Community Researchers Look at How to Promote Sustainable Living in East Salford – Project Video Online!

In 2013 the ‘Irwell Valley Sustainable Communities Project’ recruited ten local people to conduct research into sustainable living in East Salford.

The research project has provided a group of residents with the language and tools to investigate issues, increase their understanding of climate change and impart the significance of their findings to their neighbours.

The Community Researchers meet for twelve weeks to plan how they would collect data and work towards a ‘Skills for Community Research’ Level 3 module, accredited by Open Awards.

Undertaking research for Salford City Council about Irwell River Park

Undertaking research for Salford City Council about Irwell River Park

It was important for each Researcher to recognise the value of their individual light bulb moment.

I believe that due to the economic situation, benefit reforms and increasing food prices, residents in East Salford could benefit massively by growing their own food and living a more sustainable and healthier lifestyle. Life doesn’t get better by chance. It gets better by change”. Julie Stewart, Community Researcher.

On completion of the 12 week project the Researchers presented their findings to the ‘Irwell Valley Sustainable Communities Project’ Partnership Group and to the East Salford Community Committee. This enabled the Researchers to share their knowledge with local residents and organisations and promote the benefits of community based research.

Residents are more willing to talk to and are more receptive to someone they know rather than someone from the Council or statutory agencies. …being a recognisable face helped people be more open and honest in their opinions and feedback. …residents were more willing to engage and ask questions”. Jackie Harrison, Community Researcher – extract from her research assignment.

Salford City Council has recognised the Researcher’s skills in engaging local people. They have commissioned the Researchers to conduct surveys about the development of Peel Park and Irwell River Park as local amenities and sustainable transport routes.

Community based research allows those with the biggest stake in the research to influence its shape and content. It reinforces the idea that local people are experts in their own lives and their interpretation of reality holds the key to change.

Please check out our video about the project on our U-tube page:

Champions Question Ed Miliband Over Energy Prices

Representatives from The Irwell Valley Sustainable Communities Project have asked the Labour leader Ed Miliband face-to-face how Labour intends to fix Britain’s high energy prices.

Mark and Julie, two of the project’s Community Champions and Connor Hartnett, a local resident and newest member of the project’s Energy Task Group, took the initiative to attend a question and answer session in Hulme and talk about the issue of fuel poverty in East Salford.

Connor and Julie discuss fuel poverty with Ed

Connor and Julie discuss fuel poverty with Ed

Julie and Conor sat with Ed Miliband and were able to explain that some residents in East Salford face the choice of eating or heating.

” I explained to him that many people are on repayment meters and are constantly watching them and are dreading hearing the beep that tells them their gas has run out. He said that he wants to support people to switch suppliers to find the cheapest tariff” Julie Stewart.

Julie Stewart, Community Champion gets serious with Ed

Julie Stewart, Community Champion gets serious with Ed

The Irwell Valley Sustainable Communities Project is working with Church Action on Poverty to run a ‘School of Participation’ to encourage residents to come together to discuss the issues they face with keeping their homes warm. The 12 week project, which starts in January, will support residents to work together to help tackle this serious issue. If you are struggling to pay your energy bills and would like to join this group in East Salford then please contact Mark Frith on 07703 715050.

Julie tells Ed Milliband about the Irwell Valley Sustainable Communities Project

Julie tells Ed Miliband about the Irwell Valley Sustainable Communities Project

For more information about a major project designed to tackle the ‘Poverty Premium’ – the extra costs which people on low incomes are forced to pay for essentials like food, fuel and finance visit the Church Action on Poverty website:

Community Champions join the Team!

After a successful interview process four Community Champions have been appointed to join the project;  Loren Webster, Julie Stewart, Sam Smith and team leader Mark Frith.

The Community Champions will be supporting the community of East Salford to explore and exchange ways of becoming more sustainable in the way we all live our lives.Their main areas of work will be:

Flood Awareness – The team will be encouraging residents to sign up to the Environment Agency’s flood warning service so they are aware of what flood risks are in the area and how they can support each other to be prepared if there is a flood.

Recycling – The team will be encouraging residents to exchange their knowledge of how recycling and reusing can help families save money and live a more sustainable lifestyle. Intergenerational skill exchange, workshops and pop-up shops are all examples of possible projects, as well as offering people an opportunity to generate income from their creativity.

