The Spirit of Christmas

We all know Scrooge, don’t we? From either the book of Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’, or the film. And, despite not rooting for him at the beginning – he’s not the most generous of human beings – counting his money and ignoring the needs of those around him, especially the Cratchit family, we come around to liking and admiring him by the end.

Scrooge’s story, despite being set in Victorian times, is a story for our times too. One we could learn from, without being too preachy or gloomy. Scrooge was faced with his personal ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future. We have those too. We can’t fix the past, but we can predict with some accuracy what will happen to our global future, and adjust the present accordingly. 

It’s simple, really. We need to consume less stuff to help the planet, and ourselves. To recognise, and really focus on, the fact that joy and pleasure in life isn’t about material excess, but love and laughter, dancing and singing, playing games (with a little bit of eating and drinking thrown in too, of course). 

Scrooge teaches us the spirit of Christmas isn’t about accumulating and then discarding ‘things’, and their wrappings. If we choose to do less of this we’ll be benefitting the Earth and the plants and animals that live here. It’s something we all know, deep in our hearts, and many of us act upon it. Things are changing, and the time to change is now. Really, it’s a thoroughly modern book and film.

Like Scrooge at the end of the book (or the film!), we too could skip with joy at the thought of spending time with close friends and family, because we have done the right thing, taken heed of the future, and lived ethically and sustainably in Christmas Present.

Christmas Surgery, Community

Nothing Stingy About Sustainability

During a chat on facebook, Our Donna wrote an absolute gem of a response:

When considering the upcyling nature of making Christmas tags, wrapping paper etc, it could be very easy to feel concern that using newspaper, cereal boxes, packing paper etc, that you might be perceived as ‘stingy’

We want to shout from the roof tops that the intention of sustainability can NEVER be considered stingy, its worth a fortune to the planet and future generations, that! in itself is priceless.

We now all want an upcycled jumper with this slogan on, would you want to buy one too if we made them?


Walking the walk: the Greta Thunberg effect

Two daughters of Sustainable Ruislip

A day off school to protest and join with our Extinction Rebellion comrades about the climate emergency we’re facing? 

Why not?

Myself and my friend were persuaded by our daughters; and it was brilliant.

Last Tuesday the four of us made our way to Parliament Square with banners made from twigs and recycled paper (loving the message ‘May the forest be with you’ – thanks Karen for coming up with that one).

May the Forest be with you

There were drummers outside the Cabinet Office. The effect was tribal, the message being spread about the time we have left to turn things round not solely for humans, but for life on Earth. It was hard-hitting, visceral, and impossible to ignore.

We each collected a number of saplings and laid them out in front of the Houses of Parliament. Each Member of Parliament was invited to collect their tree. People were labelling them with the names of each MP as they were laid down. The trees were accompanied by a choir, celebrating the symbolism of their presence. We witnessed one MP, Kate Green, collecting her tree. 

My daughter was in turns delighted to be there and, understandably at times, slightly nervous. There was a police presence, not least. People were being arrested. People from all walks of life and all ages, not just ‘crusties’ as labelled by some politicians and commentators in recent days.

What did our kids learn?

That protest is sometimes necessary, as is civil action. Extinction Rebellion are both sorry and not sorry for the disruption. 

They learnt that the time for inaction has passed. 

The emergency is NOW.

We were so glad we went. For a day we were part of something. Something moving, inspiring and thought-provoking. Something global. Something we won’t forget as we weave actions on climate change into our everyday lives. We’re working on a local level, but our kids have, we hope, been inspired to work beyond that too. We hope they will work to influence others.

It’s their future they’re fighting for, and we should join them, to show we care.

Shared by FranTracey – Sustainable Ruislip founding member.

Christmas Surgery, Community

Sustainable Ruislip is back!

We are very sorry, it must have felt like we pretty much fell out of touch with you all overnight!

When our shop closed, following an impromptu lovely two months on Ruislip High street, it was the beginning of summer, and the team’s volunteers really needed a bit of a rest, to recharge and spend quality time with their families. 

Extremely grateful for the opportunity to host a shop on the high street, it was completely out of the blue, the group had only formulated at the beginning of 2019 and in we were in the early stages of getting to know each other and bat around ideas of what we could do, to assist in the worldwide movement towards living more sustainably, our new group had yet to find its flow, before taking on the massive project that was the shop.

That said, we feel we handled it exceptionally well considering it was all started with only 24 hours notice, no time to truly formulate a plan, we simply ploughed right in organising and adjusting our direction on the fly. The whole group donated countless hours, daily, from home and in the shop, it was truly magical, but the rest of our world was put on hold in the process. 

So this post is to say: we are now back in action! beavering away behind the scenes, planning together new projects for Ruislip locals to work towards living more sustainably. 

We are now officially a Social Enterprise (not for profit) company called ‘Sustainable Hub’

The broad evolved ‘formal’ name is with view to making it possible to extend out to other areas if we create something that works well in Ruislip, we want to encourage and help spring off groups in other areas of the UK.

Our social media outlets have therefore been tweaked and to reflect this.

Sustainable Ruislip can be found on facebook, Instagram and Twitter as: @subhubruislip 

Our facebook and twitter pages are new and we welcome your continued support on these pages.

Financially we now have a nice pot of money, which is currently held in an official bank account ready for us to discuss with the community the best direction for it.

We started a ‘crowd funder’ with view to opening another shop, this idea is currently on hold, as we feel it better to take time to plan it properly with a view of it being a long term project. The two month taster, has given us an insight into what we need to focus on if we feel it a feasible prospect.


