Category Archives: Projects

Welland park cafe bid unsuccessful

As some of you will be aware at the end of May this year the Charity HFT quit the Welland Park café that they had been running for many years. The reason for this was that they could not make a profit from the business and due to merging with another charity a business review was conducted after which it was decided not to continue providing this service as a placement for their service users.

Harborough District Council placed the café lease onto the open market looking for expressions of interest to run and improve the service provided at this site.
Hearing about this late in the day a group of interested community members met, including Transition and Green Party volunteers, and decided to submit a bid to run the café as a Community owned not for profit Social enterprise that would allow the HFT service users to continue their valuable placements in the community facing business and would develop the cafe as a local food hub and community meeting space.

A massive amount of effort was invested in a very short time as there was only just over a week until the submission date was due. With the enthusiasm and guidance of Becky Nixon and other core volunteers a number of stakeholder organisations were identified and committed to supporting the proposal, and we discussed options with potential funders.

Although shortlisted, our proposal was unfortunately not accepted by HDC. They had concerns about how quickly we could open and the viability of our model as it depended on some initial start up funding, although we were confident we could get this.  So despite being a social enterprise meant that longer term we could bring funding into the café that a business wouldn’t be able to, and that we wanted the café to support more vulnerable members of the community and create opportunities for them, HDC  didn’t want to take this risk.

We were obviously disappointed by this decision but look forward to the opening of the café under its new proprietors and wish them the very best of luck in their new venture. At the time of writing (6 and a half weeks later) the café is still closed and there doesn’t seem to be any information about what is happening,  which is a shame as by far the greatest proportion of its takings are during the summer months and it is the loss of a great facility for the use of the  community.

You can view the submitted proposal in the link below

Welland Park Community Cafe Vision and Plan FINAL

Welland Park Community Cafe consortium

WellandParkCafe_smallThree weeks ago it was published in the Harborough mail that HFT was giving up its lease on the cafe in Welland Park. HFT had been running the cafe at a loss  as a way of giving work placements to its service users, people with learning disabilities. Although this was the first we had heard of this, it transpired that HFT had given 2 months notice to Harborough District Council and would be quitting as of May 31st.

There was a lot of discussion taking place on various social media platforms around Harborough on how the cafe could be run by the community and also to allow the HFT service users to continue in their valued roles, so we decided to call an open meeting to gauge appetite for this project which was held on the 12th of May in the cafe itself.


A healthy debate was held between members of the public and stakeholder organisations who attended and it was decided that we should submit a proposal to the Council for a community not-for-profit model to run the venue.

As is the way with Transition, the right people were at the meeting that we needed to make this possible. Becky Nixon and Darren Woodiwiss (With Becky doing by far the Lions share of the work) ploughed on .We did our research and bounced ideas this way and that as well as modelling what the finances might look like and in the 9 days available created what looks to be a robust proposal ready in time for submission deadline of 5pm on the 2oth of May.

The decision was due on the 22nd but as we write this today (27th) we are unaware of a decision having been made yet.

Thanks must go to the organisations who stood up to be part of this proposal and the local Councillors of the Welland ward in Harborough for their support.

  • Seven Locks Housing
  • VASL
  • Ideas to Impact
  • Transition Town Market Harborough
  • Sustainable Harborough
  • edibLE16 Ltd
  • Farrinheight Foods

We will let you know how it goes!

2015 Planning event

Transition Town Market Harborough and Market Harborough Environment Group

Planning event 8th January 2015

Open space in 2 hours

We were gratified to see a good turn out for this new event to our calendar, a planning event to help answer the posed question :

“What can we do to improve the sustainability of Market Harborough in 2015 and beyond”

We started with a ceremonial cutting of a cake to celebrate the union of “Transition Town Market Harborough” and the newly names “Market Harborough Environment Group”. This beautiful cake was the  joint effort of Mary Dank’s and Mary Green. From the rest of the group we thank you!

Celebration cake

Cake to celebrate the union of TTMH & MHEG

TTMH_Planning 009_small

Mary Dank’s and Darren Woodiwiss cut the TTMH+MHEG celebration cake

The event was split into two phases, draw out the subjects we wished to discuss and then come up with a list of actions and answers which could form the basis of future projects.

