Ebbw Vale families were invited to a Christmas Celebration event at the EVI recently. We were marking the end of a yearlong sustainability project, improving energy efficiency at the historic building and involving and training volunteers from the community.
In December 2018 the EVI received £32,523 from the Landfill Disposals Tax Communities Scheme, a Welsh Government Programme managed by the WCVA. Over the year we’ve made improvements to the heating and lighting at the EVI, held a Plastic Pollution workshop with young people, created a bug paradise in the front of our building during a wildlife gardening workshop, trained volunteers in blog writing and creating videos creating a bank of sustainability articles on our website, and lastly a huge Christmas celebration with a sustainable twist.
An invitation to celebrate
We invited people in the community to join us at the end of November to celebrate a sustainable Christmas with festive food and a pedal powered disco for the children, mulled wine and a mince pie for the parents, and workshops making Christmas goods from recycled materials.
The 100 spaces we had on offer for the event filled up quickly. Entertainment was provided by the U3A (University of the Third Age) singing group, who sang and held singing activities for the children. The food went down very well, and every scrap was eaten, no wastage here!
Powering a party
Everyone loved the pedal powered disco, and the snowman, with the children keeping the music playing, the snowman inflated and the Christmas tree lights powered all night. People power!
The workshops proved popular with everyone taking part, people loved taking home the Christmas trees and baubles they had made using driftwood and old pallets and learning a bit of pyrography.
Two of the volunteers who had been part of our blog writing training came to help out. Jamie Lee and Victoria helped with the workshops and we loved hearing how Jamie Lee’s Planting Trees to Save the World article inspired them to plant trees in a woodland sanctuary.
Pledging to be greener
Blaenau Gwent Council’s waste and recycling department also came along to give information and advice about weekly recycling collections.
Llamau learners (who also took part in some of our previous workshops) came along with an interactive display. They asked people to make pledges for a sustainable Christmas and help the environment.
“The learners had a really good time working together to make the display boards up, and they all learned something new about sustainability, and we hope these messages will be passed on,” said a Llamau Learning 4 Life tutor.
There were some great pledges made and stuck onto the pledge tree. Here are just some of them:
- – Use cotton carrier bags for my shopping
- – I promise to us as less plastic as I possibly can
- – Wrap all my Christmas presents in newspaper!
- – I will recycle as much as I can
- – Pick up the plastic at the beach
People could also put in orders with Llamau for plastic free Christmas crackers and were given handy tips on environmentally friendly ways to wrap presents.
This is not the end
Samantha James, Operations Coordinator at the EVi, was overjoyed with the success of the event and thought it was a perfect end to the yearlong project.
“We’ve come to the end of this project and we’ve achieved so much here at the EVI,” she said.
“We’ve helped raise awareness of biodiversity and environmental issues and our volunteers have been integral to this. They’ve helped us with our communication campaign. After receiving training with us some of them have gone on to help other environmental projects. The Christmas event was great to cap it all off by involving the whole community in what we’ve been doing here.“
And this is not the end for the EVI’s sustainability drive says Sam.
“This has just been the beginning of the EVI becoming more sustainable and greener. We have learnt lots of new skills and information along the way and strive to keep up this good work”.