What is a Transition Town?
Given that a lot of new people have joined our mailing list, we thought it would be useful to explain/remind what Transition is all about, and in turn, hopefully garner more interest in contributing to initiatives. We really DO need more input and support from the community to make it viable.
Taken from ‘The Essential Guide to Doing Transition’
Transition is a movement that has been growing since 2005. It is about communities stepping up to address the big challenges they face by starting local. By coming together, they are able to create solutions together. They seek to nurture a caring culture, one focused on connection with self, others and nature. They are reclaiming the economy, sparking entrepreneurship, reimagining work, reskilling themselves and weaving webs of connection and support. Courageous conversations are being had; extraordinary change is unfolding. It's an approach that has spread to over 50 countries, in thousands of groups: in towns, villages, cities, universities, schools. Telling inspiring stories helps the movement grow.
Why do people get involved?
People get involved with Transition for all sorts of reasons:
• To get to know their neighbours
• To feel that they are making a difference in the world, both now, and for future generations
• To overcome the sense of disconnection they feel from self, others and from the nature around them because the world's huge challenges feel more manageable if addressed at the local scale
• To catalyse all manner of new projects, enterprises and investment opportunities
• To learn new skills
• To feel like they are creating a more life-enhancing story for their place
• To feel connected to other people, to the natural world, and to something historic and exciting happening around them
• Because they feel it is "the right thing to do"
• Because they feel disenfranchised by politics and want to be able to take back a sense that they can influence the world around them
Head, Heart and Hands
‘Doing’ Transition successfully is about finding a balance between these three things:
The Head: we act on the basis of the best information and evidence available and apply our collective intelligence to find better ways of living.
The Heart: we work with compassion, valuing and paying attention to the emotional, psychological, relational and social aspects of the work we do.
The Hands: we turn our vision and ideas into a tangible reality, initiating practical projects and starting to build a new, healthy economy in the place we live.
So, our question to you Lichfield is ‘Are we achieving this?’
Does Transition add value to the community? What else can we be doing? Which existing groups could we be working with? How do we bring about more obvious change for good in our District? We would love to initiate discussion on these topics if there is appetite for it and if it will result in action. Take part in our poll HERE so we know whether to organise a gathering.
News and recent activities
Woodhouse Farm Celebrate 15 years
Andrew and Annemarie have been at the farm for 15 years this year. Some of you will remember what the space was like when they first took it on, and the complicated ownership issues! What an amazing job they have done though since 2008.
To mark the occasion they are creating a special photo book which future visitors can look at and follow the development of the business and the farm itself and would like contributions. Cast your minds back...Did you attend a cider day, volunteer or have a party or event here? Do you have stories to tell and photos they can share from the last 15 years? If you do, then email them to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you don't have them in electronic format or would like to tell your story rather than write it down, just let Annemarie know and she will arrange a convenient time.
Transition will be having a visit/tour there on Saturday 29th April, 10.00am. Come and join in and enjoy a free drink/cake on us!
Repair & Share Café
This initiative is going from strength to strength! Both the January and February Lichfield sessions had over 50 repair requests, which has kept the volunteer repairers busy from start to finish. The Burntwood one has now been running for a year and is not quite as busy as Lichfield yet so please do spread the word to Burntwood residents. Although not everything is repairable, it is just as important to get items checked over to see if it is viable. Generally, around 60% of items brought are repaired, with another 10-15% needing parts or further investigation. Great work repair team!
The sessions have also been used as a skill share opportunity, with Becky from Yarny Bees teaching the basics of crochet and Debbie from Protean Art making flowers from aluminium drinks cans for a community art project. More ‘learning’ opportunities to come.
The 17th June Lichfield Repair and Share Café (2-5pm) will become ‘Thrift Fest’, celebrating the ‘make do and mend’ mentality. The date falls at the end weekend of the Great Big Green Week and it seems fitting to show people other ways of saving money such as clothing upcycling, grow your own, making things from ‘scrap’, swapping/sharing, cooking on a budget and so on. More detail to follow but do save the date!
The next big idea to be explored is to create a ‘Library of Things’ for Lichfield if funding and a suitable space can be found. Anyone interested in helping with this then get in touch.
Lichfield District Council Consultation - Housing
Have your say on housing development in the District at the Lichfield District Design Code Workshop. Work has started on a new set of guidelines for housing development in the Lichfield District to ensure that future homes meet residents’ expectations for design, quality, beauty and sustainability. Workshops are taking place on 7th and 8th March, chaired by BDP, a build design consultancy, and representatives from Lichfield District Council and Staffordshire County Council. The sessions will focus on the design coding for Lichfield, Burntwood and local villages and provide an opportunity to discuss the existing character of the area, your likes and dislikes and suggest how the design code could enhance developments. If you have not received a personal invite to attend but would like to participate then email email@example.com for more information. We need to press for immediate zero carbon and sustainable infrastructure.