The subjects

We handed out post-it notes and asked the group for ideas for subject headers that we could discuss during the evening. We had many suggestions, some of which were answers to the as yet unasked questions but Mark Baverstock and Darren Woodiwiss went through the responses to group them into logical subjects which were then written onto record cards.

When all of the responses were collated we reviewed the grouped responses by Darren reading them out aloud and asking the group if they agreed on the subject headers.

We had eight slots for discussion over the evening and so needed to select the ones that we wished to discuss. We mused the idea of a clap-o-meter and a cheer-o-meter but in the end elected by consensus to a show of hands.

One subject had little or no support and so was discarded, Transport & Pollution and Food & Health were combined to make two subjects.

Mrs Ford at the board

Mark Baverstock adds the subjects to the board

  Table A Table B Table C Table D
Round 1 Enterprise Awareness of TTMH and MHEG Waste Transport and Pollution
Round 2 Bio-diversity Energy Education and the inner Transition Food & Health


Harvesting ideas

The next phase is to collect the answers to the question under the subject header, We planned to run two rounds of harvesting run over four tables with each round lasting 30 minutes with 15 minutes to review the feedback.

So as not to guide the responses we have deliberately not informed the group about any projects that are currently in fly, this will also guide us as to the community penetration of such projects.

After group feedback sessions in each round we finished at 9.40… only 10 minutes late thanks to the judicious use of my bicycle horn!

Group discussions at the tables

Groups discuss each subject and draw out actions

There follows a breakdown of the responses:


  Description Comments Project status Response
1 Investigate which Supermarkets donate food waste to homeless      
2 Local Food & drink forum Would like to encourage more events and more involvement from edibLE16    
3 Food bank Investigate how we can help    
4 Enterprise to help employ and train the marginalised members of the community      
5 More support from national chains to help advertise local groups, events, projects Could run a campaign    
6 Encourage Market gardens / Allotments      
7 Supermarkets to put money into growing food locally, via charity etc.,      
8 Win win, rather than competition      

Awareness of TTMH & MHEG

  Description Comments Project status Response
1 Branded Garments      
2 Eye catching posters      
3 Informative leaflets      
4 Local Media


Social etc.,

5 Newsletters      
6 Features in the Harborough Mail      
7 Younger people groups      
8 Stalls at events      
9 Memorable slogans      
10 Talks at


Organisations eg U3A

11 Carnival float      
12 Groups or issues      
13 Promotion of local events in Multinationals      


  Description Comments Project status Response
1 Composting Community composting/Recycling areas    
2 Small appliance recycling in shops      
3 Restart project      
4 Litter      
5 TIP Not allowed to enter the waste sites on foot, this should be reversed    
6 A skip day Remove large waste or electrical items    
7 Vermin Control Stop feeding the pigeons & Duck. Bread is bad for ducks and encourages rats    
8 Morsbags      
9 Bins Not enough emptying of bins on Millennium mile    
10 Fly tipping      
11 Education What to feed ducks sign



Dog waste

Chewing gum

12 Recycling Pressure high waste producers    

 Transport & Pollution

  Description Comments Project status Response
1 Journey share Cars to work

Common Journey

2 Electric car charging point Garages

Supermarket car parks

3 Prioritise actions      
4 Increase cycling Provision


Family / Old people

Schools good at cycling, what about adults

Harborough Cycle day


Safety on roads

5 Incentives to cycle Supported buying scheme

Cycle paths


6 Electric bikes      
7 Dial-a-ride      
8 Bus routes To St. Lukes

Town Shuttle

New bus stops & Routes

9 Publicise car sharing scheme      
10 Trains Evening services from Leicester    
11 Out of town parking Bus connection (park & ride)

Bike hire

Electric vehicles


Bag trains to get your shopping to the park



  Description Comments Project status Response
1 Creation of new habitats- diversification      
2 Enhancement of existing habitats Hedgehog homes

Bird boxes

Bat boxes

Wildflower meadows

Welland park pond

Tree planting – replacement of dead trees in parks

3 Wilderness areas Potential school projects as they have land    
4 Green space Site behind Sainsburys    
5 Overgrown Hedges Private not cut back

