ERASMUS+ Youth Leader Mobility Scheme by Deborah Benham


Newbold believes in a life sustaining society where we can thrive personally, co-exist in harmony, feel interconnected with the living system of the planet and therefore protect and conserve this for future generations. We believe in empowerment and positive leadership. Newbold believes that to build a more positive society we must empower leaders to face the challenges of today.

Reports from a wide range of Youth charities show that young people face unprecedented challenges in the modern world. Finding meaningful employment is increasingly difficult, and with record levels of unemployment and decreasing job security, many feel a sense of anxiety about the future. Collectively, young people will be the most affected by alarming global trends like climate change, environmental degradation, and social tensions based on culture, religion, or class. At the same time, it is our young people who have the most potential and often the most drive to contribute to a sustainable future.

We aim to harness and empower that potential through recently awarded ERASMUS+ funding. Newbold have been awarded 50,000 Euros by the ERASMUS+ Youth Leader Mobility scheme to run two fantastic 8 day trainings for Youth Leaders in August and September.

In the training participants will learn how to empower young people to identify and use their unique strengths and qualities, in service to themselves and their communities. This will enable them to develop more rewarding careers and take an active and positive role in their local communities.

deb_poppyBy Deborah Benhan

A PhD Marine biologist and animal behavior expert, Deborah is an environmental educator and sustainability designer working to support the emergence of regenerative culture and the recovery of healthy ecosystems through innovative design, stakeholder engagement, multidisciplinary education and deep nature connection.


Holistic Homecare by Michael Dresser

As Imbolc is now behind us and we begin to head towards spring (although this can sometimes take a little longer to make itself felt this far north!), our thoughts in the Homecare team at Newbold start to turn towards spring cleaning!


We always try to be as ecologically friendly as possible with our cleaning products. And believe it or not we use vinegar in a surprising number of ways to keep the beauty of Newbold House shining through!

Cleaning with vinegar

So we thought we’d share with you a few of our top vinegar tips for keeping your own place clean – you’re best using distilled white vinegar for these techniques, otherwise your place might end up smelling a little like a salad dressing!

Cleaning Glass and Mirrors

Window cleaning

At Newbold we have a lot of period cut glass panelling and vintage mirrors, not to mention our 8 bathrooms! So our cleaning buckets always contain a spray bottle filled with a solution of 20% vinegar and 80% water. Spray this on the glass or mirror then rub or wipe it off with a loosely crumpled sheet of newspaper – yes it may sound counter-intuitive, but it actually works, and doesn’t leave those annoying streaks the way cloths and cleaning fluid do!

Cut Glass window

Cleaning Carpets

A combination of lots of delicious home-grown food and big, hungry, workshop groups means our dining room carpet can often end up with spots of spilled or dropped food which have been accidentally trodden in, leaving a dark mark. To lift these off easily and quickly we use a few tablespoons of vinegar mixed in a bowl with warm water. Dip a clean toothbrush in the solution then brush onto the spot. Brush lightly for a minute or so in all directions (take care not to fray the pile of the carpet with too much pressure). Blot with a dry cloth, and, if necessary for more stubborn stains, repeat the process – although you’ll be surprised how quickly what seemed welded on lifts off!

Cleaning Showers

As with glass, a vinegar and water solution is also great for cleaning showers. Ours get a lot of continuous use so it’s also important for us to ensure the shower heads are kept clean to avoid build-up of scale and bacteria. Many people use bleach to soak their shower heads but who wants to get under a shower that may still have traces of bleach inside – it’s not good for the skin and it’s not good for the environment! Instead we remove the shower head and soak it in 1 litre of very hot water with 4 fl oz distilled vinegar for a few hours. If you have a non-removable showerhead, fill a small plastic bag half full with vinegar and tape it over the fixture. Rinse out and scrub the nozzles afterwards with a toothbrush to remove any loosened particles.

Shower cleaning

There are loads more ways in which vinegar can replace many of the harmful chemicals in your home cleaning. For more vinegar tips check out:

Michael DresserMichael Dresser
With a background in music, theatre, graphic design, and office and project management, Michael brings creativity to the Homecare team, and order to the Communications team!

