What's been happening...

Council staff rush for free energy advice offered by CLS in Dorset @Work@Home scheme.

Last Friday, Phil Neale from Wessex Energy was inundated with local government staff at South Walks House wanting free energy advice.  The advice was given as part of the CLS in Dorset @Work@Home offer.

@Work@Home offers free environmental consultancy for West Dorset businesses and energy advice for their staff. 

Find out more


Try This - Getting smart and savvy with electricity

Sam Wilberforce of Transition Town Bridport and Emily Bullock ran a workhsop on understanding electricity use as part of the Try This Dorchester festival.  There was a good take up around 8 and a baby!  Participants were offered an energy monitor to borrow after the workhsop. 


Big Ideas Challenge - is launched and ready to go!

Big Ideas Challenge asks teams young people in Dorset to plan and implement a project that will get their community to be more environmentally friendly.  They can choose to work on: energy, water, waste, travel, food, or clothes.  We have fantastic resources, expert mentors and funding to help them.

The ten best projects will get up to £250 to turn their idea into reality and appear in a film.  The winning team will win an amazing outdoor adventure. 

Find out more


Worker’s Co-ops an alternative to conventional employment?  – Jess reports

Last month Jess went along to the Workers Co-ops workshop hosted by Stir  and run  by Constance and Nathan from Alt Gen http://www.altgen.org.uk/

Jess says: “Before I attended  the workshop cooperative business (or co-ops) seemed a somewhat alien concept. I had no idea what co-ops entailed, nor could envisage myself ever having the understanding or skills needed to establish one in the future.

The weekend therefore marked a steep learning curve, and we began with the basics.

We learnt that cooperatives are an association of people whose members work together to reach a common goal. Ownership of a co-operative is shared equally among its members, with decisions made democratically - each member has equal power, and an equal voice. The principal aim of a co-op is to add value to the lives of its members, and often to the lives of its surrounding community. A co-op is a social enterprise with a difference. Members couple their passions with a means of employment and, at the same time, have a wide-felt positive social impact.

It all seems too good to be true but, in fact, it isn’t. It is quite simply a case of finding your passion, getting other people on board, and putting a democratic and legally viable structure in place. That’s what Constance and Nathan, have done with great success. Across the two days, we gained an insight into their general motivations and experiences, as well as the more specific skills and knowledge needed in order to ensure a co-op is a success, from legal structures and business planning, to decision making and finance.

I can’t help but think that for young people in the rural South West, co-ops offer a viable solution to low wages, unpaid internships and youth unemployment. Don’t get me wrong, unpaid internships can be wholly worthwhile. My unpaid internship with a local non-profit law practice, coupling on-the-job training with focused tuition, broadened my skill set hugely, and set me on my way to achieving my ultimate goal - a career providing legal non-profit services to ensure true access to justice.

Yet, not many young people in the rural South West have the opportunity to grasp such a rewarding work experience opportunity - at least not one from which a definite career path can be set.  Rather, the current deficiency in relevant and affordable training opportunities is causing would-be social entrepreneurs to relocate to urban centres in pursuit of their chosen careers. But positions in urban centres are hugely competitive, with hundreds of graduates fighting over a limited number of underpaid positions that tend to offer little reward. Would-be social entrepreneurs are left feeling unwanted and uninspired, and the rural South West, with the loss of local entrepreneurs, struggles to develop innovative entrepreneurial solutions to localised problems.

So it’s a case of getting the concept of co-ops out there. More co-ops and non profits in our area means more opportunities for young people to forge alternative career paths, here in the South West.  If done right, they make it possible to couple a passion with a source of sustainable employment. They allow commitment, enjoyment and financial reward to come hand in hand. Co-ops set up to address local challenges brings potential for young people to feel more fulfilled, and for South West communities to reap the rewards."


We’ve been getting ready for Open Eco Homes

This year 20 homes will be open across West Dorset, make sure its in your diary – 12th – 13th September.

Last week we had a briefing for  hosts at Chit and Lucy’s house – one of the homes that will be open. 

Chit and Lucy designed and built the house, it is a low-energy new-build.  It was constructed using insulated clay blocks finished in lime based render.  It has a wood stove, solar hot water, solar electricity, rainwater harvesting for toilets and washing machine, a wormery to reduce waste. 

