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Encouraging Learning Through Play

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2017 for Bright Green Penguin

What has 2017 planned for Bright Green Penguin

Last year I applied for Share Your Story's Live A Good Life award & managed to get a place. This award gives me a place on their program, which is all about helping people tell a good life story.

My application was about Bright Green Penguin, and how I want to transform it, make it better. So going to use this blog post to think about some of my ideas

First off, what is the purpose of Bright Green Penguin (BGP). I wanted to do something to help improve the world. I never know what impact I have, if I have any at all but I still do this because I believe the world can only get better if everyone makes an impact not matter how small it is.

How do I want to make the world a better place? By sharing, promoting, championing great ideas, creatives, community initiatives which I hope may inspire other people. Like buying from local shops through the great #justacard campaign. Or volunteering while getting fit with Good Gym

So what do I want to achieve 2017?

I want to make BGP more real, not just a Twitter & Facebook account


Ideas I have include

  • Offering pay as you feel consultancy
  • Setting up networking events
  • Become an online store or sell local designers crafts at Art Fairs / Craft Fairs
  • Looking at what recycling options I can offer
  • Creating a game which helps promote the three Cs of BGP - creative, charity & community
  • Create a hub where people can share ideas
  • Offer a connection service, i.e. if you are a company looking for a charity to support, or a community project looking for sponsors
  • Create an leaflet / map promoting the local shops & community projects which need supporting

Plus also I will be developing Brighton Bricks, my adult fan of Lego group.

If anyone has any other ideas or suggestions please let me know at




Purple Playhouse Theatre Volunteers Wanted

Purple Playhouse, a theatre in Seven Dials, Brighton have a NEW Theatre Volunteer Role

From running an acting workshop, to sharing your technical or back stage knowledge, the Purple Playhouse Theatre is on the lookout for creative and enthusiastic theatre volunteers. Come and help us paint sets, sew costumes, put on plays and more!

We will soon be launching a programme of events in the Purple Playhouse during evenings and weekends. It will be broad ranging with comedy, performance, gigs and concerts.

Benefits of the Opportunity:

1. Be part of an innovative and vibrant new Theatre Company
2. Add new skills to your CV
3. Work as part of a dedicated team, helping to improve the lives of people with learning disabilities and/ or mental health needs.

Who we’re looking for

We’re seeking motivated and enthusiastic technical theatre and performance volunteers, to help support the Purple Playhouse Theatre. We are looking for volunteers with any of the following desirable skills:

– Bar work (you can be trained)
– Stewarding and Front of House (you can be trained)
– Technical: Lights and Audio (need to be experienced)
– Teaching: Experience of teaching or facilitating drama workshops would be desirable.

Skills Required

· Enthusiastic, motivated and passionate about theatre and performance.
· Great interpersonal skills.
· To have an interest in working with adults with disabilities.
· An ability to work as part of a team with other volunteers.
· An ability to take instruction and work independently to complete tasks.
· Recognition of the risks and dangers of working in event theatre.
· Punctuality and good work ethic.
· Enthusiasm for the role.

Practical Considerations

The role may involve engaging with and travelling in the local area. The recruitment procedure includes completing an application form, a criminal record check, an informal discussion and an interview. References will be required and there will be a trial period. Volunteers will have regular supervision and training. Travel expenses will be paid.

Interested in applying or have a few questions? Contact us on 07436 093 170 or

Art Based Content Wanted for SouthWaves Radio

SouthWaves Radio are on the lookout for volunteers to contribute content to our varied schedule. While we would welcome local music based programmes, we are currently searching for arts based content.

Poets, people with opinions and more; we want to hear from you. Length of content can be between 10 and 30 minutes, either on a one off or regular basis.

It doesn't matter if you've never done it before, we welcome all. There is no need for fancy equipment, even just a tablet, phone or laptop will do.

Email for more information!

