Monthly Archives: December 2012

Our Core spatial strategy submission

I just came across our submission to the Councils “Consultation” on their core spatial strategy document, the one that Councilor Blake pain branded as “Wooly worded and contradictory” in a statement from the executive after they had adopted it. After the “Consultation” guess how many changes there were in the document?

I think you know how many changes were made really so I will not tell you!

Here it is

Darren

A pressing engagement

27/3/2012

“Let’s press some apple juice” went up the cry!

Our Food buying group bought a share in the press that had been commissioned by Transition Leicester for their food group. Using this press we successfully hosting our first Apple day event in Market Harborough and were amazed by the buzz that was created around this tool.

Buoyed by the feedback from visitors to the pressings at both the Lubenham Scarecrow day and our Apple day the group decided to raise the money to purchase a press for Market Harborough and our local communities.

For those that don’t know, Harborough used to have some very large Orchards providing the town with fresh fruit and indeed the last few remnants can be seen at the disused garage site off Newcombe Street (Earmarked for building) and on the field adjacent to the new housing estate on Farndon road.

The question of where to source the press was never asked when the press built for Transition Leicester ticked all of the boxes for us and the Transition philosophy. A press constructed by local talented tradesmen from locally sourced wood.

At this time Transition Harborough was tremendously lucky to be awarded a grant from Kambe Events Limited who are the company behind the organisation of a locally hosted, Secret, green cultural music and arts festival. This has enabled us to move quickly to place an order for this press while we raise the remaining cash for the press from our local community through the selling of shares.

Gillian and Judith our Transition babes inspect the work so farWe contacted our wood elf and were invited over to view their mystical workshop where the magic is worked as trees are lovingly crafted into kitchens and in our case, apple presses.

On our visit we found that having sold a few presses previously that they were actually building a batch of ten of which a couple had been sold already, so our press will have 7 siblings looking for homes if anyone is interested. We also heard that ours would not be made from local Oak as the trees felled by licence on the grounds of Brooksby College in Melton had not arrived in time and so ours is to be made of FSC certified wood instead.

Gillian and Judith were in their element and would have rolled their sleeves up and started work on our press if Rupert, our personal wood Elf, had let them so we decided to agree terms for the purchase of the press and call it a night.

For those of you that are interested in having a share (or maybe a share of a share if you want to split it with a neighbor) of the Apple Press there are still a few remaining to be snapped up. The price is £53.50 which will give you the right to book to have the press at your home for a couple of day a year, remember, you can press other fruits and do not just have to press juice to make Cyder. You can press Pears for Perry’s or Plums for Plum Wine or Cherries for Cherry wine or you could just drink the juice.

We are all very excited about our new arrival and hope that you will join us in the happy times that will be had at future Apple days and other events, who knows. One day we may be Wassailing Apples in our own town community Orchards again.

Dare to dream the dream!

Transition harborough AGM 2012

AGM 2012 huddle

Friday brought forth the fifth Transition Harborough AGM although this is the first time we have chosen to base an event around it… and what a good idea that was.

We met at the Green house vegetarian restaurant which opens in Joules eatery (in Joules yard at the rear of the Joules shop on the high street (Store number one of the chain)) on the first Thursday and Fridays of the month and is run by the lovely Nathan and Kerry.

We had some great vegan food, the Pumpkin casserole and a chilli seemed very popular and indeed tasted fantastic… I was particularly taken by the Garlic bread that seemed much more involved than standard garlic bread. This excellent food and three bottles of Shepherds Nene Organic Larger helped set the tone of the evening.

We had invited two members of the Transition Leicester group who had established the Green Fox Energy Cooperative to come along and explain their project to us and the synergies between our tow groups. Ben Dodds was also involved in the Woolhope woodfuel cooperative and left a number of prospectuses with members to read.

We then took out twenty minutes to process the necessities of an AGM, a brief statement from our facilitator Reverend Brian Davis who was duly nominated and returned to his position. Next I gave a very brief statement on our accounts which after three years of not much happening has been rather busy. We closed this section with Mark Baverstock briefly reflecting on what we have achieved this year. Both Mark and myself were also returned in our roles.

