SENS Newsletter: March 2023

SENS Newsletter: March 2023

If there’s anything you’d like added to the website, have items for the next newsletter, or you’d like to get involved, we’d love to hear from you!

Important Dates

Apple grafting workshop: Saturday 18th March, 9.30 am – 12 pm at the Pavilion. 1 SPACE LEFT!

Staveley litter pick: 10 am – 12 pm, Saturday 25th March, meet outside Staveley Chippy. Find out more here.

River Kent clean-up: Saturday 2nd April, 10 am – 1.30 pm, meet outside the Pavilion in Staveley to walk/kayak/canoe to Burneside litter picking en route. Find out more.

To keep up-to-date with events, there is now a calendar on the website homepage.


1. Donate to our cause – support SENS!
2. Case study: Living in an eco-community
3. Repair café a great success
4. Staveley School gets playful
5. Staveley Community Ebikes news
6. Apple grafting workshop
7. Clean River Kent Campaign news
8. Partner news and other items

1. SENS membership – donations welcome

We’re a volunteer-led organisation, relying on income from grants and contributions. While there is no obligation for anyone to make a contribution to SENS, any additional funds raised will help to pay for our core services such as annual website hosting fee, room bookings, printing and photocopying etc. as well as taking forward our key actions for the year. Any donation, however small, would be very well received. If you can consider setting up a standing order, either monthly or annually that would be ideal. SENS’ bank details are below. Please add your name as a reference.
– The Co-operative Bank 
– Account no: 65279669
– Sort Code: 08-92-99

2. Case study: Living in an eco-community

Kate Rawles is part of an environmentally conscious co-housing community in the South Lakes. We chatted with Kate to find out what it’s like to live in an eco-community, and the benefits this has on the wider environment.

You can read the Q&A here.

3. Repair café a great success!

Keep an eye out for the next one – and if you have any handy skills, from fabric fixes to small electrical items, we’d welcome volunteers to get involved.

4. Staveley School gets playful

SENS attended a ‘Nurturing the Seed’ workshop at Staveley School, organised by Playful Nature, at the end of February, to see the work that the school has been doing on the Green Place Project for biodiversity and nature over the last year. We explored how this work could be continued in partnership with the community into 2023. Positive connections were made and a future meeting was suggested to continue the momentum.

5. Staveley Community Ebikes

Did you see us in Cumbria Life magazine? A great article championing the humble ebike and our programme alongside a Wheelbase advert.

A huge thank you to Cumbria Action for Sustainability (CAfS) for a grant to fund the production of an electronic Handbook for communities thinking about setting up their own ebike share scheme plus accompanying slide set. The Handbook will focus on the lessons learnt from the set-up of the Staveley Ebike project – it’s implementation phase.

We now have brand new panniers available to use on Reston (the ebike) for carrying your shopping and kit, thanks to the Together for our Planet Community Lottery fund. Find out more and sign up here.

Please help our research – we need feedback about the current scheme and what improvements would encourage more people to sign-up. Fill in a short survey to be entered into a prize draw. Link here

6. Apple grafting workshop – Saturday 18th March

There is one space left on the apple grafting workshop! Please keep an eye out for future events if you can’t make this one.

The workshop has been organised by SENS with South Lakeland Orchard Group (SLOG) to teach you how to graft your own apple trees onto rootstocks.

Find out more and book this last place:

7. Clean River Kent Campaign update

CRKC was informed on 9th March that our application for bathing status for a stretch of the river Kent in Staveley has been rejected by DEFRA – read more here. And an interview with Sheila from CRKC in The Guardian – read more here.

The river Kent clean-up is next month – 2nd April! Find out more about the event here.

United Utilities: After we published our Water Quality Report in December, we were contacted by United Utilities who asked to meet so they joined us at our monthly meeting last month. The meeting was attended by around 30 supporters of CRKC. A few summary points:

United Utilities maintain that they are responsible for no more than 30% of the effluent in the river Kent, the rest is accounted for by agricultural runoff and poorly maintained septic tanks. We asked for evidence of this but so far we haven’t received any. In any case 30% is still far too much.