Toward a Permanent Culture

I’ve arrived as a new volunteer at Newbold after attending the Ecovillage Design Education (EDE) Course at Findhorn this past autumn. Since 2013, I’ve been volunteering at a number of similar projects — retreat centres, educational institutes, and spiritual communities — each with its own strengths and challenges, each aiming to achieve sustainability, each taking active steps to improve their infrastructures, foodways, social networks, and habits. I’m delighted with how Newbold compares to the others, and how folks here are engaged with the challenges of making Newbold more sustainable.

The EDE Course divided sustainability into four aspects: spiritual,economic, ecological, and social. Something Newbold does particularly well is the social aspects. I like how we Newbolders incorporate spirituality throughout our daily life, from the morning meditations & Taize singing, to casual conversations at tea break or mealtimes. No one insists that we all follow one particular path, yet I get the sense that we all hold some things sacred, which makes me feel welcomed among warmhearted folk.

An exciting area with which I’m involved is the development of in-house educational programmes at Newbold. One of Newbold’s strengths is on the social side, for instance, a new monthly-meeting Permaculture Design Course (PDC) will be offered at Newbold soon ( permaculture).  Permaculture espouses a more ‘permanent’ ‘culture’  including pattern thinking, sustainable design, re-imagining human settlements and resource management and also include personal and social permaculture aspects, which is why it seems like such a natural fit here at Newbold. Many of the places I visited were using permaculture, especially the ones concerned about local food.


Permaculture applies the same principles used in ecological systems to social systems (, encapsulated in the phrase: “planet-care, fair-share, and people-care.” If we are to become a truly sustainable culture we’ll need to communicate, make decisions, negotiate conflicts, and gather for celebrations and ceremonies. People-care is what Newbold does particularly well. The culture here includes a balance of work time, informal group time, and personal time; meetings happen regularly both for personal sharing and to take care of business. There’s an emphasis on non- violent, or “compassionate communication,” ( so that when difficult conversations need to happen relationships can stay intact, or even be strengthened. Sociocracy structures ( help discussion of changes in policy, and ensure that most of us are well-informed when decisions are taken. I’ve been introduced to the 8-Shields work of Jon Young (, with specific practices to create a more regenerative culture. We who work and reside here feel valued, nurtured and supported so that we can ably convey our sense of well-being to guests and visitors. It’s striking to me, and I haven’t found anything like it in all my travels. At Newbold, I have I found a culture which cares about people *and* the planet. So I’m hopeful, and encouraged, and plan to stay a while to learn what I can, and teach what I’ve learned.



Root Cuthbertson is an environmental educator, local food gastronomist, honey collector, dance teacher, story-teller, singer-songwriter, blog-writer (that’s a new one!), and is working on a sci-fi action adventure novel.

Newbold Garden – Thinking Back/Looking Forward

The calendar year is drawing to a close and this morning Kristy and I are doing a spot of tidying around the front lawns. The last forgotten leaves of autumn are matted, thick and damp on the butterfly lawn and we’re raking them up to let the grass breathe and stretch out. It’s good meditative work and perfect at this time of reflection and planning. Occasionally I pause, lean on my rake and muse over the lessons from the year gone by and weave my dreams for the one to come. Colours, shapes and green sculptures form in my mind’s eye. Something as simple as removing leaves from one place and allowing them to rest in others carves out space and gives definition, painting with leaf, grass and rake.

SAM_0547It’s amazingly mild and seems to have been for some time. It’s easy to think that spring is here already…… but January and February are still ahead so beware impatient gardeners ;-). The low winter sun casts a warm, golden light on the vibrant, rusty, brown bark of the Scot’s Pines surrounding us. I’m sure the mere sight of the light, from my place in the shadows of the lawn raises my temperature a couple of degrees. I shed a sweater and woollen hat before continuing with my meditation.


Lunchtime finds me atop the wall of the vegetable garden, I don’t know how, it just seems so long since I looked at the garden from this place. Even in the depth of winter the land gives nourishing food, only less variety is there. Row upon row of leeks, and beyond out of sight but still there, the same in parsnip and further to the left swede, sprouts, cabbage and kale. As I gaze over the land I remember the many people that helped create this beautiful space, especially in 2015. Ben and his calendula strawberry combination, Kristy and Steve sowing swede and beans, Coco and Charlotte planting garlic and the host of Monday volunteers that helped among many other things to shape and plant the chicken run. The list goes on, too many to mention but rest assured I carry you all in my heart and it nourishes me every day as I walk in this beautiful garden.


