At the end of March, 35 local community groups from across Surrey found out they had been awarded ‘community grants for sustainability’. 

These grants were funded by Surrey County Council, and the grant scheme was run by Surrey Climate Commission. 

I am delighted that five of these winning projects came from the Haslemere area. Our local winners were Community Orchard Project South East, Haslemere Active Travel Group, Shottermill Junior School PTA, Love Haslemere Hate Waste and Haslemere Biodiversity Project.

Together they were awarded a total of £3,850. This is great news for our local community groups and helps them gear up action on sustainability. 

Community Orchard Project South East plans to use the funds to buy heritage fruit trees, wildflower seeds and wildlife refugia for two new community orchard spaces in Surrey, with the planting by local volunteers. 

Haslemere Active Travel Group received funds to encourage school children at St Bartholomew’s and Shottermill junior schools to walk to school as part of the national Walk Once a Week / Active Travel Fridays campaign. They will also be able to build their website and communication activity.

Shottermill Junior School will use their grant to kick start a school-wide food-waste reduction and composting campaign, with new food composting bins and a poster competition. 

Love Haslemere Hate Waste plans to start a reusable cup scheme to reduce single-use cups in local cafes. 

Haslemere Biodiversity Project will support biodiversity field projects and events with training, information and field work equipment.

I have lived in Haslemere for 17 years, and until I joined Haslemere Active Travel last year I didn’t realise what a buzzing community there was of environmentally-minded people. 

It has been lovely for me to meet new people and get together around a common interest that celebrates the beautiful and special place we live in.

I strongly recommend that if any of these projects catch your interest, then why don’t you get involved? We are rich in local voluntary groups and the people are friendly and approachable. Come and get stuck in!

To find out more about what’s going on locally, come along to Green Drinks (first Thursday each month from 7.30pm) at The Mill Tavern, Shottermill, drop Transition Haslemere an email on [email protected] or visit the website

By Catriona Reeby

Catriona Reeby has lived in Haslemere for 17 years with her family. She is an environmental project manager, having worked in London and Guildford, and is currently a director of Surrey Climate Commission.