Porthcurno Awarded ‘Plastic Free Communities’ Status as it Takes Action on Single-Use Plastic
PK Porthcurno, Museum of Global Communications won two national awards at the Cultural Enterprises Awards 2022 held in Glasgow on March 3rd. Amongst high level competition PK were thrilled to take home the prestigious Green Award as well as the Outstanding Contribution Award.
The Green Award was attributed to the work done by PK’s environmental programme ‘Planet PK’ in achieving Plastic Free Community status for Porthcurno by environmental charity Surfers Against Sewage (SAS). Porthcurno is now leading the way nationally as part of a network of communities across the UK who are taking on the challenge to tackle throw away plastic at source.
‘Planet PK’ started the campaign in early 2021 to tackle an increasing wave of beach litter and marine plastics in Porthcurno, which is one of Cornwall’s most popular visitor destinations.
Registering with the SAS Plastic Free Communities movement, PK Porthcurno pulled together key organisations and businesses in the village to put in place a five-point plan. The objectives include; setting up a community led steering group, instigating the SAS Plastic Free Schools education programme, getting local council commitment and working with local businesses, organisations and community groups to spread the word and minimise the amount of disposable plastics they use.
Porthcurno’s Plastic Free Steering Group was made up of representatives from PK Porthcurno, Minack Theatre, Porthcurno Beach Café, Atlantic Adventures, St Levan Parish Council, Cornwall AONB, National Trust and Porthcurno Residents Association. PK Porthcurno, Minack Theatre and Porthcurno Beach Café have also all removed single-use plastics from their operations to become official ‘Plastic Free Business Champions’ approved by SAS.
Over the last year PK Porthcurno’s Planet PK team have organised several community beach cleans including taking part in SAS’s national Million Mile Clean campaign as well as collaborative events with Cornwall AONB and National Trust.
Chris Betty, Head of Communications & Development at PK Porthcurno says,
“We are very pleased to have won the Cultural Enterprises Green Award. As part of our plastic-free campaign beach cleans have created a great opportunity for people to play their part in the plastic-free journey whilst role modelling best practice but what is needed, particularly in locations such as Porthcurno is a vastly increased environmental awareness overall, and behavioural change amongst visitors so that items that are hazardous for both people and nature are not left behind – this will be an ongoing journey for the Porthcurno, with continued support for the SAS team.”
Rachel Yates, SAS Plastic Free Communities Project Manager, says:
“It’s great to see the work that Porthcurno has done to reduce the availability of avoidable plastics, raise awareness and encourage people to refill and reuse.
“We have over six hundred communities across the UK working to reduce single use plastic and the impact it has on our environment. Every step those communities and the individuals in them take is a step towards tackling the problem at source, challenging our throwaway culture and encouraging the habit and system changes we need to see.”
As part of the Green Award, PK Porthcurno were also commended for their Lights Out for Darker Skies exhibition curated by their Planet PK team. Celebrating the beauty of the night sky and highlighting the environmental impacts of artificial light pollution the exhibition was part of West Penwith’s recently successful bid to become an International Dark Sky Park.
Outstanding Contribution Award
PK Porthcurno’s Gardener and Groundsman Patrick Trembath also won the Outstanding Contribution Award for his dedication to keeping the museum’s sub-tropical gardens not only looking beautiful for the community and visitors but also making them as wildlife friendly as possible and helping to increase local biodiversity.
When the Covid-19 pandemic first hit and the UK was in lockdown, Paddy was the only member of the PK team who continued to work full time on his own to tirelessly maintain the PK Porthcurno grounds and gardens. During lockdown, having them look so beautiful was hugely important for local morale and wellbeing and it meant a lot to residents who used the gardens for their daily exercise. The museum remained closed to the public until September, but Paddy continued full-time all summer long with higher visitor numbers than usual, dealing with littering and illegal camping with a cheerful and pragmatic attitude.
Paddy is also an experienced beekeeper and has transformed a patch of unused land behind the museum to relocate five beehives which has increased biodiversity on site and also enabled PK to produce honey for its own shop. Paddy has also trained other staff and volunteers in beekeeping, and he now has a small team who help maintain and care for the bees. Paddy’s generosity of spirit and willingness to share his knowledge is hugely appreciated by the team at PK Porthcurno as well as by the wider community.
Julia Twomlow, Creative Director & CEO at PK Porthcurno says,
“It would be difficult to overstate just how important Paddy is to us at PK. He is incredibly hard working, everyone’s friend, and always ready to help, whether you are a staff member, resident, or visitor. Largely self-taught, his gardening skills are exemplary, and he is entirely responsible for the distinctive planting and aesthetic in the museum grounds. Despite his pride in the formal garden, he always has an eye for the insects, birds and animals too, which – as he says – have been here longer than he has and will still be here after he’s gone! We are so pleased for him to have been recognised with this Outstanding Contribution Award.”
- PK Green Award presentation from left Green Award Judge Liz Cooper (Gainsborough House), PK Porthcurno’s Steve Bladon and Jim Summers, Awards Host Michael Wright (Glasgow Life)
- Planet PK and National Trust Plastic Free Community Beach Clean. Photo by Maeve Cushla
- Dark Skies over Porthcurno. Photo by Maeve Cushla
- Patrick Trembath with his Outstanding Contribution Award in PK Porthcurno Gardens. Photo by Josh Deacon
Plastic Free Communities is an ambitious community initiative designed to unite and empower individuals, small businesses, local government and community groups to reduce their collective plastic footprint and protect the environment together. Driven by inspirational local volunteers, we are building a new and exciting community movement tackling single-use plastics and plastic litter in our villages, towns, cities and rural locations. This highly inclusive initiative, created for all ages and backgrounds, is designed to get the whole community active and do something positive to reduce the amount of plastic in the local environment. We believe that united communities lead to cleaner beaches, streets, parks and riverbanks.