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  • Writer's pictureSustainable Overton


‘Hope is not something you have. Hope is something you create with your actions.’

(Alexandra Occasio-Cortez)

On the 14th October 2019, Overton Parish Council declared a climate emergency, and it was decided that a group should be set up to do something about it. Within a few weeks, Sustainable Overton was born.

And what a rollercoaster of a year it's been! Staffed entirely by volunteers, all of us juggling work, family life, lockdowns, quarantines and ‘the new normal’, SO has become a committed band of people all chipping away to try and make our beautiful village a happier, more sustainable place to live. We now have a team of over 25 regular volunteers. Some are experts, specialists in engineering, biodiversity, or water supply. Some just have enthusiasm and a desire to make a difference. If you want to join us, you’d be welcomed with open arms.

So what have we been up to in our first year?

OK, here goes:

  • Working with St Mary’s Church, we’ve set up a plastics recycling point.

  • We’ve helped Overton Primary School start working towards the SAS (‘Surfers Against Sewage’) plastic free schools status.

  • We've been researching and educating ourselves, getting to know key contacts such as our climate officers at Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council and Hampshire County Council. We’re also connecting with key energy bodies like Community Energy South, Community Energy England, The Centre for Applied Technology, Enterprise M3, local landowners, business owners and farmers, as well as other parish councils and community groups. If we haven’t got to your group yet – call us!

  • Six volunteers have been trained up as Hampshire County Council Food Waste Champions.

  • We’ve run a Plastic Free July campaign and we've nearly achieved SAS plastic free status for our businesses and communities. Well done to Wilson's and Artizans for achieving their awards!

  • We promote a variety of green and money saving tips in the News and Views newsletter each month.

  • We’ve run two litter picks (and we’ll do more when Covid rules allow).

  • We've become Clean Air Day supporters, and we're running a walk to school and no car idling campaign this month.

  • We nearly had a Green Fair (new social distancing rules kicked in a few days before), but instead we've put lots of articles and videos on the website, and we ran a children’s Waste Sculpture competition.

  • The Repair Cafe was almost launched twice – fingers crossed for the third attempt!

  • We ran community engagement activities in the village where we found popular support for the concept of us having and owning our own energy.  As a result, we're applying for a grant in November for solar photovoltaics(solar panels) on agricultural and industrial buildings in Overton, which is a huge long-term project.

  • BDBC have supported us in producing a Green Toolkit to help other parishes start their own energy groups, which we will be presenting at their next climate summit in October.

  • We’ve developed a toolkit to help Overton businesses become more sustainable.

  • We have got 2 free tree packs from the Woodland Trust. Please get in touch if you feel you can do some digging to help plant them. We also have a tree warden!

  • We asked you, the residents, what you want from us, and we’ll be publishing the results soon.

  • And to tell you about all these things, we set up this website and a social media presence. You can find us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

It’s fair to say that we miss Normal Times. Zoom is great, but we miss real life, we miss face-to-face meetings, in our own village centre, and we really miss Jane’s homemade flapjacks and cakes. The prospect of another few months of this is tough, but we will not be deterred. We will keep on doing what we can, because we believe passionately in a better future.

We want to thank everyone who has been involved and given their time, energy and expertise so generously. We’d love it if our second year brings more of you into the SO community. It could be a one-hour litter pick, an afternoon spent tree planting, making a video or writing a blog. Or if you haven’t time to spare but like the sound of it, follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

Together we can make a difference.

‘Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world.

Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.’

(Margaret Mead, cultural anthropologist)


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