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Social Landscapes - Permaculture Design Course

April 9th 2016 to July 24th 2016, 7 weekends + 2 optional Design Clinics and 2 optional Permablitzes (practical Permaculture days) linked to the curriculum of the course.

The Permaculture Design Course is a 72-hour inspiring and often life-changing course, accredited by the UK Permaculture Association. Over the period of 7 weekends we will explore practical and creative solutions for building resilient communities and designing abundant eco-systems. We will discover how we can work with, rather than against nature to fulfil our human needs whilst caring for the earth and the people. The course has a strong practical emphasis on ecological and social design thinking and how this can be applied in different parts of our life and society.

Dates and Venues
The course will be held on the following days:


April 9th & 10th
Design & PrinciplesTreadwell

April 23rd & 24th
Soil & Food SystemsSutton Community Farm & Treadwell

May 8th
Optional Design Clinic Treadwell

May 14th & 15th
Self & CommunityThe Quadrangle Trust, Kent (residential) – tbc

May 28th & 29th
Water & TreesTreadwell

June 11th
Optional Permablitz - tbc

June 18th & 19th
Shelter & EnergyTreadwell & other – tbc

July 2nd
Optional Design Clinic Treadwell

July 9th & 10th
Livelihood & Transition Treadwell & Brixton Remakery

July 23rd & 24th
Presentations & Celebration Treadwell

September 3rd
Optional Permablitz – Reunion Treadwell Close

To receive the certificate, there is a requirement of making at least 11 of the 14 days, including the first two and the last two on which participants will present their designs.

The main venue is Treadwell (SW2 3TL), a semi-detached home in Streatham Hill that is being transformed into a living example for urban Permaculture Design. This location will allow us to design and explore real and practical solutions for our everyday lives in an urban environment, including small space food growing, community and human scale water and energy systems.

We will also visit different venues in South London on various days of the course. These will include the Brixton Remakery, the community orchard and allotment in Hillside Gardens ParkThe Quadrangle Trust in Kent, the CSA project Sutton Community Farm and more (tbc)…

We will spend one weekend at the Quadrangle Trust exploring health and wellbeing, community building, deep ecology and connection to the natural world. The Quadrangle Trust is an inspiring space for the exploration of ecology, conservation, spirituality and creative education and has sustainable building features, gardens and a forest garden. It is situated in an idyllic setting in the Darent Valley close to Shoreham in Kent and easy to get to from London.

Lead tutor will be Michel Thill.

Michel has lived in a number of places around the world including at eco-villages and a Permaculture Education Centre in Asia. Such experiences allowed him to explore the relationship between inner and outer resilience, personal transformation as well as the creation of community and environmental sustainability. He now lives and works in London where he teaches Permaculture Design and runs various community and food growing projects. It is Michel’s vision to create an urban example of a regenerative and restorative, life sustaining and flourishing culture, connecting people to each other and the more than human. Inspired by Permaculture principles and the Ecovillage Design Education, he is currently developing a social enterprise project which seeks to create such micro-cultures within London through reinventing our neighbourhoods.

Co-facilitator will be Tish Vail who has been working as an interior designer for many year and is integrating her professional design experience and spiritual practice with permaculture design.

Other guest teachers likely to include (details following and tbc): Duncan Law, chair and co-founder of Transition Town Brixton; Linda Royles, founder and manager of Cob in the Community; Ros Bedlow, co-founder of Transition Leytonstone, pioneering the recent Permaculture for Transition courses, Hanna Lewis, co-founder and director of the Brixton Remakery.

What the course will cover

Much of the Permaculture Design Course is focused around our most fundamental human needs. The design methodology and the Permaculture principles that are thought can be used by anyone and be integrated in any job or life situation, not only gardening. You will learn about the Permaculture way of learning, building community, organising people, setting up businesses – all of that inspired by the example of the natural world. The day topics above a guideline and not all there is.

Topics covered on the course include, but are not limited to:

• Ethics and principles of Permaculture
• Design process and methodology
• Soil structure, ecology and land regeneration
• Trees and woodland management
• Cultivated ecology: gardens and farms
• Community development and organisation
• Personal health and healthy societies
• Building effective learning groups
• Real wealth, money and sustainable exchange
• Urban challenges and urban permaculture, including retrofitting
• Energy conservation and renewable energy
• Transition Towns and transition livelihood

Each weekend includes theory and some practical hands on stuff like building a worm compost, a haybox cooker or using clay as a building material. There will be plenty of design time for each participant’s personal design and for a bigger group design, both of which will be presented on the last two days of the course. During these design sessions you will have the opportunity to integrate the things you learn during the course and you will have support from the tutors. There are optional design clinics and practical permaculture days planned. We will let you know about various useful resources and share those on an online learning platform encouraging you to build action learning groups with other course participants to support each other through learning, sharing, trying out and reflecting.

What do past participants say?

