Last Friday, February 24 I worked at a joint network day with ESC (Energy Sussex Coast) and Hastings’ first Swap Shop at the Stade, organised by Transition Town Hastings.
It was a busy day because the Swap Shop was a new project and people were curious and happy to declutter their home by bringing in their unwanted items for others to enjoy taking away if needed.
Swap shops are springing up all over the place and Rye has been running one for some time which the Hastings group visited for ideas on how to run theirs. Goods are exchanged without money changing hands, and this stops things being sent to landfill. In Rye the items taken away are weighed on the way out to get an estimate of the amount of landfill saved.
In Hastings we had about five tables laden with goodies and little had to be taken away at the end. Some things will go on display again at the next Swap Shop and some will be given to a charity shop. There were also posters and pamphlets for various agencies in Rother laid out, like CAB and Age UK.
ESC was also very busy. “ESC is a social enterprise established to address fuel poverty in Hastings, Rye and Rother through the promotion of energy efficiency programmes and renewable energy generation.” (Richard Watson)
Two advisers were available for free energy advice. Some people had brought their bills with them which are needed to help look for better providers, while others were given information as to how they may do it themselves on the computer. Alternatively return to the next Energy Cafe which will be on March 11 at The Stade again, between 10am and 3pm. Make sure you bring your bills and latest meter readings if you want to make use of the freebie.
Richard Watson started the pop up Energy shop/cafe in 2013/14 and also provides energy advice desks at the locations of fuel poverty target groups (Tuesday at the Town Hall in Hastings, and various community centres on different days depending on need) ; and he is a mine of information, not just about energy but also different aspects like solar, boilers, and financial warm weather funds. Richard has been invited therefore to the Pett Community Centre to a public meeting and Tilling Green Residents Association (TGRA) to give energy saving presentations.
ESC is also working in conjunction with Hastings Borough Council, Amicus Horizon (a housing association) and European partners, (Climate Active Neighbourhoods) to address fuel poverty particularly in Ore and St Leonards. The European Union made money available over the next three years, work having started in 2016. You can get more details from: firstname.lastname@example.org or the website www.energisesussexcoast.co.uk
The ESC session on March 11 at the Stade should again include a Swap Shop from 10am to 1pm. Please check on the website and if you want to donate items please bring them early. For more information visit the website.
Photos by Heidi Foster