Transitioning out of winter

Dear Transitioners

Surely this cold winter will end?  In the belief that it will, our minds are turning to our green spaces.  These have been a core Transition Monmouth activity starting in September 2009 with our, now nicely maturing, community orchard on Two River Meadow.  We have also planted woodland areas and hedges, and developed wildflower areas, pollinator gardens and community gardens.  These are all on public land with much of the maintenance undertaken by Nigel Leaworthy’s marvellous MCC green spaces team.

But – an eye still needs to be kept on their development and a bit of work undertaken on, for example, the No Dig community garden at Monmouth Comprehensive School, and I am getting too old and frail to continue to do this so – this is an appeal for someone to take over, please.  The various areas are well documented and I will of course help in any way I can, particularly admin.  Please let me know if you are interested in taking this on or would like more information – or phone 01600 715065.

We have our Members’ Meetingthis coming Tuesday, 14 March at 7.30 via Microsoft Teams to discuss Green Grow/Green Spaces, Friends of the Lower Wye, the website, future events, and anything else that you would like to talk about.  Please come and have your say:-

Join on your computer, mobile app or room device – CTRL + Click to follow link

Click here to join the meeting

Meeting ID: 386 880 605 451 – Passcode: fZj8kP

Before that we have our big annual pruning event – at our Community Orchard on Two River Meadow – Sunday 12 March from 2pm to 4pm – under the expert guidance and tuition of Helena Ronicle.  All welcome.  Please bring what pruning tools you have, including small hand saws but no steps or ladders.  And there will, of course, be cake!

A few more dates for your diaries:-

Saving the Rainforests – Monmouth’s Response:  Nicky James from Size of Wales – Thursday 30 March, 7pm at Bridges – an ACE Monmouth event – all welcome!

Waste – What Waste? – a community event about rubbish – sustainable fashion, seed swap, repair café etc – Saturday 1 April, 11am till 3pm at Llangrove Village Hall

Hydrogen Powered Life:  Prof Averil Macdonald – Monday 24 April, 7pm at Bridges – an ACE Monmouth event – all welcome!

Energy Savings in the Home:  Tuesday 16 May, 2.30pm at Bridges – a U3A event but non-members welcome for a small charge

Working Together – Saving the Wye:  Friends of the Lower Wye – Friday 19 May, 7pm at Bridges – participants to include both the Environment Agency and Natural Resources Wales

Lots of interesting stuff to save our precious planet – we look forward to seeing you!

Vivien Mitchell

January 2023

Dear Transitioners

As good as it is to have a break – hope you all had a good one over the Christmas period – it’s also reassuring to get back into harness and meet our Transition friends again. Our Community Fridge with its wonderful volunteers operated throughout (apart from the days the supermarkets were closed) and now Benthyg has reopened – every Friday and Monday from 1pm to 2pm, the next Repair Café will be held on Sunday 15 January from 2pm until 4.30, and our first Seed/Plant Swap will be held on Saturday 25 February, 10am at Bridges.
So yes – seeds, plants, organic vegetables, refurbished tools and more. Please bring along your surplus. You can also get your tools resharpened, and Tools for Self Reliance Cymru is always grateful for donations of unwanted tools for refurbishing – any tools – manual sewing machines are particularly valuable for sending to Africa where they provide a living to a family, but all sewing machines are very welcome and are put to good use. And yes, of course there will be refreshments!

Benthyg continues to expand with new items added regularly to the Library, and we are particularly delighted to announce that Baby Benthyg has been launched. Cloth nappy trial kits are now available – borrow sample kits and see how you get on with them before investing. Toys and other baby kit will be added shortly – keep an eye on the Benthyg Monmouth Facebook page.

