Potato Day orders under way… and an eco-social evening!

We’re now in November and the pre-orders for Potato Day 2018 at well under way.  We had a great response to the launch “Potato Talk” event that we held as part of Fearon Hall’s Autumn Fayre, and since then the pre-orders keep coming in.  We’ve partnered with our chums at Transition Chesterfield to offer a wide range of seed potatoes, onions, shallots, garlic, peas, beans and green manure seeds to local gardeners.  The prices are based on the large bulk order that the two Transition Town groups can make together, and this wide range are only available for the pre-orders made now – we’ll only have a few varieties available for purchase on the day in January.

If you’ve not made your pre-orders yet, take a look at our Potato Day 2018 page – you can order online at Transition Chesterfield’s site, or we’ve got an order form you can print out in order to pay by cheque. Remember: your pre-orders need to be with us (either online or on paper) by 6th December 2017 in order for your order to be accepted.

An Eco Social invitation

On the evening of 15th November there will be an “eco-social” event taking place at The Boat Inn off Meadow Lane in Loughborough.  The idea is to get the many eco-minded groups and individuals in the town together to chat and connect up, sharing ideas and projects with one another.  The meeting is informal and starts at 7.30pm, with a likely end at around 9.30pm (although the pub of course is open until 11pm if people really get into chatting!). If you’ve got a project you’re planning or want to find out how to get more involved, this is a great event to come along to.

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Potato ordering, Potato Talks & Apple Pressings!

Our Potato Day 2018 pre-orders are now open! We have all the details on our Potato Day page, but for those of you who have done this before, the link to the online ordering is at potatoday.org.uk and it is live now! As usual the site is being run by our friends at Transition Chesterfield who we partner with to make the large bulk order, but don’t worry – as long as you specify Loughborough as your location your order will come to our stall in the market for picking up on January 27th 2018.

To mark the opening of the ordering system for this year, we’ve got Steve Sansom from Transition Chesterfield to come along to Fearon Hall this Saturday (14th October 2017) at 11.30am to give a talk on potato growing for amateur gardeners and to answer any questions you might have on them and the Potato Day ordering system.  He’ll also be bringing along some paper order forms for those of you who can’t order using the online system, or want to pay by cash or cheque.

The talk is part of a bigger “Glorious Gluts” event at Fearon Hall.  As well as the Potato Talk, we’ll be doing two pressings with the Transition Loughborough apple press at 10.30am and 1pm, plus there will be advice on preserving your harvest (or market bulk purchases!), camp fire songs, cooking, pumpkin crafting, a cafe and lots more.  Charnwood Chai will also be introducing their community building scheme involving diverse groups chatting over a cup of tea as part of Fearon Hall’s “Social Saturday” scheme. The whole event runs from 10am to 2pm and its free entry, so if you’re in town on Saturday, why not pop along? We’d all love to say hello!

If you want more apple press action, the following weekend we’ve got our press out three times. On Friday and Saturday we’ll be at the LAGS student gardens behind Car Park 5 in the centre of the University campus as part of the University’s sustainability programme’s Fruit Route events. The events are free and you can bring you’re apples and bottles along so that we can turn your windfalls into juice for you to talk home.  Then on Sunday we’re at Open Heaven church in Storer Road doing apple pressings for the congregation coming to their Harvest Festival celebrations.



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Glorious Gluts Autumn Fair at Fearon Hall

At Fearon Hall on Saturday October 14th between 10am and 2pm there will be a “Glorious Gluts” Autumn Fair event. There’ll be information on using up gluts from the garden (or market!), food demonstrations, pumpkin crafting, garden tool sharpening, camp fire story telling and a cafe.  The Charnwood Chai project will be introducing its plans to link communities together over a cup of tea at the event as well.

