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Care for the Planet

Care for the Planet.. look after your community and the world.  Make small changes to your life that will reduce your energy use, recycle more, leave the car at home, use low energy light bulbs, small steps to a greener life can make a difference.

Click here for some other suggestions of how you can Care for the Planet.

Find out about the other Six Ways to Wellbeing:

Care for the Planet 10 Quick Tips

Kent Countryside Partnerships are running some amazing projects across Kent and Medway to help people make the most out of their wellbeing.  Getting involved in a Countryside Partnerships project is a great way of getting all of your Six Ways to Wellbeing in one go, find out more about how Kent Countryside Partnerships work in the film below:

To find out more about the great Kent and Medway Countryside Partnerships  and how you can get involved to improve your wellbeing go to: www.kent.gov.uk/about-the-council/partnerships/countryside-management-partnerships 

Tunbridge & Malling undertook a local litter picking Womblethon in Aylesford! With a great group of volunteers from MCCH Litter Picking in AylesfordTuck By Truck, Peter and the Kent Community Wardens of Tonbridge and Malling. The rolled up their sleeves and organised some local litter collections which (shockingly) resulted in an estimate of 20 sacks of rubbish just from Mills Road and Lake Road in just 2 hours!

It’s a great example of a local project making a real difference they gave their time, connected with others, took notice of their surroundings, had a good workout, honed their litter picking skills and showed they love where we live by caring for the environment… brilliant!

“It’s quite nice to take what was a tree, that fallen tree over there, and recycle it into something functional.”

Simon is a volunteer at Newington Big Local and is helping to give Newington copse a makeover.  He uses bits of wood and stone to create beautiful structures, including a butterfly house, wishing well and arbour.  Watch him here:

By caring for the environment, Simon’s also improved his own wellbeing: “I find it therapeutic, no stress down here.  And I find I can do things now that I couldn’t do a year ago and it helps.

Go down to the wood in Newington and you’re in for a bit of a surprise!

If you go to the copse near Newington Community Centre, you’ll see a group of builder’s trugs and big wooden cubes with potatoes and onions growing out of them. They’re a bit unexpected because they’re in the middle of a patch of woodland and they seem to be doing nicely in the shade. Go a bit further, and you’ll come across a huge poly tunnel, full of gardening equipment and seedlings.

Dave Veg Cubes Care Six Ways to WellbeingThey’re the beginnings of the Newington Veg Cubes project, created by members of Newington Big Local one of our Wellbeing Trailblazer Groups.  Over the next year, residents plan to grow veg in little pockets of land across the estate, where people can forage for food for free.

It’s early days but the gardening bug is already spreading. Students from Marlowe Academy are creating their own veg and flower garden in what is known as ‘welcome land’, on the entrance to Newington.  There’s another site planned for the area’s ‘Secret Garden’. (We’d tell you more, but it’s a bit hush hush…)

One activity.  Six ways to wellbeing.  That’s good value!

Dave Care Six Ways to WellbeingDave Cloves is Newington Big Local’s Chairman and being involved in projects like Newington Veg Cubes has made a huge difference to his wellbeing and that of other residents:

Be Active: Dave is happy to rise and shine for the sake of the plants: “It makes you want to get up in the morning a bit earlier.  Like yesterday morning, I came down here with the bottles of water to make sure that they’re all OK.  And this was at 6 o’clock in the morning, rather than rolling over and saying, “I’ll  do it later, it’s Sunday morning.”

Keep Learning:  He’s also picked up a lot about what grows and what doesn’t.  “You live and learn don’t you?  The potatoes are doing well and they’ve had minimum.  You know, you don’t have to tend to a potato, just make sure it’s happy and watered.”

Take Notice:  It’s very restful pottering amongst the trees and Dave enjoys spotting opportunities for sowing seeds, however unexpected:

 “It could be an old pair of boots that you don’t use.  Fill it up with compost, plant it out, there you go, you’ve got something that’s going to grow you some food and not cost you anything.”

Connect, Give, Care:  volunteers also get to know their neighbours better (Connect), have the satisfaction of producing something that others can use (Give) and, as Dave points out, the whole area benefits (Care): “With Newington being a highlighted area of deprivation and, in one of the many studies that almost come out daily, we noticed that of our 5 a day, Newington was doing 2 a day.”

“So there was obviously room for improvement.  And one of the things that was being a barrier was the financial aspect.  Okay, it costs you say a pound or so to buy a ready meal, but does it actually fill you up and is it actually good for you? So we said, “Hang on, is there another way we could do this?  And is there a way we could do it without it costing any money whatsoever, apart from some packets of seeds?”

“I’m proud of the whole thing.  The whole putting it together and seeing these crazy ideas come out and, it might just work you know.”