But first we have our Members’ Meeting – this coming Tuesday, 10 January at 7.30 via Zoom.
Please come and have your say about our activities:-
Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 848 8381 4127
Passcode: Transition

We will look forward to seeing you!
Vivien Mitchell

AGENDA:  Transition Monmouth Members’ Meeting – 7.30 on Tuesday 10 January 2023 via Zoom

Apologies for absence
Note taker

Notes of the last meeting (copied below) and matters arising
 Seed/Plant/Tools/Books Swap – Saturday 25 February, 10am at Bridges
 Others
Pollution in the Wye and Usk
Green Spaces:
 Peter Morgan Community Orchard, Redbrook Road
 Monmouth Comprehensive School
 Welsh Government trees
Plastic Free Monmouth
Monmouth Community Fridge
Benthyg Monmouth
Any other business
Date of next meeting

NOTES:  Transition Monmouth Members’ Meeting – 13 December 2022 at 7.30 via Zoom

Present: Bryan Miller, Claudia Blair, Waltraud Engelfield, Vivien Mitchell, Charles Emes, Haydn Cullen-
Jones, Steve Garratt, Mary Boase, Charles Boase, Jem Jenkins-Jones, Martin Sweeney, Angela Jones
Apologies: Kelly Jackson-Graham, Catherine Haynes
Note taker: Vivien Mitchell
Pollution in the Wye and Usk: Continuing the discussion started at our last meeting by Martin Sweeney,
Angela Jones told us about the work that she was doing. 90% is environmental campaigning raising
awareness but she is struggling. In the past 12 months she has given 22 talks, had hundreds of leaflets
printed and distributed, produced artwork for schools and given numerous interviews. On the Usk she has
trained 40 volunteers and paid for the testing kits. It is gratifying to note that NRW has done a U-turn – in
its latest report it acknowledges that poultry units are a major cause of river pollution. However she feels
everyone wants a piece of her, and her business has suffered. She has also spent around £7,500 of her
own money in the past six months on her campaigning.
Bryan asked how we could help her. Steve Garratt said he would talk to Catherine Fookes and Catrin Maby.
Angela undertook to put together a list of her expenditure; TM could then try to apply for funding so she
could continue her work. She said she also needed help with admin; given an appropriate paragraph, we
agreed that we would advertise for her.
It was noted that the Symposium held on 25 November was extremely well attended; there are plans to
continue such discussions
Matters arising from notes of our last meeting:-
Orchard Management Plan: Bryan undertook to get a date from Helena Ronicle for a meeting – action:

ACE Christmas Gathering: Members were encouraged to attend
Peter Morgan Community Orchard: Haydn reported on progress and plans:-
 Conveyancing: Our solicitor is investigating a post on the Land Registry from John Bratton dated 27 October 2022. Graham is chasing his solicitor to find out why he was not informed and what it says. Hopefully this is the final hurdle
 Fencing: The contractor is standing by. He will clear one metre swathe once the final position is agreed
 Peter Crossley has been approached to quote for a shelter as part of an AONB funding bid. This might
also include a bench inserted in the fence
 A meeting with Helena Ronicle, Emma Bryn and Bryan is need to finalise the planting plan and advise
Mark Cleaver (MCC) of delivery date
 A plan of the fence, path, shelter and bench positions needs to be agreed; also location of litter bins,
information boards etc
Overmonnow Primary School: Martin asked members to note that this will be the location for a new
Welsh School
Unwanted WG trees: We have not heard what will happen to these. Action: Vivien to ask Clare Catto
how the scheme works and what is happening to surplus trees. Maybe we need to organise something
Any other business
Bryan has not been able to successfully link in with Joe Skidmore in order to register for the MCC Community
Account but undertook to sort something for the next meeting.
Date of next meeting: Tuesday 10 January 2023 – whatever happened to 2022?

December 2022

Dear Transitioners

COP27 came to a close with pledges and promises similar to those of COP26 but little progress on
limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees. However there was one victory – an agreement to set up a
fund in the next 12 months to provide finance to countries facing the worst climate impacts – a
demand that has been made for 30 years by countries in the global south. It is progress for Global
, but with a long road and many political battles ahead to ensure that this fund is indeed set
up and financed on an equitable basis.
And our year draws to a close – it is our AGM at 7.30pm on Tuesday! – where does the time go?
We will receive reports from our Chair, Bryan Miller, and Treasurer, Claudia Blair – and then we
will be electing officers for the year so – don’t be shy, give it a go – nominations please for:-

