1. Steve welcomed everyone to the meeting. He explained that Sue, who was due to chair the meeting, was ill and that he would chair this meeting.
2. He thanked everyone for coming and introduced Vicky Dawson from Warwick Way Action Group (WAGS).
3. Financial position. Steve, as treasurer, explained that we had £35 in the Loughborough Building Society and Sue has £38 in her care. We had enough to pay for tonight’s meeting. It was agreed to hold a collection at the end of the evening.
3. Apple Day. Paul reported on the apple day that we held recently at the Shree Ram Krishna Community Centre. It had been attended by himself, Steve, Sue, Jon and Siva and had been a very successful and enjoyable morning. More that thirty members of the Centre had attended and everyone had enjoyed the mutual exchange of apple recipes. SRKCC also put on something for a few young children there and had also invited two Charnwood BC officers who provided apple “games”. SRKCC would be keen to work with us again in future. Steve suggested also doing something at the Bangladeshsi Social Association. Regarding surplus apples Martha reported that Sheffield knock on the doors of people who have them and ask if they mind them being taken for events and usage. Siva thought that we needed an easily understandable strap-line for these events. Everyone liked Caroline’s suggestion of Credible Edible.
Hastings ward residents association. Andrew reported on our attendance and support for HWRA’s meeting looking at environment and sustainability issues. The meeting had split into three groups with Jon and Andrew on energy, Sue on personal carbon footprints, and Steve and Paul on food and community gardens. Jon had supplied a lot of good advice on lagging lofts and has been asked to be an energy friend, of HWRA, in its influence on Charnwood Neighbourhood Housing. The food group had expressed interest in possibly helping Chapman Street Garden Group to introduce vegetable gardening (if they want to) to their flowers and plants garden. A man called Andy from Sidings Park had all sorts of invaluable expertise gained from years on his allotment. We invited HWRA to form a garden group and start meeting regularly and explore ideas like links with the Carpenters Arms homeless and rehabilitation project. Sue had explained to people in her group the five Rs. Feedback received was that HWRA appreciated our help, that we were not preachy or pushy, and Bob Bailey (their secretary) believed that they would take forward an East Loughborough transition approach.
4. Solar Purchase scheme. Caroline explained the background to this – that she and Jon and Steve had formed a sub-group, had put it out to nine installers to tender, only for the Government to make its surprise announcement that it would bring forward to eligibility date from March 2012 to 12th December 2011. The group had managed to get five quotes and had made the decision to go with the one that had delivered in Wittington, on price, quality and their ability to install by 12thDecember. Of 16 initially interested householders, six had received quotes and five will go ahead. The group had asked for a £100 donation (to Transition Loughborough) which will be collected through the project. Caroline is composing a letter to send to Nicky Morgan MP (which she will send round the googlegroup). Once everything settles down we could look at the viability of a scheme on the new, reduced, tariff. Caroline will get publicity of the current Loughborough one in the Loughborough Echo once the panels are installed. We had expertise here that we could lend to other Transition groups. We all thanked Caroline and Jon and Steve for their hard work – the project was very worthwhile and gave our group some real credibility.
5. Conference on Peak Oil. Andrew had attended two conferences on Peak Oil, one in Europe in the Spring and another, recently, in America. He described Peak Oil as the behaviour of all wells, likening oil extraction to drinking a Marguerita using straws. Basically, Peak Oil is when production cannot keep up with demand. On the first day of the conference, attended by two House Representatives of the US Congress, he heard that 75% of usage is in transport. People are beginning to realise that dependence on oil for transport is unsustainable. It is very good for communities to start becoming more resilient, to consider how they will carry on functioning as oil becomes increasingly expensive or that there is a sudden shock to the system (eg a block in supply). Oil is also used extensively in food production, and “industrial farming” is stripping the land of its fertility with worrying implications for the future. On the whole, Andrew reported, there were both sides reflected in the conference, some optimistic of the ability of science to meet the challenge, others were very pessimistic. Wes Jackson was trying to develop the good practice.
We all agreed that it would be a good idea for Transition Loughborough to dedicate a meeting in 2012 to the self-reliance skills and assets that we have, a sort of “Make Do and Mend” workshop. There is plenty of knowledge within the group. Martha pointed out that there is plenty in society, it is the need to mobilise the energy and talent that is the issue.
6. Landscaping Our Society (LOS). Martha explained that the student group, which has been going two years now, welcomes the wider community’s involvement at their garden on campus. This includes this Saturday (19th November) at 10.30am when Andy and Bobby Smith will demonstrate how to propogate plants and at 1.00pm when Lynn Dutton will be demonstrating composting. Paul believed that we all want to support LOS but existing members of the group are also involved in their own local community gardens and allotments (eg Shelthorpe), he asked Martha to let us know if there are ever key times when we could all heave in for something needed (eg Autumn dig). Steve wants to produce a Loughborough directory next year to include, and link up, all growing projects. WAGS are getting skills in demonstrating cooking to others.
7. Leicestershire Villages website. Paul is now one of three site editors for the Loughborough pages of this website. He urged everyone to view it and make use of it for whatever else they are involved in within Loughborough. In particular, the Free Use facility is excellent for recycling stuff (he had recently recycled curtains, a curtain pole and a computer printer) or for asking for stuff, which could be particularly useful eg on allotments.
8. Shepshed incinerator. It was noted that the Public Inquiry is now under way. It is probably too late for us to take a Transition view on it but people make like to take an individual view. Dealing with waste is a subject that should be of concern to all of us and Caroline pointed out that it would be better if less waste was created in the first place.
- 19th November – Landscaping Our Society (gardening training at the LOS community garden)
- 26th November – Green Drinks at the Swan in the Rushes
- 13th December – Transition Loughborough Winter Feast at Rosebery St Peter’s Community Centre
- 16th December – Carols at the Swan in the Rushes
10. Next meeting.
The next meeting will be in the Beale Room at Rosebery St Peter’s Community Centre, Storer Road. Steve explained that this is largely a social and communal evening. Please come from 6.00pm if you can help make a Vegetable soup or other food contribution. From 7.30pm we will eat together round the table and socialise. Please bring boardgame, musical instrument, poem to recite, or whatever. We will also invite some external links and friends, and celebrate the end of a successful first year for Transition Loughborough.
11. Future topic. Siva suggested that we might devote a meeting to “role playing” a scenario in which all services and communications broke down. What, in reality, might it mean in Loughborough? Caroline had a contact who might be able to help us plan such a meeting. She will investigate and let us know.
12. Chairing future meetings. Caroline agreed (subject to date) to chair the January meeting and Siva the February meeting.
13. WAGS. We thanked Vicky Dawson for hosting the meeting. Vicky had found it interesting and enjoyable and could see many links with Transition. She recommended inviting Vicky Brackenbury (Charnwood BC) to the Festive Feast and other Transition meetings.
14. £8.00 was collected in donations.