'We only spend around £1 a week on water bills' - Suffolk church goes for gold in eco-friendly boost

All Saints’ Church

Revd Diane Ekins also worked as a headteacher at Ranelagh Primary School in Ipswich before becoming a member of the clergy - Credit: All Saints’ Church

A Suffolk church has been transformed into an eco-friendly haven after its curate was inspired to help the environment during her global travels.

Rev Diane Ekins is overseeing an eco-revolution at All Saints’ Church in Mendham, where she is now local minister after being ordained last year.

The church has a vision to achieve Gold Eco Church status from the “A Rocha” charity scheme, after achieving bronze before the initial coronavirus lockdown.

All Saints’ Church

All Saints’ Church in Mendham - Credit: All Saints’ Church

A Rocha is a charity that recognises churches which have gone above and beyond to help the environment, with caring for the planet, a fundamental part of Christian faith.

Diane was first inspired to live an eco-friendly lifestyle after working in Kenya in the 1990s with her husband Granville, where they had to live without the benefits of constant running water and a stable electricity supply.

Diane said: “When we came back to England, we felt there was just no way we could return to living life the way we did before.

“We wanted to live life like the stars of The Good Life – we aimed to become as self-sufficient as we could, we grew our own food, recycled our own water.

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“Nowadays we only spend around £1 a week on water bills.”

An exhibition was hosted at the church prior to it being awarded bronze status, as part of Diane’s ministerial training.

It taught local people the benefits of recycling and shopping from local or Fairtrade farmers.

The churchyard has since become a haven for residents and visitors alike to walk in and watch the birds, with plans in place to install new swift boxes.

Local primary school children also helped create a bug and hedgehog hotel on the church grounds, as well as putting up bird feeders.

The church has also switched to eco-friendly electricity tariffs.

But Diane and the local parish now have a plan in place to make the churchyard even more eco-friendly – and go for gold status.

Diane said: “This has become part of our life, how we live and what we are passionate about.

“We were so pleased to find out other members of the parish shared our love for the environment.

“I thank God that we were able to achieve bronze status just before the pandemic hit.

“We are now heading towards silver and planning what else we need to do. I am confident we can do it and go on for gold.”

Fore more information visit www.cofesuffolk.org.

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