We closed the evening with a presentation from Dr Chris Stoats from the Allerton Project in Loddington which is a research farm exploring conservation grade farming… not quite organic but a huge step in the right direction. He explained some of the projects that they had been involved with and one was preventing run off from the fields, it transpires that over 90% of the run off is from the channels carved by the tractor tyres. This was just one of many fascinating gems of information and I am sure that I speak for the group when I say we look forwards to working closer with the farm in the future.

I wonder how much will change before the next AGM what with the Sustainable Harborough challenge about to start soon.

Onwards and upwards and as always, enjoy your Transition, it should be a party!

Darren

Sustainable Harborough project manager announcement

Transition Harborough welcomes the appointment of Gavin Fletcher as the project manager for the forthcoming “Sustainable Harborough Challenge”, as a former member of Transition Leicester we are confident that Gavin will understand the core drivers of the project as originally envisaged by the Transition Volunteers who have invested hundreds of hours in this bid.

Below is the RCC branded press release:

We are delighted to announce to partners the appointment of Gavin Fletcher as the Project Manager for the Big Lottery £1m Sustainable Harborough Challenge.

Gavin will join the RCC on 2nd January 2013 and will initially be based at Community House, 133 Loughborough Road, Leicester,  until office premises for the Sustainable Harborough Challenge are identified and secured in Market Harborough when further appointments to the project will be made.

Gavin is currently Land and Biodiversity Team Manager at Groundwork where he has gained extensive experience of biodiversity and land projects and working with community and corporate partnerships.

He has managed a team working on planting community orchards and allotments as well as broader growing projects, sustainability and biodiversity. In addition he has experience of managing the Eco House in Leicester which is run as an inspirational community hub for those who want to improve the sustainability of their lives. Gavin has extensive experience of working with volunteers as well as managing a team of 7 paid staff who between them deliver 8 projects.

Gavin was chosen from a very strong field of applicants and clearly has the right experience to manage this exciting project on behalf of the many partners and the people of Harborough. We are delighted that he will be bringing with him such wide ranging experience and enthusiasm for sustainability.

Gavin’s appointment was the unanimous decision of the partnership interview panel which consisted of Jeremy Prescott (RCC Chief Executive) Diana Cook (RCC Community Engagement Manager) Oliver Savage (Climate Action, Leicestershire County Council)  Daniel Curtis (Environment Agency) and Sarah Clarke (observer on behalf of Transition Town Market Harborough)

When asked Gavin for a quote he said:

I can’t wait to meet all the people who have put so much effort into the sustainability of Market Harborough and securing this funding so far, and working with them on this exciting project to show what can be done when people come together with a common purpose supported by lottery funding.

Whilst I have been working in sustainability and conservation for many years, this project brings all of my interests together into a project that could show the way forward for many towns in Britain.”

Please feel free to circulate the above information through your networks but please always use the Big Lottery logo (copy attached)

We will soon be arranging a partners meeting and will be  providing further details shortly.

Best wishes

Diana (RCC Leicestershire & Rutland)

Success In Big Lottery Bid For Sustainable Harborough Challenge

Success...(l to r) Chair of transition Harborough Brian Davis, group member Sarah Clarke, executive director of Seven locks Housing Deborah Bennett and committee member Gillian Baver Stock

The TRANSITION HARBOROUGH group are partners in a successful bid that has secured £1 million to transform the town into a flagship for green projects across the region.

The Rural Community Council (Leicestershire & Rutland)’s Sustainable Harborough Challenge is among 12 successful community schemes across England, awarded under the Big Lottery Fund’s Communities Living Sustainably programme, it has been announced.

The cash will allow Sustainable Harborough Challenge to deploy a wide range of energy saving activities, such as retro-fitting of water saving devices, a demonstration EcoHouse to monitor energy at street level, and a green deal energy retro fit company and an energy services company to expand renewable energy generation.

Money will be used to promote resilience and self-reliance through the recruitment of energy champions such as water champions providing advice on the many ways to save and re use water for garden and household utilities.