Transition Loughborough members will be in attendance too, both with our apple press to turn your windfall apples into juice and holding a “Potato Talk” to kick off the Potato Day 2018 process. The Potato Talk starts at 11.30am and we’ll have Steve Sansom from Transition Chesterfield coming to give us “tips and tricks” and answer your questions about potato growing. We should also be starting to take pre-orders for the potatoes and sundries that will be delivered to Loughborough for Potato Day itself in January 2018.

Here’s a beautiful poster/flyer that the Fearon Hall folk have made to promote the event – please pass it around to your friends and neighbours! The event is free and we’d love to see you there.

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Notes on Finance Meeting on Monday 25th Sept 2017

Caroline made this notes of the finance group meeting that took place on Monday 25th September 2017:

Last night we held a TL Finance Meeting, as agreed at the recent AGM. The aim was to begin to get on top of our finance as it seemed at the AGM that none of us were quite sure were we’re at. A few things to report:

Across both building society accounts we have a current balance of £1918.29. Of this:
£750 is committed to Charnwood Chai and will shortly leave our account as Charnwood Chai are setting up their own account.
£267.23 is what remains of our Bike Grant from Lboro Uni and needs to be spent on bike workshop related activities
£901.06 is unrestricted funds that we can spend anyway we like or keep as a reserve as we see fit.
We estimated what our income and expenditure is likely to be over the next 12 months (NB: this is just an estimate, but it gives us some idea of where we’re heading):



Apple Pressings income 2017: £120 (based on current confirmed and paid for bookings – as they’re already paid for they are probably included in the current balance of the BS)
Potato Day income: £230 (this is likely profit after all expenses are deducted – it is based on last year’s income)
Donations at meetings: £30 (assumed three meetings, 10 attendees at each, and an average £1 donation from each person)
Bag sales: £20
TOTAL: £400



PL Insurance: £220 (based on what we paid last year)
Allotment Rent: £100 (based on last year)
Room Hire for AGM and GMs: £120 (based on recent costs for room hire and one AGM, pus 2 GM)
Tools, seeds etc for allotment: £80 (based on what approx. spent in last year)
Bag Labels: £50
TOTAL: £570


People did propose other areas of expenditure such as seed funding for future projects and room hire for other events, but we were just trying to estimate current committed expenditure to then inform a discussion on the Google Group and at our next General Meeting in Feb 2018.


We didn’t feel we had a large enough proportion of members present to elect a Treasurer. So we have decided that the current bank signatories (Sue, Caroline, Steve, Sarah, Janet) will take responsibility for the finances between now and the Feb 2018 GM as follows:

Caroline to create and share a Google Doc Spreadseet. Bank Signatories will be able to edit this so that it shows what our current financial situation is. Anyone will be able to view it (we’ll post a link on this group).
Steve will aim to update the above spreadsheet at least once a month.
Steve will continue to be the point of contact for reimbursing people who have spent money on behalf of TL – receipts should go to him.
The signatories will present a financial report at the Feb 18 meeting.
We would then like to choose a Treasurer at the Feb 18 meeting. We agreed that their roles would be keeping a good record of finances, making sure this record is available to members via the Google Doc, and presenting on our finances at the AGM and GMs. If you would like to be considered for this post please let the signatories know. It’s probably worth nothing that whilst I suggested and convened the meeting I don’t want to be the Treasurer and, once I’ve set up the Google Doc, I won’t be taking on any financial responsibilities beyond being a signatory who can sign building society forms.


We briefly discussed other ways of raising more funds but didn’t dwell on this too long as it wasn’t the main focus of the meeting. If anyone would like to start a discussion on this on the Google Group feel free and/or it can be discussed at the Feb meeting.

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Potato Talk Comes to Loughborough

People living in Loughborough are invited to find out more about how to grow their own potatoes at Transition Loughborough’s second annual Potato Talk. Following the success of the inaugural event last year ‘All About Potatoes’ will take place at Fearon Hall on Rectory Road in Loughborough on Saturday 14 th October at 11:30am as part of the community centre’s Autumn Fayre. Attendees will hear a talk on growing potatoes from an expert, get to taste different varieties of potato, and will have the opportunity to ask potato growing questions.

