Looking back… and forward

Welcome to our first Planet Aware review of the year. And what a year we chose to write our first one….

Thank you for joining us as we look back at 2020 and forward to 2021 … Certainly since March we have not been able to do many of the activities we had scheduled, but we’ve soldiered on… There has been some time for reflection and planning, and we have been grateful to receive support from funders and time from our volunteers.  So, read on to find out how this support and funding is helping us to help our local coast around the Solent and Isle of Wight and the people who live here – and how you can get involved in 2021.

Looking back over 2020

Despite the challenges of lockdown Planet Aware still got out to the beaches on the south coast of the Isle of Wight throughout the year with Sarah adapting our beach clean events to take account of the changing situation while ensuring that everyone kept safe. Thanks to a combination of socially-distanced, individual and small group clean-ups, around 850kgs of rubbish was cleared off Isle of Wight and Solent beaches by Planet Aware supported clean-ups. Thank you to Doug and the Isle of Wight Council and Norse in Havant for removing the rubbish over the year. The clean-ups were made possible thanks to support from Waitrose in East Cowes and also to Isle of Wight poet Sandy Kealty. Sandy named Planet Aware as a beneficiary of a gig she hosted at Quay Arts back in March. And of course no beach clean would be possible without the support of a dedicated hardworking group of volunteers.

In the summer Planet Aware teamed up with Portsmouth University marine biology student Kai Grundy to launch the Ocean Challenge – seven challenges for the summer to help our oceans! Originally conceived as a summer school with fun face to face workshops, we went online – with downloadable resources. An even more action packed version of the Ocean Challenge will be returning next year. Thank you to everyone who helped share and promote this project including local schools, Community First, Visit Portsmouth, Visit Isle of Wight and Claire Crampton. Do get in touch if you would like to support or sponsor the Ocean Challenge in 2021!

Our Textile Transformation programme in Havant, funded by Hampshire County Council’s waste minimisation fund, was put on hold following the first workshop in March but Anne still managed to make a couple of online appearances talking about circular fashion at the Sustainablish Festival in May and for the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Sustainable Business Network. She also did a few textile transformations herself including creating a pattern for a 2-minute beach clean bag from a broken umbrella and a no-sew face-mask from an old t-shirt!

My Planet My Voice is a project funded through the LUSH Charity Pot enabling people to use creative means to share their environmental concerns. The project started in December 2019 with a song-writing workshop led by Glenn Koppany from Coppersmith and will end in 2021 with a story telling project led by Stephanie Brittan. During 2020 the project went online – find out more about My Planet My Photo, a journaling project supported by positive psychology coach Kim Furnish and listen to the songs that were written as part of Glenn’s workshop. We hope you will be inspired to write songs of your own-please share them with us if you do!

Looking forward to 2021

In autumn 2019 Planet Aware was fortunate to be named as one of Co-op’s Good Causes which meant that we received a small percentage of sales over 2020. This income has enabled us to develop a brand new project which will kick off in 2021 called “Trees for Seas” – a project that links the health and carbon capturing properties of trees with healthier oceans. Look out for tree planting and other events near you in 2021 and contact us if you’d like to get involved! Thank you to Anthony Gillingham, tree audit officer from the Isle of Wight Council for supporting us.

Throughout 2020 we have been supporting the development of a new Repair Café for the Isle of Wight which will be launching in spring 2021. Anne has also been helping set up a Repair Café in Havant, and under the Repair Café umbrella this summer ran six pop-up Dr Bike sessions in Havant Park with volunteers checking and repairing 85 bikes. Repair Cafes are a great way of keeping stuff in use for longer – and for communities to learn about the lost art of repairing. Read more about Repair Cafes and register your interest below as a volunteer for Repair Café Isle of Wight or to find out when and where the Repair Café will start running. Repair Café Isle of Wight is pleased to have the support of Sovereign Housing as well as a great team of volunteers working behind the scenes ahead of the launch.

Virtual Beach

One of our most popular features at our festival Ecohub in 2019 was the timed beach clean game which had both kids and adults queuing up to see who could rid the sand (actually an old yellow sheet!) of rubbish in the fastest time. Now thanks to the support of Postcode Lottery funding we are developing this into an educational game that we can bring to you. More details to follow in early 2021 – but drop us a line to register your interest!

Sadly we could not hold our Alternative Spirit of Christmas event this year but we kept the “Spirit” alive by creating daily posts on reducing waste at Christmas and looking beyond the consumer culture of the season. We are grateful to all the musicians, storytellers and poets that have supported us each year for the Alternative Spirit of Christmas events. Check out our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter feeds for our latest Christmas posts.

The Solent Beach Hub is our online resource developed with the support of Sea Changers to provide a one-stop shop for people wanting to run, get involved or find out about beach cleaning and other events that promote a love of our Solent coastline and our oceans in general. We are looking forward to developing this further in the New Year adding interviews with those who work and live along the cost as well as lots more links and ideas on how you can learn more about and get involved with your Coast.

Planet Aware goes East.. We are really excited to welcome Paula, Sarah and Julie on board to Planet Aware. They will be working with us to help us develop Planet Aware projects in East Cowes and have already set up local litter picks. If you are interested in setting up a Planet Aware group in your area please get in touch – or visit our volunteering page to find out more,

Support us

In our conventional economy encouraging people to use less stuff does not generate income… so we rely on support from funders and individuals to help us do what we do, and we welcome and value all the support we receive. Please do consider supporting Planet Aware so we can do more. Here are some ways you can support us:

  • Sponsor an event or project such as the Ocean Challenge – email us or fill out our contact form to express your interest.
  • Let Planet Aware organise a corporate beach clean on the Isle of Wight for your team. Find out more and make an initial no-obligation enquiry. 
  • Buy us both a Ko-fi  and Planet Aware will be able to clear another bag of rubbish from the beach! 
  • If you have some free time perhaps you could volunteer with Planet Aware.
  • If you have an idea for a project that we can deliver together – or can help us with what we are doing please let us know. We are particularly keen to hear from people with skills or knowledge in marine biology, resource use (e.g. recycling/waste), social media, youth work so please do get in touch!
Stay safe and see you in 2021!