Food & Gardens Group Report (supplied by Martha)
In the context of the Food Group, can I say that the Seed Sowing and Seed Bed Preparation Workshop last Saturday at LAGS was a great success, thanks to the good weather and Andy’s expertise in getting us all involved, but also thanks to LAGS having done some major spring cleaning work the day before! A good mix of students and Transition members attended.
Can I report that, in the absence of Steve, I signed the Transition Community Allotment up for the RHS’s ‘It’s Your Neighbourhood’ competition. I think this year, with all the hard structures in place – lovely raised beds and cages – and the soil in good shape, we should be able to have a successful gardening year. We have the Big Dig event planned for Saturday, 21st March, 10-12, so we can start gardening with the day of Equinox! There will be a Big Dig event on the same day from 1-4pm on the LAGS garden (campus) – I have just signed up for this on the official website for the National Big Dig Day: http://www.bigdig.org.uk/uk/ Could some of you sign up, please?
And can I suggest that we have a Food Group meeting in April again? I can talk to LAGS members to ask if we can meet at the Shed on the first Thursday in April, i.e. 2nd April at 7pm. The days are now much longer, and by the first week in April, it will still be light at 7 – and hopefully not too cold, either, for a meeting at the Shed.
Caroline has also paid for the Transition Loughborough Community Allotment from the TL building society account.
Transport Group (Sue reporting)
The Transport Group is still at an early stage with about 4-5 regular members. We’ve looked at car pool systems around the country, but currently our energy has mostly gone into cycling, with Sue having met with Nicky Morgan and forging links into the local councils. A small group are meeting on 23rd March with the person from the council team responsible for signage, looking specifically at Ashby Road and the Radmoor Road junction. There’s no extra money for major improvements but we might be able to point to how existing funds could be best used. We’ve also offered to provide practical support for maintaining cycle paths.
We applied for a grant to do a cycle maintenance workshop using a professional repairer, but were unsuccessful. Had useful feedback from the application though. However we’ve had an offer from Will to help run a maintenance workshop for vulnerable young people in Charnwood. We’re also hoping to have a cycle repair workshop at the LAGS shed on the University campus later in the Spring.
More people coming into the group would be great, with people who would like to focus on other aspects of transports aside from cycling (eg: pedestrians, public transport, drivers, etc).
Energy Group (Caroline reporting)
A week after the last general meeting we held an Open Homes event with a good attendance. A feedback from the home owners was that it was quite tiring to set up and run, so we’ve decided to do that every other year. We had some grant money remaining which we used to fund a draught busting/energy efficiency workshop, and we’ve a little left that we’re going to decide how to spend at the next Energy Group meeting (in the coffee room in Rosebery St Peters community centre next Tuesday from 8pm!). We also still have the CSE insulation pack. Judy is collecting old curtains with the hope of running a lined insulated curtain making workshop. Janet Smith raised some issues with how this could work which we’ll explore at the next energy group meeting.
Charnwood Borough Council gave us seven whole home energy monitors, which we can loan out to people for £5. We’ve already had people borrow these.
We’ve also been invited to attend a University run energy efficiency public engagement talk. It was going to be run at the end of March, but has been postponed.
We took part in the Big Energy Race but we came in slightly late and couldn’t catch up with Transition Belper who are in the lead in this region by quite a long margin! We’ve had information packs from them and people can still sign up to our team and get energy efficiency advice, hints and tips.
Hearts and Minds (report by Sue)
We’ve talked on and off about working with local independent businesses. The local BID appear to concentrate on small and medium businesses, so there is an opportunity to get in touch with them to see how we could work with them. We could potentially organise a talk about this? Caroline mentioned that other local Transition groups have run “Totally Locally” campaigns.
Judy said she’d seen something on Facebook called “Pay It Forward” which allows people to buy products and services that include a little extra to cover provision of the product/service to local homeless people. Could this be replicated in Loughborough? Make use of empty shops for example? Suella suggested pre-making boards that can go out into shop windows, etc at short notice describing what we do in Transition, local shopping, etc.