The garden's pretty impressive too!

Find out more about Open Eco Homes





Six from Fordington have been Wasting Less and Spending Better

Congratulations to our first group of Waste Less Spend Better / Transition Together participants who have just completed the programme.  This is what they said about it:

" It spurred us on to do stuff we have been planning to do for a while which was great - a bit like weight watchers"

"Swapping hints and tips with others was really good."

"The manual was great, Dorset based and full of useful web links."

"We are new to the area, so being part of the group helped us find out useful local information."

"It was great to meet in each other's homes, much more informal than in a meeting room"

What they did:

Participants filled in a before and after questionnaire, we estimate they are already saving an average of £132 per household and are likely to save a further £325 per hosuehold if they do all the things they expect to.

* Changed all lights to LED

* Installed a water meter

* Monitor gas and electricity

* Put a bag in toilet cistern

* Bought a battery recharger and using it (2 people)

* Keep food for longer, ie don’t throw it away just when the best before date passes

* Recycle tetrapacks (2 people)

* Using shower timer (2 people) 

* Get thermal clothes for the winter

* Hugely raised general awareness of what we’re doing

What they shared about behaviour change:

* If behaviour is to be changed, there needs to be something to kickstart it, but the change has to be choice on the part of the person concerned.  This scheme is ideal, since change is discussed, different aspects examined and changes are made with support from other group members.

* Behaviour change needs not to be onerous, the person changing shouldn’t feel deprived, but should be able to feel good about the change.  The group helps to foster this positive attitude, because there are other people feeling good about making changes too.  The whole atmosphere is positive. 

* You are more likely to do something if someone you are talking to says, ‘I’ve done this, it works well’, than if you read it on some website.

More about Transition Together / Waste Less Spend Better



We've been saying I do - will you?

We've been celebrating what the people of Dorset are already doing to take care of the environment, so we can encourage others to join in too!  

Read more here



Curtains have gone warm and cosy in Bridport


Thank you to Sarah Wilberforce from Transition Town Bridport, and Jeanie Averill from Transiiton Town Dorchester hosted a fantatic curtain lining workhsop.  

This is what attendees said:

Brilliant, helpful, cooperative, fantastic, supportive, fun, enjoyable, excellent, fabulous!



Watch this space for another workshop in Dorchester in the autumn, and let us know if you'd like to help!  emily@da21.org.uk




We've joined the BIG Energy Race and we need you to join us!

This is a different kind of race, a race to save energy, and win prizes, both as individuals and as a team. Just sign up as one of our "team members" and undertake simple energy saving challenges from the comfort of your own home to earn points for the team.

If your already a super energy saver, there are plenty of tips on how to engage your friends and family which also score points.  If you are new to all this then you'll be well on your way to cutting down on energy bills, and you'll be able to win prizes as an individual and for the team.  The more points we will earn, the better our chance of being crowned the Big Energy Champions. The winning prize is funding for a community saving initiative!

Register as an individual at www.bigenergyrace.org and select Communities Living Sustainably Dorset as your team.


465, and counting survey responses to date

You've been completing our survey - our 2015 survey opened on the 8th January, and  already has over 400 responses.  It's open till 6th Feb, so if you've not done it yet please do.  You could win £50 to spend at the Real Food Shop.

Fill in the survey here.

Excluded draughts and cosy curtains

In November members of Transition Town Bridport ran two excellent courses: to help people keep warm in winter.  The first workshop taught people how to apply a thermal lining to existing curtains and the second how to draught-proof doors and windows.

Windows are a big heat loss area, even when they are double-glazed so having good thick curtains really makes a difference.

One participant said: "the event was very well run, there were clear instructions and fabulous resources on hand.  I'm ready to go home and install my curtains now.  Thank you, you made it so easy!".

If you missed out there will be another chance to attend these workshops in the spring.  You could also consider joining or forming a Transition Together group - a practical group to help with all things connected with saving carbon and money at home.

We want to train someone to run these workshops in the Dorchester area, could it be you? 

Read more here.

