St Albans SustFest20 will focus on themes of One Planet Living

St Albans Sustainability Festival 2019 programmes being handed out at St Albans Market. Picture: St

St Albans Sustainability Festival 2019 programmes being handed out at St Albans Market. Picture: St Albans Sustainability Festival - Credit: Archant

Work is underway to ensure that the 2020 St Albans Sustainability Festival pushes the environmental message at a time when action on the climate is more critical than ever.

Catherine Ross, trustee of Sustainable St Albans. Picture: Submitted by Sustainable St Albans

Catherine Ross, trustee of Sustainable St Albans. Picture: Submitted by Sustainable St Albans - Credit: Archant

Local businesses are being asked to sponsor SustFest20, which is due to take place from Saturday May 23 to Sunday June 7.

Antonia Wingate-Martin, from the festival working group said: "This year we are especially looking for local businesses to help sponsor the two-week festival. It has become a high-profile event now, as everybody realises that the climate crisis needs action. We are still looking for crucial funding for the brochure and publicity and I would urge any companies who want to do more to help the environment in the district to get in touch."

As in previous years the volunteer organisers have applied for core grant funding but are still waiting to hear if the applications have been successful.

The festival, which had over 160 events last year, all run by local groups, covers the area of St Albans district reaching out across Harpenden and the villages including Sandridge, London Colney, Redbourn and Wheathampstead.

Extinction Rebellion St Albans staged a funeral march for the planet, followed by a colour explosion

Extinction Rebellion St Albans staged a funeral march for the planet, followed by a colour explosion, as part of the St Albans Sustainability Festival 2019. Picture: Megan Donnett - Credit: Archant


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Groups are asked to organise their environmental events now as all events have to be registered online until February 9, with information including dates and venues, in order to be included in the festival brochure.

Events should focus on any one of the 10 themes of One Planet Living - from health and happiness to zero waste, and a special schools week for SustFest20 will take place from June 1-5.

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Amanda Yorwerth, chair of the festival working group said: "Action to help make us more sustainable has never been more important, and our amazing group of committed volunteers are working hard to create SustFest20.

'We want even more local groups to run environmental events for this year's festival, from all parts of our diverse community. Last year St Albans district council announced a climate emergency following our petition which achieved over 1,500 signatures, so we know that local people care about what we are doing to the planet. The festival is a great opportunity to do something about it.

'So whether you're part of a faith group, school, scouts or guides, or work in a business in the district, we want you to organise an event to make our district a bit more sustainable.

'We'd particularly love to see creative groups get involved this time. This year is Herts Year of Culture and these groups have an essential role to play in communicating issues like the climate and the ecological crisis, and inspiring us to take action."

Festival plans include the Market Takeover event on Sunday May 24 with music, vegetarian food, stalls and events taking place on St Peter's Street in St Albans.

Craig Scudder, also from the SustFest20 working group, said: "We are asking local groups to help us create a special market day all about the environment.

"There will be live music all day, bike rides and electric car displays. Any local business, or community group doing something to support the environment is invited to take part by running a stall, or an event on the day. Last year we had over 5,000 people attending the Market Takeover with children and adults exploring and we are aiming even higher this year."

Amanda added: "We know that time is short, so we would really encourage businesses, community groups, schools, faith and other groups to get their thinking hats on and organise their events about environmental sustainability now. And if any local businesses would like to donate to support the festival, that would be a tremendous boost to get us started."

More information about the festival and details on holding an event is available on the festival website at www.sustfest.org

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