We launched our campaign on 26th January 2019 at the Enterprise Centre. This event took place at this venue because this was the first place in Eastbourne to instal a public Refill Station ~ a place where anybody could top up their water bottle with free fresh drinking water. We were very thankful to the Enterprise Centre for hosting this event.
Since then, our network of free drinking water stations has grown to cover about 70 different locations across our town. This network includes 14 refill station fountains. 6 of these are shaped like “Dolphins”. They are made from the recycled discarded fishing nets from Cornwall. They are made by Our Only World ~ a charity based in Cornwall.
We have a string of points where you can top up your bottle all the way along our coastline. This has been nicknamed “Spring Water Way”. It stretches from Sovereign Harbour Retail Park ~ Defiant Sports, all the way to Birling Gap National Trust Visitors' Centre. Other sites include Harbour Reach, the Band Stand and Holywell.
To help find your nearest Refill Station to where you are, there is a free App called simply “Refill” which you can use for this purpose. Here are the links to download the app.
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Now, please go out ~with your water bottle~ and see how your App works!
Our “Refill Eastbourne” campaign runs alongside “Plastic Free Eastbourne's” campaign. In this way, the same participants are involved in both aspects of our efforts to bring about improvements in our town. These improvements include not only infrastructure aspects but also behaviour aspects. For example, having a network of Refill Stations supports our efforts to reduce people's dependence on a plastic bottle of drinking water, which we are trying to eliminate from Eastbourne. Refill Eastbourne now features in our Eastbourne Spring Water Festival ~ Celebrating Water.
This year's runs from 12th May to 21st May ~ a 10-day Festival. It is all to do with our water: the Sea. Fresh water and the challenges of managing water. This year's strapline is “Take Action for our Precious Water”. This is our 3rd annual Festival and it becomes bigger and (hopefully!) better each time. We began with 20 events in 2021, this grew to 30 events last year and we are already over 30 events so far for this year.
During this Festival, please join in with groups or go as a family or individually to walk along our Spring Water Way. Use your Refill App and become acquainted with our fabulous network of places to top up your drinking bottles. Post photos of your topping up at these places and share them as widely as you like on Social Media to spread our campaign. You will find that we are not alone in these endeavours. My ambition is to extend our Spring Water Way all around the coastline of our island!
On Friday 16th June, we are celebrating World Refill Day. We are holding an Opening Ceremony along our “Spring Water Way” of all of the refill stations we have installed for public use of free potable water.
Where we go next is to campaign for the whole town to adopt a preference for fresh water from a tap rather than from a single-use plastic bottle. We are concerned about some (growing!) parts of the world where the population is prohibited from drinking publicly accessible drinking water but is forced to buy this water from the bottling company which has taken over the source. Similarly, there are countries, not too far from our own, where we are told that the public water supply is not
suitable for drinking and so people are persuaded to buy bottled water. This is not right.