My dreaming continues. I see 2016 as a year to welcome even more people to this wonderful venue, both to contribute in its evolution and simply to take respite and enjoy the surroundings. The air rings with flute, violin and laughter as I anticipate fun filled Spring Saturdays and lazy, balmy summer evenings. A seat to enjoy morning tea with the chickens and outside, on the edge of the woods, another to enjoy the orchestra of bees surrounded by tall comfrey.

Lunchtime is over and the dreams are paused as the present moment demands more active pursuits in some of the cluttered sheds. More cleaning and sweeping ahead of the new season. I wish you all a prosperous 2016 and hope to meet at least some of you in the year to come.

Warm wishes from Martin and the Garden Team ☺ .

Community at Christmas

Candlelit Carols, mulled wine and more,

Good fortune and joy, this year had in store,

Storytelling, sharing, solstice and song,

Quiet time, reflection in this place we belong,


Welcomed by winter: the festivities bring laughter,

I gaze at the beauty of creatives and crafters,


Woodland walks, a time for reflection,

Sharing this winter, a loving connection,


For all that we share: food, wine and song,

Gratitude, appreciation, for this place we belong,


Let us be thankful for all that we share,

and pray for those less fortunate with true love and care,

Volunteers e-card

Wishing family, community and friends the most wonderful Xmas

From all at Newbold Trust Community xxx

How community can save our planet


At the Newbold Trust ‘We envision a world where people live in a life sustaining culture which supports the interconnected wellbeing of individuals, community and the Earth‘

Therefore our interest in the protection of our planet from the devastation caused by climate change is vital. COP21 saw Political Leaders, Climate scientists and Energy ministers negotiate on carbon accountability, carbon footprint reduction and importantly national targets to reduce carbon emissions and form a global treaty on climate change (now know as the Paris Agreement). 196 countries have committed to freeing up funding for action on climate change, starting a transition away from fossil fuels and prevent temperatures rising above 1.5oC (compared to pre-industrial levels)

It is vital that we remember our work is not done (nor has it just began). We alongside many others have been working towards a greener and most sustainable future for decades but now the political leaders are on board so the opportunity for a revolution comes now. The opportunity to work with one another and build a greener and more sustainable future is here.

Communities are at the forefront of change.                                                                         Environmentalists and activists will now take center stage as governments and communities align to start to build a low carbon future. The agreement is simply a framework for change but the agreement does not guarantee staying within 2oC of change (or more importantly 1.5oC). It is therefor imperative that we pave the way for a greener and sustainable future and hold government accountable to their pledges. Its important that we set an example by living low carbon lives and together we can create an example of how living in harmony with the planet is better for our economy and our community.

How we can collaborate and work together to create real change                                  The headlines speak of political victory but its people power that is impactful when it comes accountability for lowering emissions. There are many incredible organisations that work locally, regionally, nationally and internationally that bring together communities to offer low carbon solutions paving the way for a more environmentally friendly planet whilst empowering the communities that support them. Here is how you can get involved:

There are organisations who hold governments accountable for actions and are the collective voice of our communities and there are individuals who write, act, sing and create in raising awareness of the problems, solutions and opportunities in our transition to a greener and more sustainable planet.

To find out about how we implement sustainable values at Newbold Click here –

To find out how you can help with our community and have hands on experience with sustainable living check out our volunteer and community guest programmes – Click Here


Top 10 tips for a more Sustainable Xmas

During the season of celebration we need to show extra care for the environment. Christmas doesn’t have to be a burden on the planet. A little effort and imagination we can reduce the environmental impact of the holiday season. Forget about the shops, the adverts and the corporate claims on Christmas – let’s do it in a personal way! Here are some tips we use during our Christmas retreats at Newbold Trust to make xmas more sustainable. (for more information about our christmas retreats click here – )

1.Buy Less, Buy Smarter                                                                                                                   Tiny things can make big changes. When you buy something you should ask you a couple of simple question which comes from permaculture ethic: Does it take care of peoples needs? Does it take care with the planet? Is this fair? To find out more These simple questions will help you to buy smarter and fairer for people and the planet.