Janet Currie is aware of a project that might be able to offer us some temporary space in a local empty shop. She’s going to find out more and then talk to Caroline about how we could make use of it.
Finance Report (by Judy)
Income for 2014 has improved. Not including some of larger projects (eg Open Homes, fruit cage) we spent £939, with £1031 similar expenditure. Potato Day worked out positive, with a slightly better than break even result. We raised ~£100 by selling plants at Picnic in the Park and car boot sales.
Caroline said that there was a scheme for the Government to match funding by direct debit donations to community groups. We couldn’t apply last year as we didn’t have a constitution and the Government couldn’t cope with our building society account.
Suella asked about becoming a charity so that we could gain gift aid on donations. The Transition Network are a charity so would we be able to claim gift aid on donations made via them? Maybe, but we’re only registered as a “mulling” group. Sue suggested being able to set up standing orders from supports so that we get a regular income? Suggested that the Finance sub group might meet to discuss this?
Constitution (introduced by Caroline)
At the last General Meeting it was agreed that we would have a constitution so that funders are happy to pay money into our accounts, rather than relying on other groups. Caroline presented the constitution she has produced as a result, which had already been circulated on the Google Group for several months (with no comments made). We discussed who could sign the constitution as we don’t have a chair or secretary (though we do have Judy being the treasurer).
Judy suggested running the constitution by CSE (one of our potential funders who want constitutions) to see if they were happy with it. We agreed to remove a mention of “energy price rises” from the objectives, remove the word “reduction” from waste in objectives and remove the condition that any assets from dissolution are not limited to charities. Decided that signatories will be witnesses rather than chair/secretary/treasurer. Also need to change formal title to match bank account name, but say that we’re known as “Transition Loughborough”.
ACTION: Caroline to make changes, send off to CSE for checking and if they agree to it then a group of members will get together to sign it.
Potato Day (report by Caroline)
Our Potato Day was successful, with lots of publicity in the local media. We made £32 profit, and hopefully encouraged a lot of people to grow their own. We’ve agreed to do it again next year, and Paul is investigating an indoor space for the distribution.
We have some seed potatoes remaining, and Caroline is contacting some community gardening groups, care homes, etc in order to see if they could make use of some. Individuals can still buy them at 14p per tuber – they’ll be available for another couple of weeks. Suella said that Rose Deakin came to a previous food and gardens group meeting and might want some. Janet Currie suggested that next year we produce a simple leaflet explaining how to grow potatoes, possibly with a link to an instructional video on the TL website.
Picnic in the Park
Once a year Charnwood Arts organise a Picnic in the Park day in Queens Park. In the first year we had a lot of stalls, whereas last year we had one stall. Sue asked if we want to do it? Janet Currie said there was also the chance of repeating a stall from picnic in the park on the Sunday at the NGS gardens she is taking part in. It was agreed to put in an application for a single stall. Caroline suggested having a sign up sheet to capture email addresses from people who want to get a SINGLE email to more information about Transition Loughborough (including how to sign up the Google Group and/or web site announcements).
ACTION: Sue to sign up for a stall at Picnic in the Park.
David said that a company want to put a solar farm on Loughborough Moors on the flood plain between Loughborough and Cotes. There will be a presentation at Barrow Upon Soar, Bishop Beveridge Club on 20th March.
Janet Currie spent time at the Eden Centre as part of Big Lunch Extras (funded by the Lottery) which included travel, residential and food to attend intensive workshops on growing, getting more community volunteers. The criteria for being involved is that you are in a position to help make a difference within your community. Janet said it was a really good event, and you become part of the network of people who attend these events, including regional support when you get back home. There are more similar events still to come – Janet happy to provide more information and help for anyone wanting to put in an application.
Sue presented the idea from the council of a community shop that could be set up in Loughborough to help people who are struggling. She wondered if we could provide some input to this (eg on energy advice). This might be something we can cover in the energy group meeting next week, and cover in more detail at the next general meeting.
Sue also said she’d had a flyer from Streetlife.com. Jon has already registered and got a Transition Loughborough community group set up on there.
Date of next meeting
Tuesday 12th May. Venue TBA.