Pre-heating the world?

I had this idea the other day when I was baking (random I know but stay with me!). Most recipes start with ‘pre-heat your oven to such and such a temperature’ don’t they while you then spend ten or twenty minutes preparing the food to go in the oven….

preheatovenI read something a couple of years ago in an environmental tips book or article that said DON’T pre-heat your oven… it’s really not necessary for most recipes. It will also a) save you money on the electric/gas b) save the planet by using less fuel.

So back to my recipe – I’m making scones with my thirteen year old daughter and we get to chatting about this. What if there was a campaign to educate people to stop pre-heating their ovens, this could surely save a hell of a lot of fuel and money on bills in the long-term. And there could be other environmental hints and tips too as part of this. Anyway it’s just an idea at this stage and would need investigating. It would be good to hear from some chef’s about the pre-heating idea. says it’s a myth, an old wives tale to pre-heat your oven. The Energy Community takes my idea further saying switch off your oven 5 minutes before the recipe says too thus saving even more of that precious energy – genius!

So there are clearly websites out there with some great tips and advice us greenies love to read BUT how do we get these messages through to everyone? What do you think – I’d love to hear your comments, please add them to the blog.

Climate Change – how do we make a difference?

It is now 5 years since I ‘woke up’ to what was happening to our beautiful planet.

earthReports on the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen were all over the media in 2009 and this caught my attention. I felt the need to do something about climate change and decided entering politics was the way I could try and make a difference. I joined the Green Party and stood as Parliamentary Candidate for East Devon in 2010.

Since then I’ve stood for town, district and county councils and I’ve been a town councillor for Honiton Town council since 2011. I was a founding member of East Devon Green Party in 2011 and helped set up Transition Town Honiton the same year.

The East Devon Green Party has grown tenfold over the past three years and now has four members working hard as parish councillors. The support for the Green Party in this rural traditionally Tory area was illustrated in the results for Honiton St Michael’s last year, when I polled 25% in the Devon County Council elections.

So……five years on I’m thinking, is being in politics the way to do something about climate change? I’d love to hear from you, please do leave a comment, I’d appreciate your thoughts.

Volunteers Needed in Honiton

8717873_origLooking for a voluntary job – can you spare 2 hours a month? We need you at Honiton Plough and Share Credit Union. I am the volunteer co-ordinator for the branch which is basically an ethical community bank. They do savings accounts and loans but unlike these notorious payday lenders, they offer affordable loans to people who perhaps cannot easily get credit at a low rate elsewhere. We could do with a couple more volunteers – just to do one Tuesday morning every 4-6 weeks. This is from 9.45am until just after 12. There is training and it’s a great way to meet people too. Please get in touch if you’d like to know more – contact me.

An Ethical Community Bank in Honiton

credit-union.gi_.top_The Honiton Service Point is part of the Devon wide Plough and Share Credit Union which is regulated by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.

Devon’s own Plough & Share Credit Union is celebrating having a service point in Honiton for a year now. Completely staffed by dedicated local volunteers, the service point is open once a week on a Tuesday from 10am – 12 midday in Honiton Library on New Street.

Town Councillor Sharon Pavey has recently taken over managing the service point and says “I am passionate about being able to provide an ethical community bank facility here in Honiton and have been involved as a volunteer since we started over a year ago. In order to make it a success we really need everyone to support it. We need more people to open savings accounts and we need to spread the word that we can offer an alternative to payday loans, because we offer affordable borrowing options.”

Sharon is hoping the local churches and schools can help promote the Credit Union which only serves the people of Devon. A small steering group will be set up to oversee the service point. Sharon adds “We need a few people who believe in the importance of having a local ethical, affordable banking option. They would need to give a little time to oversee the project, help recruit volunteers and publicise the service point.”

A Credit Union is a democratic, financial co-operative owned and controlled by its own members. Full details about the credit union are available online on or you can call Sharon on 07447 597390.

Supporting HALFF Charity

006For those of you who have heard of the Axminster based HALFF charity, I don’t need to tell you what amazing work they do – they really need your help to get an award worth £5000 they’ve applied for. All you have to do is go to register then vote for HALFF. I did it last week – it took less than 5 minutes. The voting deadline is 31st May 2014.

For those of you who have not heard of them, where have you been!!! They are currently running FREE courses in Honiton (Learn to cook on a budget & Cooking & eating when pregnant)

HALFF are one of 250 applicants for a community award through Engage Mutual.  There are 10 awards up for grabs, and HALFF have applied for £5,000.   The grant will benefit children who for come from troubled families, so don’t have parents to cook for them, and vulnerable elderly people who are too frail to cook for themselves.

HALFF say “As a small charity, it is really hard for us to drum up the support we need so please do vote for us.  We believe that everyone should have the knowledge to cook and access good, healthy food, not just those who can afford expensive cooking courses. ”

For more info on what HALFF do see their website

Thanks for reading & don’t forget to vote – before tomorrow !!!

