Open Meeting at Polish Centre

Meeting on 21st March 2012, 7.30-9.30pm at the Polish Club, True Lovers Walk, Loughborough

Chair: Sue

We introduced each ourselves to each other. Sue then asked new attendees to introduce ideas and projects that they have.

G+S Services is a Community Interest Company which is part way between a charity and a company that can trade. Set up 3.5 years ago in partnership with a local charity, it works with homeless, ex-prostitutes, substance abusers, ex-offenders. The idea is to get these people back into the world of work and provide some references for them. G+S specialises in tree work and gardening, including fencing and decking. The free labour is used to help people who are struggling to maintain their gardens either through infirmity or lack of cash. G+S recycle furniture and are looking at a zero waste wood recycling. They are based at a unit in Shelthorpe and have a tool hire sideline as well. Sue encouraged people in TL who are interested in forging links to contact Steve or Gary.

Peter introduced SIFE – Students In Free Enterprise. World wide organisation, Loughborough has 80 members. Idea is to identify needs in the community and then provide knowledge based skills to help implement them. The example was going into schools to teach children about the economics of growing your own veggies. Also working on sustainable business models for commmunity groups. Steve is keen on working with SIFE on TL projects.

Finances: Paul said that we took £24.68 in donations at the last meeting, otherwise it is much as it was last time. Paul has also started to split up project ideas into ones with/needing funding and those we just need people for – sheet passed round the meeting. We have also been successful in getting a grant for the pasteuriser from the Coop, so we have funding for everything required for the pressing days. Martha suggested that people who have resources to share could offer them to the group in return for a donation to TL.

Paul: Picnic in the park: 12-5pm on 5th June. Cut off date for finalising what we do is 16th April, with each activity filling in a form. Paul is going to check if Ruth will need CRB checking. Ruth still wants people to save green, blue or black magazine tearings. Jon will be doing an energy saving/carbon footprint/peak oil info stall, Steve & Paul will be showing off the new apple press (non-working as there is no power), Roxanne & Martha will be doing seed sowing/plant swapping. Sue will be putting together an information and quiz stall, which may also include wildlife and Charnwood waste group. Roxana will be having a meeting with Charnwood Youth Council council staff next Friday. Karl has contacted Groundworks Leicestershire but they charge £70 per hour for a bike workshop, which seemed to expensive for a stall at a family day out in the park.

Information leaflet: Phil couldn’t make the meeting but wants to make an A5 leaflet and get a subgroup going for that. We also need an A4 page rapidly that can go out to hundreds of people from Charnwood Arts that covers what Transition is and what we’ll be doing at Picnic-in-the-Park. Steve will try to produce something in the next week that covers this – Jon and Phil will work with him to produce the A5 leaflet that can share content with the A4 one.

Martha reported on the food group. Apple press is going well. Possibility of community orchard at Gorse Covert. There’s also wildflower projects in Charnwood – seed sowing on Sunday 22nd March along Epinal Way – meet at the cemetry gates. Info from Glebe House about their growing and use of local food in their cafe.

Energy group – Jon said that we’d had a few installations since the relaunch event but not a huge number. No other energy projects to report on.

Sue mentioned the Footpaths group that is meeting at her house – Roxana is a member and said it is an interesting way of engaging people. Footpaths are closed groups of 7-10 people and something that Transition Leicester have been doing for some time.

Transport group – we don’t have one! Bob said that he’s interested in the “walkability” of the town, especially in light of the new inner relief road. Hastings group not keen on the relief road and have been misrepresented on that in the past.

Loughborough in Bloom – Kevin is on the council board for Loughborough in Bloom. Martha said that LGS at the University have already entered. Paul said that there was an offer from the women from the Bangladeshi community (who enetered LiB last year) to share growing skills across communities.

Bob from Hastings Ward introduced Joanna, owner of the Paget Estate, who is prepared to make two fields available for community use. These are near Charnwood Water and are no longer wanted by the farmer. No access for cars or car parking. Could have room for a large number of allotments accessible by foot/bike only. Steve pointed out that the existing ecology for the site could be interesting/important. Jon suggested Short-Rotation Coppice willow as a biomass crop on the wet edge of the site. Bob keen for TL to be involved in the Steering Group. Any one interested in being part of a new group to move forward with the plans should contact Paul or Bob.

Skilling and reskilling – Steve has done some research over the last 3 months and now has enough information that would let us run a sub group on reskilling. Ideas are:

* a skills fair to demonstrate skills to people (like a craft fair but with skills).

* A “skills zone” web site to help bring together people who want to learn or share skills (eg clothes mending, bread making, renewable energy maintenance, etc).

The SIFE folk were interested in talking to Steve about this. Kevin also said Tim from CBC knows about dry stonewalling, which is interesting and can pay quite well.

AOB: date for CBC’s People, Places and Sustainability meeting is on 29th March, which Sue is going to attend and report back on.

A question was raised by Joe on the organisation of Transition Loughborough. Steve suggested having a meeting about the future organisation of Transition Loughborough.

Date of Next Meeting: next meeting will be chaired by Steve, and he’ll be contacting Amy to find the date/venue.

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