The event will also mark the launch of pre-orders for Potato Day 2018. Now in its fourth year Potato Day is a well-loved annual Loughborough event that celebrates all things potato. Pre-ordering allows local people to purchase their seed potato at fantastic prices whilst helping to raise funds for local community group, Transition Loughborough. Seed potato will also available for sale on the day from a stall on Loughborough Market in
January 2018.

Jon Knight, of Transition Loughborough, said: ‘Potato Talk was a real success last year and we’re really excited about working with Fearon Hall to make it part of their Autumn Fayre. Potato Day helps the local community ‘grow their own’ and we’re really looking forward to Steve’s talk.

The talk is free, although donations to cover costs will be appreciated.

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Notes on AGM 5th Sept 2017

Present: Sue, Jon, Sarah, JanetS, Caroline, Emily, Hannah, Steve, JanetC, Jenny, James, Bertil, Tobias

Apologies: Martha

Meeting Start: 7pm Tuesday 5th September in Fearon Hall

Guiding Principles: Sarah had never seen it – copies were handed round. Steve said that Charnwood Borough Council had wanted to know that we had something like them, but didn’t want to see them for Charnwood Chai application. Tobias asked if it would be good enough to get grants – it has been so far.

Subgroup reports:

Food: Steve said that the food group has an allotment and showed off some of the harvest (squashes, spuds, carrots, sweetcorn, raspberries). Community event apple pressings have started now. Caroline asked how people can get involved – volunteer to help staff the apple pressings at events. Steve said we meet at the allotment on Wed evenings 5.30pm to 7pm from mid-March to end of September. Sue asked about the Winter Feast. We had it for a few years – nothing planned yet (but see below!).

Transport: Met on an ad-hoc basis. Have provided input into Ashby Road refurb to try to make cycling along the road better and safer – one of the things we suggested was implemented. We’ve met with county councillor Max Hunt to discuss ideas about the national sustainable transport development funds. Funds are aimed at new infrastructure builds and new promotional activities. Bertil said that Parishes can put together documents that can influence council planning requirements, which might be able to include sustainable transport options. We’ve also run some more bike repair workshops. Sue suggested holding another Transport Group meeting to discuss options available to make sustainable transport part of planning process.

Potato Day: The aims of the project are to provide local people with cheap seed potatoes and raise funds for Transition. On 14th October we’ll have a Potato Talk in Fearon Hall. Paper and online orders will be available for advance orders, which includes a wide range of seed potatoes, beans, peas, onions, garlic, green manures, etc. This year we’ll also have a seed swap on that day. Caroline showed potatoes harvested yesterday from seeds sown in from Potato Day last year.

Energy: James said he’d been involved in a Divestment scheme in Durham and would like to get involved with a reactivated Energy Group that could push a similar scheme forward in Loughborough. Interest in arranging something like that amongst several people in the room.

ACTION: James to  bring together a group to look at ideas and options.

Hearts and Minds: Sue described that Footpaths courses that we’ve run in the past . She wondered if it could be asked on the mailing lists, website, etc if people want to take part in such a group again? Sue is also working to generate links with local mosques.

JanetC says that a couple of years ago she started managing the Facebook group for Transition Loughborough, with Jon looking after the Twitter feed & web site. She showed some stats that showed that engagement is increasing year on year. She asked that if any groups are setting up events please send her details and PDFs of any leaflets/posters. Jon would like the same for the website/calendar/Twitter, but we need to ensure events are firmly confirmed or booked before promoting otherwise we look silly and people get confused.

Tobias said that Hastings Community Association have been involved with a Charnwood Borough Council consultation about a country park plan that they have near the tip. The association are holding a meeting about the consultation next Tuesday.