Deputy Chair

The agenda together with notes of the last AGM are below the signature line. This will be followed
by a general meeting, the business being limited to Matters Arising from our November meeting
and Any Other Business. We expect that Angela Jones, well known for her work to save our
rivers, will join us. The zoom link is:

Time: Dec 13, 2022 07:30 PM London
Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 857 4405 7287
Passcode: Transition

On a personal note: Last week I was presented with the High Sheriff’s Award for service to the
community. It was very exciting! – but it is all about you, our members, volunteers, supporters
and the community groups that we work with. My grateful thanks to you all for making Transition
Monmouth the amazing success that it is today – which is all the more reason to attend the AGM to
get the full flavour of our achievements during the past year. Bryan has started on his report and
tells me he is impressed!
We have just heard there will be a drop-in session at the Shire Hall on Thursday 15 December
from 2pm to 7pm as part of the consultation on the Revised Local Development Plan. Please
come and meet MCC Officers, see the latest, and have your say. Details are up on our Transition
Monmouth Chat Facebook page, or I can email them to you.
It just leaves it for me to say we hope you have a lovely break over the Christmas period and thrive
in good health, and with much energy, in the coming year!
Vivien Mitchell

AGENDA: Transition Monmouth AGM
7.30 on Tuesday 6 December via Zoom

Join Zoom Meeting

Apologies for absence
Note taker
Matters Arising from notes of the last AGM
Chair’s Report for the year
Treasurer’s Report
Election of Officers for the coming year:-
 Chair
 Deputy Chair
 Secretary/Admin
 Treasurer
Close of AGM – followed by a Members’ Meeting

NOTES: Transition Monmouth Annual General 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: Vivien Mitchell
Chair’s Report:
Bryan Miller briefly described the fantastic year we had despite the restrictions of Covid, taking forward our
amazing Community Fridge, numerous Green Grow projects – working with the ACE Green Spaces Group,
Plastic Free Monmouth, installing a new drinking fountain in Chippenham Park, apple pressing, managing the
Wyesham Community Woodland, and culminating with a high level of involvement with the Climate Future
Festival and an awareness raising event for COP26. Collaboration has been key together with involvement
and dedication from our ever growing band of members. The full report is posted on our website
Treasurer’s Report:
Claudia Blair reported that we had £23,000 in the Transition Monmouth account but most of this is
earmarked for specific projects, in particular Claypatch Woods and the Monmouth Community Fridge. There
is around £700 in the General Sub-account. The Swap Shop Sub-account has been closed and the monies
transferred to the Green Grow Sub-account.
Election of Officers:
Chair: Deputy Chair, Simon Durrant, called for nominations. Bryan Miller, proposed by Vivien Mitchell, seconded by Barbara Cotterill, was elected unopposed
Deputy Chair: Bryan Miller called for nominations. There were none and it was decided to leave the post
vacant pro tem
Treasurer: Bryan Miller called for nominations. Claudia Blair, proposed by Bryan Miller, seconded by
Charles Emes, was elected unopposed
Admin/Secretary: Bryan Miller called for nominations. Vivien Mitchell, proposed by Bryan Miller,
seconded by Haydn Cullen-Jones was elected unopposed. Waltraud Engelfield and Charles Emes offered to
be note takers
The meeting closed at 8pm and was followed by a Members’ Meeting
. . . . . . . . . .

