Since 2007 hundreds of Lewes people have been getting together to discuss ideas and put them into action. We’ve formed groups around food, energy, waste and plastic (to name but a few) with the aim of making Lewes more sustainable and better able to deal with the effects of climate change.
Here are some of the projects and programmes TTL has achieved:
- TTL founded the award-winning Ouse Valley Energy Services Company (OVESCO), a community renewable energy company which has powered up many local businesses, schools and homes.
- TTL founded and manages our famous local currency, the Lewes Pound, which promotes small businesses and local producers, keeps money circulating in the local economy and is a flagship for a sustainable town. The Lewes Pound supports local food banks via the ‘donate a drink’ scheme.
- TTL founded the Lewes Friday Food Market in 2010 to promote sustainable local food supply, production and access.
- Eco Open Houses – opening real houses with super low energy use to the public to encourage energy efficiency and take up of renewable energy
- TTL founded Litter Free Lewes which carries out regular litter picks with residents’ groups and church groups and has encouraged cub scouts, schools and other youth groups to take up litter picks as well. The momentum built up with the local community enabled Litter Free Lewes to initiate discussions with the local council leading to action to clean up the A27 major road near the town.
TTL founded Plastic Free Lewes which has run many local actions and events: Plastic Ocean, Don’t Trash the Planet, awareness day outside Waitrose, There’s No Planet B. Worked with schools and Brownies on plastic awareness. We launched Lewes based videos for businesses and individuals pledging to go plastic free, and organised hemp event in Lewes Town Hall in 2019.
- Together with Lewes Town Council and numerous local groups, developed the Lewes Neighbourhood Plan over 6 years. TTL led on sustainability and developed a pioneering ecosystem approach in the Neighbourhood Plan, which is currently shortlisted for a Royal Town Planning Institute award.
- We had a group working to comment on the District Counci’s Local Plan and influenced several of the policies. We continue to work closely with the District Council and the Town Council on their declared Climate Emergency. We will have representation on the District Council’s sustainability panel.
- Organises numerous talks and debates on topics such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals; recycling and circular economy; “There’s no Planet B”. Film shows and talks are held with the award-winning sustainable Depot cinema
- Organised draught-proofing workshops with local business Snug to enable residents to carry out simple DIY measures to make their homes more energy efficient. A video on secondary glazing produced by TTL member Jill Goulder has hit over 60,000 views.
- Organised Electric Car shows in 2018 and 2019 where EV owners talk directly to the public about the experience of driving, charging, and maintaining an electric car. No dealers are involved and the aim is to give anyone thinking of buying a new car the confidence to switch to EV.
- Following concern about surface water flooding, carried out an audit across the town to identify locations suitable for rain gardens (Sustainable Drainage systems) which are now being taken forward with Brighton ChaMP for Water Project
In addition we have …
Produced a monthly newsletter for over ten years with what’s on locally plus articles of interest, and opinion.
- Food up Front: Vegetable boxes to encourage people to start growing where only small spaces are available.
- Garden Buddies: Group supporting others in growing food, sharing ideas and helping
- Lunch with local farmers and food growers to talk about sustainable farming (2008)
- Giving out seedlings to encourage others to grow their own
- Open Edible Gardens day
- Free seasonal menu distribution
- Apple Pressing Day
- Food preservation workshops
- Conversational workshops on Making Food Choices
- Talk: Can being vegan save the planet? (2019)
Green Johanna project with County Council compost doctors encouraging people to compost all their food waste at home.
We worked with Furniture Now and ESCC on a pilot project to compost business food waste with a rocket composter installed at County Hall. Our primary role was initiating the project and talking to and surveying local business needs.
Food waste awareness day outside Tesco, talking to the public and giving them information about ways to reduce food waste.
In addition to founding Ovesco, running the Eco Open House weekend and the Lewes Car Show, the energy group has put on talks and discussions around wind farms and how to power Lewes in the future. There have been energy fairs held in Cliffe Precinct demonstrating energy saving.
Led by the late Colin Tingle, many events looking at what nature provides us with and how it should be valued. This has resulted in eco-system services being incorporated both into the Neighbourhood Plan and the South Downs National Park policy. In Lewes there is now Tingles Way, a route through Lewes showing how eco system services work.
Talks and discussions around banking, the local Credit Union and divestment.
Heart and Soul Group
Numerous talks, events, gatherings to share, experience and discuss our inner transition. Regular celebrations of seasonal ceremonies and experiences to bring us closer to nature and natural rhythms.
Numberous films shown over many years.
Keep it in the Ground
This started in response to a talk in 2013 by Duncan Clarke, co-author of The Burning Question, about the need to not use most of the world’s oil, coal and gas, in order to protect the climate. They initiated a petition to East Sussex County Council about the need to divest their pension fund from fossil fuels. This campaign continues today mainly through Divest East Sussex.
In 2009/2010 we engaged District Council in cutting its emissions by 10%, and influenced Town Council to do energy audit. Display were held outside Waitrose and outside Waitrose with a felt tree with children’s wishes.
In collaboration with Ovesco and Community Energy South: held in 2015, to visualise zero carbon by 2030 – with energy events and festival at Linklater.
Energy Descent Action Plan
Preparing a Pathway to a Positive Future.
- Various celebrations, eg, Local food celebration event 2008, Do at the Depot, Seven Year Itch, 10 year event.
- Eco event at Priory School 2010 – talking to children about energy, transport, food and waste. Ovesco have worked with many local schools and Plastic Free Lewes have been to talk to children at various schools about plastic in our lives.
- 2008 – many re-skilling workshops such as making, growing and mending
- Textile group – Cloth reusable shopping bags made by Gossypium – 2007
- Schools Group – Storytelling workshops in 10 local primary schools 2007
- Car club 2007/2008
- 2019 – organised an event on lobbying parliament
Some ideas groups have considered in the past:
- Waste group – Anaerobic digester for food waste in Lewes.
- Dealing with take-away packaging.
- Sharing tools – have a borrowing hub.
- Give and take days – giving unwanted stuff and taking things.
- Repair cafe.
- How to green your restaurant.
- Food group – Mapping fruit trees round Lewes.
- Identifying spare land for growing trees.
- Community orchard.
- Local Food Delivery.
- Mobile Shop.
- Local food branding.
- Wood hub for wood re-use.
- Textiles – encouraging sustainability in purchasing, recycling and re-use.
- Health group.
- Dream life – group formed to create a sustainable housing development creating a model for 21st century living.
- “Bring out your dead” day – day when householders put out items no longer needed on front lawns/garages.
- Water Group – Reduction of water use – awareness raising.
- Arts Group.
- Business Group.
- Setting up a bank in Lewes.