Meet Our Moonlighters: The Eco Centre (Somerset)


An Alternative Approach

Over the last few weeks we’ve been shining the spotlight on some of our talented staff and their small businesses. Not only are we incredibly proud of them and their amazing skills but we hoped that it might keep them a boost in the run up to Christmas whilst gift shopping is at the forefront of everyone’s minds.

This week however, we’re taking a slightly different tack. We firmly believe in sustainable living in order to respect and protect the world we live in for future generations. We’ve been trying to honour this by promoting shopping from local, sustainable suppliers but of course there are other ways to do this when it comes to gift giving. For example, giving the gift of your time or experiences (even though my daughter’s Christmas present from last year has been postponed twice, she’s still looking forward to her trip to the theatre next year!), handmade goodies or simply by shopping second hand. This week’s moonlighter is even more passionate about sustainable living than that; so much so that she’s set up an entire Eco Centre to put her thoughts into action! Lizzie Peberdy works at the Outdoors School and is the brainchild behind The Eco Centre in Somerset. I’ll let her tell you the rest….


headshot-of-blond-lady-smiling-at-camera.Role within The Outdoors Group: 1:1 Learning Support Assistant at The Outdoors School (Tiverton site)

Secret Skill: Sustainability warrior aka Director of The Eco Centre (Community Benefit Society)

Name of Business: The Eco Centre: Somerset

When/Why did you start? Autumn 2019. I heard about some people starting up a new project and had recently finished my MSc in Sustainability so really fancied getting my teeth into something. It started off as a general curiosity and as I got more involved I started to see some real potential! Now I’m on the board of directors and can’t wait to see what happens next.

What do you love about it? I love working alongside some fantastic like-minded people and throwing about all our ideas! It’s a chance to imagine all the things I’d like to do to try and help people live more sustainably and actually be able to make some of it happen. We have some really grand plans for the long term, like building a centre to showcase ideas and hold conferences. To begin with it seemed like we might not get there, but we’ve all working really hard together and have already managed to successfully apply for funding to get some of our plans off the ground! It’s a real sense of achievement, all alongside working part time at The Outdoor School, running a small business of my own and looking after my little boy.

What have you learnt? I’ve learnt a huge amount! We started off as a group of people but now we are a registered community benefit society and charity…that was a learning curve in itself! Helping to write funding applications and manage our social has also a new area for me. At the moment we are trying to share ideas on a more eco friendly Christmas via social media, but I can’t wait to be able to get out and actually tell people about what we are doing properly. That’s what I’m in it for, to share my passion!

What’s next? A lot of our group meetings and planned events have had to be cancelled or postponed due to Covid-19 which has been a real shame but hopefully we’ll be out spreading the word soon. Fingers crossed you’ll see us soon at an event near you in our roadshow van! We plan to purchase a vehicle and convert it to more eco friendly fuel so we can use it for outreach events around the South West.

The-words-we-need-you-with-the-o-being-a-hand-with-a-finger-pointing-at-the-screen.Anything else? We are looking for new members! It’s a great chance to join us at the start of our adventure and becoming a member means you can vote on our plans and really make a difference. You need to either work or live in Somerset for that, but if you don’t then you can still help by following us on social media and sharing what we are up to!

Social Media Channels – where to find you!: 

We have just received some funding to set up a snazzy new website, but for now you can find us on Facebook and Twitter:
Twitter: @SomersetEco


Author: Hannah Durdin, Administrator & Forest School Leader

Date: Thursday 3rd December 2020

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