Art Gene will be hosting Barrow’s first Eco Fair at The Forum on 21 January 2023, 10am – 3.30pm. Part of the Low Carbon Barrow programme, the event is free and all are welcome. With stands, talks and workshops, there will be something for everyone – just drop in.

Maddi Nicholson, Art Gene’s director, says “The fair brings together a range of local charities, businesses, political leaders and volunteers who will share positive ideas about how we can reduce Barrow’s carbon emissions and restore nature. Big or small actions can help. Everyone in our community can make a difference.”

Browse one of the 26 stands, meet local people and pick up something useful. Learn about renewable energy, composting, soil quality, carbon footprints, energy saving, Cold to Cosy Homes, the impact of fast fashion, local nature projects and volunteering opportunities. Shop with the Eco-Shop, Cut the Wrap or Rose Vintage.

Simon Fell, MP, will open the Eco Fair and introduce businessman Lee Stoller as the first speaker at 10.30am. There will be more talks at 11.45am and 2pm – learn how to set up a repair cafe, how to save energy at home and the health benefits of nature conservation.

“Climate change is real, occurring now, and affecting communities from Barrow to Bengal”, says Simon Fell. “But tackling it isn’t just about setting targets – we also have to bring people with us. I was very glad to host Furness’ first Climate Summit in 2021 and was so encouraged by the ideas and energy people brought to the issue. This Low Carbon Barrow event is a great way to continue those conversations and learn how little changes in our own behaviour can make a big difference as we seek to reduce our carbon footprints.”

There is a focus on reducing waste and saving money at the Eco Fair. Everyone is encouraged to bring things along to exchange, repair or upcycle:

Swap/Free Shop – For those who remember “Swap Shop” there will be a chance to introduce a younger generation to the idea. Bring down your unwanted gifts or other goods and see what you canswap it for.

Repair and reuse – Jean from Ulverston Repair Café will take on your small textile repairs. From 1.30pm, you can bring along small electrical items for Alex to take a look at. On the hour throughout the day we’ll be demonstrating the simple process to mend a cycle tyre puncture.

Rethink wrapping – Make your own paper and decorations in this family-friendly workshop. We’ll demonstrate how to use sustainable materials, move away from sticky tape and ditch plastic parties.

Re:fashion – get creative with old clothes – Bring along clothes you want to upcycle or unleash your creativity or work with our stock of free textiles to make something new. If you’re feeling flamboyant, why not dress up take to the catwalk at the end of the day?

Alternative clothes show – Be ready from 3pm to cheer on our models and admire the creations with compere Becki Fishwick.


The timing for the Conversations on climate and nature are as follows:

10.30               Simon Fell, MP, to open the event

Lee Stoller, Stollers Limited, Starting the sustainability journey

Bill Shaw, Baywind Energy Community Trust, Grants for renewable energy


11.45               Barbara Herridge, Cumbria County Council, Reducing waste in Cumbria

Dave Kyles, Ulverston Repair Cafe, How to set up a repair cafe

Chris Lindle, Cumbria Climate Champion, ‘Doing Our Bit’ to tackle the climate                   crisis


14.00               Amber Woods, Cumbria Wildlife Trust, The marine life of Morecambe Bay

Glen Mahaffy, Mind in Furness, Social and therapeutic conservation


14.30               Jo Reilly, Art Gene, Low Carbon Barrow grants

Cllr Giles Archibald, W&F Council, A cross-party strategy to tackle                         the impacts of climate change in Cumbria


The Forum café will be open as usual throughout the event.

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