Greening and Growing – The team will be supporting adults and children to use growing spaces within the East Salford area and encouraging knowledge to be passed onto the next generation.  There are lots of community growing initiatives dotted around the catchment area and we will be mapping these and offering support to rejuvenate those spaces that need it.

Energy Efficiency – The team will be supporting residents to look at simple ways to reduce  their energy consumption and energy bills and will be showing people how to calculate their carbon footprint.

Here is some information to introduce the Champions Team…

Loren Webster planting the orchard at River View school Salford

Loren Webster planting the orchard at River View school Salford

Loren Webster

Loren grew up in Lower Broughton with not much green land around her or access to education about growing food and living sustainably.  Loren has a 3 year old son and she wants to be able to teach him about growing vegetables and how to live a healthy and sustainable life.  Loren’s passion is education, especially with the younger generation and she is keen to share the skills and knowledge she is learning.  Her new job as community champion is the perfect role for her to do this.  In her profile picture she is helping to plant an orchard with children from River View Primary School.

What I would like to gain from being a champion:

“I would like to gain a lot more knowledge around greening and growing, get connections, be wiser to what my community needs and be a part of the change. Looking into the future I would love to see urban farms in schools. And be able to go into my community and be able to answer any questions around growing, flood risk, recycling and energy.”

Sam Smith getting ready to run the pickling and preserving course at The Broughton Trust

Sam Smith getting ready to run the pickling and preserving course at The Broughton Trust

Sam Smith

Sam was born in Salford and has lived here all her life. She has worked for a variety of organisations in Salford including a 13 year stint at Ordsall Hall as Museum Supervisor. This is where she first became involved in community work, working with the Ordsall Community Arts Project on ‘Lighting the Legend’ and the Tudor herb garden at the hall.  In 2011 she started a jam and chutney business, ‘Well Pickled and Well Preserved’, with her friend Sue Rigg. The aim of the business is to source locally grown produce and use it in the production of their foodstuffs. A founder member of Angels Women’s Institute and a keen volunteer with ‘Tree Inspired’ and ‘Garden Needs’ she is a true example of sustainable living at work in Salford, and as a Community Champion is keen to share her expertise.

What I would like to gain from being a champion:

“I’m really excited at the prospect of being a Community Champion. I’m an enthusiastic  amateur gardener, and I’m looking forward to gaining new skills from more experienced gardeners in the community, passing on my love of home cooking and working with children and young people.”

Julie Stewart being creative with the children at the Spike Island after school club.

Julie Stewart being creative with the children at the Spike Island after school club.

Julie Stewart

Julie has always had a passion for community development and has been a major advocate for peer support and community building, not only in local but national initiatives. Including ‘Parents in Recovery’ and the ‘UK Recovery Walks Charity’  Julie’s passion for supporting these organisations is endless. Born and bred in Salford, she is a mother and has a 9 year old granddaughter.  After becoming a Community Researcher, her eyes were opened to a whole new world around the benefits of living a more sustainable lifestyle, and now has a passion to pass on her knowledge to the wider community.

What I would like to gain from being a champion:

“What I would really like to gain from being a Community Champion is a deeper understanding and knowledge of how to live a more sustainable lifestyle and how this can impact massively on the community where people live and work. Armed with this knowledge I will be better equipped to support  the community in making a move towards a more sustainable and greener lifestyle  and make choices that can benefit themselves and their families.”

Mark Frith Lead Champion Irwell Valley Sustainable Communities Project.

Mark Frith Lead Champion Irwell Valley Sustainable Communities Project.

Mark Frith

Mark started working for the University of Salford in 2000, then moved to Salford in 2004.  He followed his passion for sustainable community living by becoming an active member of the housing co-operative where he lived. In 2009 he started a foundation degree in Sustainable Communities and Regeneration, then transferring onto the Wildlife and Practical Conservation degree to formalise his knowledge on the global environmental issues current in the world. Mark is a keen supporter and active member of many environmental and horticultural projects within Salford and is keen to share his knowledge and passion for the conservation of habitats and improving the understanding of sustainable living.  In his role as Lead Community Champion, his main aim is to make the East Salford area an example of best practice in sustainable living and environmental awareness.

What I would like to gain from being a champion:

“I am thrilled to have been selected as the Lead Champion and looking forward to working with the team and the wider community of East Salford.  I am eager to get things growing and to learn and share new skills.  I have been involved in small grass root sustainable projects before, but this is a step up working on a larger scale project and I am excited about the potential this project has”

To contact the Champions please email them directly at:

or call The Broughton Trust on 0161 831 9807

After- school club gets creative with rubbish for Halloween

An old jar of coffee transformed into a fantastic Halloween lantern

An old jar of coffee transformed into a fantastic Halloween lantern

The after-school club held every Tuesday at The Broughton Trust has been busy recycling household items into scary costumes for Halloween.

