Sitting on an Asset – Your sofa could help an island family…

With the summer here, many people will head to the nearest furniture or DIY store. But what are you to do with your old furniture or those curtains that grandma gave you? Many hotels and businesses also choose to have a refit at this time of year and are in a similar predicament.

The Storeroom project provides a free collection service for households and businesses who wish to dispose of good quality furniture, curtains and linen. They offer an island-wide pick-up service and with all charities they ask that people do not give them rubbish as they have to pay for disposal. For details call 298679. The Storeroom is an innovative project of the Real World Trust.

The furniture collected by the Storeroom is passed on to individuals and families who desperately need basic furnishings. If you know of anyone who could benefit from the Storeroom’s help please get in touch.

The Footprint Trust has commended the Storeroom for taking some 300 tonnes of useable furniture out of the waste-stream last year.

Visit the charity’s shop Tat n Treasure, located at 76 Regent Street, Shanklin. They are keen to receive quality donations of bric-a-brac and similar items. Income from the shop helps fund the Storeroom’s activities.

The Storeroom is always looking for more volunteers to help with repair of furniture, driving and other rewarding tasks.

The Storeroom is able to offer this service thanks to funding and support from a number of bodies including, Defra, CRED, the Isle of Wight Council and the Lloyds-TSB Foundation.

To find out about other recycling initiatives on the Island please visit;

Or call the IW Council switchboard on 821000.

River Wardens wanted

River warden’s scheme launch success

The Isle of Wight Council’s Medina Riverside Park has undergone a transformation since the involvement of the Isle of Wight Estuaries Project. As well as funding practical improvements, such as litter clearance, hedgelaying and new picnic benches, the project has recruited a local expert to help set up a volunteer group of local river enthusiasts.

The recent open evening to discuss the setting up of a Medina River Warden scheme was very successful. Eighteen people came and heard Ray Harrington-Vail of the Footprint Trust explain the idea behind the volunteer project. Using these eager volunteers and others to be recruited over the summer, the warden scheme should be set up this autumn. The Trust has already set up the popular IW Pond Warden scheme, and will be using its experience and expertise to help the Estuaries Project establish the River Wardens scheme.

River Wardens will get involved with a variety of tasks, which would not only benefit the river but also give invaluable training and experience to those who undertook the role. For example, a river warden could monitor activities on the river. Litter picking and practical nature conservation work could be undertaken. River wardens could inform and educate and act as ambassadors for the Medina which may include helping with guided walks, interpretation, working with schools plus other types of education and awareness raising. Liaison with river user groups such as anglers, boaters, walkers and bird watchers would also take place. Education and awareness about climate change issues and sea level rise plus information about the special protected areas of the river could also be delivered.

There will be a training day on Saturday 29th September 2007 in the Newport area. Booking is essential. Initially 20 wardens will be trained. Anyone else who is interested in taking part can contact the Footprint Trust. tel 822282.

The River Warden scheme will initially be paid for through the Area Investment Framework with money provided by South East England Development Agency and administered by the Isle of Wight Economic Partnership. The project is managed by the Isle of Wight Estuaries Project.


What No April Showers

What no April Showers! – has climate change arrived?

This April has been very hot and dry. The lack of April showers have been a talking point, in fact, it has been the warmest since records began almost 350 years ago. For many parts of the UK it was also their driest April. The South East has had 2mm of rainfall so far against the normal 55mm. Consequently farmers on the IW have had to water fields much earlier than normal. Taking the past year as a whole it has also been the hottest 12-month period since 1659. The Footprint Trust backs the overwhelming scientific opinion that Climate Change is to blame.

There is a danger that the ending of the hosepipe ban could give the wrong impression. Says Ray Harrington-Vail of the Footprint Trust’s Waterworks project.

“It is still important to save water. Many aquifers are still low following years of little rainfall. Every time a tap is running pollution is caused by the pumping of that water. The lack of April showers means that reservoirs are not being replenished and rivers are low.”

