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Season’s reflections

As the cold winds of December sweep over Britain, we are tempted to huddle up in front of our fires and drift into a sleepy reverie of what we have done this past year, and what we still want to achieve. Winter is traditionally a time of taking stock and getting a big overview. so here it is:

For Waterblade, it has been a tremendous year, winning  an a award in spring in the UAE for our  water saving device:

It is easy to imagine in an area with deserts so close to the equator that water shortages might be an issue and you would be right. much of their water is obtained through Desalination technology- Brilliant but with its own particular high costs to both finances and Environment. Keeping scrupulously clean is essential for the populous, so anything that might alleviate the burden on water supply is welcomed. That I think is why, Waterblade was well received and we hope to expand our role there in 2018

What is harder to appreciate is right here at home, we have significant water stresses and just this month our own area “Southern water”  has announced special measures.  With the increase in inflation and the uncertainty of our financial future,We are all feeling the pinch. Every saving helps, this year we appeared on Dragons Den and had a fantastic response from individuals and businesses alike. We were really moved by the enthusiasm and support people gave us. Thank you Britain. We have spent the last 3 years working with big business to make a difference and this has taken time. The fruits of those labours are now beginning to ripen and gather momentum.

What we would like to do in 2018 is to really encourage home use and appeal to smaller businesses too, with this in mind , we are working to make Waterblade, as affordable as possible and as easy as possible. We are hoping to launch our next generation Waterblade in June. one that is effective in almost all homes with mixer taps. there will be no need to worry about variable water pressures…… So Watch this space as there will be more on that in January 2018.

Coming back to December,  We are deeply concerned at the increasing numbers of people forced to sleep rough, or who no longer have a fixed place to live, the increased reliance on food banks and those desperately fighting to stay afloat. Most of us are really feeling the 10 years of austerity we have had in the UK, but some just can’t cope anymore.There are things you and I can do to help make a difference, and remember every little difference adds up to a better world.

In my home City of Brighton & Hove, we have a fantastic group of dedicated volunteers who help cook and deliver a “pay what you feel” cafe called the “Real Junk Food Project” it has various venues throughout the week and is staffed wholly by dedicated volunteers from the local community.

If you go there for lunch and make a reasonable donation, it helps support the project and feed others who are less fortunate. But that’s not all, the food lovingly prepared by the team of volunteers, has been intercepted from  potential supermarket waste streams.

Millions of tons of food each year, ends up being dumped into landfill or incinerated, despite still being in good condition, all  because of “Best before” dates expiring. All food is meticulously checked, so only good food is used and there is also a free “shop”  for people to take food stuff home. By joining in, you do two good things for the price of one, what a yummy solution. Also how about volunteering yourself? if you have time, they are always keen to have more help, check out their website. The venues for the cafe are “One church”, Hollingdean Community Centre and St. Lukes at seven Dials. Other towns and cities have similar projects and of course there are the severe weather shelters who need help too. if you want to get involved, now is a good time as we have 4 more months of freezing conditions ahead.

Donating Blankets, warm clothes, Toys  and  unused new wash items to the day centres and shelters is much needed and very welcome.

On a Global level, Right Now there is a huge and desperately horrendous crisis occurring, for refugees, particularly distressing is the sudden and epic proportion of the dispossessed Rohingya refugees fleeing from certain death. They have been brutalised and many family members murdered. Now  the “lucky ones” the orphaned children and violated mothers who have survived this ordeal, are sitting on cold wet mud under plastic in the pouring rain, over the border in Bangladesh. The camp has in two months become the biggest refugee camp in the world. They need supplies if they are going to avoid further death from diseases and starvation over the next few weeks. There are appeals for regular donators and one off payments by  “the Rohingya appeal” and “Unicef” and Amnesty international who want justice and security for them.

I cannot imagine what they must have gone through or what lies ahead. All I know is that our children  here at Waterblade, don’t need  expensive gifts this Christmas, so, we are making our presents this year, as little acts of love, and the extra, we will donate to this humanitarian tragedy. If we can save the life of just one person big or small, it will be worth it; And there are half a million Lives to save.  I invite you to Join us. I believe that in order to have a different world and a different future than the one the scientists are envisioning, we will have to do things differently, change our priorities, our habits, think a little more about our actions and their consequences. Perhaps accepting some ideas we don’t like, in order,  to be empowered to make positive changes. The more of us that join in, the better the outcome for all.

Christmas Challenge should you choose to accept it: Do at least one Random act of kindness to/ for a stranger or a neighbour.

 

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Life immediately after the Den

We invited our friends over to watch the show, not because we got investment, but because we felt it was important to celebrate such a highlight on our Waterblade journey. Keeping the secret of how it had gone was really challenging as it was a few months earlier from the night of the broadcast. Also we were working really hard on getting our new website finished and looking the part. thanks to our very talented friend Robbi we were up and tweeting for all our lives. Nigel pulled up the website to see if there was any curiosity about the waterblade and was surprised to see 240 people on the site. we hadn’t told our web hosts it might get busy and so very quickly we were over whelmed and the site crashed at 2,000 hits! We are still apologising to frustrated folks who tried to get on that night. It turned out over 6,000 people tried. We were completely amazed at the reaction we had. how many wonderful people wanted to share their thoughts and dreams with us and offers of investment.

