And the amazing good news is…

Dear Transitioners

We still can’t quite believe it.  As of last week, Monmouth is now represented by three long-standing Transition members – Emma Bryn elected for Wyesham, Catherine Fookes for Town, and Catrin Maby for Rockfield – yay!  But more good news – Steve Garratt who now represents Overmonnow has already joined us.  Congratulations to the four!  What a turnaround!  We so look forward to working with these new Councillors.  They are all planning to come and help at Beictown on 26 June, so if you haven’t met Emma, Catherine, Catrin or Steve, this is your opportunity. 

And more amazing news, this time on the Monmouth Community Fridge.  Over the 18 months since it opened, the dedicated team of 50+ who collect food from the supermarkets each evening and open the Fridge to customers the following day have saved an astonishing 42 tons of food and 4,800 bunches of flowers from going to waste.  Just imagine the carbon footprint of producing this mountain – including a lot of meat and fish – only to throw it away and incur a further carbon footprint in its disposal.  Our grateful thanks to the Fridge team, and to the 12,000+ customers who have put the food and flowers to good use.

Now for a couple of requests.  At the Bee Festival in early July we will be having a plant swap/sale and we need plants – so if you have any to spare, please keep them for us.  Stuff from other people’s gardens always does well and is much appreciated.  And we also need helpers at our stalls for the Wye Valley River Festival, Beictown, the Bee Festival and Wye July.  Please let me know of your availability – there are a lot of hours to cover and every hour you can spare would be a great help.  Details of these events are below.

So here are those diary dates when we hope to see you …..

ACE Monmouth Meeting:  Tuesday 24 May, 7.30 at St James Community Hall, Wyesham NP25 3NE – come and hear about the new ACE identity and plans for the coming months including a little Festival at the end of September

Wye Valley River Festival:  Monmouth Mischief Day, Saturday 28 May from 11 till 5 in Agincourt Square, Monnow Street and at Monnow Bridge for a day of family-friendly entertainment, performance, music and merriment with the Bicycle Bistro, the Pif-Paf Theatre Company, All At Sea with Acrojou and more ….  We will have a stall on the green near the Old Monnow Bridge

Transition Monmouth Members’ Meeting:  Tuesday 14 June, 7.30 – more details soon

Repair Café:  Sunday 19 June, 2 till 4 at St James Community Hall, Wyesham NP25 3NE – note the different venue.  Bring your electrical, mechanical, sewing etc repairs and get them sorted – and you will also be offered a cuppa!  However, help on the day is always needed so please let us know if you can help with admin, repairs or catering – repairmonmouth@gmail.com

Beictown:  Sunday 26 June, starting with the Vintage Ride at 10am from the Old Monnow Bridge – get out your old tweeds, hats and dresses!  But also bring along your bikes for repairs, maintenance and security labelling, and bring along the family for there will surely be fun to be had

Bee Festival: 

Saturday 2 July, 10 till 4:  We will have Open Garden at the Kitchen Garden and wildflower meadow outside Monmouth Comprehensive School with a plant and book stall – all contributions appreciated

Sunday 3 July:  A huge range of activities on Chippy and in the Nelson Garden on the Sunday.  It was brilliant last year and the plan is for an even better event in 2022.  We will be there with our plants and books

Wye July:  Sunday 10 July, 11 till 3:We will be joining Friends of the Lower Wye and will have a stand at their event on the green near the Old Monnow Bridge

We look forward to seeing you all soon!

Time – where art thou? – meeting on Tuesday

Dear Transitioners

Where has this last month gone?  Ah, yes – we’ve been having a load of fun! 

The Repair Café has resumed monthly events – next one this Sunday 10 April, Benthyg has opened its doors and is in the business of lending a raft of equipment each Friday – longer opening hours planned, we’ve had the inspirational teenager Poppy Stowell-Evans talk to us about her climate change campaigning – there was a good turnout from Monmouth Comprehensive School and the event was filmed by Dan Damon to be shown to a wider audience, and ACE Monmouth is now a fully constituted community group with a Monmouth Town Council Partnership Agreement.  There is much in the pipeline so please come to our meeting next Tuesday to share in the goings on:-

Members’ Meeting – Tuesday 12 April at 7.30pm by Zoom, to discuss our collaboration with ACE Monmouth, involvement in the Community Orchard, banners/feathers, and to take forward our planned events.  Here is your invite – the agenda and notes of our last meeting are below the signature line – please join us!

