Author: downshiftingweek

Art Gallery, Bury St Edmunds

Recommended by IDW: Smith’s Row, Contemporary Art Gallery, Bury St Edmunds

Sustainability runs through the veins of this house of creativity and despite the recent cuts to funding, they are more determined than ever to deliver an entertaining and uplifting service to their visitors.

If you’re ever in the vicinity, be sure to plot a course to the centre of town to enjoy their convivial ec0-space.


In 2010 Bury St Edmunds Art Gallery received two awards by Creating the Greenest County for its work in reducing its carbon footprint:  The Gallery was awarded greenest community building and their Director, Alison Plumridge, was awarded Green Business Hero.

This was awarded in recognition of the work that the all the staff and volunteers have done in reducing our carbon footprint.  This has been carried out across all areas of our work from building and office management, exhibitions, events, education and shop to marketing.

This has been achieved by cutting our use of gas and electricity, recycling, reusing and pre-cycling.  We have reduced the amount of waste that would have gone into landfill by at least 50%, including reducing compostable waste by 90%, cut our energy bills by 24% and car use by 10%.

For the public we have run workshops for adults, children and family groups encouraging the innovative recycling of everyday materials sourced from scrap stores, freecycle, cardboard from manufacturers and sample books from interior designers.

Exhibitions such as Making and Mending have promoted an interest in recycling and reinventing discarded objects into valued works of art.

In Smiths Row shop we sell contemporary craft, cards and books by UK makers who run small sustainable businesses from home.

We are an advocate too, providing examples of good practice and encouraging other arts organisations, charities and businesses and the public to change their behaviour.  As part of this work it sits on a national panel for climate change in the visual arts led by VAGA.

We are also delighted to announce that from September 2010 Tracey Smith,green campaigner and author has agreed to be our Green Champion, supporting the Gallery in further reducing our carbon footprint and working with us as an advocate.

UK: Brits Forced to Put Work First

UK: Brits Forced to Put Work First, Neglecting Family Life

Research from Scottish Widows reveals that pressures of work in particular are forcing 10 million Brits (21%) to sacrifice time they know they should be spending with their children or grandchildren, and that this situation has not improved since last year.

In addition, the research – published today as part of Scottish Widows’ annual Priorities of Life Index – finds 1.5 million more people than a year ago (19 million, or 39% of the adult population) worry about  neglecting their partners.  Lack of ‘free time’ and focusing on ‘making ends meet’ are two of the main reasons given for pushing their relationship to the side.   Britain’s 30-somethings are the age group most likely to prioritise spending any spare time with their kids over their partner, whilst 40-somethings are focusing most on dealing with financial pressures.

Looking beyond their immediate family, one in three (34%) people say they are not finding enough time for their friends, with 30-somethings feeling they’re giving the lowest current priority to their mates.   Meanwhile, one in four adults (24%) own up to not prioritising their broader family as much as they would like.

Extract from a press release on Easier Lifestyle – click here to read the rest of the piece – the downshifting salvation bit is at the end!  Do read it!

UK: Abolition of Retirement Age

Should Lead to Flexible Working

The CIPD suggest that, up until now, flexible working has been considered as a women’s issue or a parent’s perk, rather than a tool to engage and motivate staff and allow them to strike a desirable work/life balance.

Dianah Worman OBE, CIPD Diversity Adviser, says: “The age of the cliff-edge retirement has finally come to an end and the CIPD applauds the Government for holding its nerve in the face of significant business opposition.

“However, now more than ever Government also needs to challenge the assumption that flexible working is a regulatory burden. We’re all going to be working longer and businesses have a vested interest in making our time as flexible and productive as possible.”

Extract from an article in The Grapevine – click here to read the rest of the piece.