Chichester Cathedral’s Young Ambassadors for Social Action (YASA) are currently focusing on activities related to climate change. As part of their agenda, the group wanted to engage with the local community on how we might all enjoy a more ethical and eco-friendly Christmas, offering tips on how to create decorations, gifts and dinner menu ideas.
In early November, local printmaker Cath Bristow who works closely with the Cathedral on a number of projects led an inspiring workshop where the YASA group learned how to make beautiful table runners printed on sustainable fabric. Two other workshops later in the month focused on hand-crafted gifts and decorations including upcycled jam jars to make lanterns.
The YASA members also held a celebratory dinner for the West Sussex Young Adult Carers group My Future, assisted by food rescue organisation UK Harvest – both of whom have an ongoing working relationship with the Cathedral. Under the guidance of chef Simon Thresher, during the day they planned, cooked and served a three course vegan dinner that was accompanied with their hand-made gifts. On the day UK Harvest’s rescued food included over a ton of fresh carrots but only a small amount of these made it into the soup course! A video of the Project created by RLW Videography is available to watch here:
Matt, a member of both YASA and the Young Adult Carers group, said “We’ve really enjoyed planning and bringing our eco-friendly Christmas ideas together. It’s been a great experience that can save money as well as help save our planet. I hope lots of other people get involved in making things too.”
Chichester Cathedral’s Chancellor, the Reverend Canon Dr Dan Inman, commented “Our Young Ambassadors have done a fantastic job in helping us think more deeply about how we consume sustainably this Christmas. In addition, they're showing us the power of working together in what can feel like difficult times, witnessing to the City and Diocese how our relationships and community can build a society, now and in the future, where all can find that fullness of life revealed to us in Bethlehem”.
Screen printed notebooks and gift tags made at the workshops are currently available from the Cathedral shop.
Chichester Cathedral's Young Ambassadors programme offers young people aged 16 – 25 the opportunity to engage in social action activities where they can develop ideas and projects. The current YASA sessions are supported by Clarion Futures as part of its Community Ambassadors Programme.
YASA's Top Tips for an Eco-Friendly Christmas
- Make decorations from recycled fabric and paper or use some natural foliage.
- Create individual gifts using old glass jars to make mini lanterns, using soy candles. You could also up-cycle second-hand items into something new and exciting
- If purchasing new gifts consider fair trade items and discover who are where they were made
- Avoid foil or glitter wrapping paper as it can’t be recycled, instead use brown paper to wrap gifts and add some seasonal foliage to make it festive or head to the charity shop and buy beautiful fabric scarves to use as wrapping.
- If you can’t live without some sparkle at Christmas don’t worry you can now buy bio-degradable glitter, just double check the label.
- When it comes to food, try to buy local and seasonal and avoid food waste by planning ahead and not buying more than you need.
Have a very happy eco-Christmas!