Topic: Transition Monmouth – April Meeting
Time: Apr 12, 2022 07:30 PM London
Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84469908550?pwd=SkEzei9SZGtVU0R4dndwNjNjZ1ZkQT09
Meeting ID: 844 6990 8550
Passcode: 424805

End Sewage Pollution Day of Protest:  Saturday 23 April – further details nearer the time on our Facebook page

ACE Members’ Meeting:  Tuesday 26 April at 7.30pmto discuss how the group will move forward – events, website, relationship with other groups etc.  The officers elected at the AGM are Claudia Blair (Chair), Haydn Cullen-Jones (Secretary/Admin), Charles Emes (Treasurer) and Cherry Taylor (Marketing) – a great, experienced and talented team.  Please come and join in!

Hustings for the County Council elections:  Friday 29 April, 6.30 to 9pm at Bridges Community Centre.  Probably the only opportunity for you to hear all the candidates for the Monmouth wards in action.  After the event with Poppy Stowell-Evans there will surely be questions to which you want to know the answers.  If you have a question, please submit to Haydn Cullen-Jones – haydncj@hotmail.com

Rewilding – Fad or the Future:  Wednesday 11 May, 7pm at Monmouth Priory:  Speakers:  Our very own Cherry Taylor on The Future is Now, and Gary Yeomans on A Fad – based on his lifetime of farming experience;  his farm with a dairy goat herd is part of the Welsh Government whole farm management scheme

Repair Café:  Sunday 15 May, 2pm to 4pm at Rockfield Park Community Centre to get your stuff repaired

Farmers Event with Peter Fox AM on his Sustainable Farming Private Members Bill:  Thursday 19 May:  Peter Fox and other local farmers – to be confirmed

Orchard Pruning Event:  One Sunday in May to prune the stoned fruit trees and take a further look at other maintenance issues

Wye Valley River Festival:  Saturday 28 May is the big day in Monmouth though the Festival runs from Friday 27 May to Sunday 5 June – more details as they emerge

Beictown:  Sunday 26 June – more details nearer the time

Bee Festival:  Saturday/Sunday 2/3 July:  Open Gardens and more on the Saturday and a huge range of activities on Chippy and in the Nelson Garden on the Sunday.  It was brilliant last year and the plan is for an even better event in 2022

Wye July:  Sunday 10 July:  We will be joining Friends of the Lower Wye and will have a stand at their event on the green by Blestium Street car park

We look forward to seeing you all soon!

Exciting times!

Dear Transitioners

Exciting times!  We had a great pruning session at our Community Orchard last Sunday and it’s looking very lovely, Monmouth Town Council is setting up a partnership agreement with ACE Monmouth for Action on the Climate Emergency, the snowdrops and hellebores are out, the days are getting noticeably longer, and there is much else on its way including, for a start:-

A major Seed/Plant Swap and Potato Day next Saturday, 19 February, from 10 till noon at Bridges Community Centre.  The Heritage Seed Library will be there along with Transition Monmouth, ACE Monmouth, Tools for Self Reliance, and Wye Weight will be providing very delicious refreshments.  Please bring along your saved seed, bought seed, plants, bulbs to swap – but please come even if you have nothing to swap – donations very welcome! 

Tools for Self Reliance will have their beautifully refurbished tools and will also be blade sharpening – so bring those tools along that need a bit of TLC.  Donations of your old tools are always welcome.  They will be refurbished and put to good use.  Manual sewing machines are particularly valuable – a refurbished sewing machine can be a life changer for an African family.

Please contact vivienmitchell@yahoo.co.uk or phone 01600 715065 if you can help on the day.  If you have seeds or plants that you would like to donate but can’t attend on the day, you can drop them off at The Barn, The Burgage, NP25 3DP earlier in the week

Benthyg – The Library of Things with tools and equipment for you to borrow (rather than buy) is at an advanced stage of test runs including a computer system that links the Monmouth Benthyg with others in the county and further afield in Wales.  Opening likely on Friday 25 February but we will firm up on this

One Planet Development – Paul Trotter will repeat the presentation he gave at the Climate Future Festival on the One Planet Development that he and Mel are hoping will become a reality later this year at Trecastle Wood – probably early March

Members’ Meeting – Tuesday 15 March at 7.30pm by Zoom, to take forward our various events – further details in due course

Repair Café – Sunday 20 March, 2pm to 4pm at Rockfield Community Centre:  Yes, at last, a real, live Repair Café event for you to bring your broken items and learn how to repair them.  But we need more repairers!  Prior to the event we would very much like to hear from you if you would like to be a repairer, what skills you can offer (what type of repairs, admin, catering) and if you would be available to undertake repairs on the day.  There will be an opportunity prior to the event to discuss any queries or concerns with seasoned repairers