The project will even set up an enterprise for Harborough to have its own currency for visitors to spend in and around the town.

The project will also develop a self-sustaining food growing enterprise including a local food hub, community food growing ventures including cultivation of orchards, and a virtual market place for local food and suppliers.

The scheme will develop a green burial site in local woodland and will work to protect local bio diversity by maintaining and enhancing natural habitats, planting wild flowers and plants that attract bees and a variety of insects.

Encouraging shared learning for people of all ages, the scheme will provide community education, including an Eco Hub, and Eco Schools to give talks, stage events and provide training.

What do you think? What would you spend the £1m on? Have your say on this story by registering to make comments.

Sustainable Harborough Challenge will work in partnership with ten organisations including Leicestershire County Council, De Montfort University, Environment Agency, Transition Town Market Harborough, Seven Locks Housing, and Severn Trent Water.

Project manager Diana Cook said: “ We are delighted to be partnering with Transition Town Market Harborough and also Leicestershire County Council, the Environment Agency and De Montfort University.

“We want to challeneg everyone in Market Harborough to think and act in more sustainable ways. That includes residents businesses and visitors.

“We want the community to be involved so that they can plan for the future of where they live and will encourage everyone to get involved.

“It’s a great opportunity for Harborough to become the flagship sustainable town that helps other towns across the region to become more sustainable.”

Supporting the groups each step of the way will be a partnership, led by Groundwork UK and including BRE, Federation of City Farms, Energy Savings Trust and nef. It will offer advice and guidance and also establish a learning support network to capture and share learning with other communities and inform the future development of investments of BIG’s Sustainable and Resilient Communities strategy. (www.communitieslivingsustainably.org.uk)

The Big Lottery Fund’s Communities Living Sustainably programme aims to inspire people to adapt the way they live and work and connect together to reap financial, environmental and health gains.

Mick McGrath, Big Lottery Fund head for the region, said: “When we first launched this initiative at the end of last year, we wanted to ignite the imagination of communities across the East Midlands to think up innovative ways to make sustainable living like second nature, while also addressing the vital need to help the region’s vulnerable reduce their costs and improve their quality of life.

“With adverse weather affecting crops globally – which is likely to cause an increase in food prices in UK supermarkets- and with fuel bills predicted to rise this winter, now is the time to encourage people to take small steps towards sustainable living at a local level which will help people cope with these added pressures during the recession.”

Aside

26/3/2012 On Friday the third in a series of four BIG events was held to update the 30 communities that have got through the first competitive round of the “Communities Living Sustainably” fund. It was hoped that by the end … Continue reading

Communities Living Sustainably submission is invited to bid

6/3/2012

Hi all,

Well after over a hundred hours of volunteer time by members of Transition Harborough and volunteers from VASL and Welland Park Community College our bid Expression of Interest has gone through to the second round. We hear that 217 communities applied and the shortlist, of which we are one of 30 communities to go through.

We now have just over three months in which to prepare a fully worked up project proposal to get through to the main funding of upto £1 million.

Here is the press release from our partner the Rural Community Council.

Darren

Read the Big Lottery press release here with the list of the 29 other communities selected.

Big Lottery Funding Celebration

The Rural Community Council and Transition Harborough are celebrating their successful joint bid to the Communities Living Sustainably Fund from the Big Lottery.

The two organisations in partnership with Severn Trent Water, Leicestershire County Council, Seven Locks Housing, Voluntary Action South Leicestershire and Welland Park Community College have been granted £10,000 to work in partnership with local people, councils, schools, businesses, and voluntary groups to draw up detailed plans for how their community can become greener with a chance to gain a further £1m to deliver their project ideas.

Fuel poverty, rising food prices and scarce resources are just some of the issues in the sights of BIG’s Communities Living Sustainably programme which aims to inspire people to adapt the way they live, work and connect together to reap financial, environmental and health gains.

Rural Community Council (Leicestershire and Rutland) is one of only 30 organisations chosen across the country to work with partners in Market Harborough to develop plans to build energy efficient homes, retro fitting for housing association properties, training people in energy and monetary efficiency, promoting green roofs for schools and businesses, growing and sharing food locally water saving and promotion of local crafts.