What really became clear to us was how many people around the world watch Dragon’s Den and just how tough water sanctions are in  places like south Africa right now. Massive Droughts are plaguing Africa as a whole, as well as parts of America and Australia. We heard from them all.

It has galvanised us more than ever, to dream big and to really try and make a difference where we can around the world. We live in very water stressed times, along with all the other climate related problems. It is not a good picture, but it will take people making choices and changes and products like the Waterblade to help us achieve better outcomes.

So  Nigel has been back in his “Man-vention-shed trying to make a more internationally friendly model and we are very hopeful that in 2018 we can deliver on this.

Also, We are very happy to announce that we have changed our manufacturer to another local business who are ISO 9000 registered. We were very sad to leave our other manufacturer as we value above all else, strong ethical business relationships, but we need to have internationally recognised credentials to be able to trade with many other countries Iso 9000  means they are committed to high standards of employment, environmentally sound and a slavery free supply  chain. This means we hope to have Waterblade accredited in Australia very soon- More on that in the near future.

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How it all began

Nigel Bamford inventor/Builder 2010

10 years ago, Nigel Bamford, a single father of three boys, was looking to change his working practices as a builder.He wanted to become Enviromentally responsible. He decided to enrol on an MSc course  at the Centre for Alternative Technology  ( CAT ) in Wales.

Little known to Nigel at that time, a Tic bite, he had received 12 months earlier, was about to pull the rug from under him. He had been suffering periodic  bouts of fatigue and head aches since being bitten, but had put it down to work pressures. However, a month after his first module was complete, he was unable to climb the stairs, due to pain and fatigue. He knew then, that he needed to change his doctor, get a diagnosis and hopefully treatment for something other than stress. He also knew, he had to put his MSc on hold.

A while later, he  tested positive for Lyme disease. Sadly, because it was so advanced, the treatment given at hospital, only gave him temporary relief. It was not long, before his symptoms returned with a vengeance. He was told, that he was cured of Lyme and now had a condition known as:  “Post Lyme Syndrome”. This turned out to be a massive medical brick wall.

What followed was a nightmare time of trying to get treatment, resting and a complete change in his diet and life style. He was forced to close his building business and make his staff redundant. It took 10 years for Nigel to pull himself through to a manageable state of good health. Now the relapses are generally less severe and further apart,but never absent. As a result of these life changing experiences,  Lyme awareness for others,  will always be very close to our hearts.

Meanwhile, back in the dark days of utter exhaustion and brain fog, Nigel would lie on his Sofa…and in an attempt to keep his brain functioning and depression at bay, he would imagine 3 dimensional solutions to his curiosity about  how to heat water though dynamic flow in a tap. After several years, something very different emerged. It was a beautiful, thin fan of water that had real power to clean, with minimal water usage; Thus the Waterblade was born.

500 or so prototypes later, a finished MSc, an incredible amount of support from the “Green Growth Platform” at Brighton University, his girlfriend and his best friend Cliff, and all his other close friends and family, a manufactured product was finally brought to market.

Since then,  Waterblade has won 8 industry awards and has been rolled out by several international banking corporations. 50 units have been sold to the houses of Parliament and a variety of other businesses,  with several being fitted in friends’ homes.

For us, at Bamfords’ Waterblade, the journey has been a rollercoaster ride of raising money, to pay for the patents required and the manufacturing set up costs. The big question was how to take this simple and elegant solution to water and energy saving, forward. We were inexperienced but enthusiastic, as we could see the potential, for the people of the UK and dare we dream? The world.

We have a set of values and ethics, that we feel are essential in shaping who we are as a company and a brand. They also reflect how we want to do business. To this end,  Waterblade is manufactured locally, So that we have good relationships with our whole supply chain and we can really know what is happening in it. We also researched the best solution to “no waste” packaging that we could currently find and afford.  We have the proviso that we will keep improving it. We have WRAS approval for the Waterblade, making it viable for big industry to adopt us, as part of their Enviromental and Sustainability Agendas.

In Britain, the public currently have no history of buying water saving devices, as they have always received such things free through their local water companies. We believe that we are on the cusp of radical change. Now that Domestic Metering is coming into force across the land and water companies are changing their policies, homeowners and renters alike, are waking up to water bills that have in some cases, tripled in their first  metered year!

We know that waterblade can reduce the amount of water coming out of a hand basin tap, by up to 75% and if its used a lot, that can start to make a real difference to peoples’ bills. We are ready for when people want the choice to buy solutions, to their increased energy costs. On our website, people can see for themselves, how quickly they will get payback and start saving money and water. This is all without compromising their hand washing experience. We  also believe, that  in the right setting, Bamfords’ Waterblade is exciting, fun and a smart solution to a growing issue.

This is Our story so far……. We’ll be back to let you know our latest news as soon as it breaks. Thank you for reading.