NOTES: Transition Monmouth Members’ Meeting

8 November 2022 at 7.30 via Zoom

Present: Bryan Miller, Mary Boase, Vivien Mitchell, Haydn Cullen-Jones, Charles Emes, Kelly Jackson-
Graham, Waltraud Englefield, Mike Dunsbee, Steve Garratt, Catherine Fookes, Emma Bryn, Lisa Hicks
Apologies: Charles Boase, Catrin Maby, Janine Amos, Claudia Blair, Beccy MacDonald-Lofts
Note taker: Vivien Mitchell
Notes of the last meeting and matters arising
Local Development Plan: Since our last meeting the following statement has been issued:
Monmouthshire County Council has taken another step forward in developing its proposals for a Replacement Local Development Plan. The Council recently agreed to produce a new growth strategy and has now published those proposals for consideration by the Place Scrutiny Committee on 10 th November 2022. 
The new strategy aims to make provision for up to 2,200 new homes by 2033 in addition to the 3,700 homes already in the pipeline or completed since 2018.  On new site allocations, approximately a third of the new homes will be social housing for rent and another 17% will be affordable housing available at less than market price.  The Plan will also make provision for 6,240 jobs and will be accompanied by an Infrastructure Plan, updated Local Transport Plan and an Economic Development Strategy.
The Council has appraised all the sites which have been offered for development and the new strategy proposes three strategic sites for future housing. These sites will be:
 Abergavenny East – 500 homes together with employment, retail, leisure, education and community uses
 Caldicot East – 925 homes together with employment, retail and leisure uses
 Bayfield Chepstow – 145 homes
Cllr Paul Griffiths, Deputy Leader of Monmouthshire County Council, said: “These sites have been selected because they will add to the sustainability of existing settlements. Residents of these new homes will be well connected to existing town centres, schools and transport facilities. It is my ambition that the homes that are built on these sites will be zero carbon and built to the highest possible standards of design and construction. The Council will work with the Design Commission for Wales, housing developers, and everyone else who can work with us in making these developments the very best places to live – homes that are affordable, well
connected to local facilities and making a positive contribution to our environment. The next two years will be an exciting and creative journey as we ensure that the very best homes are built here in Monmouthshire – homes that will lead the way for every other development in the United Kingdom.”
The new Preferred Strategy will be reported to Council on 1 st December 2022 to seek agreement to commence public consultation. If agreed, this will run from 5 th December 2022 to 30 th January 2023. For more information visit  Latest News – Monmouthshire Mark Hand has provided us with the following update link: Agenda for Place Scrutiny Committee on Thursday, 10th November, 2022, 10.00 am ( (agenda item 7).  The main report and Appendix 2 are possibly the best parts to read.
Orchard Management Plan: Please let us know if you are interested in participating. Bryan will set a
date for a meeting with Helena Ronicle to discuss – action: Bryan
Skenfrith Flood Prevention Plan: Catrin Maby writes: MCC officers plan to set up local meetings to
update communities on a review of the last flood (MCC do a report on each one – available on website), and
plans for alleviation going forward. This will include Skenfrith and Monmouth – they will let me know as soon
as dates fixed. Essential for us to get NRW along at same time of course. We did have a proposed date late
Nov, but it looks like that may not work now.
Mandarin Stone Boundary: Charles Boase has spoken to Alma Small, the Mandarin Stone owner. They
have a planning application in for the car park area and talked about planting trees in tubs. I asked her
about planting a hedge around the site, but although she considered the idea, it sounded as there was quite
a lot for them to do on the site before they got to thinking about the hedge. So still work to do there. I will keep at it. She responded positively to the request for apples from the site and provided cooking apples to
our Fridge.
Monmouth Town Council: Bryan’s presentation on Transition Monmouth to the Full Council meeting on
