January Transition Loughborough Events

Its 2018 – Happy New Year!

We’ve got a range of events coming up in January.  The largest is our annual Potato Day which is being held on Saturday 27th January.  We are going to have a stall in Loughborough Market from 9am to 3pm near Lloyds-TSB.  We’ll be distributing pre-orders, as well as selling seed potato tubers individually at 17p per tuber from a selected range of varieties. We’ll also have a Seed Swap, potato printing and refreshments available in the nearby Baptist Hall.  If you want to grow some of your own veg – even if its just a single potato plant in a pot on a balcony – come along and say hi!

As well as Potato Day we are holding a Bag Making evening at The Purple Pumpkin Patch, Ashby Rd. on Wed 10th January from 6.30 – 8.30. Nearest street parking is Chestnut Street. Any help you can give will be greatly appreciated, whether it’s cutting out fabric, sewing, pressing, pinning or just giving us moral support. We can supply all you need but sewers may wish to bring their own equipment. There is information about the event on the Purple Pumpkin Patch Website. Our target is to make another 18 bags for sale at upcoming events. If you can’t make that evening perhaps you can make a bag or two at home?  A cut out bag can be supplied with instructions and a sample to copy or just do you own thing.

On January 20th in Fearon Hall, Leicestershire County Council are holding a post-Christmas “Give or Take” event with the aim of reducing the amount of unwanted gifts being thrown away (clothes, toys, homeware, etc.). The premise is that people can turn up, drop off any unwanted gifts, and take something they might like instead. Anything left over at the end of the day goes to a charity shop. Some Transition Loughborough folks will be in attendance to provide some information on our reuse and mending projects.

One event that unfortunately will not be going ahead due to unforeseen circumstances is the Repair Cafe on Saturday 13th January.  Many apologies for that cancellation – hopefully we’ll be able to run that event later in the year.

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Notes on publicity group meeting on Tues 28th November 2017

Held at Sue’s house, from 7.30pm to just after 9pm.

Present: Jenny, Sarah, Sue, Jon

Started off the meeting with Jenny asking, from a newcomer’s point of view, what is the idea behind Transition and who are we trying to reach (and why)? This turned out to be a great starting place for the following discussions. Sue explained the idea behind Transition Towns in general (helping local people reduce their carbon footprints, with groups based around hearts and minds, energy, food & gardens, transport, etc that makes use of local people’s interests, skills and resources). We talked a little about how Transition Loughborough is structured and how it has worked so far, and also the leaflets we produced last year for general promotion. Sue pointed out that we run “Footpaths” groups – ie the 7 session support group to help reduce our own carbon footprints; and the emphasis that we are apolitical and that we are not a campaigning group – though individuals can be involved in campaigning separately (and several are).

The “who are we trying to reach” became a recurring question during the meeting – are we looking to grow active members to run projects, encourage more people to come to events or reach particular communities (geographically, socially, culturally or needs based)? All of the above? In the past we’ve had a wide range of projects and events that were aimed at different groups. If we want to grow the number of people involved with Transition should we try to reach out to particular group(s) with our publicity? Should we focus publicity in some way? For example aiming to get more people involved by focusing on food & gardens projects, as that’s where the most involvement and energy is in Transition Loughborough at the moment, or trying to reach out to children and teenagers as any lifestyle changes they make may have long lasting effects? Having things like the potato printing for children as part of Potato Day events for example might be a great “hook” for engaging with both the children and their parents on the subjects of growing their own food, then food waste, waste in general, etc, etc.

Jenny asked if it was costly to produce the leaflets we use? Jon said that we tend to print small batches on our own printers for use at events, plus had some in various places around the town (such as Fearon Hall and Sarah’s Purple Pumpkin Patch shop). We have had larger batches printed in the past for particular projects though – usually ones with a budget for promotions. As well as the general “wheel of the year” leaflet that explains what Transition is and lists some of the events we do each year, we also have leaflets and flyers for promoting particular projects and events (eg the Potato Day and community allotment). Jon said that earlier this year a young man called Matthew had produce a Powerpoint presentation aimed at teenagers explaining the need to tackle climate change and what they could do to help, which he is very happy for us to use. Experiences with advertising in local newspapers and magazines hasn’t been good – not seen as worth the expense. Most people get information either via Facebook, email or word of mouth.

We talked about how the people involved with Transition have skills and knowledge that we could potentially “sign post” other people towards. For example Jenny asked if she wanted solar panels do we have people that know about them that she could talk to? Sue said that she has experience of having solar panels installed and living with them, so she could talk about the pros and cons, and could also point out other people she knows in Transition that could answer more technical questions. Its likely we have a similar situation of having people with skills and experiences with other topics too (eg how to grow potatoes, bike usage, etc). How can we match people with questions up with people with skills & knowledge? Is that something people would be happy to be involved with?

In the past we held more regular meetings and moved them around different community centres. Sue felt this was a good way of making contacts. Jon was worried that we ended up with the same small core of people coming to them and, if we weren’t being invited into the communities, we’d be seen as parachuting in and out. One of the reasons that Fearon Hall has worked well as a base is that the we’re very much wanted there thanks to Meg and the diversity of people going there. Charnwood Chai is another vehicle for talking about climate change with different communities – one of the points that Charnwood Borough Council asked as part of their funding of the project was how would it help them work towards their targets in this area?

We discussed how we could move forward. We are planning another meeting on publicity in January, but longer term should we have an open meeting to ask people what they would like to be involved with in Transition? Could this be part of the general meeting pencilled in for February, or should this be a separate event? How can we merge in the views of people online who can’t make a face to face meeting? And how do we reach people who aren’t online to make sure their views get included?

We also had some ideas for particular promotional activities come yp during the evening:

* We should see if we can put a general Transition Loughborough leaflet in the public library information on groups – we were turned down some years ago but it might be worth asking again.

* John Storer House is a location that can be used to put up paper flyers for events. It was felt that they were less likely to carry long term “general” information leaflets though.

* Consider being involved the annual Xmas tree event to promote Transition next year.

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Two weeks left for Potato Day pre-orders.

Just a quick reminder that our Potato Day 2018 pre-orders are open for another two weeks. All pre-orders must be made by 6th December 2017 – after that date you won’t be able to choose from the full range of seed potato varieties, onions, shallots, garlic, beans, peas, green manures and other sundries.  For more details about Potato Day and how to order, head over to our Potato Day 2018 page. On the day itself next January we’ll be distributing the pre-orders from a stall in Loughborough Market, plus we’ll have refreshments, children’s potato printing and our annual Seed Swap all taking place in the nearby Baptist Church hall.

So if you haven’t got your Potato Day pre-order in yet this weekend is a great time to sit down and make your choices!

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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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