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Creative West End Research Trip to Cornwall by Chelsey Needham


Blog by Chelsey Needham


I had wanted to go to Cornwall for many years, as I had never been on holiday there as a child and felt like the Devon Cornwall seaside holiday experience is very much part of our British culture. As a beach lover and eco warrior last summer I had planned a holiday research trip to Cornwall that never came to fruition, so this trip that came together for Becky my travel buddy and myself was a most welcomed surprise March break away from Morecambe. After our research trip down south for a few days I realise we have only just touched the edges and there is so much more to see and explore; however we did get a good feel for the place and it was definitely an inspiring trip to bring back fresh motivation and even more Love of Morecambe!


As a creative business owner myself who left my day job early January, working on my own can often be difficult to see the end of my own vision and often feels the creative process goes on and on, and I know it’s important to keep going. Going to Devon and Cornwall showed me similar businesses to my own and helped to reassure me I am on the right path, ultimately to keep going! It also reminded me that even if people are doing similar things to you, they are always done in a slightly different way, there is enough for everyone.

Exeter and Totness had lots of eco shops and lots of candles…! Candles were the main original instigator of our research trip, as Becky and I were brought together through our joint passion for reusing old candle wax to make new candles. The past year I turned my hand to making eco vegan candles - less fumes & chemicals than paraffin wax – for my company Your InnerSense, but the idea of also making use of candle wax waste people have in their homes also made sense, especially if it can also make them cheaper for people and also helps the environment. So I gave it a go with Becky’s candle wax a few weeks previous to our trip…. although this turned out to be more tricky than I expected…

In Exeter we visited ‘The Recycled Candle Company’ on our final day to find out about recycling candles. Becky had heard that they collected the aluminium bottoms of tealights and she had saved up lots of these which she proudly handed in.

I know when you only have one or two small bits of aluminium (and if local councils don’t recycle it in there pick ups) or candle wax left at the end of candle, it’s tempting not to make the effort to drive to the tip to recycle or take to a candle recycling shop; especially as there are not many candle recycling sites in UK hence why we went to Exeter the see this company. However, if you make the point of saving it them all up over a period of time to take altogether, as Becky did, it feels worth the fuel/transport to waste site.

  • We found out they don’t reuse this aluminium for new candles but they recycle it at local facilities.

As much as we can do this at our own recycling waste disposal sites, there was something that felt intuitively right about taking the aluminium of candles back to a candle company, sort of where it had come from- perhaps not exact candle company (even though it would end up at the same point at a recycling unit). It felt like it had closed a cycle or a loop in the correct way and there was something about the fact that the candle company specifically wanted you to take the aluminium from the candles and the old wax to them, that makes you feel motivated to recycle it there knowing something more can come from your wasted wax. If you ask me, it was also a nicer environment to take your waste too than having to go to the tip too. There were some cool fire starters in the shop that had been made from end drabs of wax combined with dried flowers that were awesome and inspiring.

At the candle company I also got to ask some technical candle making questions and found out a little bit more about how they work. A problem I had come across was the candles setting properly.

  • It turns out the recycled candle company only turn unscented wax back into new candles, that helps with this.

  • Most of their recycled candle wax (suppliers) comes from companies and not from individuals.

  • Individual customers are their main customers happy to be buy recycled wax that comes in different containers and shapes.

All in all this motivated me to keep making my eco candles in my aluminium tins, similar to what the candle company use and also to give a try at making candles from recycled wax, that I thought would pair really well with my tea cup candle containers which I had chosen to do in the first place to reuse a resource we already have, rather than purchasing new candle containers that new fresh energy has gone into produce them. It was inspiring to see lots of Eco candles in the Eden Project shop and great they supported a range of local businesses. I am excited to try out new ideas for my candles.


Out of the many tourist attractions I have been to on my travels, there was something very nice about the Eden Project. I think this was because ‘the environment’ is central and clearly at it’s heart. Usually with tourist attractions the actual attraction to me always seems tainted by the fact that tourists getting there causes pollution, noise and air pollution to get there etc, that seems to detract from the beauty of what historic monuments stood for, perhaps exploited so locals can make money and survive. Anyhow, there was something about Eden that felt that due to the products in the shop all being environmentally friendly and recycling stations in the café clearly visible, cycle paths leading into the project, that gave this tourist site a different feel, however, I wonder if in the high season when all the tunnels are open and the car park is jam packed I would feel the same.