Emily talked about her idea called Make It Festive that she is applying for Arts Council funding for. The idea is to teach people how to craft Christmas decorations, gifts, etc from the contents of their recycling boxes. The aim is to have mix of both online materials and
three face-to-face community events. Emily introduced Hannah who runs recycled silversmithing classes, which may form a prize for people taking part in these activities. Emily would like to work with Transition Loughborough and could link up to Sarah from Purple Pumpkin Patch, and the folk at Fearon Hall and the Wellbeing Cafe.

Jon said that Matthew Drury had produced an excellent introduction to climate change and what people can do to help tackle it, aimed at teenagers and young adults. This will appear on the website soon.

Repair Cafe: JanetS explained that it runs every couple of months at Fearon Hall, but depends on availability of repairers. Covers bike repairs, electrical repairs, gluing repairs and sewing/clothes repairs. Janet, Suella and Martha have spent spare time making shopping bags out of donated, recycled materials. Often arranged in conjunction with Utilise Social Kitchen events. Jon isn’t arranging any more before Xmas as he’s involved with apple pressing, harvesting and potato day, but if any other people would like to arrange one before the New Year please get in touch.

Finance: Steve reported that we now have two building society account, with the two names that people use (“Transition Town Loughborough” and “Transition Loughborough”). We have just over £1000 in the two accounts. The biggest expense of the year is the insurance, followed by rent for the four allotment plots. The good news is that we are raising money from events such as Potato Day, apple pressings and bag sales. Caroline suggested having a finance group meeting to discuss the details with the signatories. No questions raised on finances.

ACTION: Caroline to arrange finance meeting.

Regional Transition Activities: Caroline reported on attending a regional Transition meeting earlier in the summer, which set up a Facebook group called “Resonate” to share ideas and projects.

Charnwood Chai: Growing out of the links that were built with various ethnic groups in the town, several Transition people attended post-Brexit community building events. Out of this grew the idea behind Charnwood Chai, using tea as a vehicle to get different people and groups to sit down together to share ideas about climate justice, communities and skill sharing. We have just been given a grant by Charnwood Borough Council to develop the Charnwood Chai project and link different groups around the area. Jenny asked how information about such schemes are getting out to people who aren’t online – Steve said it was just getting going so aside from the recent Mela in Loughborough town centre they hadn’t promoted it much yet. Transition Loughborough is the grant holder with many other people and groups involved in the planning, management and execution of the scheme.

Sue suggested having a meeting about marketing and promotion, which JanetC, Sarah, Emily and others were keen on being involved with. James asked if Steve had heard of Baca, which is a charity that helps unaccompanied young forced migrants. Steve said that Town of Sanctuary were known about and Sue said Town of Sanctuary were working with Baca.

ACTION: Sue to arrange a marketing meeting.

Working with other local organisations: Caroline said that other Transition groups do lots of things with other organisations in their towns. JanetC said that she started a Master Gardeners project to help groups to promote themselves to people who might like to get involved. There might be the potential of a central hub where people find that sort of information, and working with the University to get more of a flow between the campus and the neighbourhoods.

Emily explained about the potential of connecting with Canal and River Trust to encourage foraging and edible growing along the canal, incorporating seeds and plants from the TL community allotment. This would extend the Fruit Route from campus out through the town to the canal. One idea is to do litter picking in an area, and then arrange the litter into the word “LOVE” or “PEACE”, etc to highlight litter and discourage people to drop it. Emily then uses some of the litter to do crafting.

Networking Event: Emily said that there was potential for an environment group meeting at the Boat, with a mixture of local community and businesses. Sarah said there is a Loogabarooga festival being organised by Love Loughborough during the upcoming school half term.

Caroline asked if we should have another general meeting in February 2018? Several people agreed that we should.

ACTION: Caroline do a doodle poll to find people’s availability.

Winter Feast: these are social events with food & entertainment to celebrate what Transition Loughborough has done in the year. JanetC asked what the goal behind the event was, to which Sue replied “having fun”. Could be a way to reach out to some of the diverse groups in the town that we don’t normally reach. Some enthusiasm for such an event but nobody stepped forward to organise it before Xmas. Suggested that instead we do a Spring Feast, that would need to be organised before hand?