United Utilities also blame the heavy rainfall in the NW and the above average amount of surface water which enters the sewage system.

The water companies are currently working on their 2025 – 2030 investment plans, which will be published in December 2024. Unfortunately there is no discussion with local communities or the wider public as these are developed.

We challenged them on “Better Rivers: Better North West” (BRBNW), a document published last year in which United Utilities committed to being “open and transparent about our performance and our plans”. Sadly, we have seen very little evidence of this.

Since the meeting we have requested answers to the questions. The notes of the meeting will be available on the CRKC webpage shortly.

Open Day, 7th March. Many thanks to everyone who attended or helped with the event, great speakers from Natural England, and to those who signed up to volunteer this year. If you’re interested in volunteering this year and haven’t yet let us know please email There are lots of tasks from citizen science projects, to event organisation, data inputting, publicity and more.

Short article in Westmorland Gazette covering the event

Clean Water, Clean Streets: CRKC presents. CRKC was invited to give a presentation at a ‘Clean Water, Clean Streets’ on 3rd March, organised by Staveley Parish Council and chaired by Tim Farron MP. 24 people attended from the main agencies responsible for water and sewage. The aim was to explore, develop and introduce ways in which a local community and its water company (United Utilities), with their associated partners, can work constructively together and offer a model of good practice. There was a very positive desire to seek a resolution and plans agreed for future, more detailed discussion. The emphasis, at least initially, is likely to focus on removing some surface water from the system however it seems unlikely that this will be enough to resolve discharges. Commitments and dates are still to be pinned down; all involved will now be contacted to confirm their further involvement. The possibility of a joint project, as described, will still need to be explored in more detail.

In February, CRKC gave a series of talks and attending meetings in Beetham for those interested in setting up their own water campaign group, with councillors from Grange, Levens and Sedgewick; to the Inner Wheel Club of Kendal and to Cumbria Action for Sustainability (CAfS).

THANK YOU TO OUR PARTNERS WHO HAVE COMMITTED FUNDS FOR 2023 including: British Canoeing for river conservation work, South Lakeland District Council Localities budget, Burneside Parish Council, Staveley-with-Ings Parish Council, Burneside Community Energy, Community Lottery (Together for our Planet) and the Lake District Folk Weekend, Staveley.

Pending applications include: £6,000 – Patagonia for funding for a genetic testing programme, supported by Lancaster University. Kendal Town & Westmorland & Furness Councils have also expressed their support and potential funding. 

CRKC part of River Declaration – coalition of national water campaign groups.

8. Partner news and other items

South Cumbria Rivers Trust are running the following tree planting days in the Kent catchment this month: 16th March: Over Elf Howe Farm, Staveley planting along Hall beck. The event will run from 10.30 to 14.00; 21st March: Hagg Foot House planting along the River Kent (located south of Staveley but north of Cowan head), accessed via the footpath. The event will run from 10-14.00. Should you wish to attend please email Emma Wright – . Further details will be provided. Please wear suitable clothing and footwear, but planting equipment will be provided.

Staveley Woodland Easter Trail. Free event organised by Cumbria Wildlife Trust. Monday 3rd April, 9.30 am – 3 pm at Dorothy Farrer’s Spring Wood (drop-in event). Find out more.

Prof. Mike Berners Lee will talk about the climate crisis and what we can do about it – Tuesday 21st March, 6.30 – 9pm, Friends Meeting House Kendal LA9 4BH

The Brewery Arts in Kendal are holding a live theatre performance which explores the subject of the climate emergency on Wednesday 29th March. A new play by Billie Collins: Too Much World at Once. Click here to book your ticket.

Did you read about Diane’s ebike experience? Find out more about the Staveley ebike share scheme on the website or contact

Warm spaces at The Institute, Staveley. Every Tuesday and Thursday from 11 am until 3 pm. Free hot drink and lunch available. Stay warm, chat with friends, meet new people, discover what’s going on, and maybe use one of the Community iPads. Feel free to share ideas about how the space could be used going forward.

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