Poppy Stowell (Wales Young Climate Ambassador) event:  Last week in March hopefully at Monmouth Comprehensive School with input from young people and an invitation for them to submit their questions to the Hustings event.  We feel it particularly important to involve young people as, for the first time, those aged 16 and 17 have the vote!  And yes, further details just as soon as we have them

Hustings for the County Council elections:  Friday 29 April, 6.30 to 9pm at Bridges Community Centre.  Probably the only opportunity for you to hear all the candidates for the Monmouth wards in action

Farmers Event with Peter Fox AM on his Sustainable Farming Private Members Bill:  Mid-May:  Peter Fox and other local farmers

Watch this space – more details nearer the time for these and other happenings.  And please, if you are able to volunteer to help with any of our events, contact vivienmitchell@yahoo.co.uk or phone 01600 715065.  The more volunteers we have, the more we can achieve together!

Something a little different

Dear Transitioners

We hope your Christmas goes as planned – and thereafter you might like something a little different – blow the cobwebs away, get out in the fresh air, get some exercise, and help to improve our environment.  A few dates:-

Wednesday 22 December, 9.30am:  There is the possibility of a 0.25 acre plot (previously planted as an orchard) being gifted for community use.  It runs between Redbrook Road A466 and the Boys’ School playing field in Wyesham.  Meet beside the ‘road speed indicator’ for an on-site discussion of the way forward.  We would particularly appreciate involvement from anyone with a working knowledge of land transactions

Tuesday 28 December, 10am:  Planting whips in Vauxhall Fields to thicken hedgerows and enhance tree cover.  Please bring a spade, your enthusiasm, children and dogs.  Meet behind Vauxhall House (the yellow house in the middle of Vauxhall Fields (What Three Words: flickers, grins, left).  If the weather is too bad or it takes longer than expected, the alternative date is Wednesday 29 December, 10am

Friday 31 December, 11am:  Raking the wildflower meadow at Monmouth Comprehensive School:  MCC have done a ‘cut and remove’ but there is a lot of vegetation on the ground that needs clearing to expose the soil for new wildflowers to grow so please bring a rake, more enthusiasm and children (probably not a good place for dogs).  We will also have wildflowers to plant – ox-eye daisies, marjoram and pilosella – so please bring a trowel, hand fork or spade.  Meet at the bike sheds adjacent to the school’s Visitor Car Park on Old Dixton Road

Sunday 2 January, 11am:  More raking and more planting of wildflowers – same details as for Friday 31 December.  If you would like to come on any other day, please let me know – everyone is welcome, any time

We look forward to seeing many of you!

For the New Year we have much planned – orchard pruning and seed swap events in February (and again later in the year), monthly discussion and awareness raising events, Hustings in April prior to the Town Council and County Council elections in May – with much involvement from the secondary schools as 16-year-olds have a vote for the first time, apple pressings and a second Climate Future Festival in the autumn.  There will also be regular Green Grow/Green Spaces working parties as we have over 20 sites around Monmouth where, over the years, we have already undertaken planting and maintenance is needed, or where there are plans for new plantings.

Watch this space – more details nearer the time for each of these happenings. 

One last thing:  You might like to write a letter of support for a New Planet planning application at Trecastle Wood.  You can see the project documents and make a comment by 28 December using the link:

DM/2021/01823 | Change of use from agricultural to One Planet development. | Land At Trecastle Wood Penyclawdd NP25 4BW (monmouthshire.gov.uk).  If there is a problem with that link you can search for it using the application reference:  DM/2021/01823.  The project involves sustainably reducing our carbon footprint and producing low carbon food for the community while increasing biodiversity.  Your support would be greatly appreciated.

It just leaves it for me to say that we hope you have a good break over the Christmas period and that we see you all in 2022 when things must surely be better.  We have learned a great deal on how to operate despite the restrictions of Covid-19 and we will have much for you to enjoy in the coming year.  Above all, take care!

Vivien Mitchell

2022 here we come

Dear Transitioners

At our last meeting we talked about our response to COP26 and determined to be ever more active and take advantage of the increased awareness of the Climate Emergency.  Now we want to harden up on our ideas and aspirations so please come to our meeting on Tuesday so that together we can make a start on a calendar of events for us for 2022.

Transition Monmouth is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
Topic: Transition Monmouth – December Meeting
Time: Dec 14, 2021 07:30 PM London
Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85879431548?pwd=NjcyNDNNcFNvb1JXMm9jZ0VpRFduQT09
Meeting ID: 858 7943 1548
Passcode: 957505

The agenda (and notes of our last meeting) are included below.  We look forward to seeing you!