  • I was impressed that Eden project are changing their energy supplier from Good Energy, eco electric company, to their own self-sufficient geo-thermal energy supply.

This did surprise me they were currently reliant on this Grid supply, I expected them to be self-sufficient. I think through covid however, we have been shown the vulnerability of the community being reliant on specific companies and industries. I hope other companies take this shift towards self-sufficiency through eco options, so less of us are reliant on the collective companies and resources that can also bring about more sustainable options perhaps only possible initially on small scales.

  • Eden project seemed like an Cco icon of its’ time, and I was very impressed by the ecosystems that had been created i.e. that mimicked being in Greece by conserving old olive trees for instance and the other foliage that went with it.

However, it was interesting through the awareness of plastic pollution over the past two years specially it also felt dated that the domes are made from plastic.

  • Eden hold many events in one dome, in the restaurant area.

What a special events space for people to hold wedding receptions, meetings and parties! I can imagine how it really would be a real once in a life time experience and set the scene well for interactions.

The night before visiting Eden we had stayed in YHA backpackers by a stunning Cornwall beach. I was extremely excited by the Bell Tents…

  • The Bell tents had one light inside that was powered by one solar panel!

With the recent rise in energy price announcement that was coming into force in a couple of weeks time this really stood out to me. The stress and anxiety this has caused citizens of the UK, from being controlled by the collective tie and reliance on the national grid with the seemingly little influence over this politically, makes me feel local communities need to be coming together to create their own energy sources. Halton eco community is a great example of this and I know Lancaster Uni held talks about tidal energy for the area a few years ago, and we know the government are already considering more nuclear power for the area. However, I feel strongly self-sufficiency in energy is the way forward, especially for community spaces.

I am really look forward to seeing what Eden project would have in store on this front when they come to Morecambe… as I think if they are going to look to investing in renewable energy sources for their company, ideally it would be great if they are going to use any of our resources already here, such as the tide, etc that it could benefit the local community in some way and not just go directly into the Grid?

  • As an educational resource I think that Eden will be great for the local community of Morecambe to learn about the sea, but I hope that there is a way locals would be encouraged and not marginalised by this tourist attraction.

  • I really enjoyed the fact not only did Eden have the ecosystem of the plants but they also had information about how the human bo

dy and our inner ecosystem worked too.

As a holistic therapist practising massage, yoga and meditation, along with many others I have been interested the past couple of years about how the body fight viruses in our body and in the health industry there has been a huge movement towards healthy gut biome combined with the return to natural environments that destress and heals the body. It was great to see this information in such a mainstream public place, and also a great time to visit the Eden Project and from this perspective will never be out of date.


While we were on our research trip we were lucky to also visit the beaches of Torquay. One in the centre the Ladies beach that I got to have a swim in, still a little too cold, but the sun was shining so it had to be done! It was great to see the wild swimming community strong down there as it is up here in Morecambe. Becky, showed us a local artist that was great and we got to see the vibe of the run down yet popular summer destination Torquay reminding us of the spontaneity and mystery the seaside holiday resorts once held for people of the UK. It was great to see as it, and emphasised also how much Morecambe Bay really does have going for it, in similar ways and in different!

  • The sand was not as nice and ours in Morecambe Bay, plus our Lake District Mountains really are spectacular. As much as the cliffs of the south and the surfer culture has its draw to some, this is not everyone’s cup of tea.

  • Pea Fritters were an awesome addition to the local chip shop in Newquay…especially for the flexitarian and veggies out there.

I feel the cultural heritage of arts and entertainment of Morecambe combined with the nature natural beauty is a fertile ground for the NEW!

I am looking forward through my own holistic business and along with working within the Creative West End Network, probably through market stalls to see what exactly that NEW will look like.

However, to me I know my main criteria is ensuring we work with the environment, and let it support us through sustainability and eco-friendly self-sufficiency on a small scale that can bring back power to the people.

A huge thank you for to CWE for funding this research and to my travel buddy Becky, who I enjoyed getting to know better on this trip, having lots of fun and super driver.

Torquay beach, The Ladies Beach:

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