It was the Annual General Meeting of Transition Town Berkhamsted (TTB), and so time to think to the coming year and what we plan to achieve. We are as always on the cusp of either collapsing due to burn out or on the verge of making that major breakthrough in getting a significant proportion of the people in Berkhamsted behind us.
In terms of practical achievements that will take us forward, there ought to be a few. There is the Community Growing Project where in return for volunteering with the local charity Sunnyside Rural Trust people have the use of a large polytunnel and surrounding ground to grow vegetables. With a partnership with the Town Council to make use of and improve currently unmanaged space we could potentially open this up and start something like Incredible Edible in Todmorden. This would sit alongside the transition-led Dacorum Local Food initiative, which is mapping out local food and making it more available and attractive for everyone in the area.
At the AGM we heard from TiK (Transition in Kings Langley), who have made some exciting steps forward in creating a limited company GUCE (Grand Union Community Energy) for the locally owned generation of renewable energy. They have done a quick survey of Berkhamsted and I am excited about the opportunity to build on what they have achieved and bring it here. There are plenty of potential sites, in particular schools such as Westfield and St Marys.
I’m quite keen to start up a series of competitions, at least among the members of TTB, for our own personal reductions in energy use, driving, consumption etc.
Alongside what we’re doing with our hands is what we are doing with our voices. There is the engaging of other groups and organisations in the town to find our common aims and to form a community. The third Building Community day is tomorrow, where we will be discussing the creation of a community centre and the development of the centre of the town to be a hub for people to enjoy. We will also be talking about a burgeoning initiative called My Compassionate Street, looking at bringing back neighbourly support for those that need it.
There are projects kicking off with the local secondary schools, Ashlyns and Berkhamsted School. Ashlyns are to start their own active sustainability group and are hosting high profile talks with TTB, one each term. We’ve got Ian Roberts (author of Energy Glut) lined up for 16 October, and Mark Stevenson (pragmatic optimist) for 5 Feb. Berkhamsted School has a massive Duke of Edinburgh scheme, and we will be chatting to the Year 9’s as they start out to enrole them in volunteering for TTB – in particular in setting up a series of films.
As for me, I have been re-elected Leader of TTB for a second annual term. I plan to complete the strategy and firm up the structure of the group as soon as possible – I want to start getting my hands dirty. I’ll be splitting my time between TTB, the Global Power Shift, my business, allotment and family.