SouthWaves Radio is a non-profit internet radio station based in the South of England, run by people with Autism

Goodmoney Gift Vouchers helping you to #switchlocal

One of the big things I like to promote is for people to #shoplocal to support local businesses, to support independent shops, designers, galleries and makers. You may have seen my blogs on supporting local designers on Christmas Cards, Christmas Gifts etc.

One group who is trying to encourage people to shop local is Goodmoney CIC, a Brighton based social enterprise, who's vision is to find alternative ways of exchanging value within the community. 

They have created a gift voucher that links up independent local businesses to create a more exciting choice of gifts and experiences than high street gift vouchers. Which would allow local businesses get a larger share of the estimated £5 billion spent in the UK each year on gift vouchers and gift cards.

To understand how Goodmoney Gift Vouchers work watch this video

You can buy Goodmoney Gift Vouchers either online or at City Books, or at hiSbe Food CIC

To find out more about Goodmoney visit their website at

There is a wide range of Brighton businesses which accept Goodmoney Gift Vouchers including

(N + 1) Cycle Cafe &Workshop
Bang & Olusfen of Brighton & Hove
Bison Beer
Boho Gelato
Brighton Toy and Model Museum
City Books
Dynamite Gallery
Foodshed co-op
hiSbe Food CIC
Little Beach Boutique
My Slice Pizza
Present in the Laine
Sew Chic Brighton
Stoneham Bakehouse

and lots more 

Brighton could be looking at a new currency. GoodMoney is a local gift voucher scheme and social enterprise based in Brighton aiming to help local businesses, charities and community organisations achieve more. Latest TV's James Lillywhite reports.

Charity Lego Collection Drive in Brighton - Can you help?

As founder of Brighton Bricks, I am wanting to set up a Lego collection drive to donate to a children's hospital in Brighton. This is being organised with Fairy Bricks, a charity with the aim of Brightening the lives of sick children through Lego.

So to help with that, I am planning to organise a Lego drive in Brighton. What I am looking for is venues, be it a shop, cafe or community centre where people can go and drop off the Lego sets to. Depending on the venues, this could be a one day collection date, or over a period of time.

I will be tweeting, blogging, and trying to find any other way of promoting this to everyone and encouraging people to donate. I will also be producing a blog post giving ideas of what to donate. It needs to be brand new Lego (unopened for H&S reasons as it is going to an hospital) and the main themes to donate are Lego City, Creator and Friends.

So if you know of anyone who has a shop or cafe, or any other venue who would be willing to accept boxes of Lego please let me know at We can then talk about if we want a one day collection, or if a longer period would work for you. I can arrange to pick up boxes if it gets too many. We can have as many venues as possible

#CookandCreche A FoodShed Brighton Project

Foodshed Brighton, is an new social enterprise in the Brighton Open Market. An educational Food Hub working with local producers and community projects in and around Brighton & Hove

A project run by the Foodshed Co-op in association with the Salvation Army Brighton.

It is a 6 week cookery course with a crèche  provided.

The cost and availability of childcare is often a barrier to education for many parents, especially those on a low income or in receipt of benefits.

Cook & Crèche will target social isolation, peer to peer support and skill-sharing between adults and widen children's early experiences of new foods and healthy eating. 
The course entry fee costs £3.50 per family per week materials and crèche included.

We need to raise £2000 to make this course happen and sponsoring a family will help with our fundraising efforts and every little helps.

If you would like to attend the course please get in touch

If you would like to sponsor a family to attend please click their sponsor button on their website

Octopus Alchemy Crowdfunding Appeal

Octopus Alchemy are a small social venture in Brighton & Hove who works with people to help them refine their relationship with both their own health as well as health of their families and communities. Working through nutrition, bodywork, massage, yoga and activism to help empower people in their lives so they can change it for the better.

On the 15th November, a new crowdfunding campaign is being launch to support a new collaborative project between Octopus Alchemy, Silo, and the Real Junk Food Project 


Launch event will be at Silo, and will be run on a donation basis, though as limited places you will need too book beforehand. 

