‘Making simple changes at home is life changing’

September 6, 2014

Emily Bullock

SIMPLE LIVING: Emily Bullock, who is the greener choices co-ordinator for the Communities Living Sustainably in Dorset programme at their stand at the Dorchester Show. Emily was giving notice of the Open Eco-Homes event in the Bridport and Lyme Regis area next weekend.


WHEEL PROGRESS: I took the challenge myself and have vowed to use my bike as much as possible when I’m within cycling distance of home.



FIVE simple changes in daily living can have a dramatic impact on lifestyle and help mitigate the pressures building up on Dorset’s environment.

This is the message that Communities Living Sustainably in Dorset was explaining to visitors of this year’s Dorchester Show.

They were asked if they had considered making their food from scratch; car sharing; cycling to work; switching to a green energy supplier or reading their own meters. Doing any of these actions would have economic, social and health benefits, they say.

CLS is led by Dorset Community Action and consists of a core activity partners including Transition Town Dorchester, Dorset County Council, Dorset Agenda 21, Bridport Energy Service Ltd, West Dorset Partnership and WSE Entreprise Ltd.

The CLS programme builds on climate change and sustainability initiatives in West Dorset whilst bringing together non-governmental organisations, small businesses, councils and community groups.

CLS believes local residents can “feast their way to sustainability” by using local niche food producers – that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re not within the reach of affordability for families on a limited budget.

There are opportunities to join local food think tanks in West Dorset. Market analysis can show how much money is spent when and where; identify food poverty and see how much money stays local. It also looks at ways of identifying how 10 per cent of our current retail choices can be shifted onto local producers.

Ideas have included mapping where fruit and nut trees go unharvested, then developing a network of volunteers to go and collect it and re-distribute it.

Linda Hull, Dorset’s local food co-ordinator, previously did a similar role in the Glastonbury and Street area of Somerset helping set up local food co-operatives for those on low incomes and helping to increase the amount of land for community growing.

Energy efficiency in the home is another subject that many people could do more about. House owners can see if their walls are insulated and turning down the thermostat by 1’C could save 10 per cent on heating bills.

Turning off lights and appliances not in use saves energy and the Dorset Energy Advice Centre suggests that residents should replace or buy more appliances that are energy efficient.

Water use is also looked at in detail. Taking a shower instead of a bath; having a full load of washing as opposed to a half load in the dishwasher or washing machine and fix leaking taps. Get a water butt fitted in the garden to catch the rain.

Emily Bullock, Dorset’s CLS greener choices co-ordinator, told this blog there is an opportunity to visit 18 homes in Bridport, Lyme Regis and surrounding villages to give practical advice on how to live sustainably in one’s home.

The event takes place from next Friday to Sunday and is called Open Ecohomes Weekend and is supported by the Big Lottery Fund and organised by Transition Town Bridport and Turn Lyme Green.

Some of the residents who will be opening their homes up have taken part in projects such as installing solar panels, wind turbines, rainwater harvesting, straw-bale constructions and using traditional building materials such as lime and hemp.

Emily said: “We hope that this weekend will Inspire visitors to make changes in their homes and lifestyles. The homes owned include standard homes and bungalows, properties built from scratch, and listed buildings.

“Some of the hosts were on a tight budget and salvaged building materials from other projects or even the tip!  Even if you are not in a position to do something to your home, there will be plenty of tips on simple no cost ways of saving energy and water, or how to make your garden productive.”

  • THIS event is free but participants may need to book in advance, so for more detailed information click here.


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