Later in the year, ten of the 30 schemes will be chosen to receive up to £1 million to deliver their ideas. The learning gained from the ten funded projects over a five-year period will be shared with other communities in England to inform and influence others on how communities can become more sustainable.

Mick McGrath, Big Lottery Fund Head of Region for East Mildands, said: “We want to support local communities to make greener choices to improve their quality of life and help them to become resilient to the changing environment. The small steps being taken by these projects will have a big impact and will hopefully spark a change in behaviour that makes sustainable living second nature to us all.”

To help them achieve their goals, a partnership led by Groundwork UK and including BRE, Federation of City Farms, Energy Savings Trust and nef has been appointed to deliver support, advice and guidance to the community partnerships. They will also establish a learning support network to capture and share learning with other communities and to inform the future development of investments in BIG’s Sustainable and Resilient Communities strategy. (www.communitieslivingsustainably.org.uk)

Diana Cook from the Rural Community Council said ‘This is an exciting project and a great opportunity to reinforce the work of the RCC Communities Cutting Carbon Project and further enhance great partnership working with the community in Harborough. The experience of partners and enthusiasm of the community will drive the project towards its £1m goal’

Editors Notes

Communities Living Sustainably is part of the Big Lottery Fund’s £50m Sustainable and Resilient Communities strategy that aims to encourage behaviour change amongst individuals and communities so they can cope better with the environmental, economic and social impacts of a changing climate. Vulnerable people, including those on low-incomes or older people, are less likely to cope with the negative effects of climate change such as floods and heat waves or severe cold weather.

For more information on the Big Lottery

Big Lottery Fund Press Office: 020 7211 1888 Out of hours media contact: 07867 500 572 Full details of the Big Lottery Fund programmes and grant awards are available on the website: www.biglotteryfund.org.uk

The Rural Community Council (Leicestershire & Rutland) is a charity that works to support communities in rural areas to undertake projects that enhance the quality of life. To this end we are involved with a wide range of projects and issues, all of which are becoming of increasing importance.

For more information on the local project contact Diana Cook 0116 2689706 dcook@ruralcc.org.uk

Communities Living Sustainably EOI submitted

1/3/2012

Well the Transition Team have been busy Beavering away with the help of some bid partners to put together an aspirational road plan for Social Enterprise within our Community of Market Harborough.

 

The Big Lottery fund called the “Communities Living Sustainably” is for upto £1 million of revenue funding for five years to get social Enterprises started to undertake Climate Change mitigation and adaptation activities. 30 communities will go through to a detailed bid stage and from there only 10 communities will be awarded the final funding.

 

The bid has been posted and all we have to do now is wait until the 6th of March to find out if we are through to the second round. Below are some of the key elements to our bid, enjoy and we welcome your comments.

 

10. What experience do you and your partners have of working with your local community, residents and tenants? (150 words/1,000 characters)

 

The RCC specialises in community consultation and support for community organisations in rural Leicestershire. It has a proven track record of project development and management and hosts several projects at its Leicester office. It also brings specialist experience of community engagement on sustainability issues, through running the Communities Cutting Carbon project, providing a hub of support for grassroots environmental groups (incorporating training and project development support) and recent work to train community energy champions.

 

All other partners have experience of working with our local community and have a vast network of contacts and resources for undertaking project work. The project will involve Harboroughs leading Housing Association, the County Council, the local Volunteer Bureau, the Water Supply company, local community grassroots environmental action group and local schools

 

12. What are the specific climate change issues for your community that you want to address? (150 words/1000 characters)

 

Market Harborough is a typical historic market town, de-industrialised and with many modern estates. There are vulnerable groups of over 65’s, Blind and partially sighted, Learning disabilities,Young families, Unemployed and low wage earners

 

The population is over 20,000 and set to increase by 19% by 2016, with several new estates planned.

The carbon footprint and air pollution is increasing with resources and services such as water, sewage, firewood, and allotments under pressure. Local rivers, reservoirs and canals are low, with over abstraction of water at low flows. There is risk of drought and storm run off flooding, an issue for farmers, gardeners and the Town Centre.

