“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has.”

Margaret Mead

Our project groups

Opportunities big and small – we need you! Be part of the solution.

Our project working groups are made up of volunteers and are driven by their interests, skills and experience. Whether you have a little or a lot of time or experience, we need supporters on every level, from helping to spread the word and share the messages to leading on a project, or creating a new one, it all helps.

Get in touch if you would like to get involved, see projects for individual contact details. If you see a gap for a new project and think you can help, let us know.

Butterfly Survey Group

Butterflies are a good indicator of the health of the habitat and a great way for volunteers to be involved. As part of our support of the Town Councils Environment Action Plan goal of assessing and monitoring biodiversity of their sites, Sustainable Swanage set up a training and survey programme for butterfly monitoring. 12 volunteers attended a training session in May 2021 and now take part in regular surveys at 3 public green spaces including the Downs and Prospect Green.  Supported by Durlston Ranger team and Dorset Butterfly group, some of our volunteers now take part in surveys of other sites in the area. For more information on Dorset's butterflies see the website of the Dorset Branch of Butterfly Conservation.

Energy Group

Purbeck Energy Group is a subgroup of Sustainable Swanage and includes representatives from Sustainable Wareham and some of the Purbeck villages. It was set up in March 2020 with the aim of finding energy solutions that enable individuals, organisations and communities across Purbeck to reduce their carbon footprint.   The first project was investigating how to solar panels could be more affordable. In March 2021 they launched Solar Streets Swanage which enabled householders and businesses to install solar panels at a discount. The installer contributed £50 to a Community Fund for each installation. By the end of June 2022 there had been 90 enquires, 21 installations completed, and £1150 in the Community Fund. This was used to design a leaflet on how to save energy which was delivered to more than 11,000 houses in Purbeck. Click here for leaflet with weblinks In May 2022 Sustainable Wareham launched Solar Streets Wareham.

Greening Swanage

One of our first subgroups, Greening Swanage members take part in practical wildflower meadow creation, tree planting and tree maintenance for planting and greening schemes around the town. This is both in public spaces but also they support churches and schools in their schemes also. Volunteers also get involved in the planning and design of new planting sites and promoting the benefits of habitat creation and wildlife gardening through events, displays and trails. Always welcoming new members who can help in a variety of tasks from practical, landscape design, graphic design and running events.

Peveril Point and the Downs Local Nature Reserve

We worked with the Town Council in the process of designating the Downs as an Local Nature Reserve which became official at the launch in April 2023

Since the official launch, the site now has its own Friends of the Downs group which is hosted by the Town Council. The group get involved in ecological surveys, guided walks and events and some practical tasks. This year the group hosted their first event, the Big Summer Search, which was a day of wildlife surveying in a Bioblitz and helped add dozens of new species to the site list. If you would like to get involved in the Friends Group please get in touch.

Plastic Free Swanage

In July 2019 Swanage became the 4th Dorset Town to achieve ‘Plastic Free Community’ Status from the campaign run by the charity Surfers Against Sewage in recognition of the efforts being made to reduce single-use plastic in the town, read press release HERE for more info. One of the requirements for this award was to set up a steering group which was the basis for Sustainable Swanage and a key part in the group’s establishment. Coming together for a collective goal like this has kickstarted many other projects and initiatives.
More information (opens in new window)

Purbeck Repair Cafe

We are pleased to say that with a group of committed volunteers plus support of the Swanage and Purbeck Development Trust we are close to launching a new project for Purbeck that will be known as ‘Repair Café Purbeck’! Sustainable Swanage has been supporting this group and we met some wonderful people at our last event in November who have repair skills and have added them to our growing list. However, unfortunately our lead organiser has had to step down due to changing work commitments and our events are currently on hold. We are seeking individuals who might be able to help lead the project and events going forward, please get in touch with the group if you think you might be able to help. Please check out and like/follow our new dedicated Facebook page, you will see links to other local cafes on our page for inspiration. Facebook Please do also share with your networks and help us grow this much needed project for our community.
Contact:repaircafepurbeck@gmail.comMore information (opens in new window)

Swanage Community Pantry

A food waste project collecting good quality food that would otherwise go to waste from supermarkets and other food businesses and making it available to the community for free. Supported by a group of dedicated volunteers this project is hosted by the Swanage and Purbeck Development Trust. Sustainable Swanage worked with the group to set up and establish the project in April 2022 and are really pleased to see it continue and grow with more volunteers to help manage and run it. Swanage and Purbeck Development Trust | (
Contact:swanagecommunitypantry@gmail.comMore information (opens in new window)