On the weekend of the 4th and 5th March (this weekend) in County Hall North (Parkside), Horsham, you’ll find the Kinder Living Home Show.
What happens at the Kinder Living Show
The Kinder Living Home Show was set up by Horsham interior designer Jeanette Mercer in 2014 with the aim of supporting the local businesses that are trying to make a difference and providing local people with information and inspiration. 2023 sees the seventh annual show which now gathers together a range of businesses, artist / makers, charities and community groups. They may each have a different focus, but they all share a passion – to encourage people to make more sustainable choices in their homes, gardens and daily lives.
At this year’s show, there will also be information on home renovation and repair, saving and generating energy, saving water, plastic and preventing waste, sustainable gardening and food, IT repairs, sustainable interior design and up-cycling, electric vehicles, kinder wellbeing and more.
How it all started
Jeanette Mercer has a background in training but after re-qualifying, she started her own interior design practice in 2009. This led her to take part in some big events such as Grand Designs Live and the Ideal Home Show. But she also started to become very aware of how much waste was generated in the industry. This coincided with an increasing awareness of how, on a personal level, the environment was affecting her own personal health.
Then in 2014, Jeanette was up-cycling furniture when her husband joked about where she was going to store it all or whether she’d sell it … and the seed of an idea was born. Within months the first Kinder Living Home Show took place.
Just three steps
I care about sustainability. But I’m also really aware that despite my best intentions, life can get in the way and good habits can fall by the wayside. So when I caught up with Jeanette, I wanted ideas and I wanted help. But I also always need things to be kept simple. Like most of us, brain bandwidth and time seem to be currently in short supply. With this in mind, I asked her to share three simple steps to a more sustainable way of life, and this is what she recommended:
- Do whatever you can to reduce your food waste. Food waste is one of the biggest problems when it comes to building a more sustainable future. To quote The World Food Programme “In blunt terms, food waste in developed countries contributes directly to climate emergencies that leave millions of people facing hunger. That’s why halving food waste by 2030 is a target under the Sustainable Development Goals.”. Little steps are often effective in reducing food waste. Only buy what you know you’ll use. Bulk cook and then freeze the extra. Plan ahead when it comes to shopping and cooking. Don’t throw away your leftovers – turn them into another meal. Insist on a doggie bag at restaurants for anything you could take home and eat later.
- Learn to repair, make or grow. This piece of advice rang particularly true with me as my parents are of the generation that would never dream of throwing away what they could darn, make do with or mend.
- Think twice and buy once. Next-day delivery, Amazon, cheap imports, and an “instant gratification culture” (my words not Jeanette’s) make it all too easy to buy stuff we don’t really need. Or might only wear once. It’s time to get back into the habit of saving up, waiting for something or just reflecting on whether we really need or want something. Because often, if you don’t hit buy instantly, you find you can live without.
The Kinder Living Home Show is now a community interest company run by a team of directors. Having survived Covid, and in the face of the ongoing cost of living and environmental crises, it’s perhaps the most important event you may go to this year. Entry is free of charge, and it’s a fun, family-friendly event. And there’s cake. It wouldn’t be Kinder Living without cake! Visit: Kinder Living for more information.
Kinder Living has always strived to have a “positive message” – they deal with serious subjects but focus on what individuals can do. It’s about encouragement, not judgement. Sustainability is a journey and we’re all at different points on that journey.