Picnic in the Park Review Meeting, 11th July 2012

Present: Barry, Ken, Steve, Paul, Martha, Ruth, Sue, Jon.  The meeting was kindly hosted by Sue at her house.

Most people thought that the picnic in the park event had gone well and allowed us to contact lots of people. One downside was that we took down names of people interested in Transition Loughborough but none came to the subsequent meeting. The Bangladesh climate justice boards were well received and encouraged a diverse group of people to visit and talk with us. Not many leaflets were distributed – we should possibly have been more proactive on giving out leaflets.  We do have to recognise the different people have different strengths and some are happier at the “front of house” talking to the public.

Jon said that the energy stand probably didn’t engage visitors as much as the plant and apple press stands, possibly because the material was a bit dry. We discussed using something more visual for future energy stands such as an energy generating bike (or one that made smoothies). Explaining how different systems can lose energy and visually demonstrate how much energy we waste is tricky but done well can really help get across the messages on energy use, energy efficiency and the issues behind finding  new, clean energy sources.

Martha suggested that at future similar events we should bring our own food and drink to share with each other, so that we could have had a proper picnic in the park.  This may also help make the team manning the stands feel more cohesive.

A real shame was that some people who came by bikes had their wheels stolen. We should be encouraging the council to provide more secure bike parking around the town.

Steve suggested that we have either cards or leaflets that people can fill in a section and return it to us so that we could build up our contacts more. We might want to have someone responsible for encouraging people to give us contact details. We could have a box that completed slips could be put in to keep them safe and together (and less likely to lose than loose slips of paper).

ACTION: Sue to contact Kevin from Charnwood Arts to thank them for inviting us and saying we’d be happy to attend future events.

At this point discussion moved to a general review of the last year in Transition Loughborough and also discussed some of our strategies for the coming year.

Paul has kept track of the events and projects we’ve completed in the last year. We discussed some of the problems and ideas around “community” and how people could be encouraged to take part in community events and projects (such as community gardens). Getting children involved with projects could be one path, especially as they will be able to persuade parents.

We should do more on water saving and reuse options – Barry is keen on promoting those as well as survival techniques such emergency shelter building. We also talked about Philip’s energy efficiency exemplar scheme and how it may persuade more local people to take up suitable technologies. Paul mentioned sustainable transport in Loughborough and whether we could take a more active role in promoting buses and cycling around the town.

We also contemplated whether we should consider moving on Transition Loughborough from its “mulling” status and if that would bring benefits to encourage more people to actively join.  It might be an idea to contact folk from other Transition Towns to see if they think we’re beyond mulling now.

Towards the end of the evening discussion turned back to community engagement and how we should try to build on what we’ve achieved so far.  The consensus seemed to be that we should try to take part in events that community groups are running and consult on what each community would find useful.  Steve’s suggestion of moving to bi-monthly meetings held in one location was discussed – the alternate months between fixed meetings could be used to carry on visiting different community groups for events/skill sharing/etc.  Ruth expressed concerns that we already run out of time at monthly meetings – we could structure the regular fixed monthly meetings slightly differently so that (for example) we spend less time on reports from all sub groups.

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