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Utilise Plus Event Report: Sustainability Tour of Tuppenny Barn
On a bright morning in October, delegates made their way to Southbourne, in West Sussex, for a Sustainability Tour of Tuppenny Barn. This event was part of the Sustainable Business Partnership CIC’s ongoing Utilise Plus programme which helps small and medium sized enterprises reduce their costs and environmental impact by saving energy.
The SBP CIC’s Jack Dale introduced the event, giving an overview of Utilise Plus and the services it offers, from grant funding and energy audits to networking events and educational workshops. Jack then handed over to Maggie Haynes, Tuppenny Barn’s CEO, and John Wyatt, who designed the building. Maggie explained that she founded Tuppenny Barn 14 years ago with two aims: first, she wanted to fulfil her passion of growing her own organic produce; second, she wanted to educate children about the environment, which Maggie argued is even more important in today’s digital world.
With help from John, who Maggie met through a local sustainability group, they decided upon Tuppenny Barn’s circular design. One of Maggie’s aims during the building’s construction was to ‘keep it in the family’ and make the process as simple as possible so that friends and volunteers could get involved. John aptly describes the building as “rooted in traditional values” but still “original and inspirational;” all walls are packed with straw bales, while car tyres act as a foundation, and underfloor heat is generated with an air-source heat-pump.
After finding out about Tuppenny Barn’s origin, it was time to head outside for the tour! Maggie showed us the herb garden which was designed by Annie Guilfoyle, a Chelsea Flower Show medal winner. We also saw their rainwater harvesting system and the plethora of plants which are tended to by volunteers. What’s more, Maggie showed us the biodegradable plant pots made from corn-starch and coconut, and explained how she uses natural pesticides – such as lavender or garlic – to protect the crops.
After the tour, we headed back inside and networked over light refreshments. Delegates enjoyed the event, with Mary Green of Stubcroft Farm Campsite calling it “inspirational,” while Gary Smart of Harbour Park enjoyed hearing about “the history of the project and how it came about.”
This event was fully-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). At the Sustainable Business Partnership CIC, we love hearing about inspirational venues, passionate speakers, and enthusiastic event partners. If you’d like to work with us then please get in touch.