“GOING green should be fun.”

That’s the message from the organisers of this year’s Big Green Fortnight, the only event of its kind in the country.

Over a two-week period, a huge range of events and activities will be taking place throughout the Bournemouth and Poole conurbation in a bid to spread the word about going green.

Theresa McManus, sustainable project manager for Dorset Energy Advice Centre, is planning the project alongside Bournemouth Borough Council and the Borough of Poole.

She said the main aim was to plant the idea of a more sustainable lifestyle in people’s heads, but above all, to have fun.

“Both the local authorities are obligated to reduce the carbon emissions in their local areas,” she explained. “We have challenging, but absolutely necessary legislation. But this is the local authorities’ softly, softly approach to communicating that. We are trying to get people engaged that are not already, get people doing green stuff, or seeing that it’s not that difficult and they might enjoy it.

“It’s about communication, raising people’s awareness of our lovely natural environment and our sustainability.”

The Big Green Fortnight takes place from May 20 to June 5, with a vast range of activities for all ages, including tai chi in Bournemouth Gardens, a Wildflower Wander at Upton Country Park and a Community Day in West Howe.

There will even be film festivals with cycle-powered screenings and a one-day festival called the Green Unity Fair, which will feature a solar-powered stage.

Many of the activities focus on reducing or reusing waste, but others are simply aimed at getting people outdoors to enjoy their natural environment.

“Part of our remit has been to offer something for everyone and to get as many activities happening around the conurbation as well, not just in the centres,” explained Theresa, who also works with local sustainability group Transition Bournemouth.

“It’s about letting people find out about things for themselves, not telling them. We are not expecting everybody to start leaving their cars at home, we are not expecting big behaviour changes.”

Both the local authorities involved in the Big Green Fortnight want it to become a regular event. The first project took place in 2009 and there are hopes it will now take place every other year.

There is also a long-term plan to put Bournemouth and Poole on the map as a green destination for tourists.

“A large part of our livelihood is from tourism,” said Theresa.

“It would be great if, over time, the Big Green Fortnight idea gets really well-established and draws people in.”

With a growing interest in sustainability and recycling, Theresa is confident the event will become a huge success.

“It’s a slow job and I think it’s going to be very gradual, but people are becoming a bit more aware,” she said.

l To find out more about the Big Green Fortnight visit bournemouth.gov.uk