Petition is handed in

Handing St Michaels Petition in
I handed in the petition today asking Devon County Council to maintain funding for the St. Michael’s Day Centre in Honiton and to resist pressure to cut services for the elderly and vulnerable people in our town. Pictured above with Leader of the council Cllr John Hart, who thanked me for the petition and told me that it will go forward as part of the consultation process.
Thank you to everyone who signed the petition and helped collect names, we managed to get a total of 1,362 signatures. The next stage is a County Council meeting next Wednesday 14th May – which you can watch live on web cam or afterwards if you cannot make it. I was told today that no decisions are being made at this stage, just discussions on the consultation process. I did explain today that I am aware of several families who feel completely in the dark and would like to know more about what is happening. I was told that we would receive a formal response to the petition detailing what is happening.
Thank you to Kate Jones for taking this photo at County Hall, Exeter

Save St Michael’s Day Centre

stall to launch st michaels petition
From left - Green Party members Emily McIvor, Olly Davies, Sharon Pavey, Ana Pulteney & Martin Paine

The East Devon Green Party launched a petition to save St Michael’s Day Centre in Honiton on Saturday 8th March. Members of the local party were astounded at the response as people flooded to the stall to sign once word got round the High Street that a petition had started to stop the much loved local centre from closing.

Petition organiser and local town councillor Sharon Pavey said “We knew St Michael’s was close to everyone’s hearts but we did not expect this immediate level of support, it’s incredible. It just shows that there is such wonderful community spirit in Honiton and we look after our own.”

Over 300 people signed the petition on Saturday morning with many commenting how disgusted and let down they are by Devon County Council. The day centre provides a much needed service for older residents in Honiton and is a lifeline for their carers who only have a few hours a week to themselves when their loved ones are using the centre.

Several local town councillors have said they’re appalled at the plans to close the centre as have the local doctors surgery and Headway, a support group for people with brain injuries who use the centre.

Sharon Pavey added “I think we all know that cutting services like these is extremely short-sighted and will have a direct impact on the health of elderly people. This leads to increased spending on medical care in the long-run. We hear that levels of dementia are rising and we have a large elderly population, particularly here in East Devon, so where is the common sense in this decision.”

Petitions are available to sign at Honiton Surgery, the TRIP office on New Street, Honiton Sports Shop and Wendy’s Cookshop. There is also an online petition for anyone living in Devon to sign (if they’ve not already signed the paper version)

We have been hearing of people having problems accessing the petition via certain web browsers like Firefox. This has been reported to Devon County Council. If you are able to use Chrome or access the petition on a mobile phone, please do that or email me direct & I can post you a paper petition. Contact me.

PLEASE NOTE ONLY DEVON RESIDENTS’ SIGNATURES WILL BE COUNTED ON THIS PETITION (but thank you to everyone else all over the world who has offered support).

NEWSFLASH – As of Monday 17th March we have over 600 signatures on & offline combined but we need many many more – can you help take a petition round your street, your village, your workplace or put the link on Facebook – or help out at a street stall? Get in touch.

Sharon Outside St Michaels

No Glory in War

redwhitepoppies“Come each November over the next four years, let the red poppy and the white poppy be worn together to honour those who died, to keep our faith with them, to make of this world a place where freedom and peace can reign together.”

This is from a very moving article by Michael Morpugo who was one of the first signatories of the No Glory Open Letter. He gave a reading at the initial launch of the No Glory campaign in May 2013. Add your name to the No Glory Open Letter here…

Results of the Fire Walk

Thank you to everyone who sponsored me for the Fire Walk in the autumn for WESC. Maggie – the fundraiser who organised it has emailed me to say:


“It was indeed an epic Fire Walk this year, caused by the weather, but our brave Fire Walking team all overcame the elements, and we now know that nearly £2000 has been raised to support the children and young people here at WESC Foundation.

Everyone overcame their fears and did something incredible, and in so doing have raised this impressive total. This money will allow 2 of the young people who attend WESC all year round, to have a week long break at The Calvert Trust on Exmoor, where they can experience exciting and challenging outdoor activities. The activities include abseiling, sailing, challenge courses, zip wires, climbing, riding and much, much more. At The Calvert Trust, they will learn that it is what they can do that counts, and their confidence will literally soar.

They too, can then feel that same amazing sense of achievement when they overcome a challenge, that you all experienced at the Fire Walk.

Thank you all so much for joining in, doing it and making a difference,


Isn’t this wonderful ! Thanks everyone.

Will Devon County Councillors protect badgers?


The badger debate comes to Devon….as Devon County Council have to decide whether to allow culling on their land. There was a cabinet meeting yesterday which Ottery St Mary Councillor Claire Wright has reported back on in her blog

Labour Councillor Jill Owen (St David’s & St James – Exeter) proposed a motion to prevent badger culling on Devon County Council land arguing that the badger cull was ineffective and lacking in evidence, as well as inhumane. She proposed looking into alternatives such as vaccination instead. The cabinet was presented with a 6,000 name petition from 38 Degrees and various councillors spoke in favour of the motion.

Claire says “Devon County Council conservative leader John Hart has deferred the debate until the full council meets on Thursday 20 February. There were some brief speeches of support from opposing groups. Cllr Owen spoke, as well as Cllr Andy Hannon (Labour – Priory St Leonards Exeter) and Robert Vint (Green Party – Totnes) and I also said a few words in favour of the motion. You can pick up the webcast of the cabinet meeting this morning here. It should be available shortly –