2. Connect with Nature
P1020206Connecting with nature means more than simply getting a little fresh air. Rather, it entails reconsidering our individuality, and recalibrating our wider human and ecological relationships. A fuller connection with nature is an essential part of a good life, allowing us to temper envy and see ourselves from a proper perspective.

Newbold Trust is running for Xmas two different programmes to help you to connect with nature

3. Reuse/Recycle
The Uk uses more than 220,000 miles of wrapping paper during xmas! (see ) This is why it is so important to talk about ways to reduce waste when decorating presents. Here are some tips to help reduce waste, recycle and reuse over the christmas period.

One solution is to be creative when wrapping presents; use magazine clippings from around your house, photographs from old albums, old newspapers, last years calendar can all make very creative and attractive decoration for gifts.

4. Choose a live tree                                                                                                                            Although plastic Christmas trees are reusable from year to year, real trees are the more sustainable choice. Plastic trees are made of petroleum products (PVC), and use up resources in both the manufacture and shipping. While artificial trees theoretically last forever, research shows that they are typically discarded when repeated use makes them less attractive. Discarded artificial trees are then sent to landfills, where their plastic content makes them last forever.

A six foot tall artificial tree produces 40kg of emissions if thrown on a landfill, compared to a real tree which only creates 3.5kg of emissions if it’s chipped or incinerated.

P1020080Live trees, on the other hand, are a renewable resource grown on tree farms, that are replanted regularly. They contribute to air quality while growing, and almost ninety percent are recycled into mulch. Live trees are usually locally grown and sold, sving both transportation costs and added air pollution.


5. Christmas cards                                                                                                                                 Buy recycled paper (not plastic) cards without lots of decorations, otherwise these cannot be recycled. Around 744 million cards are sent each Christmas and if all these were made from recycled paper, it would save the equivalent of 248,000 trees.

Alternatively send an e-card; there are lots of websites which allow you to do this for free. And remember you can reuse cards as gift tags next year!

6. Lower the impact of holiday lighting
IMG_0883Reduce the size of outdoor lighting displays. A smaller presentation of lights can still be attractive, and more appropriate in the ‘season of giving’. Saving electricity is also a way of giving, since conserving resources benefits everyone.
Use LED lights for house and Christmas tree lighting
LED (Light Emitting Diode) holiday lights use up to 95% less energy than larger, traditional holiday bulbs and last up to 100,000 hours when used indoors. LED holiday lights use .04 watts per bulb, 10 times less than mini bulbs and 100 times less than traditional holiday bulbs. As an added bonus, if one of the LED lights burns out the rest of the strand will stay lit.

7. Eat Organic                                                                                                                                           Food is a key part of peoples Christmas period so it is important to consider choices that are not harmful to the planet. Around 30% of our individual carbon footprint is made up of our food choices, so what we eat this Christmas is the single most important way we can reduce our environmental impact.
Choosing local organic produce can help support local farmers and provide food that is nutritious and free from harmful pesticides. Buying organic food also helps support improved biodiversity (See

Organic farms help keep carbon in the soil and therefor reducing the carbon footprint. ‘On average 22% more birds, 75% more plant species, 50% more pollinators such as bees’ (Journal of Applied Ecology Vol 51 2014)

8. Eat Less Meat and Fish.                                                                                                                  20kg is roughly the carbon footprint of a single Christmas dinner. This means that the country as a whole will produce around 51,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions from food alone. Its therefor really important to consider how we can reduce our carbon footprint with our eating habits over the festive period.
Eating less meat and fish over the xmas period can dramatically reduce your carbon footprint with The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization estimating the meat industry generates nearly one-fifth of the man-made greenhouse gas emissions.

9. Buy Local                                                                                                                                        Support local crafts, food producers and businesses by buying gifts from local owners. Local business can help you find the perfect decorations, gifts and food for Christmas dinner. Supporting local business builds community and resilience.

10. Make your own gifts, cards and decorations                                                              Making your own food and decorations brings people together and brings a personal tough to the Christmas period. Craft gifts can be some of the most precious and cherished gifts of all at xmas.


Find out how to integrate crafts into your xmas:

For more information about how we implement these Xmas tips into our lives why not experience it by join us this Christmas.