Plastic Free Ruislip, was our first project, working with businesses to find ways to be ‘plastic free’

It is still ticking away in the back ground (post the distraction of the shop), and soon we hope to be able to officially announce Ruislip as plastic free town, as part of the Surfers Against Sewage programme, which is very exciting.

It still has its own facebook page @plasticFreeRuislip for updates and all things plastic free.

The Duck Pond Collective, was a joint project in the shop, we joined forces with the ‘Duck Pond Market’ who made it possible for us to bring together the perfect selection of local traders to offer retail in the front half of the shop, complimenting the education/workshops that were hosted in the back.

The retail flag has continued to be flown by the ‘Duck Pond Market’ team, their allied vision of offering ‘Local, Ethical and sustainable’ traders a place to sell beyond the weekend markets is currently being hosted at ‘Wembley Park Markets’. You can find up to date information about this project on facebook/instagram @TheDuckPondCollective


Sustainable Christmas Surgery, Sustainable Ruislip and Duck Pond Market have joined forces again, and would like to announce the opening of a Christmas ‘Surgery’ to provide help and ideas for a sustainable but beautiful low-cost Christmas full of love and laughter.

“Our Christmas of excess has forgotten its handmade and homely past”

Come to our regular stall at Duck Pond Market Ruislip in the lead up to Christmas, for inspiration on presents, wrapping and crackers. We will be there to chat about all aspects of eco-living, as sustainability is for life, not just for Christmas. But, with the festive season fast approaching its a great talking point and focal aid, especially as its a time that sees a lot of waste, and we want to make it easier, and support you with introducing changes on this public holiday and beyond.

The Duck Pond Collective

We need your ‘words’ of support…

The Duck Pond Collective shop has now been open since April 2nd and it’s just fantastic. In the last 6 weeks we have created the most incredible community space – consisting of three parts. 

1. The retail incubator – a pop up shop of locally, ethically and sustainably made products, paying a small fee and commission on anything they sell – all profit going back into the Sustainable Ruislip project. 

2. The environmental education zone – a place to engage, discuss, and find meaningful changes at home and at work to benefit our planet.

3. The Workshop Area – a meeting and workshop space open to all – with low cost workshops and our calendar gaining momentum every day!

The response has been amazing. It’s emotional to discuss the scary state the world is in, but our wonderful team of people, most of whom didn’t know each other in February have all bonded and developed and the creativity is just outstanding. 

Please take a look at our Insta feed for a picture diary..

Please pop into the shop if you’re local. We have so much to tell you. Our government are the first in the world to declare a climate emergency, which is terrifying, but positive that we are now working to slow it down… (can someone tell Trump?)

Part of our vision is to acquire funding to enable us to build a wall of packaging free products – a refill store, eliminating more waste. Recycling isn’t an option – the only option now is to not create the waste in the first place. In the Atlantic sea there is a gyre slowly spinning, it’s packed with plastic and is growing every day and it’s TWICE THE SIZE OF FRANCE. 

To move forward we need your views and words of encouragement, so that we can show this to potential investors, If you can take a moment to:

Comment below

Give us feedback, engage, spread the word – everything you do can make a difference.

We will then run on with it, fly the flag for Ruislip and keep this opportunity alive

Our Warmest (sustainable) Wishes

Alicia, Ali, Caron, Damon, Donna, Fran, Karen, Linda, Lucy & Samantha


Your Ideas

We want you to help us decide how to spend the shop’s profits, recycling them to benefit our community.

Some ideas are: water fountains for refillable bottles and recycling bins for plastic.

We’d love to hear your ideas to encourage sustainability and a plastic free environment.

Also if you would like to see this shop a more permanent feature on the high-street and would like us to stock products that make it possible to shop with ‘zero waste’ in mind, refillable products etc, please let us know if you would be a customer.


Plastic Free Ruislip

Dear Ruislip Businesses

What can Ruislip businesses do to help save the planet?

Good question!

Globally 5 to 13 million tonnes of plastics end up in our oceans, canals, lakes and rivers every year and it’s impossible to ignore the effects of single use plastic pollution on our environment, wildlife and health.

Blue Planet II on the BBC, the call for a deposit return system and the so-called ‘latte levy’ being recently debated in the Parliament has raised
awareness of the UK’s 25-year environmental plan, with a firm focus on tackling plastic waste.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan is determined to reduce the use of single-use packaging across London – right now.

There’s tons we can do together locally to support these initiatives. ‘Plastic Free Ruislip’, a community group supported by the charity ‘Surfers Against Sewage’, is here to help you help the planet and take a step towards
becoming plastic free.

In Ruislip we’d like to see a reduction in single-use plastic such as

water bottles, plastic spoons and straws.

We are hoping to become amongst the first ‘Plastic Free’ communities in London.

Five single-use plastic items have been identified by ‘Surfers Against Sewage’

as easy to avoid, reduce the provision of,

or even eradicate across businesses large and small.

These are:
 Plastic Cutlery
 Plastic Straws and Stirrers
 Single Serve Condiments
 Soft Drink Bottles
 Coffee Cups (including lids)

‘Plastic Free Ruislip’ are encouraging local business owners to ‘swap out’ three single-use plastic items and replace them with sustainable alternatives, which will slow the tide of plastic that is choking our water courses, reduce the effects of micro-plastics on our health and SAVE YOU MONEY!

Below is a list of companies who offer sustainable alternatives that don’t cost the Earth:


‘Surfers Against Sewage’ has created a number of Plastic Free projects to bring together communities, schools and businesses.

If we all take part we can create positive long lasting change to benefit everyone.

Please get in touch for more information or if you require any help in making changes.

We will be in touch with you in four weeks to see how you’re getting along!

We look forward to working with you.

Kind regards

Plastic Free Ruislip