Riverfest 2019 – Celebrating 900 years* of Newport Harbour!

The 12th Isle of Wight Riverfest on Saturday 18th May is all about celebrating the heritage, community and the natural environment on the River Medina and its historic Newport harbour. It is the largest free community event in the town. The local Footprint Trust charity organise it, with the support of Newport & Carisbrooke Parish Council, the Isle of Wight Council and local businesses and charities.  Visiting this year will be the notorious vicious Wolfguard Vikings, who bring culture from a bygone age. Wolfguard is a Viking and Dark Age Re-enactment group based on the Isle of Wight and have been doing Dark Age re-enactments for over 25 years. We particularly welcome the dashing Vectis Victorians, who were formed in 2018, and are the only Isle of Wight Victorian Social History re-enactment group, and one of only a handful in the UK.  They focus on portraying the lives of everyday working people from the Island from around the 1860’s to 1880’s.

Entertainment will kick off at 11am with the Vectis Corps of Drums, who will be looking to recruit new members of the day. Local dance schools will be performing throughout the day with a mixture of modern, street, Irish and traditional dancing. You can also have a go and salsa and tango thanks to experts from Touch Leisure.

Riverfest is set on the ‘New’ Port, from which the town takes its name. The name first appears in the 12th century, and was founded by Richard de Redvers. Newport had varying fortunes, in the 14th century the Black Death struck twice and the town was severely burnt by French forces. Its trade grew over the years, in the eighteenth century, the principal export was corn, and the main import, coal and timber. Beer moved in both directions, particularly to the many hostelries near the Quay! Whilst those who worked on the docks in may have been poorly paid some more wealthy Island residents were enjoying everything the dockers unloaded from almonds to anchovies.

Over time the quayside was extended further north on its east bank. Local firms like Crouchers and Shepard Bros dominated the river trade. Newport was very much a working port until the latter part of the last century. Newport Quay is also important as a centre for the local gas works, the Electric Light Company building with its distinctive stepped gable.  For just under a century it was the focus of the Island’s railway system, until the railway station closed in 1966.

At Riverfest you will be able to view historical, modern and classic boats. The Isle of Wight Classic Boat Museum will be at the event promoting their unique collection. Many local charities and associations will be on hand to explain their work and to raise funds, including Vectis Sunrise Rotary. Veteran support organisations will be attending to raise funds and offer help to those who have served in the Armed Forces.

At the event you can have a say in the future Shaping of Newport and the historic quayside. The river is now mainly used for recreation and its estuary is internationally important for its birdlife. Medina Valley Centre have been offering Outdoor Activities and Environmental Education in the Medina Valley since 1963. Crew from the centre will be bringing along some glorious mud from the River so you can see the creatures of the deep that lurk there. They will also give visitors a chance to paddle their own canoe and have a go on their amazing stunt bike course. Island Bikeworks will also be checking over bicycles for two-wheeled visitors to the event. Nature conservation has always been a big part of Riverfest, Natural Enterprise will be on hand to talk about the Island’s rivers and the need to Plant Positive along their banks.

Local food is an important aspect of Riverfest with real local meat and veggie burgers, vegan snacks and for the first time – mocktails. Local beers will be plied from the Riverside Centre, Quay Arts and the Bargemen’s Rest. Local fudge and Ice cream will be on sale along with cakes and pastries from Scarrots Lane bakery.

With Spring in the air, gardeners can enjoy the exotic colourful display of drought-tolerant herbs and shrubs put on by local plantsman Robin Whitehead of Olive Grove. Southern Water staff are to be present giving guidance on saving water and will have a number of freebies to help use water more efficiently.

Handmade fashion accessories and henna tattoos will be on offer, along with salt lamps, t-shirts, toys and clothing. Local woodturner Andy Fortune will be demonstrating his craft. Trophy Pet Foods will be promoting their balanced diet foods and have provided water bowls throughout the event to keep visiting dogs refreshed.

Riverfest is the only car-free event on the Island, no parking is provided and those visiting are asked to use public transport, sail walk, cycle or use the Folly Waterbus on 07974864627 or vhf 6, 77, 72.

The Footprint Trust is an Isle of Wight charity, responsible for Riverfest.