Octopus Alchemy are also looking for businesses who maybe able to support them in other ways such as:

  • Donating vouchers, goods or services to their venture to distribute to individuals who makes a financial pledge to their fundraising campaign 
  • Offer support in advertising and distributing any promotional materials relating to the crowdfunding appeal

Check out their video below, and click on the link here for more information about Octopus Alchemy

FareShare: Volunteers Needed for December's Food Drive

FareShare, a national charity who helps saving food destined for waste, and sends it to charities and community groups who can in turn create nutritious meals for vulnerable people. 

On the 3rd, 4th and 5th December FareShare will be at Tesco's stores throughout the UK and need volunteers to help with these Food Drives

By giving 3 hours of your time you can help collect tins, cans and other food, which could create 500 meals for people in need. 

To register and find out what is happening in your area click HERE

Last day to nominate a Giving Tuesday Ambassador

2nd Dec is Giving Tuesday, this is a global campaign in response to the recent rise of Black Friday & Cyber Monday 

It is all about promoting the act of giving, be it donating or volunteering your time, or helping to spread the word about how important giving is. I know from personal experience, over a decade ago something happened which made me realise events such as Christmas, the feeling you get from giving can out weigh the act of receiving a gift  

I have supported this, which is why one of the reasons I set up to promote all the great people I know, who's aims are about giving back. Best example I can recommend is The Good Gym, a running group who combine getting fit with doing good deeds in the community  

So today (29th Oct) is the last day to nominate a Giving Tuesday Ambassador for the UK, someone you think represents what giving is all about. This can be someone who gives a lot of their time volunteering or someone who has done amazing fundraising or someone you feel gives a lot to their community 

See below for details how to nominate

Why To Vote for Parkhall Business Centre in Time Out's LoveLondonAwards

Time Out have their annual Love London Awards, which is all about celebrating great places to eat, shop, grab a coffee, etc. The voting is split into different neighbours and different categories in each of these areas. You can vote for one business in each category so plenty to vote for.

And one of the people I recommend voting for is Parkhall Business Centre, in the Dulwich / West Norwood area, so click on the link below and click vote for Parkhall (you have to register to vote)

And if you want to know why to vote for Parkhall Business Centre read on

Parkhall Business Centre is home to so many great businesses, and I will be listing some below, highlighting the many great products available online, the great workshops / courses which are run, and the popups which take place there

First one to start off with is


A British Brand with it's heart planted firmly in the great outdoors. Using striking silhouettes to bring a touch of fun to homewares and outdoor lifestyle accessories. You can buy online, and they are holding a sample sale at Parkhall on the 30th/31st. For details click HERE

Volcano Coffee Works 

Not only is the Volcano Coffee Works cafe in Parkhall, serving their incredible coffee, great food (including Rococo Chocolates, more on that later!), you can also buy their coffee beans there. Volcano who have their roastery at Parkhall produce a range of gourmet small batch specialty coffee. Sourcing the worlds finest coffees to design blends for espresso & exceptional seasonal coffees perfect for filer coffee. All the coffees are crafted using restored and tweaked vintage coffee roasters. Coffee is available to buy for the home, as well as wholesale and supplies cafes and coffee shops.

Rigby & Mac

The online sibling of three award-winning family run London lifestyle stores, the dulwich trader, ed and tomlinsons. Rigby & Mac offer unique range of home decor, great selection of tableware, home accessories, lighting, kitchenware, mirrors and small furniture. Perfect place for gifts like below

Rococo Chocolates

If you love chocolate, and who doesn't then you need to check out Rococo, who have several shops around London (and one in Chester). Parkhall is their chocolate factory, and you can buy bars from the Volcano Cafe

