by Jenny Cotterill
We held our inaugural Berkeley ValeCAN meeting in January 2020 and having made tentative plans to engage local people with our aims, lockdown got in the way. Keeping in touch on zoom during the early months of the year, our small group decided to plan an event to reach out to our neighbours in Berkeley in a safe, socially distanced way.
On August 1st, in Berkeley Square, we set up a small stall decorated with pictures made by children from Slimbridge Primary depicting eco-friendly activities and an option-board asking people to sticker their most serious environmental concerns from six chosen areas. We also had a collection of potted purple basil plants to give away.
It proved a really successful day, most people we approached were happy to talk to us and others crossed the road in order to do so. Single use plastic (being fuelled by added Anti-Covid masks/gloves) was the greatest concern, followed by wishing to retain & improve local shopping. This will inform our approach to future events.
We all thoroughly enjoyed chatting to people about their environmental worries and how to start finding ways of overcoming them including joining our local group. Even better, our contact list doubled.
We are now planning to hold another stall near Slimbridge school to catch the parents as they collect their children which we hope will be equally if not more successful.