In the Spring of 2018, I was approached by a lady who was looking for someone to design a logo for a group of volunteers who were calling themselves Maidenhead Challenging Plastic. They wanted a design that could capture their idea. I came up with a couple of designs and they liked one of them.
The group had met a few times and wanted to encourage the people of Maidenhead to think about the overuse of plastic. Tackling plastic is a huge task and I felt it would be more manageable to have a phased approach; focus on the things we could do, whilst looking at lobbying those in power separately. With all the ideas flying around (drinks filling stations, blogs, pop-up workshops etc.), I suggested we amended our group name and Maidenhead Matters was launched in June 2018.
Very quickly we signed up local cafés, restaurants and pubs to Refill (who have a phone app that lets you find your nearest free water filling station) to encourage people to use reusable bottles and reduce single-use plastics (SUP). I set up the website and blog and we started organising regular litter picks, one of which was attended by the Prime Minister, who has been very supportive of Maidenhead Matters.
Most recently, we held the LitterArtist competition to raise awareness of the volume of packaging produced by households. All the schools across the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead were invited to attend and it proved so popular that we had almost one hundred finalists, instead of the thirty or so we had anticipated. The competition culminated in our Heroes Exhibition, where we celebrated local ‘heroes’ who make an environmental difference in their community, and we exhibited the finalists’ art pieces. The Preview Party was attended by our LitterArtist finalists, heroes, parents, local councillors, Athul Pathak (who donated all the gifts) with Rami Ranger, and Lord & Lady Randall (Lord Randall is special advisor on the environment at Number 10). It was a wonderful celebration of the community, who were especially honoured to have the Prime Minster and Maidenhead MP, Rt Hon Theresa May MP, join us and take time to speak to all the children awarded prizes.
If anyone is interested in replicating what we have done, then please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org as I have written a toolkit (an easy to follow guide that tells you exactly how to set up Refill, the website, the blog and more).
The original group who set up Maidenhead Matters includes: Patricia Buck, Marilyn Coppinger, Jane Hutton, Donna Stimson and myself, Rushi Millns. The things that brought us all together was the fact that we wanted to make a difference and do what we could. The other thing we have in common is that we are all Conservatives, the only party with conserve in its name.
I look forward to hearing from you!
Vice Chair Windsor Conservatives Datchet Branch
Women’s Officer Maidenhead Conservatives
Conservative Women’s Organisation National Executive