Tilly and the Buttons

Treat yourself to sewing workshops with Tilly and the Buttons, learn dress making in their bright and inspiring studio within Parkhall. Workshops are 6-8 Max, so you will meet like-minded people in a fun and friendly atmosphere. Tilly also offers online workshops on her website, where you can also purchase sewing patterns & her book

GAS Gallery

GAS is a gallery, agency and consultancy that works with a select pool of artists and designers to product limited edition prints and original art works. Not only are they based at Parkhall, they have held popup sales here


Floppy Toast

Design studio creating original digital prints of very limited runs, ensuring your home will be as individual as you are

Martin West Bespoke Art Services

Now you have your art, you need it framing, and the best person to do this is Martin West, who is  the official recommended framer of the Royal Academy of Arts, as well as offering a full served bespoke service to design and create the ideal picture frame to display your artwork,


Inspiring, practical photography workshops in their studio at Parkhall is what it is all about. Makelight is Emily Quentin, author of the book Maker Spaces. They offer both online and in person workshops, all about helping creatives improve their photography enabling them to communicate in a visual manner on social media mediums such as Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook & Etsy.


Fancy learning how to make jewellery, then check out Centrepunch, who offer everything from short courses to bespoke training, to mentoring and support for people wanting to get into the jewellery industry. All delivered from their workshop at Parkhall. Centrepunch also have several jewellery popups through the year at Parkhall, showing the excellent work done there.

Claudi & Fin

Delicious Greek style frozen yoghurts currently available in strawberry & mango, and available from supermarkets such as Sainsburys, Waitrose, Ocado & Budgens. Claudi & Fin HQ is at Parkhall, and in fact the lollies were part of a recent #BeersAndLollies event there and went down very well

Fast Forward Time

Online reeler of all types of camera equipment from audio, dollies, DSLR rigs, jibs & cranes, lighting, monitors, stabilisers as well as tripods & stands.

Vini Italiani

Operate a store & wine bar in West London, as well having online & wholesale. All about highlighting the great wines Italy has to offer

And a few more

Dulwich Vinters - An online wine retailer, as well having their own wine shop in East Dulwich

Louise Taylor Flowers - Florist

Bopster - Online retailer of video games, consoles and toys.

Vapefiend - The Vaporiser Specialists

Hello Geronimo - Button or Badge Collages & Prints available online or in stores 

Fancy Moon - Online fabric, sewing and haberdashery shop 

Graphical Sign - Specialists in large format digital printing  

Sport Photo Gallery - Massive collection of sport photography, which can be purchased as prints, framed, canvas, acrylics. Everything from Rugby, Cricket, Golf, Football and many more

Spare Chair Sunday - Contact the Elderly Campaign

Did you know a third of people over the age of 70 in the UK eat alone every day

So The Bisto Together Project and the charity Contact the Elderly have teamed up together to form Spare Chair Sunday

See below for details about what Spare Chair Sunday is about

Sunday lunch should be a time of togetherness. The one meal we all look forward to, where we sit down with friends and family for good food and good times. Yet for 1 in 7 older people, it’s the loneliest time of the week. 
So The Bisto Together Project and national charity Contact the Elderly have joined forces to create Spare Chair Sunday. A project that allows people to offer up a spare chair at their Sunday Lunch to an older person who would otherwise be eating alone.
For just a couple of hours of your time, you could make someone’s day. And of course, there’s nothing better than sharing some good food, great tales, and laughter around the table! If you can spare a chair at your table and host a meal, we’d love to hear from you. To sign up click here

Earthship Brighton - Crowdfunding appeal

Earthship Brighton have a crowdfunding appeal going on with

Earthship Brighton is the sustainable community centre for Stanmer Organics. This is a not-for-profit consortium representing 15 different groups operating at Stanmer Park, a 17 acre Soil Association accredited piece of land on the outskirts of Brighton. Earthship Brighton is the first project of the Low Carbon Trust, a not-for-profit co-operative company formed in 2001 to highlight the connection between buildings, the carbon emissions they produce and climate change through innovative construction projects and communications work. 

