SENS Newsletter: May 2023

SENS newsletter: May 2023

If you have any items that you would like to include in the next newsletter please email details to: by the 5th of each month, to be sure they will be included. All relevant contributions are welcome!

Over the summer the newsletters will be bi-monthly, so the next newsletter will be July 2023. If there are important news items to share before then you will receive a specific email update.

Volunteer opportunities

If you’d like to get involved with SENS – either with the planning, the publicity, running events, raising funds, taking photos etc. we’d love to hear from you. We’re a very small team at present and need new volunteers to keep the organisation going. Please email us at or call 07952786621.

Have you seen our new poster? Please feel free to share far and wide!

To keep up-to-date, there is a calendar on the website homepage. As always, 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!


1. Damson Orchard Work Party

2. No Mow May

3. Hello Home Case Study

4. Clean River Kent Updates

5. Community Ebikes

6. CWT Update from Staveley Woodlands

7. Gardening Club at Staveley CE Primary School

8. Great Big Green Week

9. Other items and partner news

10. Donate to our cause – support SENS

1. Damson Orchard Work Party

Saturday 20th May 10 am – 12 pm
Join a sociable work party at the community damson orchard to spruce it up ready for another fruitful year ahead. Tasks will include cutting back and pruning with a warm bonfire and a great view. Please bring gloves and any work tools you have such as loppers, saws, secateurs. 

If you’d like to attend or have any questions, please email

2. No Mow May

Will you be taking part in #NoMowMay ?

No Mow May is back this year, bringing another boost of much-needed nectar to pollinators across gardens, park lands and verges, as gardeners throughout the UK pledge not to mow their lawns for the month.

The movement was started in 2019 by conservation charity Plantlife, who is once again urging people to keep the mower locked up for another month to allow spring plants a chance to set seed before the first cutting, making for healthier, more diverse lawns.

It also gives wild plants to get a foothold in May, to feed bees, butterflies and other pollinators through summer.

3. Hello Home Case Study

We spoke to Hello Home, a local furniture shop in Staveley about their latest venture which recently opened up. It is owned by two friends who create unique pieces of furniture by sourcing and re-purposing old, unloved furniture, as well as offering new and vintage furniture and homewares. When it comes to sustainability, reuse is one of the ever important 3 R’s of Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. So we’re all for this concept! We spoke to them about what inspired Hello Home, and you can see what they shared with us here.

This is one of a series of case studies we have on the website at the moment – all of which are local businesses or initiatives with a focus on sustainability in the local area.

4. Clean River Kent updates

We have a new leaflet – please download, print and share as you wish.

Survey: Recording River Illness Incidents

As you know, CRKC found significant levels of faecal bacteria (E. coli and Enterococcus spp) in the river Kent last summer, at all 6 sites where river water was sampled. Full report available here.

These bacteria live in the gut, and usually cause no problems. However, they can cause sickness in those exposed to polluted river water. This may be a brief episode of vomiting and diarrhea, or a mild respiratory illness, but may be more serious with a fever, dehydration and kidney problems.

We are requesting people who become ill after contact with water in the river Kent (swimming, paddling, kayaking, angling etc.) to complete this questionnaire.

We will monitor episodes of sickness through the summer, and publish a report in the autumn with  information about the relative health risks of water-based leisure activities in the river Kent.

Please tell your family, friends or colleagues, and if you hear of someone who has been ill, please encourage them to complete the survey.

Complete the survey here.

Huge thanks to Kendal Town Council’s Deputory Mayor and Chair of the Environment and Highways Committee for our second Biodiversity Grant to support our work!

Check out the Cumbria Life Magazine article (May edition) all about CRKC! A 5-page spread (pages 64 – 68), with lots of great pictures thanks to our amazing volunteers.

Bunting, WI, and donations

The Clean River Kent campaign gave a talk to Crosscrake Women’s Institute about the work we’re doing. We received a £50 donation, plus another £50 from an individual, they were so generous!

It was also the maiden outing for some wonderful Clean River Kent Campaign bunting that has been produced by a volunteer. Thank you! We will be using it regularly at future events and talks.

Some of our volunteers attended the South Cumbria Rivers Trust ‘River Fly Training’ last weekend which sounded great fun and really interesting. There were lots of people with of varied ages with different interests. They are all nominating an area of the river Kent to monitor each month and are all set to start next month. Thanks to Nicola for the photos!


We had two very useful meetings at the end of April with National Trust Sizergh manager Dan, and Levens Hall’s Richard, who are both supportive of our campaign. They’re interested in exploring collaborative opportunities to work together on monitoring and citizen science. We look forward to partnering with them.

Join the national ‘paddle-out’ protest, hosted by Surfers Against Sewage
Saturday 20th May, Borrans Park, Windermere

What’s happening? Surfers Against Sewage will be hosting a National ‘paddle-out’ protest! Protests will be popping up on our rivers, lakes & beaches all over the UK, all on the same day.