Our changing weather is not just an inconvenience but it could effect the survival of our native wildlife. Climate change is already affecting the natural world. Swallows are now migrating to Britain a week earlier on average than they did in the 1970s. Hedgehogs, and House Martins are believed to be in decline. To find out what’s happening the Isle of Wight Natural History Society is asking for your help. A reporting card is available from local libraries. Or visit their website.
Hawthorn has been a symbol of May since ancient times but this year it was flowering in early April. Flowers such as snowdrops are blooming earlier in the spring, oaks are leafing earlier and butterflies such as holly blues are appearing earlier. Scientists recently found that almost two-thirds of European butterflies have expanded their ranges northward and pulled back at the southern edge of their ranges.
Oaks will find it difficult to survive in the south of England and bluebells will fail to thrive due to lack of light, as trees come into leaf earlier.
The impact of climate change on biodiversity in Britain will be negative. If the world takes strong action to curb greenhouse gas emissions, we should be able to limit climate change to less than a 2°C average temperature rise. Nevertheless, a two degree rise will still have a marked impact on the UK’s diverse ecosystems.
Research shows that the golden plover, a typical upland bird, is nesting significantly earlier than 20 years ago. Dr James Pearce-Higgins, Research Biologist at the RSPB said: ‘The earliest hatching plover chicks, which normally have the best chance of survival, could in future struggle to find food, reducing their overall breeding success.’
Wetland birds such as redshank will find their habitats threatened by climate change: saltmarshes will become inundated by the sea while moors and wet grasslands will dry up during hot summers.
In 2005, water shortages in the south of England have already taken a toll on breeding wading birds. Numbers of breeding redshanks, lapwings and snipewaders have dropped by up to 80% at five RSPB nature reserves in Sussex and Kent as there is simply not enough water available to maintain their wetland habitats.

The Footprint Trust recently praised the IW Council on one of its green initiatives. – ‘One Million Blooms’ which is creating drought-tolerant landscaping in our parks and open spaces. This investment will radically reduce water usage and the associated costs. Many of the plants being chosen also benefit birds, butterflies and bats.

‘Gardeners wanting inspiration on what to plant should visit Ventnor Botanic Gardens, the largest drought–tolerant garden in the south of England.’ Said Mr Harrington-Vail

Look out for the Footprint Trust’s Saving Water leaflet …in local libraries and help centres. You can also view it on the Footprint Trust website.

Get involved
You and your family, school, church or business can get involved in the Waterworks project. Become a Water-Watcher by looking for ways in which to save water.

· Design posters for your washroom or toilets
· Place Southern Water ‘Save-a-Flush’ bags in large cisterns
· Create a drought-tolerant garden
· Report leaking taps and pipes

The Footprint Trust can visit Isle of Wight schools, churches and community buildings and give you ideas on water saving.

For more details please email

The WaterWorks initiative is supported by The IW AONB Sustainable Development Fund, along with the IWEP EU Leader+ programme, the Ernest Cook Trust and Southern Water.

Dinosaur Isle gets Green Garden to fight Climate Change

The Isle of Wight’s Footprint Trust and a local conservation group ‘Green Gym’ rolled up their sleeves to create a drought-tolerant garden in a bed at the front of Dinosaur Isle. Experts in the Council’s Parks & Countryside section have designed the planting that should also be resistant to salt spray in this exposed coastal location.

The scheme that was an initial idea from the Footprint Trust has been created due to concerns about Climate Change, which is causing a dramatic transformation in weather patterns, leading to record breaking heat waves and droughts across Europe.

“If carbon dioxide in the atmosphere continues to be increased by human activities the environment will warm up to a climate suitable for dinosaurs.” Said Ray Harrington-Vail of the Footprint Trust.

The garden will require little or no artificial watering and will also be beneficial to birds and butterflies. Plants chosen include, spurge, ice plant, seakale, sea holly, silver spear, fountain grass and New Zealand flax. This scheme is part of the Footprint Trust’s Waterworks project supported by the AONB Sustainable Development Fund and EU Leader+. It links to the IW Council’s One Million Blooms initiative, which seeks to create drought-friendly planting in parks and open spaces.

In addition to planting the scheme will be complemented by the use of feature rocks and gravel mulch locally sourced from Bardon Vectis. Island Waste Compost derived from recycled garden waste will also be used to avoid peat-based products.

Some 30 volunteers including local residents took part in the planting day.

Peter Pusey of Dinosaur Isle said, ‘…last year Dinosaur Isle achieved a Green Island gold standard award, and with this new garden we are hoping to maintain that gold standard. This exciting and innovative drought-tolerant garden will save the museum £500 a year on buying bedding plants however it will more importantly mean that we will no longer need to use 1000’s of litres of water a year on irrigation.’