Plastic-free adventures: SodaStream

February 19, 2018

Our endeavours to cut down on single-use plastics coming over the doorstop as part of Say No To Plastic In Faversham Week continues with our moving away from buying carbonated drinks, and making our own using a SodaStream carbonator and syrups. These allow customers to create their own carbonated water and flavoured drinks (there’s a rumour that one can even create Prosecco-style drinks using white wine, although we’ve not tested this theory. Yet…).

Instead of buying individual bottles of fizzy drink, which invariably come in plastic bottles, we are using filtered tap-water which is then carbonated by the SodaStream device as required. This reduces both the number of plastic bottles coming into the home, but also saves money – we’re not paying petrol costs on transporting a boot-load of two-litre bottles of lemonade, Coca-Cola, tonic water and sparking water each shopping trip; and we are pouring away less liquids that have gone flat.

Get busy with the fizzy…

Additionally, the carbon cylinders can be re-charged at most stores which sell SodaStream products, reducing the cost of manufacturing additional cylinders. The customer also benefits by getting an average of £10 back when returning a cylinder at the point of purchasing a new one (the Range currently offers this facility on recharged cylinders retailing at £18.99). It’s not possible to get away entirely from plastic containers, as the syrups come in such bottles, but the syrup-bottles are smaller (concentrated products) and we are purchasing fewer of them compared to buying 2-litre bottles of fizzy drink. Each carbonating cylinder costing £9 (with the £10 cylinder return by the customer) boasts that it can carbonate 60 litres of water, which means we are bringing home at least 29 fewer plastic bottles (assuming each bottle is a two-litre bottle); each litre therefore costs a mere 15p, compared to on average £1.50 for a branded two-litre bottle of drink. Factoring in the cost of a syrup bottle (£4) which flavours approx 8 litres, that works out at 50p/litre – overall, then, the combined costs-per-litre is 65p, but there are reduced transport costs and little packaging consumption impacting on the environment.

So, on balance, a saving of 20p on a two-litre bottle and significantly fewer plastic bottles coming into the kitchen. (And we run out of tonic far less often than before, always a risk in our household…). A small but significant way of making a difference…


No Plastic ? Fantastic! Making a difference this week

February 18, 2018

It’s ‘Say No To Plastic Week’ in the Market Town of Kings all this week, as Faversham makes a difference to levels of plastic pollution.

Between 18 – 24 February, we’re being encouraged to re-use, recycle or simply take measures to reduce the levels of plastic our households consume; with heart-rending videos of high levels of plastic filling the world’s oceans going viral on social media, now’s the time to assess how we can make a difference. With news this week that China is no longer taking plastic from the UK for recycling, it’s only going to become increasingly important that we do what we can; and it all begins at grass-roots level, with movements like Say No To Plastic raising awareness, sharing alternatives and skills, and lobbying local businesses and companies to take part. Here’s a few of the ways we’re going to be contributing to the week.

Recycling aluminium trays: all those trays that come bearing fresh meats can easily be washed and re-used, it saves on consumption of aluminium foil.

Soap-nuts from India are an organic, natural detergent that are a great alternative to laundry detergent (and also means avoiding purchasing plastic bottles / containers in which it is packaged). The Salveo ones are allergy-free and kind to skin, and are cultivated through sustainable agriculture. The sacks come with cotton drawstring bags for placing in with your washing, so there’s no need to wander around the kitchen looking for those errant plastic mini-tubs under the chairs and table any more either…Beeswax wraps; these are made from cotton material (off-cuts or any suitably-sized piece), onto which one irons small beeswax beads, to make a durable alternative to cling-film. The wax-coated cotton wraps can be readily laundered, and are great for keeping food fresh in the fridge or taking your sandwiches to work instead of using plastic tupperware.

And just to show how easy making these wraps is, here’s Madam Forum with a short vlog following her first attempt to make one herself (the cotton used here comes from the excellent The Fabric Man, a stall at Faversham market on Saturdays)…

Loose-leaf tea; it came as something of a shock to realise that tea-bags are made using plastic and as such aren’t always readily recyclable. Instead, use loose-leaf tea – and actually create a much more flavoursome cuppa into the bargain…

Homemade soaps: instead of buying plastic- or paper-wrapped bars of soap, it’s possible to make your own using a pre-made base made from shea butter and oatmeal, which you melt and pour into a suitable mould combined with your favourite essential oils. Ours came from The Soap Kitchen.

