Esk and Tweed Network Meeting notes from 15th April 2013

The meeting was held in Penicuik North Kirk where delegates were warmly welcomed by David Tulloch (Eco Team leader)  who then opened the proceedings with a prayer before introducing the guest speaker for the first half of the evening.
Evelyn Mitchell gave an overview of the work being done by the organisation ‘Changeworks’ to reduce WASTE. 
In order to achieve this reduction Changeworks has become involved with schools, the community and businesses to:-
 a) inspire action to reduce waste  b) provide domestic advice  c) provide staff training programmes d) set up community based waste reduction systems and e) provide education in schools.
One vital aim is to reduce material going to landfill sites which results in a waste of resources, a waste of energy, causes pollution, contributes to climate change and costs £72 per ton of waste deposited.

Everyone attending the meeting was aware in principle of the issues involved with waste but most were surprised by some of the facts and figures that Evelyn provided to drive home the message that urgent action needs to be taken. In the ‘fun quiz’ that she provided there was no one who gained 100% correct answers and she certainly made her point.
We were then told that in 2010 the Scottish Government had launched its ZERO WASTE plan with the aim of having, by 2025, reduced waste by 75%. The target for 2013 is for 50% of waste to be recycled or composted.
We were given some shocking facts relating to the ‘Reduce,Reuse,Recycle’ rule. Eg- In one year we throw out half a million tonnes of food and drink which is equivalent to £1 billion of wasted food while, in the world, one billion people suffer the effects of hunger and 1 in 5 people are not getting enough to eat.

So what can we do?  We were given some simple suggestions such as:- a) plan well before going shopping  b) store food safely c) be more aware of portioning and don’t cook more than is necessary d) and use ,or when possible freeze, leftovers instead of throwing them out.

When Evelyn completed her talk she left us with the message that we must each play our part on our own homes and, where possible, spread the information as widely as we can. It also made us realise the importance of the work of our churches in supporting causes dealing with hunger issues across the world.
Evelyn offered to organise talks or give information to any other interested groups. She can be contacted at

David thanked Evelyn for her interesting and informative talk and during the break that followed we had the chance to talk together and to enjoy the excellent home baking that David’s team provided for us.

In the second half of the evening Margaret Warnock, Co-ordinator for Eco-Congregation Scotland, gave a short update on the movement.
It has been decided that there will be a Continuing Award on offer for churches which have already gained a first, second and third Award.
An Eco-Congregation Chaplain has been appointed with the funding support of the United Reform Church.
More information can be found on the website  www.ecocongregationscotland .

David thanked Margaret and then gave a presentation describing the refurbishment of Penicuik North Kirk and the potential provided by this work.
This most ambitious plan, known as The Open Door Project, started in 2000 with a vision of what the Penicuik North Kirk family could do for the community. Refurbishment was necessary to allow the vision to become a reality and at a cost of £360,087 and 15p the work was completed on budget and in time . By 2008 the loan, which had been taken out, was repaid and David impressed all those present when he described how this had been achieved and the many projects that have since been undertaken.
Probably the most successful is the Open Door Café, situated just inside the front door of the church and manned by volunteers, which has become a place of fellowship for a great many people.
The most recent project has been the setting up of a food bank for needy families- Foodstore@PNK . Church members bring with them each Sunday the gift of one item and these are stored before distribution in cupboards that have been built on the church premises by a team under the leadership of Andrew Knox an Eco Team member.

David concluded his presentation by showing a 10 minute video showing church members at work and depicting the final result of the refurbishment.
We were left with the impression that the refurbishment created much hard work but also a great deal of fun and fellowship within the church family.

Nan Buchan thanked David for giving such an interesting presentation on the refurbishment and such am impressive description of the work of the church thereafter. She thanked Penicuik North for hosting this network meeting, for the warm welcome, the friendly atmosphere and home baking during the break and the inspiration of the vision of the North Kirk Family.

1.  Two suggestions were put forward for consideration.
a).  –  to change the months for the network meetings from March and October to April and September to give more chance of .reasonable weather for travel
b).  –  to support a three year project, initiated by the Presbytery of Melrose and Peebles, to pay for the training, educational materials, food and clothes required by  Jessie Backson who has been selected to train as a midwife in Malawi where there are a large number of deaths during child birth.
It was explained that very small donations will make a big difference to this project and so it was suggested that a donation plate be put out during the refreshment breaks at future network meetings to allow those wishing to do so to make a contribution to this cause.
2. Carlops has offered to host the meeting in September 2013.
3. Offers to host future meeting were invited and also suggestions for topics and speakers.

Rev. Ruth Halley closed the meeting with prayer.