Who’s invited? We’re calling all water lovers across the UK to bring your paddle boards & kayaks (whatever craft you like) & join us at the water to shout & paddle out in protest. People from all corners of the nation must come together to show the polluters the storm of support backing an end to sewage pollution! If you’ve headed up to the Lakes because it’s been a gorgeous sunny day, then this applies to you! Come down and save the place that you use, admire and appreciate.

Citizen Science in 2023

Last year we monitored river water quality by testing for faecal bacteria and found unacceptable high levels at all 6 locations where we tested.

This year we have two projects:
– Working with Freshwater Watch to monitor the level of nutrients along the river Kent and tributaries. We are piloting this in Kendal, and will then roll out the programme through the summer.
– We are also planning DNA testing of faecal bacteria to check whether the source is human or another animal – we hope to get this underway in the next couple of months.

An interactive map

We have developed an interactive map to show the information available about the river Kent by location. We are checking it with our partner organisations, and then it will be available.

Intel hub

It’s the early stages but we have begun to develop an Intel Hub. The aim is to provide an easily accessible source of information for those who are undertaking interviews or giving talks about our work e.g. who are CRKC and what do they do? What are the rules around dumping sewage in a river? What are the environmental permits and what has to be monitored? We’ll also review relevant new data and publications so that we can be confident that we have the facts straight, and can challenge where necessary. It’s a backroom job, which isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but do let us know if you would like to be part of it. We hope to link up with Surfers Against Sewage and other groups across the country to pool our knowledge.

United Utilities open events: Tuesday 23rd – Friday 26th May

UU is organising 4 open events to discuss Windermere – all are welcome! See the invitation here.

Are you a creative in need of a film idea?

Fancy making a film / video about the River Kent? Any creative productions would be welcome to help publicise the river and our campaign! Know a college student looking for a media project? Put them in touch!

5. Community Ebikes

Updated subscription rates! You can now get a one-year membership for FREE!

Based on feedback from the community, we’ve updated our subscription rates! This means that you can rent one of the two community ebikes whenever you like, for only £5 per hour. There are brand new panniers available to use on Reston so the bikes can be used for all sorts of purposes including collecting your shopping or transporting your kit, thanks to the Together for our Planet Community Lottery Fund.

In April 2023, we chatted to Sheelagh to find out more about her use of the ebikes and the benefits they provided. Thanks Sheelagh for sharing your experience! Read what she had to say.

If you would like to book an ebike try-out for free for a local event or meeting, please contact:

6. CWT Update from Staveley Woodlands

Danni from Cumbria Wildlife Trust has provided us with an update from Staveley Woodlands aka Craggy Woods, with some exciting events coming up:

This month, with a ‘spring’ in their steps the wonderful volunteer group worked on maintaining the planted trees along the new footpath between the woods. It was lovely to see that the majority of these trees are thriving and some even blossoming for the first time. Work was also done on the freshwater spring, making sure that it keeps flowing for the land below. The field is full of field voles so please keep an eye underfoot when walking through. Now is the time to get out there and enjoy all those fabulous bluebells around the woodlands.

Craggy Wood is starting to show some real positive growth after the storm damage and loss of the Larch trees. It’s exciting to see what seed has been hidden in the ground for all these years and is now starting to sprout out. Over the next few months, we will be putting in a deer exclusion area, that everyone will still be able to walk though, so that we can give the newly sprouted trees a good fighting chance.

Thanks to everyone’s continued hard work in maintaining and enhancing these wildlife friendly woodlands.

Upcoming dates

29th May: Guided spring walk
31st May: Under 16’s volunteer day
3rd June: Make your own bird feeders, as part of 30 Days Wild

7. Gardening Club at Staveley CE Primary School

Staveley CE Primary School’s gardening club is being supported by our dedicated committee member Wendi. She joined them to share her expert composting knowledge whilst they compost, weed, plant and water, gaining a whole range of gardening skills.

8. Great Big Green Week

A national week of events celebrating action on climate change is coming to Staveley on the 10th – 18th June! There’ll be a green Staveley quiz both online and posted around the village with some great local prizes to win. There will also be a composting and seedling swap event on Jack’s Corner. More info coming soon.

9. Other items and partner news

Community Lottery Funding update: With the remaining monies from this grant, SENS has purchased a gazebo and a selection of children’s gardening tools for loan to the community for activities that fit our ethos. If you’d like to borrow either of these, please email:
Please collect and bring the following items to be recycled at Staveley CE Primary School. Raise funds for the school and do your bit for the environment!
1) toothbrushes, toothpaste tubes, floss packets, and related oral care packaging. 2) All brands and types of bread bags, including bagels, wraps, pitta etc. 3) Cheese packets, cheese nets, film lids from sliced cheese packets. 4) All brands of foil coffee bags. Donations can be placed in the outside storage unit which is located just up the steps from the car park, outside the infant building – access is 24/7. For more information, please visit
Warm spaces at The Institute, Staveley. Every Tuesday and Thursday from noon until 2 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.
– Read previous newsletters.

Got something for the newsletter or website? Email us:

10. Donate to our cause – support SENS!

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

This newsletter goes to all SENS supporters, but if you have friends or neighbours who’d like to receive the newsletter, we’d be delighted to include them. Please contact:

Previous SENS newsletters can be viewed here.

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