Southampton working holistically to deliver

Sustainable Lifestyles

by Ashley Phillips

[To view biodata and contacts, click here]


The Sustainable Lifestyles Group project is an exciting innovative large-scale community project created by two environmental groups, the Southampton Sustainability Forum (SSF) and the Environment Centre (tEC) which has been funded by the Outer Shirley Regeneration Board (SRB 6) in Western Southampton. 

The overall project is made up of six linked projects that will involve a wide range of people from within the community.  Each project will focus on a specific topic but the overall effect will be the raising of awareness of sustainability issues with realistic advice and simple, low-cost and effective solutions.  

Schools, local businesses and residents will be involved in reducing local environmental impacts and improving the quality of life in the area. 

The project is the brainchild of myself and colleagues at the Environment Centre (tEC), where I am hosted.  Organisation and delivery is being co-ordinated by the Environment Centre (tEC) with direct input from all its divisions including Business Services, Solent Energy Efficiency Advice Centre, the Shannon Community Project and the Southampton Sustainability Forum. 

This holistic approach by tEC and the SSF mirrors that of the project in that all the elements as a whole will have a much greater impact on the community than any individual part. 

The timetable for the project runs from April to December 2003 with an event to mark the successful completion planned during early December. 

The six individual projects are; 

1.      Environmental play area.  This will create a play area appropriate for younger children in the Millbrook area, which will be part of a wide community consultation to find out what people really want, designed and constructed with sustainable materials. 

2.      Demonstrating renewable energy.  This will involve the purchase and installation of renewable energy equipment at the Down To Earth Centre, the City farm in Millbrook: Solar PV panels, for creating electricity and solar thermal for hot water It is designed to promote energy consciousness and encourage the use of renewable energy. There will also be classroom solar kits and a hydrogen fuel cell kit to see the energy of the future at work. 

3.      Sustainability through creativity.  Using creativity as a learning tool this aims to promote and encourage recycling by creating a sculpture made from waste materials. Working with the Youth Action Forum (a group of pupils from Redbridge school and Millbrook school volunteering in an out of school project). We are creating a giant 3D recycling logo (3 turning arrows) filled with concrete casts of plastic bottles and cans representing the permanence of waste if it is not recycled. The sculpture will be exhibited around the Outer Shirley area, and will start and finish the tour at Redbridge community school playground, with thanks to the Headmaster. 

4.      School environment pilot.  Educational material, to stimulate and involve pupils in environmental issues affecting their daily lives, will be developed and delivered in conjunction with free energy, waste and water audits to six schools in the area.  Did YOU know?? Most schools in the UK spend up to three times as much on waste, water and energy as they do on books and equipment? 

5.      Business energy, waste and water audits.  30 free energy, waste and water audits will be provided for businesses within the Outer Shirley, Millbrook and Redbridge areas (Western Southampton).  This will not only enable businesses to save money, but will also promote awareness and give information and support to employees. 

6.      Home energy checks.  This will deliver low-cost practical advice and support to residents in the area to help lower fuel bills and reduce carbon emissions at little or no cost.  Did YOU know?? If each of the 11,000 residents of the Outer Shirley area used an energy efficient light bulb in place of an ordinary one it could reduce carbon emissions by up to 3,250 tonnes per year and save 10 per household on electricity bills?  

horizontal rule

Biodata and further information: 

Ashley Phillips is the Sustainability Outreach Officer at the Southampton Sustainability Forum which is hosted by The Environment Centre (tEC).  Email:  

If you would like to find out more about the SSF:  You may also check out the website: Environment Centre (tEC)