Steering Group Meeting notes 15 December 2020

Some of us gathered on Zoom for a 2020 Transition Town Poole AGM.

Present: Gwyn Jones, Martin Price, Marylyn Cropley, Fizz Rice, Simon O’Connor, Andy Hadley, Cherry White, Harriet Stewart-Jones

Apologies: Kate Salter, Gary Finch, Manuela Boeckle, Vicky Ashley

We started with a go-round of activities we’ve been engaged in in the the past year or so:

Marylyn – has been working on getting her children’s book “Planet Earth Needs our Help” plus resources (https://planetearth.freeplay.me.uk/) into schools and creating themed Powerpoint presentations based on the content. Starting to plan events for next year.

Martin – mostly working through East Dorset Friends of the Earth on a suite of policy statements so that consistent responses to Council consultations can be made on transport, plastics, energy etc. Also joining in at Turner’s when health allows.

Andy – Questioning BCP Cabinet about the plan for a Dorset Nature Park, which mitigates rather than sorts the nitrate pollution in Poole Harbour at source. Has been heavily involved with transport (Transforming Cities Fund and Active Travel, Low-Traffic Neighbourhoods etc.) both before and after change of administration. Impressed by the vision for Stour Valley Park (flood mitigation, public access etc.). Pros and cons of 5G internet to enable home working and reduce need to travel for work. Air quality monitoring (urban observatory https://urbanobservatory.ac.uk/).

Cherry – Has been living at parent’s former home in Parkstone while renovating and retrofitting it. Lots of insulation plus growing fruit and veg. Teaching flower arranging and introducing sustainable choices to people who might not’ve thought about whether there are alternatives to their floral foam and plastics etc. No Abundance activity was possible this year. The apple press was only hired out once.

Fizz – Has been appointed to the Dorset Local Nature Partnership Board where she intends to focus on procurement (esp. food). Choices should be built on local relationships rather than multinationals. Also looking at food waste processing e.g. rocket composting within a mile of source, rather than shipping it off to somewhere else. Working with Emily Bradbury on new Poverty Truth Commission. Engaging with St Edwards School on travel survey and LTN based around school catchment. Working with Kate Salter on Living Streets Poole. Also interested in the campaigns opposing the incinerators at Hurn (Melissa Carrington) and Portland. Also involved in a pilot scheme in Bournemouth to introduce a reusable coffee cup design based on the Shrewsbury cup (http://www.shrewsburycup.co.uk/).

Simon – Working with B’mouth and Poole Greenpeace group on the ecological crisis. Campaigns on super trawlers. Food & Forest (reminding us of the impact that soya for animal feed has on the Amazon, for example). Although we live in Poole we are interconnected and share responsibility through our actions for environmental problems all around the globe. Also putting pressure on supermarkets who are heavily to blame for many of our impacts. Helped organize successful Sustainable Transport event in October (Mike Greene, Andy H and Martin P spoke). Also working on campaign against incineration (over time they generate demand for waste).

Gwyn – Mainly working with Bournemouth University Sustainable Entrepreneurs Forum (BUSEF), making useful contacts with powerful voices and ability to input into social impact investment (e.g. in the Dolphin Centre). Also working with Alix on re-organizing and governance of the The Power House and Harbour Ambition projects for Hamworthy. Good people but needs clarity of purpose. Also helping Sharon with Vita Nova (creativeperforming arts project working with former addicts) which has been badly hit by Covid-19. They are focusing on video production instead of live performance. Also starting work on a community energy project…

Harriet – Primarily focused on Turner’s this year but also got involved with the campaign to protect Talbot Heath and Highmoor Farm from development. Earth Care and Sustainability Centre proposal for Highmoor with small footprint so the green space can be saved (https://www.facebook.com/groups/458302160575). Getting more involved with climate and ecological emergency through Dorset CAN, Zero Carbon Dorset and XR. Also interested in nitrate pollution in Poole Harbour and the potential to use algae combined with shellfish farming. Also algae as food/fertilizer.

Gary – sent an email to say he’s “been concentrating on building resilience skills in the food and soil fertility areas”.

OPEN DISCUSSION

Marylyn introduced the idea of pushing the BCP Council to set up an online resource centre – a one-stop shop and database or events and organisations for anyone interested in finding out “what’s happening locally”. Gwyn mentioned SECA: https://seclimatealliance.uk/ Andy mentioned Community Action Network (formally CVS): https://www.can100.org/local-community-action

TRANSITION TOWN POOLE BUSINESS

Turner’s Nursery Community Orchard – Despite lack of social workdays the space has been very well used and valued through the summer by families and dog walkers. We applied for CIL money from the Council for a toolshed (half size shipping container plus tools) in Dec 2019. Were awarded the funds in May (thank you to cllrs), money arrived end Nov. £4250. Should be installed in the spring. The “Way through the Woods” circular path was cut through by the council in late summer. Proving popular. Pond was cleared with council digger in November. Strong core group with some new enthusiastic members – Tony Harris, Millie and Tanya. All good.

Essential Food Coop – continues. Orders to Essential Trading go in every 5-6 weeks (https://essential-trading.co.uk/). That’s several thousand pounds a year going towards ethical, organic produce rather than supermarkets.

Poole Fair Trade group – has been disbanded. The group decided that it was no longer effective use of time and energy to jump through the hoops needed to renew Poole’s Fair Trade status with the Fair Trade Foundation so we allowed it to lapse. Poole is still a fair trade town – it’s just not certified as such. We had about £500 left over which will be disbursed to any fair trade projects locally. Ideas welcome.

Abundance – as Cherry mentioned, we were unable to hold our annual Apple Day this year.

COMMUNICATIONS

Andy kindly funds the TTP website – as he has done for several years. This could be shared or we could apply for some funding? Content contributions are welcome. Email photos/writings to Andy or Harriet.

Facebook group is healthy with 240 members on TTP and 152 members in Friends of Turner’s group. We also have a TTP Twitter account (Harriet)

An email newsletter is possible but would take someone time to put together – and we don’t actually have a mailing list any more (post GDPR). Technology around these keeps changing. Facebook is easier.

FINANCES

We have £5475.82 in the bank. Of this, £4919.46 is allocated to Turner’s, £509.74 is the Fair Trade money, and £20.24 is Abundance. That leaves £26.38 for TTP. Our only annual cost is the Public Liability Insurance (paid up until Dec 2021).

That’s about it. It was suggested that we should do this again – have another Zoom in the new year. And have an in-person gathering as soon as virus and weather allow. Perhaps at Turner’s in the spring?

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