Earthship Brighton, the first in England, is a beautiful structure made from recycled car tyres and sustainably sourced timber with adobe walls. We have a large glazed area which is south facing to maximise passive solar gain and solar water heating panels on the roof to provide hot water. Our electricity comes from photo-voltaics and a wind turbine and all our water is harvested from the rain. With our grey water being treated with planters and a reed-bed system for our black water, plus composting toilets, we will be able to recycle all of our human waste on site. The Earthship therefore gives us a glimpse of a luxury low carbon future - how a zero waste and zero energy society might look. 

Inside the building there is a meeting room which can seat around 40 people theatre-style plus kitchen facilities and a relaxing atrium area. There is also an outside space that will increase seating capacity for events to 100. The Low Carbon Trust gives regular tours of the Earthship and we also offer training in low and zero carbon design and provide consultancy to community groups, companies and individuals all around the UK to seed and develop their own projects.

The Rucksack Project: 2015

The Rucksack Project is not a charitable organisation but a movement, which has spread across the world born out of a simple idea to help people sleeping rough on the streets during the cold winter months.

Anyone can help, anyone can take part as the project is all about helping the many doing a little thing to make a big difference in the world.

It is a very simple idea:
Go to charity shops
Get a rucksack, sleeping bag, flask, spoon, gloves, hat, fleece, undies, socks and extra food
Take it out and give it to a homeless person

Check the Rucksack Project website for more details as well as details about events happening

Brighton Event - Nov 21st 2015 - Click Here for their Facebook page

Is a Sustainable Future Worth A Conversation?

I was recently sent an interesting article by Art in Brighton about a group called 10:10 Brighton & Hove and about a project they have set up called The C-Side Challenge

The C-Side Project is all about helping people reduce their environmental impact, take steps against climate change, and be able to make informed travel and purchasing decisions. 

They are running a free course, which started end of Sept and is run on evening and weekends.

What is it?
Brighton Peace and Environment Centre are running a series of workshops to help local communities be the change they wish to see, with the award-winning intervention called ‘Carbon Conversations’.

Join a small group of 6-8 people to explore responses to climate change and sustainability from a different approach.

Our two courses are being run at The Bevy or The Hop and Vine.

What are Carbon Conversations?
The meet ups will create a non-judgemental atmosphere where individuals are encouraged to make serious lifestyle changes. The groups offer:
·    A friendly, safe and supportive space to discuss your thoughts and emotions about the impact of climate change.
·    Practical support to develop your own plans as to how you want to go about making changes to your lifestyle, in a way that fits with your values and that you feel comfortable with.
·    A friendly group atmosphere, where participants support each other to make changes and feel enabled.
·    Support from local trained facilitators to help you develop leadership and practical skills to inspire others do the same.

What is the aim?
Through guided discussion, participants will improve confidence in their abilities to develop a sustainable lifestyle that align with their personal values.

Why participate?
Participants of the Carbon Conversations will learn about climate change basics, ideas for a low-carbon future and chat on four key areas of your footprint – home energy, travel, food and consumption. Each person will also receive a handbook, entitled, ‘In Time for Tomorrow‘ which has received rave reviews from some impressive climate champions:

 “This lovely handbook covers it all…reckons honestly with the psychological impacts of a crisis that is far too easy for many of us to deny in our everyday lives…”
Naomi Klein, author of This Changes Everything and The Shock Doctrine.

“…truly remarkable…provides a framework for people to share the real reasons why they act the way they do…explores the landscape of hope…”          
George Marshall, author of Don’t Even Think About It: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Ignore Climate Change

So why not be part of this innovative city-wide behaviour change initiative, funded by Brighton and Hove City Counciland delivered by Brighton Peace and Environment Centre and Brighton and Hove 10:10.

There is a choice of weekend OR evening events and you would need to attend all sessions where possible. Please email your name, address and contact details to or call 07979 321 998 to find out more, or register your interest.