Monday 24 October went well, with considerable interest from the Councillors. We can, he feels, look
forward to a closer relationship with the Town Council. Vivien did a follow-up email giving further
information on natural flood management and supermarket packaging.
Cost of Living Summit: Catherine Fookes thanked us for attending. Much useful information on local
activities has been summarised in a report which will be used by MCC to determine further actions – in
particular details of the various Warm Places where people can go in the winter months.
Pollution in the Wye and Usk: Martin Sweeney has been in contact with Angela Jones who, as part of
her will known publicity efforts on river pollution, has been funding water quality sampling kits – using these
in citizen science projects and awareness raising work with schools, as well as travelling to schools and
community groups to deliver assemblies and talks, paying for promotional literature, and liaising with media
organisations to raise the profile of the issue. Due to water quality issues, she has been unable to operate
her business, Swim Wild Wye. She is not a constituted group and hence is not eligible to apply for grant
funding. Would Transition help?
Mike Dunsbee praised Angela’s awareness raising activities. His group, Friends of the Lower Wye does little
of this but concentrates on working with the authorities to undertake improvements. He too is not a
constituted group and feels they don’t have the resources to do this, so again, they too would be interested
in Transition helping with their grant applications.
It is clear that the work of both groups is necessary, and yes, pending further discussions, Transition would
be happy to help.
Members were urged to attend the Symposium at Bridges on Friday 25 November with a wide range of
speakers to discuss the issue and the ways forward.
Green Grow/Green Spaces:
Name of the Group: When the two groups, from Transition and ACE respectively, merged, the name of
the new group was chosen as Monmouth Nature Spaces. This has not caught on. It was agreed that the
group be called Green Grow/Green Spaces
Peter Morgan Community Orchard: Much activity:-
 Conveyancing is proceeding, with the solicitors for both sides finally talking to each other
 Mr B, who claims rights over the property, has been arrested for trespass
 We have had notification that 50% of our grant funding from Heritage Lottery has been paid and we
have been given instructions on how to claim the remainder
 An AONB grant for a shelter and bench is being applied for
 We hope to plant the trees in the next couple of months. Emma to find out whether these will come
bare-rooted or in pots
Overmonnow Primary School: No further developments
Osbaston Primary School: Has been working with Size of Wales. An inaugural tree planting will take
place shortly with representatives from ACE and Transition invited
Monmouth Comprehensive School: Following a complaint from on of the neighbours, we have
undertaken to do some planting round the Phoenix Building. Cheryl Cummings has produced a Food for
Birds planting plan. The only viable way is for the MCC Grounds Maintenance team to undertake the work.
The total cost is likely to be around £1,200 for which we have applied to You Decide. We have also been
working on the removal of docks and thistles on the wildflower meadow and further prepping of the tree
nursery area. We look forward to our first tranche of saplings on 19 November.
Plastic Free Monmouth: Beccy (Chair) has been in touch with Steve Garratt with a view to meeting soon.
In the meantime, Beccy has continued to write articles for Living magazine to raise the profile of being more
eco conscious and going plastic free. She is also in early talks with MCC about possible opportunities and
funding support for running PF Business sessions across the county with the aim to cover Monmouth first.
These conversations have been happening as part of other conversations around the motion for Rivers and
Oceans that MCC has declared.
Community Fridge: Currently, the Fridge costs £430 a month, mainly rent and utilities. Costs continue to
rise while donations have fallen off so funding is a problem. Kelly reported that:-
 Monmouth Rotary have been helping out with funding in recent months
 The Fridge has obtained a grant of £1,000 from Neighbourly, the organisation that organises the
M+S collections

