Notes from London Transition Meeting - 1st April 2010

A gathering of around 45 London Transitioners converged at the South Bank Centre, representing over 23 groups, some well established, some who have only just been conceived. The main theme for the evening was Bioregions - an opportunity to explore the attributes which make each area physically, culturally and geographically distinct and for neighboring groups to connect.

After general introductions each of the 23 Transition Groups/Low carbon initiatives represented gave an example of something they as a group were proud of and something they found challenging

GroupSomething Proud ofSomething Challenging
Ham Everything we've done - Allotments, Environment enhancement, Hydropower Sustaining it all
KingstonRecognition in Green Guradian Award after 2 yrs Need for natural organisers
Crouch EndEngaging with existing groups & harnessing energy Inclusivity or diverse collective
WimbledonBig piazza event to reach out to non-green parts of the community People in London are v. busy & Steering group is limited by this
LeytonstoneGarden share Involving more multi-cultural communities
SydenhamSkills mix Breadth of groups & projects
Finsbury ParkGrowing projects Including non-middle class participants
BloomsburyGreat information Website (voted best!) Small size of group (full time work prevents devoting more time..)
Stoke NewingtonOpeness, friendliness Energy, time and moving forward
Primrose HillGrowing Skills course More people for Steering group
Belsizegenuinely enhancing community in our area through 19 sub groups/projects & inspiring setting up of new TT's in Camden Demanding/needy people, time, and reaching & engaging all parts of the community
Kentish Townof Starting (still very new!) Diversity
FinchleyStaging Greenacre Bicycle Rally 2008 & 2009 - over 160 cycles! Hard to properly engage Council officers
BrixtonBrixton Pound, Food Work & open space day Diversity & inclusion, Running the 'project support project' successfully
TootingCarnival happening on 4th July - to re-imagine Tooting with the whole community Setting up groups
Penge£800 capital growth grant Challenged by getting more reps from local community, esp, representing ethnic diversity
Kensal to KilburnHarvested 850kg fruit from local gardens Diversity

Other groups and representatives (whose comments we don't have recorded) are: HighCAN ( Highgate Climate Action Network), Sustainable Harringey, Kensington/Portabello TT, Transition Network, Fitzrovia TT, Hampstead TT

The final section of the evening was a Bioregion flavoured mapping section where each Transition initiative was asked to use this theme as a way to describe, explore and share the their unique local areas: What makes up the unique area and cultural identity of your part of London? What are many layers of your locality - physically, culturally and geographically?

The mapping (via text/drawing) took place on the floor of the South Bank Centre complete with representation of the River Thames and gave a great overview of the clusters of TT's appearing north, south, east and west and how we all fit together.

Lastly here are the general "Burning Questions & Ideas" collected during the evening:

  • How can we get more food growing spaces?
  • How to envision/develop realistic "foodsheds" supplying London?
  • How about all the North London groups lobbying English Heritage to turn the Kitchen Garden at Kenwood into allotments?
  • Where are climate change and peak oil in this election?
  • Do we want a cross London Transition Body to interface with the GLA?
  • What Business plans/Social enterprises have people used to raise funds?
  • En10enrgy in Muswell Hill are selling bonds to raise money for solar panels
  • How to deal with the freelancers "being used for free" problem?
  • Twinned towns?
  • London wide sub groups e.g. food, democracy, local economies, culture/futures
  • Grants available from Community Builders.org, Grass Roots funding, Triodos Bank, Co-op
  • Diversity - community engagement