an eco-retrofit of the building. We have had huge support from the local community, with residents attending volunteer insulation events, and have involved University of Brighton students in this community-focused, educational, and practical project to insulate, make adaptations, consider energy generation, and show how these are transferable to the local housing. 

The student technical projects have mapped out the works, priorities (and challenges!) that we face and now we need to work out how to pay for it. Luckily our project was selected last December as one of 10 nationally for an EDF competition to reward sustainability initiatives. We had to report, blog and communicate our work. Now the public decides! Voting opened during the Olympics on 6th August and we are now in a clear 2nd place. But, we need to be 1st to get the £10,000 no strings attached prize, and so immediately funding our “shovel-ready” works at the Centre.

Please Vote for £10,000 for Hanover Centre enviro-refit


Hanover Street Focus

Back in March, a group of neighbours met with Tony from the council to carry out an audit of our streets: the plan was to inspect Hanover, to note down what was wrong and needed fixing, and also to think about what positive changes we could make to improve our area. (The image at the top of this post was taken from – the website of an American artist which documents a series of inspirational neighbourhood projects – well worth a look.)

The survey forms have been examined and we have a fair list of what needed doing on that day – a summary of street-by-street issues is below. The next step is our Street Focus day, which will take place on Friday 18th May meet up at the Hanover Centre at 10am.

We are hoping that City Clean will do a deep clean of certain streets on that day and challenge residents who have left out rubbish bags. The graffiti team will remove graffiti across Hanover during that week. Residents can help with tasks such as removing stickers and cable ties from lamp posts, some sweeping up of rubbish etc. We will supply the equipment. You should wear strong shoes and bring gloves. Please meet in the garden at the Hanover Centre (if its not raining) to collect tools and to split into small groups to do various tasks. We have booked the First floor hall for refreshments and to leave bags etc.

This starts to tackle some of the negative aspects which need sorting out, but this project is also intended to look at positive ways we can make Hanover a better place. Following comments left on the audit sheets we are also looking at another area of activity.

Let Hanover Blossom – we are encouraging residents to have flowers on show in the streets. For some people there is enough room outside their homes for a planter – but please do not obstruct the already narrow pavements. Other people will have window boxes. We are less keen on hanging baskets because it is a drought year and hanging baskets use a lot of water. We will be advertising an event with the local food project (VEG) to get people started in planting flowers and show them how to plant up window boxes. We will also be showing people how to make a vertical planter from recycled wooden pallets.

Please put up the attached poster in your window and tell your neighbours about these events. There is a lot of support for improving the streets and if we do this, others will be more likely not to mess them up. If you want me to print you a colour poster, please leave a message for Tony  requesting one and your address ( telephone 293926) and he will drop one through your letterbox.

Here is the full summary of the March audits.

Free Energy Efficiency Surveys for Hanover

(Guest post editied from a press release issued by Brighton & Hove 10:10. Go HERE to see the source)

Help is at hand for Hanover homeowners wanting to reducing their energy bills, after four local organisations won Government funding to carry out nearly 200 free home energy efficiency assessments in the city.

Brighton & Hove 1010, Brighton Energy Co-operative, the Low Carbon Trust and Brighton Peace and Environment Centre, working with community partners, including Hanover Action for Sustainable Living, successfully bid for a total of £242,188 from the Government’s Local Energy Assessment Fund (LEAF).

The grant will be used to carry out free, energy efficiency surveys in 175 homes in Hanover, Hollingdean and Portslade, and in community centres across the city. Up to 400 homeowners will also receive free energy efficiency packs that will include energy meters, draft-proofing and radiator boosters to help them get started on making their home warmer and more comfortable to live in.

The Green Building Partnership, a newly formed cooperative of local contractors and suppliers that specialises in eco refurbishments, will deliver the reports and surveys.

Cabinet Member for Environment and Sustainability Cllr Pete West said: “We’re very pleased to see the LEAF funding being awarded to support these local groups. We recognise all the hard work they have been doing in the city to promote energy efficiency and carbon reduction, and this funding provides a great opportunity to work together and make a real difference for our residents.”

Tom Chute, project manager for Brighton & Hove 1010, said: “This is fantastic news for Brighton & Hove residents. With energy bills increasing every year, it’s vital that we help residents stop wasting energy and make their homes warmer and more comfortable to live in. LEAF helps us start this process.”

If you would like to take part in this scheme, recieve a free home energy audit and report and energy efficiency pack you can telephone The Green Building Partnership on 01273 961272 or go here and fill in a form or turn up at the ‘Warm Home Drop-in” on Saturday Feb 25th at the Hanover Community Centre: 10.30am – 12,30pm and 2-4pm.

Hanover Street Focus

Following requests from Hanover residents via the Local Action Team, we are planning to hold a couple of events to improve the look of Hanover Streets. Most individual residents keep their flats and houses looking good. But – despite the best efforts of the council street cleansing team – the streets can let the area down. Graffiti; grass growing between paving slabs; stickers and cable ties on lamp posts; benches looking uninviting and unclean. So this is what we suggest: a low-cost makeover.

Step One: a group of residents meet up at the Hanover Community Association on Thursday March 1st at 2pm to 3pm and carry out street audits – simple things that could be done to improve each street such as new flowers in the planter in Ewart Street and a coat or two of wood preserver on the bench at the end of Beaumont Terrace.

Step Two: we contact the various services: Cityclean, the graffiti officer, highways enforcement etc and we get them all to concentrate their resources for a day on Hanover. And if residents want to help out on that day we shall provide litter-pickers and brooms and anything else we can muster which would be of use.  If anyone is interested, we could help you find ways to raise money to plant trees, create window boxes and add some street art. And you never know – the publicity which will come of this may convince some of the people who let the area down, to begin to respect their neighbours and their streets a little more.

Do let us know if you are interested in coming along on March 1st for an hour. Help make Hanover a better place to live.   

Tony Baker  –  01273 293926