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Thoughts from September 2009

excellent development scoops another award

Veg plot next to sand dam

The innocent foundation has been supporting Excellent Development on a three year programme helping community groups in rural Kenya to develop water and soil conservation projects. Last year Graham took time out from his spreadsheets to visit the innocent-supported project in Meka and earlier this year JT swapped Shepherd's Bush for Kola to set up a computer network for the ED office in Kenya.

As the programme drew to end it's been really exciting to look back and see that the Meka community group had smashed the targets they set at the beginning of the project - we were expecting them to build 5 sand dams, plant 9,000 trees and dig some terracing, but they have managed to build 6 dams, plant over 12,000 trees and dig nearly 18km of terracing. Life in rural Kenya revolves around the availability of water so the lasting impact of these achievements will continue to benefit the community for years to come.

Dorcas Nzioki - Miamba Mitamboni 4

And as if that wasn't enough Excellent Development has just been recognised at the Third Sector Excellence Awards by winning the "Small Charity, Big Achiever" category. The judges were impressed by how much has been accomplished since the organisation was founded in 2002 and the support given helping communities to build sustainable futures.

Well done from everyone at innocent.

(This blog post was written by our Graham).

the crowd holds its breath

...and the winner of last week's hat of the week is.....

Hoodie hat

Herbert Hoodie knitted by the marvelous Rachel Phillips. Herbert stormed to victory pulling in no fewer than 1209 votes.

Rachel, you have our undying admiration and a place on the coveted plinth. Perhaps most excitingly of all there's a case of our finest making its way to you as we speak.

If you fancy knocking Rachel off the top spot then you know what to do. We've a huge target to make this year so please do keep sending in those hats, hooded or otherwise. Anyone searching for a source of inspiration can do much worse than having a look here at our Flickr Big Knit Pool. We think the Fortis Knitters could be in for a 'highly commended' ribbon when their hats arrive.

you asked, we listened

Back in April when we launched our first ever banana free recipe - kiwis, apples and limes - we got in touch with everyone who'd ever written, emailed or called to ask us to make a smoothie without bananas and sent them a free voucher to have a bottle on us.

NOBANANAS

After we'd sent the vouchers out, lots of people then started sending us lovely thank you notes and emails.

'Just a quickie to say thanks for my voucher. I went straight out and bought the banana free smoothie and thinks it's great. So have now sent my hubby out to buy three more cartons...Thanks for listening, Linda x'

'Bin those bananas for good! Even my kid will drink it. We call it 'Kermit-in-a-blender'. Lovely. Thanks, Tracey'

'I am just amazed that mine (and obviously others) emails actually made a difference. Thank you. I can't wait to try it. Kind regards (from a very happy 'Banana Free' customer'), Lizzie W'

'At last - I have been waiting for years, since I asked you to do this and now you've granted me your wish, Many thanks, Sophie R'

'We wanted to say how impressed we were that some real human took the trouble to hand write the card that came with the token. In this world of machinery...it is really refreshing to find somewhere that still values the personal touch. The Cook Family'

We love to hear what you think. After all, one way conversations are pretty rubbish.

So if you ever have something that you want to tell us about the stuff we make or have suggestions on how we can make it better, you can always let us know on our rate and review system.

As my grandma used to say, shy bairns get nowt.

loo of the future

On her recent sojourn to France, our senior designer Kat happened upon 'the future', smack bang in the middle of the ladies loo of Orléans' poshest restaurant.

All new loo

Being a collector of all things exciting, new and spinny, she made a little video of said toilette on her camera.

Not that we're exactly sure why cellophane whizzing round at 13mph makes a loo seat more hygenic but then who are we to question the future?

leap into fruit towers

We had Suzanne and Adam from Leap Anywhere TV in the other day for a video camera assisted look around fruit towers. Jess gave them a guided tour and our Ben imparted some very wise words of wisdom to the pair. Have a watch if you've got a couple of minutes to spare.

(All the jumping about in the car park is a reference to 'Leap' Anywhere TV by the way, we don't do that every time someone visits us with a video camera. Just so you know.)