“The course was a fantastic learning process and a truly enjoyable experience. The tutors were very knowledgeable and transmitted Permaculture as an approach to living, thinking, doing, making and being. The ethics, principles and thinking tools of Permaculture have become a new mindset.” – Raquel, PhD student in Food Policy

“An inspirational personal growth adventure that I would recommend to everyone. The urban PDC is particularly useful for building practice into your daily lives and offers a response to many issues that we are facing whilst building a supportive family and community of Permaculture practisers to encourage future creativity. The tutors are the warmest and exciting people and Treadwell is a space of calm, enthusiasm and mindfulness. “ – Sam

“Studying the Permaculture method within an urban context was both empowering and thought-provoking. Presented with such realistic opportunities for positive change within the confines of the city and studying with likeminded people was extremely heartwarming. The mixture of practical and theory along with passionate teachers and guest speakers plus a variety of venues kept my interest and allowed for genuine integration of the teachings. I’m well prepared for continued use of the Permaculture tools and happily supported by the community that I’m now a part of, I cannot recommend this course enough.” – Zoe, Finance Assistant at Comic Relief

Registration and Price

For more information and to register contact Mich – 07901036220 – The course is offered on a sliding scale according to income to make it affordable of everyone. Payment by instalments is also possible. Early bird rates if paid in full before January 15th 2016.

Income below £15000pa – £380 – Early Bird £360

Income between £15000 and 25000pa – £540 – Early Bird £510

Income more than £25000pa – £720 – Early Bird £680

Course fee includes 14 days of course tuition and one residential weekend at which food is provided. On all other days, participants are asked to bring lunch to share. Tea and refreshments will be provided.

Please click here to see our Cancellation & Refund Policy.

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

#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

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

Brighton Bricks - The Dream

Thanks to everyone who came along to last nights Brighton Bricks meet up

Good work was done on our logo idea, still a bit more tinkering & we should be done 

This post is about two things, one to say this group is open to anyone who loves Lego & lives in the Brighton area. So feel free to spread the word about Brighton Bricks, come up with ideas about the groups directions. Ideas for events or ways to attract new members  

So if you have ideas or suggestions about the following let me know: 

  • Future events
  • Event location  - still at Alcampo or if people have any other suggestions
  • Events to be held evenings or weekends (or both) 
  • How often should we have meet ups
  • Activities for future events  
  • Ways to attract new members  
  • Org or people we should connect with  
  • Other Lego groups we can do partnerships with  

The second thing is about my future ambitions for this group. The main one is to register as an Lego User Group (LUG), so we can enjoy the benefits of support from the Lego Group. We can only do this after being an active group for 12 months 

I'm planning from next year to see if I can set up a stall at one of the many craft fairs throughout Brighton, selling Lego Minifigures  as well as stuff like Lego Crayons (I made them using the Lego ice cube moulds) and raising awareness of the group 

My grand idea I would love to do is set up our own Lego exhibition at a venue in Brighton, where we can display models, have sellers etc. Of course this is a long way off but it is good to have something to aim form  

So please feel free to post to the Facebook page or to our Twitter account if you have any ideas or can help us grow in any way 

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.

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

The Real Junk Food Project

The Real Junk Food Project is a collaborative effort between catering professionals and activists to bring about a radical change in our food system. Our first step to achieve this challenging task is to intercept perfectly edible food that would otherwise not make it to plate and serve it as meals in the café or distribute it through our food boutique.

As well as the positive environmental impacts of reducing edible food waste the project also has clear social benefits through operating a strictly Pay-as-you-feel (PAYF) policy .

PAYF offers an alternative to the conventional the payment system as there is no price on any produce of the café. Our system transcends monetary transactions and liberates people to use their skills and attributes as well as money to pay for their meals.

Furthermore, we aim to highlight the absurdity that the produce we use has been stripped of its monetary value but still retains its nutritional value. By making people think about what they wish to contribute for their meals, the idea is to get society thinking about how they value food as a resource.

So why does this need to happen?

It is estimated that 1.3 billion tons of food is wasted globally each year, this amounts to nearly 40% of global production, this occurs for a multitude of reasons that vary between regions. In the U.K studies have shown that we waste over 15 million tons of edible food annually due to stringent and confusing food safety legislation. We argue that these laws need to be revised and people need to relearn the common sense practices that were used until and during the Second World War.

Founders and co-directors Adam Smith and Johanna Hewitt started The Real Junk Food Project on the banks of the River Yarrow in Melbourne, using the pay-by-the-minute barbeques to cook up whatever waste food they could lay their hands on. During their time in Australia they witnessed the scale of the food waste scandal. At the same time three of the would-be co-directors were also discovering for themselves the scale of commercial food waste in Adam’s hometown of Leeds through the freegan lifestyle, sustaining themselves and a cohort of other friends from supermarket bins during their time studying in Leeds.

Adam and Johanna realised that something needed to be done. After seeking advice from friends, Adam resolved that he needed to start the process of global change by first changing his hometown. The fact that the couple were now expecting their first child compounded the move back to Leeds to pursue their mission.

On their return to the north of England Adam was lucky to find people who believed in him and his ideas, and in late December was offered access to a struggling community kitchen in Armley, an area of Leeds renowned for high rates of poverty, drug abuse and crime. After hearing about Adam’s project in a local food activist meeting Sam, Conor and Edd (unfortunately no longer involved in the project) met Adam in order to offer him some carrots and parsnips they had reclaimed from a skip, which he gladly exchanged for tofu and crisps, in true PAYF stlye!

From its trial period in December 2013 where Adam and Johanna cooked Christmas dinner for the homeless population of Leeds the café has gone from strength to strength and is now open seven days a week serving meals to a wide demographic of people including three time Tour de France champion Greg Lemond during his stay in Leeds for the Grand Départ. The café is staffed by an enthusiastic team of local volunteers who are the life and soul of the project, without these wonderful individuals the project would not be possible. The concept is not restricted to Armley and other cafes are popping up in other parts of Leeds as well as other cities, all these efforts will be supported by a charitable trust serving as a network.