Rather than buying outfits, the group made paper masks out of old stationery found at The Trust’s offices and created bat man masks using old mouse mats.

Turning old mouse mats into bat-man masks

Turning old mouse mats into bat-man masks

The finished mask!

The finished mask!

Black bin liners were vamped up into costumes and old coffee jars were used to create lanterns to take along to the Spooky Night held in Peel Park.

recycling household items for Halloween

The complete outfit! Made of bin bags, an old mouse mat and a lantern made out of a glass jar.

Getting ready for Spooky Night in Peel Park!

Getting ready for Spooky Night in Peel Park!

“The costumes are brilliant and it was great fun using everyday items that were destined for the rubbish bin.” Zoe Goddard from The Broughton Trust.

The group has also made sock monsters, gaining inspiration from the Rubbish Revamped book.

Making sock monsters at the after-school club

Making sock monsters at the after-school club

Earlier in the year Rubbish Revamped came along to a fun-day organised by Salix Homes on the Spike Island estate and taught us how to create jewelry from household waste. The button bracelets and juice carton wallets proved popular with everyone. For more ideas about getting creative with rubbish visit the Rubbish Revamped website:

Rubbish Revamped teaching us how to recycle rubbish into jewellery

Rubbish Revamped teaching us how to recycle rubbish into jewelry.

The environmental after-school club meets every Tuesday at 3.15pm at RITA House on Heath Avenue in Lower Broughton. All children are welcome if they are accompanied by a parent or carer. Please ring The Broughton Trust on 0161 831 9807 for more details or just turn up.

Urban Activities at The Biospheric Foundation

The Biospheric Foundation have launched a programme of Urban Activities, an exciting mixture of tours, workshops, courses and other events for local people to see the innovative growing systems in their mill and to take part in fun and educational activities.

There is a weekend organised in November for people to learn about and help out in their forest garden. There are also days to find out about wild food, herbal medicines and how to care for trees.

Tree Care – Sun 13 Oct – 9:30am – 5pm

Wild Food Day – Sun 26 Oct – 9:30am – 5pm

Herbal Medicine Day – Sun 10 Nov – 9:30am – 5pm

Forest Garden Weekend – Sat 16 – 17 Nov – 10am – 5pm each day

For bookings or queries phone: 0161 839 6872 or e-mail to:

There are limited spaces so book your place quickly.

Concession: if you are an East-Salford resident you may qualify for a price reduction on all courses.

See more at:

Volunteering Opportunities at The Biospheric Foundation – Open Day this Saturday!

The Biospheric Foundation would like to invite you to a Volunteering Open Day at Irwell House on Saturday 7th September, 11.00am-2.00pm.

The Biospheric Foundation has transformed a disused mill on the banks of the River Irwell in Blackfriars into a thriving agricultural space. Part farm, part laboratory and part research centre, it is investigating how to grow and distribute food in cities at a time of rising food prices, climate change and growing urban populations around the world.

The Irwell Valley Sustainable Communities Project is proud to be working with the Biospheric Foundation to develop volunteering opportunities for local people and develop a social enterprise, ’78 Steps’, selling fresh fruit and vegetables to East Salford residents.

Vincent and Steve from the Biospheric Foundation in '78 Steps', the new wholefood shop

Vincent and Steve from the Biospheric Foundation in ’78 Steps’, the new wholefood shop

The event on Saturday will give people a chance to meet the team and discuss the different ways that you can get involved.There are a range of volunteering opportunities coming up including:

– helping run the new ’78 Steps’ wholefood shop and ‘Wholebox’ delivery service

– helping run Biospheric’s urban activities with the community

– administration duties

– finance and accounting duties

– developing food systems such as an aquaponics system and growing mushrooms

– helping in the Forest Garden

The Community Reporters recently took a visit to find out more about the activities happening in the mill and the new wholefood shop in Blackfriars. Please take a look at their short film:

Julie, one of the project's researchers admiring the chickens on the roof top of the Biospheric Project.

Julie, one of the project’s community researchers, admiring the chickens on the roof top of the Biospheric Project.