Council over trimming

Council not clearing mulch – dangerous

6 Winter vegetation      
7 Over coppicing of trees      


  Description Comments Project status Response
1 Saving Street Lights The sub heading of this was “Safety issues”, when the street light switch off started we were informed that crime generally dropped in these unlit areas. Leicestershire police recently ordered some lights be re-instated to stop crime in a certain area… maybe more information and education is required    
2 Solar Panels Roof top prospects    
3 Wind power      
4 Effectiveness of local Solar panels Research, we assume that more information is required on the effectiveness of solar PV at our latitude    
5 Re-Charging points for EV (Electric Vehicles)      
6 Gas/Electric group purchase      
7 Carbon Footprint test      
8 Energy saving – Housing Better Insulation & Education    
9 Schools Project Converting school buildings



Carbon pumped into green houses


Education & the inner transition

  Description Comments Project status Response
1 Experiment cognitive & practical Find out


2 Critical discussion Sceptical to positive    
3 Open minded      
4 Freedom to express      
5 Respect others freedom of expression      
6 Challenge Others      
7 Accepting to be challenged      
8 Willingness to learn      
9 Desire to evolve      
10 Taking responsibility for the consequences of my actions      



Food & Health

  Description Comments Project status Response
1 Recipe book Using locally sourced food

Apple theme

2 Promote Fresh Higher nutrient content

Encourage home grown & Community grown

3 Sharing surplus To give away, create a Harborough brand that this can be promoted under    
4 Community Gardens Help promote N² community garden & Orchard

Waterloo community garden

5 Fitness through activity Mental & Physical (Green gym)    
6 Fundraising To achieve large scale growing schemes

Paid employment opportunities


7 Local food buying group      
8 Love food, hate waste Encourage LCC to host more activities in Harborough    
9 Education Promote Organic

Promote Whole foods



N2 community farm group disappointed

A group of residents from Newcombe Street and Naseby Close (hence N2(squared)), that includes two of our Transition volunteers, have been petitioning Harborough District Council since 2009 to take over a disused garage site. The idea was to buy it from the council and establish a community farm on the site.


This would have ticked many boxes and met many outcomes for the council and its partners under its commitment to its “Sustainable Communities Strategy” document of the time, the current document is a much weaker worded affair.

Earlier this year the council confirmed that the site would be sold by auction for housing development and thus brought an end to the hopes of local residents. As one of HDC’s only significant sale-able land assets it is not surprising that our cash strapped council has chosen not to exercise its option to use the land for “Community benefit” and maximize it’s financial returns.

The blind bidding process closed on May 30th 2014 and the council has confirmed that it has received bids for the land (Subject to planning permission being granted). All is not lost however, the whole plot was not sold as there is a grassed area (The size of two allotments) that is potentially being offered to the community.

Hopefully there will be more information soon.

Apple grafting workshops

The Apple Grafters are creeping up in numbers.  Though this is the quiet season, the roots of ideas for funding the next Grafting Work Shop in February 2015 are growing.  Are you an Apple Guardian yet?

We are aiming to have total of at least 100 more Heritage Apple Trees growing around Harborough in the five years of the Sustainable Harborough’s project.  Heritage Apple Trees are ones that have been around around for a demonstrably long time, showing their ability and suitability for the local climate and growing conditions.

Harborough does not have any land for developing an orchard (Although an opportunity in a nearby village is in the pipeline), so the idea of a virtual orchard arose – where lots of people are looking after an apple tree in their own growing space of whatever size.  The challenge of photographing all these individual  grafted apple trees and putting them together as a montage as a virtual orchard is proving a challenge that is being persued!

The first grafted apple trees are now 18months old, and many are being looked after by Harborough in Bloom near their polytunnels.  Some have been planted at local schools such as the Meadowdale School.  The most recent grafts set in February 14  are now nearly four foot tall.  Plans for a pruning session are now needed!

Foxton Seedy Sunday returns

SeedyLogoThe absence of the Seedy Sunday event in 2013 has triggered us to contact the founder Meryl Cumber to enquire why this valued event has dropped from the local calendar. It seems that the members of the committee that ran it were too involved in other projects and no longer had the time to organise the event. After an unsuccessful appeal for new members the decision was made to cancel the event and close down its affairs.

After discussions with our Judith Meryl was is pleased for Transition Town Market Harborough to take over it’s organisation.  Unfortunately the contacts that had been made over the previous years have been abandoned so we are starting afresh.