Big Local is a national initiative, encouraging communities across the UK to use local talent, skills and energy to make their areas better places in which to live.  More details here: http://www.localtrust.org.uk/big-local

Find out more about Newington Big Local:   http://www.newingtonbiglocal.org


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“I’m proud of just sticking at it. I feel good.”

Paul is one of the volunteers from Park Wood Men’s Health Project, who’s turned a patch of bare land into a community allotment with 24 raised beds. For a small contribution, people who live locally can rent a flower bed for six months and grow what they want. Paul Care: Planet Six Ways to Wellbeing

Having shovelled a 5 foot mountain of earth, Paul is keen to take on a plot himself:

“I have learned quite a bit, where to plant and where not to plant; where they’ll grow and where they won’t grow. I want to do the Welsh flag on it, in flowers, believe it or not! It’s where my grandparents were born, in Wales. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do.”

“I’m proud of just sticking at it. I feel good. Otherwise I would be sitting indoors or moping around, which is what a lot of fellas do.  That makes matters worse, doesn’t it? I’d say, get out and try what I’m doing. Even if it just makes you tired and you sleep better, that’s a bonus. I wake up of the morning and I want to do something – instead of watching telly all night and not getting up in the morning. It’s an easy rut to get into…”

Tad is Senior Community Development Worker at Rethink Mental Illness Kent and Medway, which set up The Men’s Health Project.  He’s also rolled up his shirt sleeves to volunteer at the allotment, shovelling soil and helping to put up the new shed. Hard, but enjoyable, work…

Tad Care: Planet Six Ways to Wellbeing“I spend a lot of time in the office, sitting down. You tend to look at the computer. So I think you can’t beat being out in the open. You can’t. Before I started this line of work, I was actually a roofer. And I do miss that. It makes me feel good when I’m back out in the open, actually doing manual work. I enjoy it. It makes you feel more alive, I think, being outside.”

“But for me, the thing was doing this piece of work and when it was finished, being quite proud of that piece of work. And I hope Paul, when he looks back at this, will be really proud actually, because he’s part of the project.”       

Steve is also a Community Development Worker at Rethink Mental Illness, Kent and Medway.  His sense of satisfaction outweighs his sore back!

You can find out more about the Park Wood Men’s Health Project here: menofparkwood.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/welcome-to-parkwood-mens-health-project.html

The Park Wood Men’s Health Project, in Maidstone, supports men to support themselves and each other.  There’s peer support around issues such as  keeping healthy, tackling stress and long term unemployment.  Find out more here: www.liveitwell.org.uk/local-news/west-kent/mens-health-project/

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Last year, there was the most beautiful blue tit.  And I just laid still and watched it.  And the colours were fabulous.  I was scared to breathe in case it flew away but those few seconds, it was really good.”

Watching wildlife gives your wellbeing a boost – and helps the planet too! That’s why Kathy’s turned her garden into a wildlife Kathy Birdwatching Care Planet Six Ways to Wellbeinghaven:

When I first retired I wasn’t well.  So I used to spend a lot of time sitting there doing nothing and watching out of the window.  So my daughters bought me a little bird feeder, which I hung in a tree.  And then they got me a little bird book to go along with it.  So, and it’s gone from there.

Now I’ve got multiple feeders out and I’ve got about three bird stations.  I plant things in the garden to attract the wildlife. I’ve got lavender, honeysuckle.  I’ve got ivy in amongst the hedge, because the beetles and the birds hide in there.  I’ve also planted some primroses, and other things like that.  So anything that the wildlife can get to.”

“I don’t get any bees in the house now, since I’ve planted the lavender, because they stay on the lavender.  I planted honeysuckle just because I like it – and the butterflies and bees like it as well.”



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Dolly Newington

As a volunteer for Newington Big Local, Dolly is helping to clear an area of woodland. She finds it rewarding in lots of ways. Have a listen by clicking here

To find out more about the Newington Big Local project click here or follow the link: www.newingtonbiglocal.org



Heres some other quick ways to Care

      • Switch off phone chargers when you are not using them
      • Freecycle unwanted belongings. (http://uk.freecycle.org/)
      • Print double-sided and use unwanted paper as scrap
      • Get a “bag for life” and put it by the front door/in the car, ready for when you go shopping
      • Buy low energy light bulbs
      • Turn down the thermostat turn off the radiators in the hallway and wear more layers
      • Leave your car at home one day a week. Walk, cycle or take public transport. Join a car share scheme.
      • Eat in season fruit and vegetables. This means that you reduce emission costs and the carbon footprint of food.
      • Get food savvy – don’t waste your food, don’t buy and cook more than you need and eat up leftovers.
      • Take showers rather than baths and only run dishwashers and washing machines when you have a full load.

For more suggestions as to how you can Care for the Planet click here.

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