Vivien Mitchell

Agenda:  Members’ Meeting via Zoom

Tuesday 14 December 2021, 7.30pm

Introductions

Apologies for absence

Note taker

Notes of the last meeting (copied below) and matters arising

Diary of Events for 2022:  Over the past few weeks we have come up with a range of activities / events that we would like to undertake in the coming year.  Now is the time to harden up on these ideas, get some commitments and put some dates in the diary for:-

  • Monthly discussion or other events
  • Involvement with schools – especially the secondary schools in the run up to the local elections in May
  • Hustings in April
  • Engage with sports clubs, gardening groups etc
  • Orchard pruning events in February and June
  • Awareness raising events similar to our COP26 gig in November
  • Swap shops for seeds/plants/produce in Spring and Autumn;  we have just signed up to a Seed Swap organised by Wye Weight at Bridges on Saturday 19 February
  • Apple pressing events in September and October

Green Grow/Green Spaces – the way forward

Benthyg/Repair Café update

Any Other Business

Date of Next Meeting

9pm – close of formal meeting – now it’s time to chat ……..

NOTES

Transition Monmouth Members’ Meeting

23 November 2021 at 7.30pm via Zoom

Present:  Bryan Miller, Claudia Blair, Waltraud Engelfield, Vivien Mitchell, Simon Durrant, Clare Catto, Charles Emes, Barbara Cotterill, Richard Cotterill, Cherry Taylor, Haydn Cullen-Jones

Apologies:  Kelly Jackson-Graham, Mary Boase, Beccy McDonald-Lofts, Janine Amos

Note taker:  Simon Durrant

COP26 – our reaction and what do we do now?

There was general agreement that while it increased awareness, the outcome of COP26 was disappointing but our response must be to redouble our efforts in engaging more people.  To this end:-

  • The Labour/Plaid Cymru pact is useful and the Welsh Government Climate Minister is very passionate
  • A regular monthly discussion or other event would help to engage more people with a variety of topics and speakers such as Poppy Stowell-Evans – Chair of the Welsh Youth Climate Ambassadors, and Peter Fox – our AM and an organic farmer
  • Topics should include local issues such as the state of our rivers and flooding
  • We felt our COP26 event was good for engaging with passers-by – and very useful to have the ’18 ideas on how to combat climate change’ leaflet to hand out.  There is enthusiasm to hold similar events every three months or so
  • For the County and Local elections in May we need to get the schools involved especially as 16 year-olds now have the vote.  A hustings, with students submitting the questions (and perhaps also help in the organising) would be good, and the theatre at the Comprehensive would be a good venue
  • We should also engage with the football, rugby and other sports clubs – also gardening groups – Cherry to talk to the National Gardening Scheme
  • The Rapid Transition Alliance has much evidence-based material to draw on
  • George Monbiot talks about a 25% tipping point to get a cascade resulting in real change.  In Monmouth we have probably reached 20%

Benthyg (Library of Things) and the Repair Café

Bryan reported that a training day was held last week with about 12 present and the number of volunteers is growing.  They are specifically looking for a volunteer to do social media.  Benthyg now has a bank account and card reader, and all items are now listed on the software.  Things are looking good for the venture to open shortly.  Laura McCartney is keen to include a Library of Baby Things especially as NCT no longer operates in Monmouth.  Members were reminded that should they need a large number of, for example, gazebos, there has to be adequate notice in order to obtain additional numbers from other Benthygs.  Additional storage in one of the Stables units is under consideration for large items.

It is likely that there will be a merger of some sort with the Repair Café, with the Benthyg premises being used to accept and return items, though community centres might still be used.  Repair Café members are keen to staff Benthyg during its opening hours.

Green Grow/Green Spaces

Green Grow (Transition Monmouth) and Green Spaces (ACE Monmouth) work on the same projects and have two separate groups is probably not the best way to operate effectively.  Claudia described the different ways in which Green Spaces, or an amalgamated group, could work with the Town Council and how funding could be accessed.  The matter will be further discussed at the Green Spaces meeting on Thursday and the ACE Steering Group meeting next Sunday, with a report back to the next Transition meeting

Any Other Business

  • Haydn undertook to ask Peter Fox to attend a Transition meeting to talking to us about the Food and Farming Bill, water and other issues.  This would be a good opportunity for us to engage with the agricultural community and we should encourage wild-life friendly farmers to come along
  • Consideration should be given to using the Bridges electric van for our Community Fridge

Date of next meeting:  Tuesday 14 December via Zoom