Yesterday, the team behind the Faversham initiative were busy at a stall in the market-place, sharing ideas and encouraging people to make a pledge, written onto a paper leaf and attached to an ever-growing pledge-tree; the tree was festooned with leaves, a sign that many are really getting behind the initiative.

On Wednesday this week (21 Feb), there is a drop-in event in the Fleur de Lys centre off Gatefield Lane in Faversham, where between 3-8.30pm people can can find out about a variety of ideas for combatting plastic consumption, share their ideas and skills and find out more about how to get involved.

Click to enlarge

We’ve made our pledge, and are looking forward to taking part in the skills-sharing event on Wednesday. It’s projects like this, started by volunteers with a passion and commitment towards protecting the environment and preserving it for future generations, that can really make a difference, and make big business and politicians sit up and take notice of customer power (Faversham’s own MP, Helen Whately, is also getting involved this week) and the concerted will of consumers to make a change.

Of course, it’s taken as read that we are all assiduous in our household recycling habits; the real cultural shift, and the next stage in our domestic environmental thinking, concerns making efforts to ensure that even those products that can be recycled aren’t making their way over our doorsteps in the first place. Make sure you’re involved this week, and make a difference to your environment. Find out more about the project on Facebook here or follow updates on its Twitter page here.


Carols on The Green

December 11, 2017


Bring your lanterns and your voices for Carols on The Green!
Enjoy a hot drink and a mince pie in St. Michael’s Church afterwards.
All Welcome!

Saturday 23 December, 5.00pm.

Spike’s Hedgehog Sanctuary

May 10, 2016

Spike’s Hedgehog Sanctuary is a small home-based hedgehog hospital run by volunteers Mary Lane in Yorkletts and Angela Warne from Hernhill.

We take care, of sick injured and orphaned baby hedgehogs and once fit and well we return them to the wild.

Hernhill is very lucky to still have a good population of hedgehogs as they have been lost in many areas of the U.K. and as this is an endangered species we feel our work is even more important.

This year, as well as our usual hospital work, we aim to try and help increase the numbers of this rapidly decreasing species. Recently we have released 34 hedgehogs who over-wintered with us back to their original homes.

We make and sell hedgehog -themed items which are available to buy from us, to boost our funds, as we are totally self-funding and 100% of all profits go to the hedgehog hospital.

If you want to help hedgehogs in your garden there are lots of tips on our website.

If you find a hedgehog out during the day or a sick or injured hedgehog please don’t wait a few days we are here to help.


We can be contacted on 01227 280535



Housing Exhibition 27th February

February 15, 2016

Village residents are invited to an exhibition about the proposed new housing scheme for Hernhill on Saturday 27th February, 1.00pm – 5.00pm.


Continued controversy over 12 Market Place, Faversham

May 1, 2015

12 MarketA new application has been submitted for 12 Market Place, Faversham. This is the third application for change of use since the shoe shop Stead & Simpson closed down. The owners have applied for the existing retail premises to become a restaurant. Costa withdrew a similar application in February, but have not responded to enquiries regarding their involvement in the new application.

While some welcome the introduction of a Costa coffee shop in the town centre, the application received many objections from members of the local community, who did want to lose retail premises in order to create another coffee shop. They also expressed concern that a Costa would create unfair competition to the independent coffee shops in the market square and the introduction of a multinational company would spoil the unique town centre.

Members of the community are invited to comment on the latest application, with their support or objection to the proposals, but must do so before 7th May. Find out more and have your say on the application on the Swale Planning website here.

Alterations to Hernhill Village Hall have Planning Approval

April 1, 2015

Planning approval has been granted for the extension and alterations to the Village Hall & Dawes Community Association Centre. You can view the application drawings and documents on the Swale Planning Register.

The DCA and the Village Hall will be joined together with a shared entrance, to create one connected community centre with a new ‘Foyer’ community room at the front of the building. The idea is that the ‘Foyer’ space can be open to the public as often as possible; during activities on the playing fields, for parents to use while they are waiting to pick up their children from childcare, or as a place to shelter from the wind when the kids are playing in the park.

