November 2020
There's plenty to do, read, and be informed about:
If the links above don't work, just scroll down to the items you want to read. We're aware this problem occurs on some devices.

If this is the first newsletter you're receiving from us, welcome aboard! We hope you find the content interesting and look forward to seeing you at some of the events described.
Newsletter Editor: Philip Nalpanis

Sustainable holidays – who knew?

Monday 9 November, 7.30 - 9.00 pm
online event via Zoom

Talks and discussion about taking your sustainable lifestyle on holiday with you, featuring presentations from:
- James Blake, CEO of YHA (England & Wales)
- Vicky Smith, founder of Earth Changers

Both speakers promote tourism that consciously places the destination, countryside and environment front-and-centre.  They will explain how your tourist pound can generate positive impacts for people and places in the UK and around the world.

Free event, please book via Meetup here.

Is heat leaking from your home?

Find out where by borrowing a Thermal Imaging Camera.

Sustainable St Albans has two thermal imaging cameras  - just like the ones the professionals use -  one based in Harpenden and one in St Albans.  The camera can help you identify where you are losing heat from your home: windows, front door, loft hatch, roof…?

As a result of COVID-19, information sessions will be held via Zoom this winter and there will be socially distanced arrangements for collecting and returning the camera. It's free for residents of St Albans district to borrow the cameras.

Join a Zoom information session to find out more!
The information sessions are bookable on our website now.

Government Green Homes Grant scheme

You could get a Government Green Homes Grant to make energy improvements to your home! Vouchers will cover two-thirds of the cost of eligible improvements, up to a maximum grant contribution of £5,000.

Read a summary of the Green Homes Scheme, produced by AECOM St Albans' volunteers.

If you, or someone in your household, receives benefits, you may be eligible for up to 100% of the cost of improvements. The maximum value of the voucher is £10,000.

Find out here whether you're eligible for a grant towards the cost of making your home more energy efficient.

Save the date! (1)


Sustainability and Climate Crisis Strategy event

Wednesday 25 November, 7.30 pm

Sustainable St Albans will be hosting a panel discussion over Zoom about the District Council’s Sustainability and Climate Crisis Strategy, with Chris White, Council leader.

The event will focus on how we, as residents, can amplify the planned activities to respond to the Climate Emergency.

Please save the date! More details will be posted on our website nearer the time.

Save the date! (2)

Sustainable St Albans Annual General Meeting
Tuesday 8 December 2020, 7.30 - 8.20 pm

This year’s AGM will be held online via Zoom. Full joining details will be available on our website nearer the time.

The AGM will include a round-up of our achievements in 2019-2020. We will also hear from local young people about their responses to the Climate and Nature Crisis.

Teachers and Eco-Leads: Sustainable Schools Networking Event

Monday November 16, 4.30 - 5.30 pm

In place of the annual Sustainable Schools training day we are running an online networking event via Zoom for staff teaching environmental issues and/or leading the school eco-committee.

If you would like to talk to other teachers about what you have achieved in your school and hear from others to gain ideas and inspiration, this is the event for you!

Please register in advance; you will then receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Watch out for the new initiative
from Playing Out St Albans District,
Festive Streets, launching online in November.  The initiative will encourage residents in streets across the district to celebrate the winter festive season by coordinating with neighbours to decorate the windows in their street.

We need new trustees in 2021 - could it be you?

The current team of long-standing Sustainable St Albans trustees, now just five in number, needs expanding, and we aim to find up to five new trustees to start in early 2021. Could this be for you?

We are running three short Zoom sessions in October for people who are interested in exploring becoming a trustee.  No commitment; just come and hear from current trustees about the role, and ask questions. Register for the session that suits you:
The trustees' role is to keep Sustainable St Albans healthy, set future plans, manage the finances, and ensure key processes are in place.  We're a small charity with no permanent staff, so trustees are also quite hands-on, running events and getting involved with projects. All trustees need a passion for the environment, but you may have relevant skills as well. Click here to see more about the role.

We are conscious that we are not currently a very diverse group, and would like to change this by recruiting new trustees with a range of backgrounds and perspectives.

Catch up on our recent guest blogs

  • Ideas for Halloween: find out how you can create a community atmosphere and satisfy your kids’ cravings for fun and treats while celebrating the Spooky Season in a sustainable way - a blog from our Playing Out St Albans District team.
  • Awesome Autumn: words and images - a beautiful and perceptive piece to inspire your walks - from the talented nature writer, painter and illustrator Chloé Valerie Harmsworth.
  • The Low Maintenance Food Garden by Incredible Edible’s Naomi Distill. Look out for wild strawberries and autumn raspberries, fuchsia berries, fresh new parsley, chervil, lamb's lettuce, leaf celery, coriander, land cress, claytonia and more...

As part of their Net Zero Action Plan, St Albans City & District Council is working in partnership with photovoltaic installer IDDEA Ltd to help homeowners and businesses install discounted solar panels.

St Albans Solar Streets offers residents and businesses discounted solar panels district wide across St Albans, Harpenden and villages. For example, you can get a 12-panel 4 kW system installation for £4,000 (you can have a different number of panels).
  • Any house or business in the district can apply
  • If you are interested, email for a a FREE no obligation survey
For more information see the Solar Streets website.

"Leave your car at home" meeting report

September's Our Planet Our Future online event was an evening discussing how we can reduce our reliance on the car and move to more sustainable modes. We heard from Brian Deegan of Urban Movement  how we can improve the street network to encourage more walking and cycling. Andrew Buchanan discussed how the Harpenden Hopper had been set up and was developing. Marcus Vere talked to us about sustainable distribution, using electric assisted cargo bikes for the last mile, something his organisation Box Bike Delivery has been doing successfully in Stevenage.

Read more about previous Our Planet Our Future events here.

Affinity Water's 'Save 10 a day' campaign

This autumn, Sustainable St Albans is taking part in #Save10aday, a community campaign by Affinity Water, to reduce the amount of water we use in St Albans District. By joining in, you’ll not only help protect the River Ver, our incredibly rare local chalk stream, but raise money for Sustainable St Albans.

Help us protect the River Ver and reduce our carbon footprint

If you’re wondering how you could save 10 litres a day, don’t worry. The team at Affinity Water has made it really easy. All you need to do is sign up for your free water-saving kit. It’s personalised to your household’s exact water usage. Simply install it and you’ll start saving water, protecting the River Ver’s rich variety of habitats and wildlife. You’ll also be helping reduce local carbon emissions, because using less water means less energy is needed to store, clean and pump it to your house.

You can also read about this campaign in the Herts Advertiser, where there are hints on how to save water.
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