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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Upcoming Events in the next month

A quick heads up about a couple of Transition Loughborough arranged events that are coming up in the next month or so.

Cycle maintenance workshop

A Transition Loughborough bicycle maintenance workshop

First off we’ve got a bicycle maintenance session from 12 noon to 2pm on Wednesday 17th May. This will take place on the University campus at the LAGS shed, to the rear of car park 5. We’ll have a few experienced cyclists on hand to give help and advice, plus the Transition Loughborough cycle maintenance stand and repair toolkit. Whilst its being held on campus, its open to everyone to come along to.

Continuing with the topic of repairing things, we’ve got another Repair Café at Fearon Hall on Saturday 3rd June from 9.30am to 11am. As usual we’ll have a group of volunteer repairers who will attempt to fix broken items that would otherwise be thrown away. However if you’ve got a skill in repairing items that you’d like to come and share for an hour or two, please get in touch as we can always find space for a few more! After the Repair Café there’ll be a Utilise Social Kitchen pay-as-you-feel meal and everyone is welcome to stay on for that – its a great way to spend Saturday lunchtime.

And don’t forget that as we have light nights now we’re running our social gardening sessions at our community allotment plots off King George Road. We’ve got some new regulars coming along this year, with sowing and planting pace picking up as the weather warms up. If you want to do a bit of gardening but either don’t have a garden or want to pick up some gardening tips, come along from 6pm on Wednesday evenings. Its free and very informal – you don’t have to commit to coming every week (unless you want to!).

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Gardening season kicking off

This coming Sunday sees the clocks going forward and so the lighter nights will be with us again. In the Transition Loughborough calendar, this also means that the regular summer Wednesday evening meet ups at the Community Allotment plots in King George Road will be restarting!

The first of the year will be on Wednesday 29th March. As in previous years people start arriving between 5.30pm and 6pm at the site, which is accessed through the wooden gate at the bend in King George Road – we’re down the track and round the corner, with a greenish polytunnel, a couple of sheds and a large black fruit cage. We go on until it either gets dark or we get tired (or last year occasionally when it started to rain heavily!). During the meet ups we work on the plots, chat and share the produce we grow. Its a great way to meet other local gardeners and swap ideas, hints and tips.  Parents can bring children with them, but please note that it is a working allotment site so they will like get dirty and also need to be supervised.

To give you a taster, here’s what the allotments look like in their mid-summer glory:

This year we’re also going to have an informal meet up from 6pm on Tuesday 28th March in the Swan in the Rushes pub. This is so that we can plan what we want to do on the plots, discuss ideas for other Food & Gardens group projects and also let newcomers meet us over a drink. We’ll probably be there until at least 8pm, so don’t worry if you can’t make the start of the meeting – just turn up when you can!

And before all that, we’ve got another meeting you can come along to if you’re interested in some of the more “exotic” vegetables that are now being grown in the UK.  These have often come from abroad as communities have moved to this country, and after decades of growing and seed saving are now acclimatised to our British weather.  This workshop is being held at the offices of Human Rights and Equalities Charnwood at 66 Nottingham Road on Saturday 25th March from 10.30am.  It has been inspired by the “Charnwood Chai” project that some Transition members have been involved with, and hopes to bring together different communities in Loughborough to share their experiences of growing some of the less “traditional” vegetables.  As with the community allotment meet ups, this is free and open to all – see the attached poster for more details.

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Repair Cafe on Saturday 4th March 2017


After having a great time at our seed swap last Saturday morning, we’re now turning to planning our next Repair Cafe in a month’s time. On Saturday 4th March 2017 we’ll be at Fearon Hall once again from 9.30am to 11am offering to attempt repairs on any broken items you have that would otherwise go to landfill.

To give you an idea of the range of items we’ve tackled at previous Repair Cafes, we’ve helped to fix lawnmowers, lamps, seats, bikes, prams, clothes, tambourines, coffee machines, food mixers, computers, power tools and… well the list goes on. The set up is the same as always: you bring along the item you want repairing and you sit with the repairer whilst they make the repair, so that you can show them the problems and they can show you how they go about fixing it. That way you not only potentially save something from being thrown away, but you also pick up the skills to repair things yourself in the future!

If you have skills in repairing things or are a life long tinkerer, please get in touch and/or come along to lend a hand on the day. The more people we have offering to help with repairs, the more people we can offer repairs to. Its also great fun sharing the skills of repairing things with others and talking to other like minded menders.

The repairs are free (though donations to help cover costs are appreciated!) and we’ll have refreshments for sale on the morning as well. The Repair Cafe is followed by a Utilise Social Kitchen pay-as-you-feel meal at midday which all Repair Cafe attendees are welcome to join in with. The Social Kitchen takes donated from food nearing its expiry date from retailers and turns it into delicious meals. Well worth staying on for and more things saved from the waste heap!



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Successful Potato Day and coming Seed Swap

Our third annual Potato Day was a great success. Thank you to everyone involved – volunteers who helped organise it, staff the stall, run the cafe in the Baptist Church and of course those who bought their potatoes, onion sets, garlic and seeds with us. We hope the gardeners of Loughborough and the surrounding area have some great crops this year. Please send us photos of the resulting plants and harvests later in the year so we can show everyone how well people have done!

But wait, we’ve got another gardening event this coming weekend too: its our 2017 Seed Swap! This is being held in Loughborough Public Library from 10am to noon on Saturday 4th February 2017 and its free! Come along with any old, out of date, partially used, duplicate or just unwanted seed packets, drop them on the swap tables and then have a look to see if any of the other seeds take your fancy. Even if you don’t have any seeds to swap yourself come along because we’ll have more than enough for you to pick up a few packets to help you get growing. We’ll also have a very limited stock of seed potatoes left over from the Potato Day stall, so you’ll a last chance to pick some up for 15p per tuber if you missed out on pre-orders and our market stall.


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Less than a week until Potato Day 2017!

A quick reminder that on Saturday 28th January 2017 we’ll have a Transition Loughborough stall on Loughborough Market for our annual Potato Day. If you pre-ordered potatoes, seeds, etc with us last Autumn you will be able to pick up your orders from the stall. If you missed out on pre-ordering we’ll have a limited range (and quantity!) of seed potatoes to buy on the day, as well as a few packets of onion sets. These are strictly “first come, first served” – last year we’d more or less run out by lunchtime!

The stall should be at the end of market near Lloyds Bank, and we’ll have Transition Loughborough banners out so that you can find us. We’ll be setup and ready to go by 9am, and are usually there until early afternoon.

On the same day we also have volunteers running the cafe in the Baptist Church in the morning, just round the corner from our Potato Day stall.  So if you need a cuppa and some cake after the excitement of picking up your seed potatoes, please do pop round there and say hello.  Profits from the cafe are kindly donated by the church to Transition Loughborough on that morning so you’ll also be helping us put on more events during the rest of the year.


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