 

Extremes of temperatures and rising fuel costs will impact on the residents of the large stock of aging housing.

Food is mainly from supermarkets; food security is an issue and therefore susceptibility to rising food prices.

 

13. What mitigation and adaptation activities would you run to meet our outcomes for this initiative? (150 words/1000 characters per outcome).

 

ENERGY:  ECO-HOUSE – Retrofit a rented property in partnership with Housing Association and local businesses:  providing a demonstration, information and training centre, showing monetary, water and energy saving benefits to changes in lifestyle, including: Low Cost Solid Wall Insulation; Use of well-seasoned wood fuel; Use of Local Green Energy; Water saving features. Green Deal & Energy Champions – independent energy advice from trained volunteers.

WATER: Promote Green-Roofs for commercial properties and schools. Promote Domestic water saving and storage.

COMMUNITY:  Produce Annual State Of The Town Report ; New Home Owner Booklet – Work with housing developers to produce an information booklet on living sustainably for householders.

FOOD: Locally produced food is sold at the Market; Growing and Sharing Project -collect and redistribute surplus locally grown fruit and vegetables; How to grow and store vegetables and fruit; Love Food Hate Waste Cookery Courses.

 

Outcome: Vulnerable people affected by the impacts of climate change are able to make greener choices to help improve their quality of life

 

ECO-HOUSE:House will provide basis for One Stop Shop for advice, information and training courses.  The house and creation of a garden are a live demonstration of techniques and technologies in our key areas of Energy,Water and Food. The house is adapted for sustainable disability living and requirements of vulnerable groups. House shows the benefits to people of changes in lifestyle, monetary and carbon savings.

 

COMMUNITY:Survey the Community to identify vulnerable households and liase with Neighbourhood Watch; Sustainability Care Champions :Trained volunteers at one stop shop or road shows and home visits give independent advice and assistance in key areas of energy, water and food; Independent Green Deal advice. Finance – Provide help with financial advice and grant applications, working with local building society and credit union who offer low cost loans

 

Outcome: Communities maximise the use of their assets and resources to create new economic opportunities and live more sustainably

 

ESTABLISH NEW COMMUNITY ENTERPRISES: Local Green Energy ESCO; Retro-fitting CIC for Green Deal installations; CIC for community Green Energy projects; CIC for fitting low water use toilets and water saving technologies

PROMOTE NEW BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES: Agro-forestry CSA for seasoned wood production for wood stoves, planting of willow & hazel for coppicing; Local food CSA, and creation of a market garden and orchard; Re-invigorate local market; Commissioning of locally sourced foods for schools,  hospitals and care homes; Local businesses to provide products and services required for energy saving, renewable energy installations, and water conservation in retrofits and new developments; Use of local businesses and services by initiating a Harborough Pound as local currency; Investigate commercial possibilities of the Canal.

TRAINING AND RE-SKILLING OPPORTUNITIES: Provide incentives to encourage local businesses to recruit and train staff in sustainable building and renovation skills; Develop training courses in rural skills, eg. woodland management, market gardening.

 

Outcome: Communities have a greater understanding of natural resources and more opportunities to use them efficiently

 

ECO-HOUSE: House and Garden is an information and training centre for energy,water and food, showing the benefits to people of changes in lifestyle, monetary and carbon savings.

CHAMPIONS: Trained volunteers go out and promote key elements of living sustainably – energy, water and food.

WATER : Public Education : Water and waste water in home & business; Local rivers, reservoirs and canal ; Wildlife conservation; House Builders are more aware of water conservation.

ENERGY: Public Education on energy saving and renewables; Schools Energy &Water Forum: building a schools network to understand and promote green initiatives in schools

FOOD: General Education –Low carbon agriculture and bio-diversity courses; Sustainable restaurant information shared; Growing your own fruit and vegetables; Love Food, Hate Waste cookery classes

COMMUNITY: Produce booklet on sustainable living; Annual state of town report; Elders share domestic and rural skills with the young.

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