As Hampshire County Council launches its Smart Living initiative, more community champions to help people change their food waste habits are needed in Basingstoke, Eastleigh, New Forest and Winchester.

With Hampshire households throwing away, on average, £60 worth of food each month, the Smart Living campaign is showing residents how to use leftovers, shop better and compost more to encourage them to reduce their household food waste – and save themselves money.

Community champions would join the existing eight champions, be fully trained and given all the equipment needed in return for spending 30 hours over a year engaging with Hampshire residents. This could include giving talks to community groups, students and businesses, attending local events and leading group activities. It will also be a great opportunity to meet new people and learn new skills.

Hampshire County Council’s Executive Member for Economy Transport and Environment, Councillor Seán Woodward, said: “If you are comfortable speaking to groups of people from all backgrounds and believe that you could use your enthusiasm to help change their habits, this could be a great opportunity for you. Volunteering can be a rewarding way to learn new skills, gain confidence and obtain references to help with further career development.”

Volunteers will be asked to commit around 30 hours over a year, which could include some evenings and weekends. Knowledge in food and/or prior experience of home composting would be helpful, but not necessary as full training will be given. You will be supported by Council staff and other volunteers.

Michaela Yates from Alton, has recently become a community champion and talks about her experience so far: “The whole idea is to work in a community and recognise that as a community we can make a difference. One step at a time, we can all reduce the amount of waste we generate, save money and help to reduce our carbon footprint at the same time. The training organised by Hampshire County Council was informative and delivered in a very friendly way, the staff are extremely easy to talk to, supportive with their knowledge, provide helpful ideas and promotional material. Recently, I have attended a Summer Fair at my local primary school and the overall response was very positive.”

For more information on becoming a community champion email: waste.prevention@hants.gov.uk, or call Zoe Cooke on 01962 832286 or Mike Culver on 01962 846764.

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