Funding of £3,000 has been applied for under the Town Council Community Grants scheme
 A funding application has been submitted to You Decide – members are being urged to vote – the
more votes, the more money
Period products, supplied free of charge by MCC, are being collected from Chepstow this week for
distribution via the Fridge and other channels.
We ran out of Zoom time so the meeting came to an abrupt end. We will be better organised next month!
Date of next meeting: Tuesday 6 December. Post meeting note: We weren’t after all better
organised and the meeting is now scheduled for Tuesday 13 December

November 2022

Dear Transitioners

Another email, but a brief one. We have two great projects that need funding, and we need your
vote – please!

We have the Community Fridge. An amazing band of volunteers collects food from the
supermarkets each evening, seven days a week – and the following day this food is available from
the Community Fridge at Bridges. It also gets distributed to Monnow Vale, the shelter, and
elsewhere, and is hugely appreciated. This is food that otherwise would go to landfill – about two
tons a month of it! But this costs, mainly rent and utilities – hence the need for funding.

Green Grow is the group that plants trees, hedges, develops wildflower meadows, etc for
biodiversity, pollinators, resilience, and natural flood management. We welcomed the rebuild of
Monmouth Comprehensive School but, inevitably, this resulted in the loss of much habitat so we
have worked on various planting projects – the Kitchen Garden, wildflower meadow, hedges and
have now started on wildflower areas and a ‘Food for Birds’ garden at the Phoenix Building. It all
costs – hence our request for this funding.
We have applied to You Decide and both projects have been selected to go forward to the final
round, but competing with other Monmouth community projects, the amount dependent on the
number of votes we can get – so please vote for the project of your choice at:

Thank you!
Vivien Mitchell

Transition Monmouth Chair’s Report – December 2022

The group has enjoyed a further year of achievements, underpinned by the hard work and dedication of members in pursuit of our ethos; building resilient and sustainable communities to combat climate change.  I am delighted to summarise these projects and actions below, having the privilege of holding the Chair over the last year. At fifteen years old, the group continues to develop and expand, with new ideas being put into action all the time.

The wider situation, having emerged from Covid hibernation, is that local communities are emboldened to bring about the kind of changes they want to see. Waiting for ‘big government’ action is no longer viable as the clock ticks down towards environmental cliff edges; we are faster and more agile at the grass roots.

If not already involved, it is hoped that you will be inspired by the breadth of our projects; there really is something for everyone to join. Maybe you’ve heard about the UK hitting over 40 degrees for the first time this year or have been wondering if we really need so much single-use packaging. Maybe you have ideas and want to make a difference. Join in the conversation, build community resilience and sustainability with like-minded, local members.

Monmouth Community Fridge – our largest project celebrated two full years in the Bridges Centre Stables and goes from strength to strength. It continues to make nightly collections of near use-by and surplus food from local supermarkets. Its doors are then opened seven days a week to distribute to the public. Masses of volunteers and coordinator resource comes together to make this operation possible, resulting on these astounding statistics over two years;

  • Food diverted from landfill = 51.2 Tons
  • eCO2 emissions avoided = 127.9 Tons
  • Customers served = 15273
  • Bunches of flowers redistributed = 6237
  • Volunteers managed = 35
  • Facebook followers engaged = 1800

Unsurprisingly, the Fridge has faced increasing costs at a time public donations are falling. With the monthly running costs around £430, the coordinators have been on a fund-raising trail to secure our position into the medium term. We are delighted to have been supported by Monmouth Rotary who, following a presentation by the coordinators, stepped in quickly to cover our utilities over the short term. This bridged the gap until our successful applications for a Monmouth Town Council Community Grant of £3000 and £1000 from Neighbourly, an M&S grant. Later success with You Decide (MCC Participatory Budget) led to £1300, followed by £1000 from Welsh Government Food Security funding. This hard work has left the Fridge confident of the year ahead, and will also cover servicing of the commercial appliances, and purchase of marketing materials and additional insulated bags.

A social event was held in October, with a game of skittles at The Royal Oak. It was a rare opportunity for both the day volunteers and evening collectors to come together, often for the first time, comparing notes and putting faces to names. In the same month, the Fridge hosted a visit by the First Minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford.

In addition to food and flowers, the Fridge has been distributing environmentally friendly period products, supplied by Monmouthshire County Council. These are given out from the Bridges location and other channels into the community, and are just another example of what makes this project so special. Well done and a huge thankyou to everyone who makes this possible.

Apple Pressing – with a fabulous apple harvest this year, we held well-attended community events at both Wyesham St James’ Hall and Rockfield Community Hall. These were fun and hands-on and were the first time we had seen some people since the lockdowns.

We completed our aim of donating the press and scratter set to Benthyg Monmouth in order to give greater access to the wider community. Based at Bridges, this is a community lending initiative supported by Transition Monmouth. Subsequently, a number of private and community pressings were able to take place using it.

Community Orchard – Two River Meadow – the fruit trees were suffering from neglected pruning over recent years, so two sessions were arranged. A late winter pruning of soft-centred fruit was followed by a mid-summer prune of hard-centred fruiting trees. Many thanks to local expert Helena Ronicle, who led the training and imparted much of the why and how of proper pruning techniques. She has also gone on to develop a site management plan, including grass cutting regime, that is awaiting review at this time. If you are at all interested, please join in and look out for our follow up pruning sessions in the coming year.