Sewage in our Waterways
The XR Tamworth & Lichfield Group in conjunction with Transition unveiled a ‘blue plaque’ at Speakers’ Corner in Lichfield to shine a light on Michael Fabricant, who on 20/10/21 voted to allow raw sewage to be dumped into local waterways. Similar initiatives took place across the country where MPs had voted in the same way. It is shocking to see how many had done this.
City Nature Challenge 2023
Started in 2016 as a competition between Los Angeles and San Francisco, the City Nature Challenge (CNC) has grown into an international event, motivating people around the world to find and document wildlife in their own cities. Run by the Community Science teams at the California Academy of Sciences and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (NHM), the CNC is an annual four-day global bioblitz at the end of April (April 28th - 1st May), where cities are in a collaboration-meets-friendly-competition to see what can be accomplished when we all work toward a common goal.
Over the 4 days, all wildlife observations made in the county of Staffordshire, not just our cities, will go towards our total where we will be competing with areas across the globe to see who can record the most species.
The Lichfield Wildlife Group are hoping to provide a Lichfield focus to the Staffordshire participation in this project, and they are planning to organise at least one training event to help people not familiar with iNaturalist (where observations need to be recorded) get started with the app. Please contact Lin Norbury for further details - firstname.lastname@example.org
Working with Staffs Wildlife Trust, who have provided the know-how and seeds, pupils from year 7 at the Cathedral School joined other volunteers in a special Forest School session. Seeds were planted along grassed areas along with south-side of Lichfield Cathedral. Grass around the Close will be left to grow longer. A laurel tree by Minster Pool has been removed to give the native trees and flora space and light in which to thrive. Plans are progressing for a hedge by the East Wall.
They are currently looking for volunteers to adopt and maintain some of the large flat gravestones in the Stowe Pool vicinity. Feedback is welcomed on the changes that are being made.
David Primrose from Lichfield Cathedral comments “In 2022 we achieved our Silver Eco Church Award and we are committed to ‘go for gold’ in the coming year. Our commitment at Lichfield Cathedral is to help make a positive impact on the environment for generations to come and the groundwork we are doing is just a small part of our work this year.”
Zero Emissions Flights
Recent news via the Birmingham Chamber on a collaboration at Birmingham Airport for hydrogen-powered air travel for short haul flights by as soon as 2025. Worth looking into!
Learning opportunities, inspiration and handy hints
Juliet Davenport, Founder of Good Energy has written a book for startup businesses with advice on being sustainable - an essential toolkit for the modern-day entrepreneur. More detail here.
Food and farming dilemmas. Find out more about plans for a way forward for the future of farming, on the Nature Friendly farming Network website. And the issue of disappearing food varieties in the UK which need urgently addressing.
Coastal erosion – not a topic that immediately concerns us as residents of Lichfield, being bang in the middle of the country! But we SHOULD be concerned for those people whose lives are being affected it. This map highlights the 21 English coastal communities most at risk of coastal erosion, which is accelerating because of the climate crisis.
‘Fashion Reimagined’ is in cinemas from 3rd March – a documentary about sustainable fashion designer Amy Powney (she runs the high-end Mother of Pearl label) and the other pioneering women who are leading the way with connected sustainable businesses.
Green spaces work
The WFEG (Whittington & Fisherwick Environmental group) Events Programme for 2023 is taking shape and they have some fantastic talks and walks planned.
Regular working parties - first Sunday of the month - are great opportunities to get involved and transform our local area as well as meet like-minded people. The next one is Sunday 5th March - please meet at Swan Meadow (off Burton Road before the Swan Bridge) at 10am. If you'd like to know more please email Lisa at email@example.com. The events in March focus on gardens and "rewilding" to encourage native plants and wildlife.
The Whittington village Open Gardens event takes place on 24th and 25th June. If you would like to open your garden but have not done so before or would like to know more before committing, please contact Clare Jansz via firstname.lastname@example.org.
St Michael’s Church in Lichfield will be running a churchyard nature day on Sat 1st April 10-4pm – talks on wildlife, herb and lichen walk, churchyard working party work, children’s activities and more. As their churchyards is one of the largest in the country then there is plenty to keep on top of!
Don’t forget to keep us posted on your events/activities so we can share!
Spotlight Spot - Missfit Creations
Although Missfit are not officially part of Transition, we thought we would introduce you to Debbie Murphy’s business and her fascinating story.
Based in Tamworth, Debbie provides an alternative to fast fashion by restoring and reworking second-hand and vintage clothing – anything from 1940s de-mob suits to 1970s psychedelia, to the present day.
The Energy & Bioproducts Research Institute at Aston University used her business as a case study relating to carbon emissions in the fashion industry - with a production of 4% of global carbon emissions and 920,000 tonnes of clothing sent to landfill annually, the clothing industry is a significant source of environmental concern. By analysing the recirculation of second-hand clothes alone, EBRI found Debbie’s current fashion collection has the potential to save the CO2 equivalent of three tonnes – equal in size to at least three semi-detached houses. Read the case study here.
As well as running her business, Debbie runs community sessions in Tamworth each month (The Mending Circle) to encourage repair of clothing or re-use of fabric.