Volunteer Compost Mentors wanted in Truro and St Austell!

Cornwall Waste Action (CWA), a non for profit organisation based in Redruth, is currently looking for volunteer “Compost Mentors” in Truro and St Austell to take part in a project that aims to encourage more people to compost their food and garden waste at home, and to grow their own food. The scheme is funded by the lottery as part of its Local Food program.

CWA offers free training and support to local people to become “Compost Mentors”: volunteers who encourage and help members of their community to compost.

All volunteers are invited to attend a free, 1/2 day workshop delivered and are be given a free compost bin and caddy. Once they have attended the workshop they begin to mentor their friends, family, colleagues or neighbours. The first two households mentored by each volunteer also receive free compost bins and caddies.

In 2009 the scheme was run in Penzance and Falmouth, and 60 Compost Mentors were trained and given compost bins and caddies. They have been spreading the word about composting for the last few months, and have convinced many households to start composting at home. Volunteers Deb and Sarah tell us about their experience as Compost Mentors:

Deb:

    “I decided to become a compost mentor on a ‘Circles of influence’ basis: I promote the benefits of composting to my neighbours, who then pass that knowledge onto their neighbours.

    So far I have probably converted half a dozen people, and had no problem finding homes for the two free bins. On joining the local school’s eco-group I was asked about the benefits of having compost bins; they now have them and 200 people could potentially be converted.

    The more enthused and animated you are the more interested people become, and so far responses have been positive. A mentoring tip I could give is to find out why people don’t already compost, and then give them all the reasons why they should, the benefits to them, their gardens and the planet…. one if not all of those must make sense to them.”

Sarah:

    “I decided to be a Compost Mentor because at the time I was running the gardening club at a Children’s Centre, and thought this would be a good opportunity to pass on any information that I learnt about composting to the wonderful families that I was working with. So far I have spoken to about 15-20 people about composting.

    I began composting several years ago, and have taught my children the importance of composting along the way. I wouldn’t say I’m a radical composter, and I have had lapses. However the compost mentoring training has given me new vigour and taught me some new things too – for example that food waste that goes to landfill doesn’t rot down to benefit the land, but produces gases which affect the ozone layer.

    Everything from small offcuts of fabric, the contents of the hoover and even hair from the hairbrush go in to the composter now. Fruit and vegetable peelings, cardboard and crumpled and shredded paper also go in along with many other bits and bobs.”

If you are from the Truro or St Austell areas and would like to get involved, please contact CWA on 01209 210 883. You can also email Marie (CWA’s Compost Development Worker) at: marie@wasteaction.org.uk. Or to learn more about CWA and the project, go to: www.wasteaction.org.uk.

Workshops will be held in Truro and St Austell this Spring/Summer. Places are booked on a first come, first served basis.

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