Over the past couple of months I have had the pleasure of working with Rebecca Green, a participant on the Positive People project since late 2018.
Rebecca was referred to Cosmic for 1:1 digital training to help her achieve her personal and professional goals. Rebecca wanted support to build up a new campaign she had founded and learn how to use technology to promote what she is doing.
At the beginning of 2019, Rebecca set up a campaign called Plastic Free Axminster to promote environmental protection. She says, “After supporting Surfers Against Sewage for a number of years, I was looking to do something that would help improve the environment in the local area”.
For Rebecca, now seemed like the right time to promote cutting down on plastic: “Lots of people were talking about it following Blue Planet (the BBC David Attenborough series) and environmental issues were also being highlighted through social media. People have become more aware of the impact humans are having on the environment and they want to know how to change things for the better”.
When meeting with Rebecca to deliver her 1:1 training, she will often choose to meet in the range of small independent cafes in her hometown, Axminster. I was interested to learn about her choices of cafes. Rebecca’s response was, “I like to support local businesses. So many small businesses are showing a commendable commitment to eliminating single-use plastic from their premises.” As sustainability is also an important theme for Positive People, we were more than happy to support Rebecca with her goal to support these businesses.
Plastic Free Axminster is “Working to free Axminster from single-use plastic with Surfers Against Sewage”. The campaign offers environmental news, tips for helping to create a greener planet and events to get the community involved.
Such events include litter picking and beach cleans, where anyone and everyone can get involved. Recently, they also provided a public screening of Plastic Ocean, a film that raises awareness about the impact of plastics on ocean life and the planet. For Rebecca, this event resulted in a very proud moment: “A young girl who had attended the screening was so affected by the film that the following day she did a presentation at school to share what she had learnt with her classmates. Now the girl’s teacher is helping us with our art workshops!”
Another proud moment for Rebecca was following a litter pick event, when her son came home from school and said he could see there was so much less litter on the streets than there used to be. Rebecca advises, “It is so important to get children involved in the environment”. It is true: the world we create now will be their future home.
Rebecca’s goals are to help Axminster achieve Surfers Against Sewage’s Plastic Free Communities status, and to promote the need to protect our coastal habitats around the world through a series of environmental education and art projects.
“The response so far has been really positive and it’s fantastic to see Plastic Free Axminster being embraced by members of the community, from young to old. I met a man in his eighties who told me how he has adapted his life to be more sustainable, and little children who are showing off their reusable water bottles”. Following a very positive response on social media, the impact is clear, as these platforms promote causes and involve the community. Plastic Free Axminster’s social media platforms now have a combined total of over 600 followers since being launched in January 2019.
During Rebecca’s 1:1 digital training she has learnt how to use technology to support her campaign, as well as build her general confidence in using technology. For example, she has learnt how to use a program called Canva to help her create digital designs to advertise her events. She has also learnt about equipment and technology she can use to create and edit photos and videos to document the work that Plastic Free Axminster is doing.
Rebecca says, “The support I have received from Positive People has been hugely beneficial and helped to demystify the difficulties of using technology”. Rebecca hopes to set up an online shop, to sell products related to her campaign, such as reusable tote bags. Her next steps are to learn how to manage the different social media platforms she is using, especially now they are reaching a larger audience.
In October, Rebecca will be studying Environmental Science and Geography with the Open University – a six year part-time course that will help her to get closer to her goals.
If you would like to learn more about Plastic Free Axminster, you can follow the campaign on social media:
Positive People offers a lifeline to people who are not in work to build hope, confidence and skills. Positive People is funded by the European Social Fund and the National Lottery Community Fund.