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Quickfire Q&A with Sea the Change: The local company after a more sustainable world

In March 2018, Alice Fisher set up Sea the Change, a community interest, not-for-profit business.

The company’s main aim is to make communities and local towns - soon, nationally and internationally wide - more sustainable and for their residents to adopt new attitudes towards saving the planet.

Sea the Change holds events, campaigns and activities for all ages. Read Bdaily’s Q&A with Alice below, and find out about one of Sea the Change’s events happening today (March 23).

Hello, Alice! Tell us about what you do.

“I’m married with two small children, Finlay and Skye. Prior to Sea the Change, I had been working for our local centre for voluntary services as its community development officer.

“I spent a lot of time helping other people follow their passions and set up their own groups and organisations.

“Following a life break in Canada where I learnt lots about how to environmental awareness from very early on, I decided with my colleague Juliana that we should follow our dreams and Sea the Change was registered as a community interest company on March 22, 2018.”

When did you set up Sea the Change and what sparked this idea?

“As mentioned, it was really my time spent in Canada that gave me the drive to go for this initiative - they have a completely different technique to engage their whole communities on how to be responsible citizens.

“In the library, you can find lots of books, their local authority produces a lot of information and advice, they have lots of community organisations facilitating events and campaigns - communities become more connected, and as a result are more inclined to care for and protect the area that they live in.

“This mindset is something that I wanted for my children and community, now we’re at the start of our journey to make that change happen in the Scottish Borders and beyond.”

Sea the Change is a not-for-profit, social enterprise. How do you keep it funded and where does that investment come from?

“Good question! It’s not easy. To start, we were self-funding, then thanks to some donations from Scottish Borders Council and Berwickshire Housing Association, we managed to get enough to open our office and get last year’s programme of activity underway.

“This year, we will be applying for some more grants to get our Beach Wheelchair underway and we’re hoping to develop our programme of workshops so we can become a bit more self-sustainable.”

How much has Sea the Change grown since you began in terms of your audience, events and visibility?

“Massively. As we are almost at the end of our first year, we have been reviewing the impact and reach we have had since we started - amazingly on Facebook, our posts have reached a total of 240,174 people on occasion we get 11,000 views for a single post.

“In addition to the people who we reach from just viewing our posts, we’ve also had a total of 25,291 engaged users for the year, that’s the total number of engaged users who like or comments on our posts.

“To us, that’s huge and just shows how important the work of Sea the Change is to so many people. Yey!”

What kind of events can the public expect from Sea the Change, and are they open to everyone?

“Hopefully we have something for everyone. For kids, we have Bushcraft on the Beach coming up on April 4 (still spaces, so spread the word!), and then this summer we hope to repeat our very popular Beach School in partnership with the wonderful rangers at the Berwickshire Marine Reserve.

“This year, we will be offering children the opportunity to gain their Joh Muir Award.

“We also hope to launch our Beach Wheelchair programme in May and then we have community activity - from engagement with schools, to our small changes workshops where you can learn to make your own cleaning products and beeswax wraps.

Tell me about your Dive Against Debris event happening today (March 23) with Eyemouth Voluntary Marine Reserve. How did you get on board with this company, and what will the event entail?

“The Dive Against Debris came about following a chat with some local dive companies. They were telling us about the huge amount of rubbish they are witnessing underwater.

“We had been talking to lots of our community partners - one of which is the Voluntary Marine Reserve, others involved [include] SPLASH and the Eyemouth Development Trust - about hosting an event to celebrate one year of Sea the Change.

“[At this event], we will have divers diving, the running group plogging, and lots of people out with ourselves and the VMR beach cleaning.”

You raise awareness on replacing household plastics with the likes of glass milk bottles and shampoo bars. How do you get this important message across and what are you aiming to do in the future to combat this even further?

“The change our Glass Milk Bottle Campaign has had in the last year has been phenomenal - we managed to convince two local milkmen to deliver milk in glass.

“Between them, they are now delivering 2,500 bottles of milk in glass per week in Berwickshire - that equates to 130,000 bottles of plastic per year now not going to landfill! Amazing!”

How do you want Sea the Change to grow, and can we expect to see events outside of Eyemouth in the future?

“The opportunities for Sea the Change are endless and we can’t wait to see what this next year brings.

“We are getting demand to bring the work of Sea the Change further afield, into Northumberland and East Lothian and it has the potential (with funding!) to take off.

“We would love to engage with lots of school and communities about the small changes that we can all make it our lives and we hope this is just the start for the positive changes that Sea the Change brings to lots of people.”

You can find out more about Alice Fisher’s Sea the Change by heading to: seathechange.org.uk.

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