Places will be allocated on a first come first served basis.

Past participant quotes:‘Practical’…’Inspiring’…’Empowering’…’Enabling’…’ You can take things at your own pace’

Course dates
Evening events being held at The Hop and Vine, Fiveways – THIS IS NOW FULL
Tuesday 29th, September, 7.00-9.00
Wednesday 14th, October, 7.00-9.00
Tuesday 27th, October, 7.00-9.00
Tuesday 10th November, 7.00-9.00
Tuesday 24th November, 7.00-9.00
Tuesday 8th December, 7.00-9.00

Weekend events being held at The Bevy, Bevendean

Saturday, 10th October, 11.00-3.30
Saturday, 24th October, 11.00-3.30
Saturday, 7th November, 11.00-3.30

Social Saturday 2015 - 10th Oct

This Saturday 10th October is Social Saturday. Info below is via

The aim of Social Saturday 2015 is to raise awareness of just how easy it is to support social enterprises - businesses that put people and planet first, and use your spending power to make a positive difference to the world we live in.


The aim of Social Saturday 2015 is to raise awareness of just how easy it is to support businesses that trade quality items and services and invest profits in projects supporting the local community, international development, the environment, charities and a wealth of other progressive schemes.

Social enterprises operate in and support a vast array of sectors. With over 70,000 businesses in the UK alone trading for people and the planet - from print shops to chocolate, energy companies to beer, healthcare providers to baby clothes and housing to pants – the reach of our growing movement is undeniable. Click here for examples.

Following the immense success of last year's inaugural Social Saturday, this year, on 10th October we anticipate Social Saturday 2015 to be a true testament to the strength and influence of the social enterprise movement. We will achieve this by creating a more physical presence throughout the UK, so that the general public can identify social enterprises operating in their area and buy the products and services they provide.

So how can you get involved?

If you are a consumer, then consume! To visit our buy social directory click here and choose what project to support with your purchase. Don’t stop there – the fun has only begun! Tweet about your purchase, post on Instagram and pin on Pinterest with #socialsaturday2015 to spread the message. Last year our twitterati supporters included Jamie Oliver, 10 Downing Street and Tesco. We’d love to see what you’ve bought and who it’s helped!

Take a look at our Social Saturday map and visit these fantastic organisations in person to hear first-hand about how your purchase will make a real difference.

If you are a social enterprise, or business you can still consume! Here at SEUK our printing, graphics, office cleaning, water, event management, catering, promotional items and venue hire are all provided by social enterprises. See our Buy Social Guide for more inspiration.

Who's behind it?

Social Saturday is led by the national campaigning body, Social Enterprise UK, and is supported by the Cabinet Office. The day has cross party political support and is part of the UK's successful Buy Socialcampaign.

The Buy Social campaign aims to get more people buying from social enterprises. Following successful two year campaign to get more businesses trading with social enterprises, Buy Social is now calling on consumers to get involved.

Find out more about the Buy Social campaign.

Buying socially is such an obvious thing to do, why do we need the Social Saturday campaign?

The 2013 State of Social Enterprise Survey showed that social enterprises primarily trade with the general public and whilst three quarters of the public support the idea of social enterprise, awareness remains low. Social Saturday was launched in 2014 to help the general public to celebrate and buy from social enterprises, businesses that trade for people and planet.

On the day, people across the country hit the high street or went online to use their spending power for good and buy from social enterprises.

11 million people reached on Twitter via #socialsaturday
30+ events around the country celebrating the day 
50+ media hits in the week before and on the day

The day was a huge success, with PM David Cameron writing to the Financial Times in support of social enterprises, Big Issue vendors taking our message to the streets in the run up, celebrities including Jamie Oliver and Freema Agyeman voicing their support on Twitter, and national media coverage in the Daily TelegraphGuardian and Which?.

This year we want Social Saturday 2015 to be even bigger.

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