Ray Harrington-Vail, the charity’s General Manager explains,

“This is just a small part of our work on the Island. For the rest of the year we are helping your families, neighbours and friends who are struggling with their energy and water bills, through our Warmahome projects…”

“The Footprint Trust in the last year has saved local vulnerable people over £100,000 on their utility bills and helped 2,000 people keep warm and well”

“The Trust staff and volunteers will be on hand on the should anyone wish to book a free energy saving visit, or a phone call, to chat about cutting your energy and water bills.”

Gurnard Footballers aim to help local charity

Gurnard Lions Under 9’s Football Team did a sponsored litter pick on Saturday 13th April to raise funds for them to travel to the mainland to play matches. As well as doing a fantastic job looking after their local environment, the children also chose to donate to local charity, The Footprint Trust, which works to help low-income families to reduce energy costs in the home.

“It was wonderful to meet the boys to receive our cheque” said Helen Stichbury (left of picture) from The Footprint Trust, “It is vital to engage young people in taking responsibility for the natural environment, we could all learn from their enthusiasm”.

The Trust helps over 1,000 local people every year saving some £100,000 in energy and water costs. The Trust very much welcomes donation from local organisations and individuals. For those who wish to support, but at no real financial cost can donate used postage stamps. The Trust has set a target of collecting a tonne over the next two years, which would raise some £20,000. The Trust can be contacted on by email info@footprint-trust.co.uk or call 822282.

Big energy saving announced for Isle of Wight

The Isle of Wight Footprint Trust was out in force this winter, saving Islanders a total of over £73,000 and helping over 1600 people cut their energy and water bills.

The Trust saw over 1200 people at more than 60 events and outreach held across the Island. This included as part of the Big Energy Saving Week, with activities at Family Centres across the Island, Our Place at West Wight Sports Centre and the Foodbank Cafe at Church on the Roundabout in Newport. Other outreach took place as part of its Winter Warmer Roadshow visiting pubs and cafes in South Wight, as part of the National Warm & Safe Homes campaign. Their popular Monergy workshops, which give people skills to cut bills, reached dozens of people. Their Cosy Isle drop-ins proved helpful in gaining discounts on energy costs and grant-funded insulation, in partnership with Eon. In total over 12 events across the Island, ranging from towns to villages.

Frontline worker training was delivered to 80 people from organisations spanning health, the Fire and Police services, the voluntary sector and Social Services by Big Energy Saving Champions Ray and Mark.

The Trust was able to offer a raft of measures and assistance to help people, ranging from access to free insulation, helping people switch and getting discounts on energy and water bills. Free energy-saving home visits were made to over 230 households, helping families learn how to use their heating systems to best effect, and cutting utility bills by an average of around £150, whilst keeping people warm and well.

A pensioner sent us an email thanking us for the help we gave her in getting a better deal on her energy and other practical assistance…

“…I was visited by two young ladies, who were very helpful to me, and reassured me, and left me feeling so much happier. They took time, and trouble getting everything sorted for me. I am very grateful to them, and the Footprint Trust for doing this for me. I just wasn’t getting anywhere.”

With price hikes aplenty, the message was to check your tariff and switch if you’re not on the best deal! Those on low income were able to apply for the Warm Home Discount of £140 from their electricity company. Many people with mobility issues were able to get free Smart meters, getting rid of the strain of reading meters and the worry of estimated bills.

Others were further helped by putting them into contact with ex-Services organisations, Family Centres, Social Services and Citizens Advice for help with other issues and concerns.

 For more information and free help with energy and water bills please contact The Footprint Trust info@footprint-trust.co.uk or phone 01983 822282.

All this has been made possible by funding and support from; People’s Postcode Lottery, The Ebico Trust, Santander Foundation, Eon, BESN, BESW, Help Through Crisis, Hampshire & Isle of Wight Community Fund, Garfield Weston Trust, WightAid, SmartUK, the Co-op, and the Beatrice Laing Trust. Bembridge, Cowes, Newport, Freshwater, Wootton and Ventnor town and parish councils have also supported this work.

Love your frogs this Valentine’s Day!