What is needed now, is the funds to build it, so if any members of the local community would like to help fundraise, please contact the Chair of the DCA committee, Peter Rawlins,, and we’re sure he would be very grateful for any help or contributions.


Fundraising in memory of Josh Oliver

March 24, 2015

Josh Oliver’s dad, Paul is fundraising for Child Bereavement UK. The Olivers are a local family and their son, Josh died recently, at age just 15. Paul’s JustGiving site says:

“The purpose of the Josh Oliver Charity Foundation is to raise funds and to give something back to the Organisation that has supported and helped me and my family through this very tough time – Child Bereavement UK, which is mainly run by volunteers and parents who have lost their children.  With the help from The Personal Trainer Company, who are donating free Fitness sessions, diet & nutritional advice and on-going support, delivered by some of Kent’s finest fitness professionals, I will be aiming at losing 1.5 stone in weight over the next 8 weeks (starting w/e 27th March 2015)”.

You can find Paul’s JustGiving page here and more information about Child Bereavement UK here.


Window trail: calling all Faversham businesses!

March 2, 2015

If you run a shop in Faversham, how do you fancy being part of a window-trail around the town, something to engage children and adults, local residents and visitors alike, and help encourage them into your shop ?

Shop window

The Cat’s whiskers…

Window-trails are simple to do, and highly effective in raising awareness of your premises. All you need to do is place an object somewhere in your window display – a teddy-bear, a model car or boat, for example – at an arranged date, and then encourage children and visitors to the town to hunt through the town to spot them. Talking with one shop-owner in Faversham at the weekend, they were remarking how easy it can be for your store-front to become invisible through familiarity – everyone knows you are there, but they are so accustomed to it that they stop seeing it as they pass by.

So, let’s re-invigorate the retail life of the town for a week, by all putting an object in our windows, and then we’ll advertise a ‘Faversham Window Trail’ through our various social media platforms,  which will enthuse shoppers, visitors and residents to wander around the town in a bid to identify all the objects – and, hopefully, over your thresholds.

If you’re interested in taking part, get in touch via Twitter or drop us an e-mail; how about an Easter-themed trail at the end of the month ? It could be eggs-actly what local retail needs…

All boats rise with the tide: cultural and retail collaboration

February 24, 2015

It’s very exciting to see some of Faversham’s cafes beginning to feature artistic opportunities amongst the crockery and cutlery recently – both Jittermugs and the newest addition to the town’s cafe-culture, The Yard are currently hosting exhibitions of work by local artists.

It seems to me that this is a development which could also serve the wider community, whereby the arts and retailers work together for the benefit of wider promotion. Local photographers could celebrate Faversham’s shops, cafes and historic buildings and amenties, and in return, shops could host artists’ work, displays and exhibitions.

IMG_2374The eye-catching window displays which frequently adorn The Disgruntled Cat could form the basis for a photographic exhibition, for instance, that the shop itself could then host, or which could be featured in a display in the Alexander Centre, or a pop-up gallery at another venue in town. Customers browsing for goods would also be exposed to artwork, to paintings and drawings celebrating the life of the town and its inhabitants. Restaurants such as The Saddlers or Posillipo‘s could host temporary paintings; a photographic exhibition might explore the various eateries to be found around the town. Art in unexpected places is always exciting: live music in a library (!), poetry in a cafe, pictures in a farm-shop…

For a creek-side town with a nautical heritage, the metaphor ‘All boats rise with the tide’ is entirely appropriate; and if we could pull this together in time for June, when the public eye will be drawn to Faversham for the celebrations of the Magna Carta, so much the better. If we can work side by side to promote and foster businesses, the arts, the history and the town of Faversham, we could really begin to reinvogorate the Market Town of Kings. There’s a vibrant community, full of creative individuals, that feels like an untapped resource at the moment; it’s all about finding new ways of engaging customers, and drawing people over the threshold. An art exhibition in the foyer of Faversham Pools, or a floating exhibition or book-club on the boats at the creek, anyone ?!

IMG_2375If you would like to develop this idea, get in touch: talk to us on Twittter. If we can get retailers, artists and traders talking to one another, it could be a welcome tonic for the town’s economy too. Let’s see if we can make this work.

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