AOB: JanetS said some of the textile repairers will be at the Love Your Clothes event at Fearon Hall in a couple of weeks.

Sarah offered use of her Purple Pumpkin Patch crafts & gifts shop on Ashby Road for small group meetings when she wasn’t already running events and workshops there.

Meeting closed at 9pm.

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Upcoming events in September 2017

After a bit of a lull during August, when many people are away on holidays, Transition Loughborough events are getting back in the swing of things in September!

Steve and Greening Sutton Bonington team with the TL Apple Press

We start off on Sunday 3rd September with the annual Sutton Bonington Show apple pressing, with our friends from Greening Sutton Bonington. We’ll be in the field pressing as many loads of apples from the village’s supply as we can during the day, and giving away the refreshing juice to sample. Fingers crossed there aren’t too many wasps still hanging around by then!

Preparing snacks to share

This is followed on Tuesday 5th September by our Annual General Meeting, which will take place in Fearon Hall from 7pm to 9pm. We’re asking people to bring along snacky, preferably vegetarian,  food to share. Whilst we’re eating we’ll review our guiding principles, hear what the sub-groups have been doing and are planning, check on our financial position, hear from Caroline about regional & nearby Transition initiatives and then discuss future plans, projects and working with other local organisations. Phew! The meeting is open to anyone in and around Charnwood – you don’t have to have been involved in a Transition Loughborough project before to attend.

In the middle of September, several Transition Loughborough members will be volunteering at the Love Your Clothes event. This takes place in Fearon Hall on Saturday 16th September from 10.30am to 1pm. The aim is to reduce the environmental footprint of our clothes by getting people to wear them for longer. There will be people there who can help mend clothes, and you can bring your clothes to swap with others. Information will be available on how to remove stains, launder clothes to help them last and “up-cycle” old clothes into new ones.

We have two transport related “awareness days” this coming month.  On Wednesday 15th September it is the UK’s national Cycle to Work Day. The University’s Sustainability Team are encouraging their staff and students to cycle to the campus that day, with some tasty goodies and prizes to be won by those who do. Then on Friday 22nd September is the annual World Car Free Day. This is the day on which people are encouraged to leave their cars at home and walk, cycle or take public transport to work, school and/or the shops. Many Transitioners are already doing this of course, but its a great excuse to give it a go if you’re not. Who needs a gym when you can help keep fit by walking and cycling!

To finish the month off, on Saturday 30th September, we’re involved with two events. In Loughborough our apple press will be with the folk in Herrick Road doing a community pressing from all the apple trees they have in their gardens. Meanwhile some Transition folk will be heading over to Barrow Upon Soar to take part in their Open Gardens event, spreading the word about “growing you own” and our community gardening.

September is also traditionally the last month that we hold our regular Summer Wednesday evening social gardening session at the Transition Loughborough Community Allotment in King George Road. There’s still a few weeks to come along at around 6pm and spend an hour or two chatting, gardening and harvesting yummy free fruit and veg. All are welcome as always!

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Notes on Transport Group meeting 12th June 2017

Present: Sue MV, Robin, Barry, Steve, Jon

We started off the meeting by looking at the text of the Loughborough & District Cycle Users’ Campaign Pedal Power article on cycle infrastructure funding and the Government’s Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy document. The conversation turned to cycle routes – both between towns and within  the town. Should we be focusing on the latter as the Strategy explicitly talks about aiming for short journeys to/from work and school or to/from other (public?) transport options as part of multi-modal longer journeys.

Robin suggested that running regularly tours of local cycle routes might be helpful, as it is sometimes difficult to find the start or end of cycle routes. Cycle maps can also be hard to read and difficult to match up to other mapping such as Google Maps or road atlases.

Robin said that in Bristol they have a scheme to help people learn to cycle safely on the roads. Sue said that Loughborough has had a similar scheme in the past, but that it may have lost its funding? If so, could Strategy money be used by the council to reintroduce it? Feeling safe and confident on a bike is a big plus to wider use – Barry said that the introduction of cycle paths had made him feel liberated.

