Friday, 22 March 2019

Counting the cost of clothing

There is a small shop in Chichester that does clothes alterations, hems taken up, waistbands expanded or taken in, general repairs done, I have to admit using their services sometimes as my sewing skills are not such that I would qualify for BBC’s Sewing Bee.

Now some may say why bother with repairs, just throw the garment away or recycle it. Well unfortunately too many people do this. Did you know every year an estimate 300,000 tonnes of used clothing goes to landfill in the UK?

Surprisingly in the average UK household nearly a third of clothes haven’t been worn in the last year. Unfortunately this is part of our consumer focused, throwaway society which has an enormous environmental cost.

Over five per cent of the UK’s total annual carbon and water footprints results from clothing consumption. So the throwaway clothes culture could be literally costing the earth.

Last year in West Sussex, nearly 11,000 tonnes of unwanted clothes, towels, blankets or sheets were thrown into the general rubbish. Not only is this a huge waste which has a significant impact on the environment, but it also cost the County Council a staggering £1.7 million to dispose of them.

And when you consider that most of these textiles could have been repaired, reused or recycled, it really does make you think.

Now it is that time of year when the wardrobe gets a bit of a spring clean, so what could you do differently?

Rather than bin your unwanted clothes, here are some options, charity shops are great to drop off some clothes and to find clothes to refresh your wardrobe, then there is swishing events – they are popular, or maybe a tidy up and a few alterations (nip and tuck as a friend mentioned) can equally refresh the wardrobe and give that favourite item of clothing last for another couple of years. You may make some financial savings, but the environmental savings are so much more and so much needed.

We all know that climate change is looming large and will have some serious impacts on us all, what’s needed is for all of us to make some simple small changes to help our unique planet. And thinking twice before throwing away clothing is something we can surely all manage to do.

If you want to find out more about how to reduce the impact of clothing on the environment please take a look at the Tackling Textiles campaign from the West Sussex Waste Partnership.

Wednesday, 6 March 2019

Proud to Care

It has been a little while since I last blogged, but there has been quite a bit going on particularly around Adult Social Care.
At the Full Council meeting last month we launched two prevention schemes which we have developed with our NHS Partners having received some one-off money from the government.

The first is the Slipper Swap– new for old. Now you may wonder what that has to do with prevention – well, the answer is, quite a bit. So many of us get attached to our slippers. They become old friends; cosy and comfortable. What you may not know is that many accidents happen in the home due to those rather comfortable old friends. 

With wear and tear, the soles of the slippers break down, as do the edges. This then becomes a real hazard as people can trip over and injure themselves, leading to an unwelcome stay in hospital and considerable time until full recovery. So, exchanging those old slippers for a new pair means there’s less chance of having an accident. We hope many residents will take up the offer of new for old keeping everyone safer in their homes. You can find out more information about it

Another initiative we announced at Full Council was the ‘Balance Test’ challenge.  As we get older our balance deteriorates and that causes accidents too. So we are promoting six daily exercises – the “Super Six”, aimed at improving balance. I have taken up the challenge and it only takes five to ten minutes- not a long time at all. 
I also want to tell you about our Proud To Care campaign which we launched on 25 February. This is also really important. Care workers are amazing people. They look after us when we need help most; when we are poorly and vulnerable. For many people living on their own, their carer is a lifeline and perhaps the only person they see or talk to in a day.  So we are raising the profile and encouraging more people to become care workers and to celebrate those who, day-in-day out, do a much needed and important job for those who need care the most. If you know someone who is thinking about a new career in care then get them to have a look at

This brings me on to one other bit of news. When Gillian Keegan, the MP for Chichester, was first elected we had several meetings and at one of them I asked if she would consider setting up an All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) to look to professionalise the role of carers.

There are many carers who regularly undertake training but a more formal approach really needs to be set up which will help to raise the profile of the job. So often I hear  someone say "I am just a carer”,  well there is no “just” about being a care worker. It is a very important job and one that really does have a major impact on the lives of the people being cared for. This is what the APPG is all about and we will be helping and supporting Gillian’s Group in every we can.