Hearts and Minds Group Meeting 13th November 2012

Present: Sue, Ken, Barry, Jon

How does what we want to do in a Hearts and Minds group agree or differ with what other Transition groups mean by it? Different Transition Towns structure themselves in varying ways – not all have even considered something like Hearts and Minds.  Also different people have a different interpretation of what a Hearts and Minds group is about – does it mean linking to different communities, dealing with spiritual/religious/psychological aspects of climate change or running climate awareness/reduction courses for the communities such as Footpaths groups?

Sue described to us what Footpaths groups are about and how they have run in the past – she is keen on being involved with these. There was some discussion about the types of events that let us talk to people easily – apple pressing, the green market and the picnic in the park were great ways to engage people. When we have things to give away maybe we should have a donations box so that people don’t feel that they are taking charity (but making the donations completely optional and up to each person).  Having an event that isn’t focused on Transition means that we can do some “soft PR” and just mention Transition Loughborough and/or its aims in passing if conversation veers that way.  Having leaflets, etc to hand if folk want them, but don’t push them on them.

Whatever we do we need to either get more people to join in with Transition events or make positive impacts on their lives. Maybe have “gateway” events that feed into other tasks that the TL groups are doing (eg apple press being a “gateway” into the Orchard project or growing)? Need to get across a positive message and not make people feel guilty about what they do or can’t do.  Its all too easy to feel overwhelmed and/or helpless if one considers the big picture and where it may lead us.

Could we take up Hiron on the Bangladeshi Social Association’s  idea of a shared cooking event? We don’t think anyone from TL followed that up.  It could have folk from the Bangladeshi community showing their styles of cooking, compared to other styles from TL members (UK, European, etc). Could be a good way of sharing energy saving/food waste prevention tips with one another?

Links to local independent businesses – the need to support them. Sue tried to get local business to provide leaflets for Picnic in the Park and it was hoped that it could have been used to pump prime a local business directory. Unfortunately, whilst local independent businesses said that they were supportive, only two produced any promotional material. Ken suggested a local trade directory could tie in with a potential local currency in the future.  Issues then of whether inclusion is by the traders volunteering to go in, if we have to “vet” them and if we do on what criteria?

We came back to the original question of should we have a hearts and minds group or should it be something that is done for different groups. Is H&M something that should help people prepare for change? Should we talk more about climate transition? Is Transition helping us prepare for the worst or trying to prevent the worst from happening in the first place?

Running another Footpaths group was seen as a positive move to promote H&M issues.  Just need find enough people interested in taking part (need 8-10 including the facilitator) – need to advertise widely.

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