Energy & Recycling

Southbourne sustainability movement Eco Sobo scales up plans

By Sam Pither [email protected]

Published: April 10, 2024 | Updated: 10th April 2024

Eco Sobo, which was originally intended to be an eco-fair for Southbourne in May, has been scaled up into a full eco-movement with monthly sustainability workshops and more community-focused event planned for September.

The movement was originally launched in January 2023 with the goal of highlighting all the sustainable and ethical organisations, businesses and charities in the community.

Lizzie McManus, Co-Founder of Eco Sobo, explained: “When we launched last year, we thought we’d be planning a one-day event with a few businesses.

“We happily underestimated the appetite for sustainable living in Southbourne, we knew people were interested, but we hadn’t realised quite how many would be!”

Led by Lizzie and co-founder Rosie Edwards, Eco Sobo secured a grant from the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund to deliver a series of sustainability workshops.

This funding was distributed by Dorset Community Foundation working with BCP Council, via the BCP Thriving Communities Fund.

“We started organising these workshops last summer,” Rosie said, “with the aim of sharing the wealth of sustainability knowledge we already have on our doorsteps with the wider community.

“We organised these workshops using venues and guest speakers from within our community. For example, our first workshop, ‘All the Rs’ was all about reducing waste, reusing items, refusing packaging, repurposing items, and recycling.

“We held this at The Larder House in Southbourne where owner James Fowler was one of our speakers and shared some great tips with us.

“BCP Council’s waste team come in to answer everyone’s questions on what can and can’t be recycled, and Connor Winter from Circular 11 in Christchurch also joined us to talk from a technical and process perspective about the use of mixed plastics.

“We’ve hosted a wildlife-friendly gardening workshop at Grounded Community in Boscombe for families, a workshop on how to shop sustainably at Just1Swap, and a ‘Green Travel’ workshop at Velo Domestique in Southbourne.

“Velo owner Dan Armstrong talked about cargo bikes as a solution for local deliveries, Adam Osman from Cycling Rebellion spoke about the Critical Masses happening locally, and Nikki Honer from More Bus shared some insights into bus travel as an alternative to cars and answered some important questions around electric.

“A local resident, Soo Chapman, was kind enough to open up her home for our workshop on Renewable Energy.

“People were welcomed in to see how her eco-home ran and operated with guided tours from Soo and her daughter Zoe. We also had two local renewable energy firms, ACSouthern and JMW Electric who came along to answer any questions.”

Lizzie added: “With each new workshop, we’re generating more and more interest in Eco Sobo and it’s really wonderful to see and be a part of. It is a lot to organise, especially as we’re all volunteers with full time jobs. Luckily we’ve got a really supportive Steering Group who we really couldn’t do without.

“Southbourne resident Sally Martin, Dr Anne Hayden from Your Planet Drs, Sophie Townsend from MeadowSweet in Southbourne, and Brian Chick, Councillor for West Southbourne.

“They’ve all been amazing, helping us organise these monthly workshops, reaching out and engaging with members of the community, and inputting their ideas and giving feedback. This really is an effort by the community, for the community.

“We’re now looking forward to moving into the planning stages of Eco Sobo the event. This will be a fantastic coming together of the organisations and members of the public who have already been involved.

“Behind the scenes, we’ve been working with the local schools, libraries, local forums, and charities to make sure that everyone who wants to be is involved.”

Eco Sobo will take place on Saturday 14th September 2024 along Fisherman’s Walk in Southbourne from 11am – 7pm.

The one-day event will showcase sustainable solutions for homes and businesses including veggie growing workshops, stalls for eco-friendly products round the home, local food and drink, live music, a speaker’s corner, mending, baking, seed-swapping and clothes-swapping.

“We are now taking applications for stalls, stands, vendors, and artists” Lizzie added “so please do get in touch if you’re interested.

“This event is all about the community, we know how much everyone cares about the environment and where we live, and all we want to do is help people turn that into action.”

Local businesses, community groups and organisations can now apply for a stall at Eco Sobo by emailing [email protected].

To get the best of Dorset Biz News straight to your inbox every week, sign up for our newsletter!

Latest Posts

Christchurch start-up with green ambitions boosted by SWIG Finance loan

National renewable energy wholesaler plans open day to celebrate Bournemouth expansion

What a thriller! Movie gives food for thought as recycling company is chosen for film location

100-year-old Wimborne independent electronics store goes solar

Southbourne sustainability movement Eco Sobo scales up plans

All Energy & Recycling Stories »

Latest Posts

‘Huge thank you’ from Dorset Air Ambulance as their cycle challenge raises £46k and counting

Bobby’s Bournemouth welcomes social impact startup Patch and its ‘neighbourhood workspace’

Daish’s Holidays in Bournemouth rolls out new & improved website amid flurry of online bookings

Fund to alleviate pressure on NHS mental health services awards £725k to community groups

Chamber calls for a 'prompt growth plan' across regions following election announcement

All Latest News »