The Robert Monks hall in Foxton is already booked for Sunday afternoon 8th March 2015.  When the summer flower’s are turning to seed and the summer holidays hit the end of August, then our publicity will be blossoming into action and inspirational ideas of saving seed will start to be broadcast.  Plan now and start planning which early seed heads need safely rescuing from the compost.

The web address will soon be appearing again when our volunteers finish the new design and feel website.

If you wish to help or would like a stall at the event please get in contact.

Attracting bees to nest in your garden

I’ve been trying for a few years to attract bees to nest in my garden. I get plenty of visitors, but no residents, so I’ve tried harder this year to make by garden more attractive for prospecting queen bees.

Queen bumblebees will look for nests in different places, often depending on the species. For example, the Tree bumblebee, Bombus hypnorum, almost always nests above ground in bird boxes and lofts. But most other bumblebees will nest in tussocks of grass, thick moss (like the Common carder bee, pictured left), or cavities under paving slabs, sheds and decking. They basically want a cavity that is large enough to accommodate a growing nest, which is well-drained and hidden from predators.

So to go about making my garden more attractive, I’ve had to do some messing-up. I live in a rented house, and my landlord has been nice enough to allow me to take over the gardening from the landscaping company he used to pay. When I first moved in, the garden was very neat, and much too tidy for my liking. The hedges were all cut into squares or rectangles, and the whole garden could be seen in one glance, and there were no quiet, hidden places where bees could nest.

So when I was pruning the shrubs last autumn, I decided to leave a lot of the cuttings in the corners of the gardens. These will have provided places for wildlife to live over winter, and should now make the place more inviting for queen bees. In the corners I also let the vegetation grow, and don’t bother removing any of the weeds unless they are especially pernicious. Even if I don’t get any nests, I’m still more than happy to watch the bumblebee visitors come to my garden.

If you do decide to make some nesting sites (and there is information on how to do so on our website – click here), here’s the secret to attracting bees: put some mouse bedding in it. Bumblebees will naturally nest in abandoned rodent nests, and can ‘smell’ mice. Research has shown that artificial nest sites with mouse bedding inside are much more likely to be taken up by queen bees. You can use any mouse bedding, including that from wild mouse nests or pet mice.

Reproduced from the Bumblebee conservation Trust blog

Are you feeling the heat?

For those of us in older homes there is a limit to the simple things that we can do to insulate our homes to improve comfort levels and save money on heating bills.

If, like most of us in the Transition steering group, you live in solid walled homes you might have considered the possibility of having solid wall insulation fitted. This comes in two forms, Internal & External which as you might guess signifies that it is installed either to the inside or outside of your home.

If you are planning a DIY installation of EWI then I would be keen to hear from you as I am planning, finances permitting, to start a project on my home later this year and if more of us are involved then we can negotiate better prices together… DIY EWI Groupon.

Alternatively, our sister group in Leicester are collecting names of householders wishing to have EWI installed in an attempt to negotiate a better price for having a professional company installing the insulation. A NON DIY EWI Groupon!

Their details can be found here

I look forward to hearing from some of you soon.


Local Food hub named

The local food hub concept that our volunteers have been working on as part of the Sustainable Harborough project ( has now got a name.


For those of you who are not local LE16 is the main Market Harborough postcode outer. There is a holding website that has been generously designed gratis by Gordon Blunt and it is being hosted equally gratis by Codestring, a software development house in the Harborough Innovation centre. Please visit :

If you are interested in local food, be it buying or supplying then please get in contact through Jo Sharman who is the coordinating officer with the Sustainable Harborough project.


Still here

Things have been hotting up over the last few months at Transition HQ here in Harborough. We recently played host to the Piano Troubador who played a front room concert for us which was hosted by Judith and made for a very memorable evening.

We have also had a meeting to ascertain our identity alongside the Sustainable Harborough project which we were obviously instrumental in establishing and indeed are partners in it. We have decided to run one main project for 2014 so stay connected and we will let you know what it is as soon as all of the prospective partners have been contacted.

And finally, we are supporting a community led initiative to create a community owned farmgarden on a piece of council owned land. We will let you know about that as soon as it is launched.

Thanks for reading