If you are interested in finding out more about volunteering, please head down to the Biospheric project at 11am on 7th September. Please confirm your attendance by emailing Ben van Ooij, Project Manager at the Biospheric Foundation –

If you are unable to make it on Saturday but are keen to talk to Biospherics about volunteering please contact Ben van Ooij to express your interest.

Find out where they are based in Blackfriars by visiting their website:

Volunteers from River View Primary School create new growing spaces

A big thanks to all the volunteers at River View Primary School, who came back into school for the day to build new beds for growing vegetables. A Gardening Club was set up at the school in June with help from the Irwell Valley Sustainable Communities Project and Salix Homes. Every Thursday in term time, members of the Gardening Club have been busy growing vegetables in the school grounds with help from Garden Needs.

Building beds for vegetable growing at River View Primary School

Building beds for vegetable growing at River View Primary School

On 21st August a team of volunteers from the Club came back into school to get dirty and build some raised beds. They were very happy to find the courgettes, tomatoes and radishes they had planted were doing very well.

Apprentices from Garden Needs lend a hand

Apprentices from Garden Needs lend a hand

Volunteers from the gardening club at River View Primary School

A big thanks to everyone that helped out!

The Club has plans to keep on growing the spaces available to plant edible goodies. A community orchard is planned and the Club would like to build more planting areas ready for next Spring.

If you have a child that attends River View Primary School and you would like to join the Gardening Club then just come along on a Thursday, straight after school!

Carbon Literacy Training at The Broughton Trust

Appropriately for the world’s first industrial city, Greater Manchester is the first urban area to undertake to empower all its citizens with carbon literacy.

‘Manchester Carbon Literacy’ is a unique project driven by the fact that it is imperative that we all change the aspects of what we do that result in the generation of carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases.

Carbon Literacy Training Session at The Broughton Trust

Getting carbon literate!

The Irwell Valley Sustainable Communities Project is keen to get involved with this initiative and in July organised carbon literacy training at The Humphrey Booth Centre. Thirteen participants are now carbon literate and will have an accredited certificate to prove it.

Learn about climate change and what you can do to help! We are hoping to roll this training out across East Salford as the project develops. Anyone interested in the training should contact The Broughton Trust.

To find out more about the Carbon Literacy Initiative please follow this link:


Salford Residents Recycle More!

Since the launch of the new waste collection service, Salford residents have saved 2,500 tonnes of rubbish from being sent to landfill in two months – which is the weight of more than 350 large African elephants whilst recycling has increased by 13 per cent.

land fill picture 2

The figures from the first eight weeks of the new waste collection service identify significant improvements in recycling and around £450,000 of savings to the taxpayer, in comparison with the same period in 2012. It costs more than £200 for each tonne of waste to be buried in the ground. Disposal of recycling food and garden waste costs just £54 per tonne and the council receives an income of £25 per tonne when paper, cardboard, glass, plastic and cans are recycled.


Councillor Gena Merrett, Assistant Mayor for Housing and Environment at Salford City Council, said:  “A big thanks goes out to the residents of Salford support during the roll-out of the new service. More than 26,000 extra recycling bins have been ordered since the roll out, which provides even greater opportunities for savings and increased recycling.

Councillor Merrett continued:  “Salford had one of the lowest recycling rates in Greater Manchester and we are determined to change this and help save our environment.  We have also created 18 new jobs as a result of the increased recycling collections.”

The Irwell Valley Sustainable Communities Project will be encouraging households to reuse and recycle more, at a fun day being organised by Salix Homes on Heath Avenue in Lower Broughton on Friday 23 August, 1-4pm and at the Party in the Park in Albert’s Park on 7th September, 12-6pm. Come along to these free family events and learn how to get creative with empty drinks cartons and junk mail.

For further information about recycling services in Salford residents can ring 0161 909 6500 or log a service request through

Residents Learn About Flood Risk at the Meadows Fun Day in June


The Environment Agency was on hand at the fun day on Meadow Road in June to talk to people about flood risk in East Salford and help people get signed up to the free flood warning service.

The work being done to strengthen flood defences on the River Irwell will reduce the risk of flooding in Salford. However, you can never completely remove the risk of flooding, so make sure you know what to do if it happens. To help you prepare for a major flood there is a FREE flood warning service which will give you time to prepare and could save you time, money and heartache. If you sign up you can receive warnings via phone, text, email or fax.

To sign up, or for more information call The Environment Agency’s Floodline on 0845 9881188 or visit their website: