Maidenhead Advertiser

‘This can make a difference’

Maidenhead: Eco Action Hub opens in shopping centre

- By Anaka Nair anakan@baylismedi­ @AnakaN_BM

The Eco Action Hub opened to the public at the weekend after three months of developmen­t.

Former BBC Weather forecaster, Peter Gibbs cut the ‘leaf’ ribbon and delivered a speech to more than 60 attendees at the opening ceremony on Saturday.

He said the Eco Action Hub resource was needed after an internatio­nal IPCC report on climate change, published two weeks earlier, ‘didn’t paint a pretty picture’.

“When people are given informatio­n, they make better choices. That’s why this place can make a difference,” he added.

Volunteers Angela Alexander and artistic director, Jeanette Scrace led the transforma­tion of the former Dorothy Perkins unit in the Nicholsons Centre.

The two-floor environmen­tal hub has eight different zones featuring wall displays on eco-wellbeing, an eco-kitchen, eco-travel and more.

Jeanette said: “It was very important that this was accessible to people and I didn’t want it to be preachy – but more to say, ‘if you do this thing in your home, you

can save money, you can save energy and you can also save the planet’.”

The former art teacher said the volunteers ‘played to their strengths’ and used skills from their previous jobs to create the Hub.

Angela said: “We’ve got no budget, so nothing has been bought new. Everything has been donated, or is from Freecycle and charity shops.”

A ‘Young-Eco’ play area is a prominent feature for young children as well as a ‘Library of Things’ where visitors can lease products, such as instrument­s and kitchen gadgets, for a month to help make better informed purchases.

All but four volunteers have full time jobs, and the organisati­on is looking for more volunteers to help on weekdays, particular­ly for the upcoming ‘Friendly Friday’ events.

Talking about the visitors to the town centre, Jeanette said: “I see a lot of the older generation and mums and toddlers and I want to bring them together to create a community.”

The Repair Café, which was previously based in the Maidenhead Library, has a permanent home on the first floor of the Eco Action Hub.

More than 14 volunteers, including members from the Repair Cafe in Reading, offered their services on Saturday ranging from tailoring to fixing electronic­s.

Gabi Costa, who has led the Repair Café in Maidenhead for nearly two years, said: “Some of our volunteers are chartered IT engineers who have retired and want to share their skills.

“Others are problemsol­vers and self-taught.

They have the mindset of not throwing things away so want to pass that on.”

“It’s important that we don’t lose the repairing skills that exist, in particular, with the older generation­s. The inter-generation­al link is really important.

“Young people will take these skills to the future, and if we lose it, it will create more waste – it’s a systemic issue.”

The Eco Action Hub is open on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays between

10am and 4pm.

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