Next draught-proofing workshop - 28th February 2015

Next thermal curtain workshop - 7th March 2015

Transition Together

We've now got two active Transition Together groups in Dorchester.  Two more Dorchester groups are expected to start in January 2015, and we have interested people hoping to form groups in Chickerell, Portland, Bridport and Evershot.  Transition Together is a programme which supports a group of friend,s neighbours or colleagues to work together through a practical manual which helps to Cut Carbon, Save Money, and Green your liefstyle.  It's been running all over the world and UK participants have saved around £400 a year on household bills.

More about Transition Together

275 people completed our survey.  

At the beginning of January we lauched a survey whose aim is to gain an understanding of awareness, attitudes and behaviour regarding climate change and environmental behaviour.  We are delighted to have had such a good response rate, so thank you, if you completed it or ciruclated it.  As we speak the numbers are being crunched and the winner of the prize draw will be announced shortly.  So sit back, relax and wait to hear whether you won the prize of a hamper of local food.  Once we have a report we will of course share our findings here.  

Business survey results suggest businesses not engaged with environmental issues

WSX Enterprise conducted a survey of businesses, in order to gain an understanding of their environmental practices.  

The results show that while many businesses are keen to save money, few of them prioritise environmental management practices, or have the capacity to attend training events.  Emily is working with WSX Entreprise to develop innovative ways of engaging with busineses in order to help them go green.  

Greener Choices Network 

Following our initial meeting with Wessex Water, Dorset Waste Partnership, Dorset Energy Advice Centre and Travel Dorset, we have been working closely with these organisations to develop our plans for Climate Week.  We are still developing ideas of what this network will look like and how we can work together.

Following our intital meeting, Emily updated Go Green pages, to be better aligned to these partner organsiations, view here.

Climate Week 2014

We've been busy preparing for Climate Week, and are very excited by the range of speakers, films, competitions, activities and events we have planned.  Michael Fish, Matt Harvey, a collage, a poster competition, Chasing Ice, The 11th Hour, our own Eco Home films, make sure its in your diary.  More info here.

Dorset Best Village Competition 2014

This year's competition has been launched, thanks to CLS in Dorset the Environment Category will incorporate the Transition Together programme and an environmental audit of a community building.  More info here

Open Eco Home Filming

Last year over 800 visits were made to 19 local eco homes.  Visitors saw how people had greened their homes and lifestyles.  The CLS in Dorset team have been filming some of these homes so if you missed out, you can soon catch the films.  The first showing was during Clmate Week at Bridport Arts Centre. If you missed that you can watch them here.

More than enough?

Last month, over 200 people came with us on a journey towards a different future, where calmer happier people have less stuff!


It all took place between 21st and 26th October 2013, at an event hosted by St Peter’s Church and organised by Transition Town Dorchester, as part of One World Week.


To watch the video click here.

Visitors entering the church found a trail of green footprint around the church.  The first stop was a film, The Story of Stuff. This is a short humourous animation that addresses serious issues about stuff, stuff, more stuff, working harder and harder to make more money to buy more stuff, and then asks, what can one person do?


Well each one person followed the footprint trail around the church to find out just what they could do!


And then they added their own ideas!

Of the 227 who came into the church around 50 of them, made pledges or wrote down “green” tips, here are a few of them:

• Reasons to cycle – its fun, cheap, free parking, makes you happy, you can chose who to stop and talk to!

• Reduce, reuse, recycle – Walk, wear warm clothes, have fewer children, shop locally, grow your own, make soup.

• Pledges – Walk more, cycle more, make compost

Many thanks to St Peter’s Church and Transition Town Dorchester for this event, the exhibition is available “on tour” starting at St George’s Church Fordington, if you would like to host it contact emily Bullock: emily@da21.org.uk.


What's it all about?

prev next

Working with local communities to address climate change in their local area.


A unique opportunity to partner Communities Living Sustainably (CLS) Dorset and position your organisation at the very heart of sustainable living in Dorset.


View our photo gallery and see what CLS Dorset has been up to.


Read the latest news from CLS Dorset.


See the latest sustainable events taking place in Dorset.


Supporting schools to take part in the internationally recognised Eco-School programme.


Providing local residents with information about what they can do to reduce their environmental impact at home.


Working with communities, local producer groups, healthworkers and business support organisations to make local food more accessible to local people.


Helping develop community renewable energy projects such as solar installations on school and community buildings.