Robin said that cycle route signage is often small and difficult to spot.  Both it and cycle maps could really do with road names on them so that they are easier to find.

Talked briefly about walking infrastructure. As a pedestrian Jon said one of the worst bits of path he’d come across in Loughborough is on the Ashby Road alongside the University campus, where the brook crosses under the road.  There the path narrows severely, and there isn’t room for two pedestrians to pass, let alone meeting an oncoming cyclist.  Need to ask widely for similar issues other pedestrians face. Some people may find shared cycled paths/footpaths worrying to use, especially if cyclist are going fast and don’t use their bell to announce their presence.

We talked about wasting money on cycle infrastructure that isn’t maintained or enforced. Many cycle lanes are not statutory and so are ignored by drivers, and parked over, forcing bikes back out into the flow of traffic. Jon mentioned that the shared use cycle path alongside the campus on Ashby Road has very worn markings – if they need to be there why aren’t they maintained? If they don’t need to be there it would make lots of other routes more cost effective to make into shared cycle paths. Steve said parking on the ring road was a major pain and made the new cycle infrastructure dangerous to use. Sue pointed out that in London some cycle lanes now have a physical concrete kerb between the cyclists and motor vehicles. Some discussion about the dangers posed to cyclists by buses.

We really need to encourage all groups (pedestrians, cyclists and drivers)  to obey rules better.  There are good and bad individuals in each group – we must be careful not to tar the good with the brush of the bad.  Fines and enforcement were discussed, including how jay walking (crossing the road at a place other than a pedestrian crossing or against the red walking signal) are fineable offences in other countries, and often enforced too.

Robin raised the question of how well disabled users in adapted bikes can make use of the cycling infrastructure. That’s something that shouldn’t be overlooked, as cycling can be liberating for such users. Sue knows a lady who may have some input on this.

Steve floated the idea of a “courteous campaign” as a way to encourage people to consider other road users.  Could be practical and relatively cheap to implement.  For example hi-viz vests or straps and bumper stickers with some suitable logan and branding. Such information could be made available at lots of the events Transition Loughborough already hold, thereby getting the message out about safer road (and path/cycle path) use. This could mean that we can help make a practical difference (something that is often difficult for us to do in the infrastructure driven transport world).

Next steps: we need to contact Councillor Max Hunt who is keen to hear about ideas on this topic and see how he’d like to proceed (get a list of ideas from us, or meet with us, or meet with a wider group?).

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Picnic in the Park and Summer Festival

On Saturday 10th June 2017 the annual “Picnic in the Park” event is being held in Queens Park in Loughborough between noon and 5pm. This is a great community event organised by Charnwood Arts with arts and crafts stalls, music, dance and street entertainment. Transition Loughborough will have a stall on the day where we’ll have information available on the various projects and events we’re running, and plants to swap and give away. Its free, so pop over from shopping at the Saturday market in the town centre and say hello!

Then on the following Saturday, 17th June 2017, we’re helping to run another event at Fearon Hall with more plant swapping: the Loughborough in Bloom Summer Festival. This is a celebration of sowing and growing in and around Loughborough. Find out about community gardening projects around the town, learn how to easily grow some of your own herbs, fruit and veg at home, sample the Utilise Social Kitchen and talk to a variety of groups involved in edible growing in the town. Entry is free and it promises to be a fabulous fun day for the green (and not so-green!) fingered so please pop along to Fearon Hall from 10am-2pm.

Also at 7.30pm on Monday 12th June 2017 the Transition Loughborough Transport Group are holding a meeting to discuss projects. These include developing ideas to could potentially go towards a funding bid under the Government’s “Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy“. This strategy may be able to provide some funding to improve pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure in and around the town. Bring your ideas on how we can do this and we’ll then take them to other local community transport support groups and councilors to help build a funding case. The meeting will be held at a Transition member’s private house – please contact us for directions.




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