The local environmental charity The Footprint Trust have just published a seasonal guide for caring for wildlife ponds. In partnership with Southern Water they have produced a colourful leaflet giving useful information on the best time of year to care for this important habitat.

They point out that ponds should never be ‘spring-cleaned’ as frogs and other creatures traditionally were thought to find their mate on St Valentine’s Day, and thus should not be disturbed!

The leaflet warns of the dangers of invasive pest plants, and introducing disease into you’re a wildlife pond, by transferring creatures.  It also has handy tips of pond-dipping, including how to make a cheap kit for that purpose.

The Trust, the local IW Green Gym conservation group and Southern Water staff has spent the last few months helping schools and communities bring their wildlife ponds back into use. The following primary schools have so far been assisted; Newport, Carisbrooke, St Mary’s RC, Barton, Wroxall, Godshill, Cowes and St Helen’s. Which means that pupils can enjoy their ponds in the coming warmer months.

Speaking for The Footprint Trust, Mark Russell said

“It has been a wonderful opportunity to bring school ponds back into use, and help children appreciate their local wildlife. The environment has been improved and young people inspired to care about it.”

“We are very grateful to everyone at Southern Water for all their help and support.”

Yasmin Sanders, Community Engagement Officer at Southern Water:

“We’re thrilled to be working in partnership with the Trust to provide havens for wildlife and places for children and families to enjoy and learn.

 “Many of our employees live and work in the community and we are proud to play our part in supporting a project which is offering a range of educational activities and helping local people to look after their ponds and protect the environment and wildlife around us.”

Copies of the leaflet can be picked up from libraries across the Island and from The Riverside Centre in Newport. A pdf of the leaflet can also be found on The Footprint Trust and Southern Water websites. 


Hampshire & Isle of Wight Community Foundation (HIWCF) has launched its Surviving Winter 2018/19 campaign,calling for people to help tackle fuel poverty by donating their Government ‘Winter Fuel Payment’ if they are fortunate enough to be able to do so, in order to help older and vulnerable people struggling to keep warm in local communities.

The funds raised are distributed directly to those most in need through HIWCF partners The Footprint Trust, Vivid Homes and The Princess Royal Trust for Carers,to ensure vulnerable people can afford to stay warm, eat well and remain mobile during the coldest months, providing practical help with travel to doctor’s appointments, assistance with shopping for essential items and support to get out of the house and meet up with friends at a local community group for some company and a natter over a cup of tea.

Grant Cornwell MBE, Chief Executive at HIWCF commented: “Surviving Winter exists to support those living in fuel poverty and relies almost wholly on donations of unwanted Winter Fuel Payments, with almost £50,000 raised to date over the past eight years.This is a vital campaign that generates funds to help those most severely affected by fuel bill price hikes and the rise in the cost of living, where even keeping one room warm can be a struggle. Winter can be a challenge to survive for some, so if you are in a position to do so, please help by recycling your winter fuel payment or by making a much-needed donation to this vital local cause via the HIWCF website www.hiwcf.com.”

Ray Harrington-Vail, General Manager of The Footprint Trust added “The Footprint Trust, as part of the scheme, visits some 500 vulnerable homes reducing clients’ utility bills, getting them better deals on their power and obtaining free insulation for their homes.Last year the Trust saved Islanders over £100,000 on their utility bills. Thanks to the Surviving Winter initiative they were able to help vulnerable people with a contribution towards their fuel bills.”

Latest data from the Office for National Statistics shows that over the winter of 2016-17, there were an estimated 34,300 excess winter deaths in England and Wales, which has increased since the previous winter period by around 39.5%. During last winter,20.9% more deaths occurred in England and Wales compared with the non-winter months, and figures for the South East region are higher than this averageat 21.8%. Please help HIWCF to support those in need in our area.

HIWCF encourages the residents of Hampshire and Isle of Wight to donategenerously to theSurviving Winter Campaign; if you can help, please go towww.hiwcf.com and make a donation via our‘BT My Donate’page under‘Donate’ https://mydonate.bt.com/donation/start.html?charity=182347

Alternatively, please send your donation by cheque to: The Chief Executive, Surviving Winter Campaign, HIWCF, Dame Mary Fagan House, Lutyens Close, Basingstoke, RG24 8AG. Thank you for your support.

If you would like The Footprint Trust’s guidance on keeping warm this winter and on energy efficiency savings contact us on info@footprint-trust.co.uk or call 01983 822282

Warmer Winter Roadshows in rural Wight during February

The Roadshow comes to Whitwell, Chale and Freshwater. Free Tea and cake!

Worried about electricity, gas or LPG bills?
Questions about Smart Meters?
Interested in switching?
Water Debt?

Free tea, coffee or soft drinks are available to anyone coming along to The Footprint Trust’s Winter Warmer Roadshow, which is at venues across the rural areas during February.

On Friday 1st February they will be at the Post Office Cafe in the Church from 11.00, moving down the road to the White Horse pub at 12.00.

They’ll be at the White Mouse pub at 11.00 on Thursday 7th February, and then at the ‘Our Place’ event at West Wight Community Centre, Moa Place, Freshwater, from 10.00 on Tuesday 12th February.

Staffed by trained energy experts from The Footprint Trust, sponsored by National Energy Action’s ‘Warm & Safe Homes’ campaign and supported by Calor, these drop-in sessions will give you the opportunity to get free, impartial information to help save money on heating and water bills. The Footprint Trust also offers free home visits to anyone, anywhere on the Isle of Wight, saving an average of £200 per household! If you can’t make the date, or would like further information, contact The Footprint Trust via email info@footprint-trust.co.uk or call them on 01983 822282.

Speaking for the Trust, NEA’s National Heat Hero, Ray Harrington-Vail said,

“Despite the winter not be as cold as in previous years, expensive fuel bills are still a worry to many people. Looking forward to the warmer weather will not make the problem go away. Many people in rural areas are particularly hit by the fact that they are off mains gas, and have older poorly insulated homes. This is why we are holding events in Freshwater, Whitwell and Chale.”

Thanks goes to Co-op

Huge thanks goes to The Co-op and it’s members for supporting us through the Co-op Community Fund!

We recently were kindly invited to receive a donation following a period where The Footprint Trust was the beneficiary of a percentage of spend for members who have selected our charity. The contribution will be put to very good use on projects including our hugely successful free Riverfest event held this year on Newport Quay – this year on the 18th May.  #TheCoopWay #Riverfest

Families get a Real Meal Deal!

Island parents can sign up for free family cooking courses. The fun course is all about prepping cheap, tasty meals and no cooking experience is needed.  Isle of Wight charity The Footprint Trust are running the course, lead by Laura Stichbury, a mum who works for the Trust and wishes to share her practical skills with other parents and carers.

 Attendees can save money each week by learning to cook healthy basics such as spaghetti bolognaise and stew. The course will give people the skills to cook healthy, budget meals for life.

“We’re really excited to offer this course to Island families. If you’re tired of just feeding the kids chicken nuggets, why not join in – get in touch by email info@footprint-trust.co.uk or call 01983 822282”

says Laura Stichbury from The Footprint Trust.

Real Meal Deal is a 6 week course, generously funded by Wightaid and IW Council’s Adult Community Learning.

Island homes – save money on heating!

Paying too much for your heating? Islanders can come along to a Big Energy Saving Week event to hear how to save on heating bills.

Isle of Wight charity The Footprint Trust are holding Big Energy Saving Week from 22nd – 26th January. Footprint Trust’s energy team help people lower bills through reaching better deals, accessing grants and make small changes to keep healthy and warm over winter. On average the Footprint Trust saves householders around £200 per year on their utility bills. In the last 3 months nearly £40,000 has been saved!

Supported by the Citizen’s Advice Bureau, The Trust are holding a week of training, guidance talks to struggling families in children’s centres and public events in Freshwater and Newport.

Members of the public can come and chat with the Footprint Trust at Our Place, West Wight Sports & Community Centre, Freshwater on Tuesday 22nd January at 10am-12pm or Foodbank Cafe at Church on the Roundabout, Newport on Friday 25th at 10am-12pm.

“Big Energy Saving Week gives Island residents an opportunity to cut their household heating bills. We also offer free home visits, which saves the average home £200. Give our team a ring on 822282 to book or email info@footprint-trust.co.uk for further details on our events.”

Says Laura Stichbury from The Footprint Trust.