Peter Morgan Community Orchard – this is a new project leading to the creation of a brand-new community orchard along the Redbrook Road in Wyesham. The land is very kindly being gifted and represents the first substantial asset for the group. In conjunction, coordinators have successfully applied for a Lottery Heritage grant to cover legal costs, contamination surveys, asbestos clearance, fencing and of course establishing the planting scheme. The grant award is the largest ever received by us, and will lead to a wonderful community asset that will be a biodiverse haven for wildlife and people. The team are currently navigating the legal aspects of conveyancing and property transfer, but ownership is expected shortly and site preparation can then begin.

Event Stands – the Wye Valley River Festival provided a fun event with lots of entertainment highlighting aspects of the river. The Bee Festival ran across a weekend in July. We opened up the Kitchen Garden and Wildflower Meadow sites at the Monmouth Comprehensive School for visitors to inspect how this otherwise bland area has been developed for biodiversity and pollinators. The following day we shared a large stand with Tools for Self Reliance Cymru, engaging the public, promoting our projects and selling plants and books.

In the same month we had a stand at Wye July, supporting the Friends of the Lower Wye in raising awareness of the condition of our river. Our ‘feather’ flags made their first appearance, helping to achieve a coordinated, professional look. All these events relied on Benthyg Monmouth for the lending of gazebos and equipment, not to mention the volunteers who prepared and staffed all the stands; many thanks!

Earlier in the year, we supported the Seed Swap event at Bridges with stands for Transition and the Fridge. Plenty of interaction with the public and also plants and books (and maps!) sold.

Hustings for County Council Elections – there was good attendance and some lively questioning of candidates standing for the County Council elections. The packed audience at Bridges were highly engaged on environmental issues and the proceedings were well facilitated by Haydn. Additional thanks to the team of cake bakers and refreshment servers.

Green Grow/Green Spaces – initiate and develop planting schemes around the town jointly with ACE members. Work around Monmouth Comprehensive School continues to attract public interest and improve biodiversity, air quality and flood prevention. This has been extended to include the Phoenix Building surrounds, for which a You Decide grant was successfully awarded. A tree nursery area has been established with the first tranche of saplings now in the ground.

The event stands and orchard maintenance already mentioned are also underpinned by this collaborative project.

Plastic Free Monmouth (PFM) – our PFM Chair Beccy has been increasing the profile of this project through meetings with MCC, new councillors and writing articles for Living magazine. She is in the planning stages of running PF Business sessions, supported by MCC.

Wyesham Community Woodland – the volunteers have emerged from Covid restrictions and continue to manage the woodland and put on community events, from the Big Jubilee lunch to spooky Halloween gatherings. They held another Christmas tree chipping session, turning cut trees from Wyesham residents into wood chippings for the pathways.

Collaborations – we continue to engage with other groups from schools, charities, business and local groups to Government bodies at all levels. This is not only a means to achieve more for our efforts, but sparks new ideas, actions and friendships. We are proud to work alongside ACE Monmouth, Benthyg Monmouth and Friends of the Lower Wye to raise environmental awareness and initiate actions that are kinder to the planet.

We are able to achieve much through strong relations with local Town and County level government and we are lucky to have members elected to both. On my recent presentation to the new Town Council, I outlined the range of projects we undertake; our efforts were well received and warmly praised. From County, we have strong support from Councillors and Officers, making it much easier to achieve our goals. It allows us to have quality engagement, like the evening with Mark Hand (MCC Head of Placemaking) where he presented on the Local Development Plan and we had wide ranging discussions on the planning process, transport links, water quality, housing efficiencies and natural flood management.

It is clear that our members continue to drive our projects with passion and energy. They also continue to engage the public in important environmental awareness, so delivering on our ethos of a more resilient and sustainable Monmouth community. Massive thanks to all our wonderful volunteers who make this possible.

Lastly, my thanks to fellow officers who put in so much and keep us going in the right direction; Claudia Blair (Treasurer) and Vivien Mitchell (Admin/Secretary). Congratulations to Vivien, who recently received the High Sheriff Award for service to the community, a tiny fraction of the recognition she deserves!

Bryan Miller

Chair – Transition Monmouth

December 2022