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 7.30pmby 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!
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 9pmat 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 – firstname.lastname@example.org
Rewilding – Fad or the Future: Wednesday 11 May, 7pmat 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 Mayto prune the stoned fruit trees and take a further look at other maintenance issues
Wye Valley River Festival: Saturday 28 Mayis 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
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 Daynext 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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 01600 715065. The more volunteers we have, the more we can achieve together!
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 cansee the project documents and make a comment by 28 December using the link:
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!
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.
The agenda (and notes of our last meeting) are included below. We look forward to seeing you!
Agenda: Members’ Meeting via Zoom
Tuesday 14 December 2021, 7.30pm
Apologies for absence
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 ……..
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
OK – so COP26 didn’t deliver the bold emissions cuts and supportive finance that we desperately need, the rich nations shirked their responsibility to the planet and to the people who have done the least to cause the climate crisis, and they propose to do more to defend the fossil fuel industry than to defend life on Earth.
But yes – there is a glimmer of hope. The reason that we got what progress we did is because young people, Indigenous leaders, activists and countries on the climate frontline forced concessions, and the world is mobilised in a way never before seen. And it won’t be at the next summit that there will be progress – that happens between summits. Our responses and actions are vital so please come to our next meeting – 7.30 on Tuesday 23 November. Because of the rise in Covid cases the meeting will be via Zoom:-
Transition Monmouth is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting:
The meeting will start with a brief AGM – Chair’s report, Treasurer’s report, election of officers – please put your name forward if you would like to take on the role of Chair, Deputy Chair, Treasurer or Admin/Secretary. The agenda for both the AGM and the Members’ Meeting are copied below together with notes of the last Members’ Meeting.
We look forward very much to seeing you next Tuesday – and let us plan a great year of action together!
9pm – close of formal meeting – now it’s time to chat ……
Transition Monmouth Members’ Meeting
Tuesday 19 October 2021 at 7.30pm
At the front entrance of Monmouth Comprehensive School
Present: Bryan Miller, Charles Emes, Clare Catto, Mary Boase, Waltraud Engelfield, Vivien Mitchell
Apologies: Kelly Jackson-Graham, Claudia Blair, Sheila Mone, Simon Durrant, Patrick Hannay, Charles Boase, Gerry Ashton, Emma Bryn, Beccy Macdonald-Lofts
Notetaker: Waltraud Engelfield
Climate Future Festival Debrief:-
Generally good engagement with the public
Great variety of activities and stalls
Great networking opportunity between different groups, great to see so many people
Location of Green Zone: Would Chippy be a better location (like the Bee Festival) and close to the Nelson Garden’s Wellbeing Zone – but have people around town directing passers-by to Chippy. Also a better place for gazebos where pegs can secure them
Provide better signage and publicity in the run up
Provide food stalls next year
Stalls need better weather proofing. We were lucky this year as we were not well prepared for wind and rain
There is great enthusiasm to repeat the festival to keep the Climate Crisis in everyone’s mind. 18 roles have been identified by the organisers to run the festival next year and initial Zoom meetings are already happening
Our plant swap/sale made over £40 for the Green Grow group
There needs to be clarification as to how ACE (a Town Council working group) and Transition Monmouth work together
There is a COP-26 procession and vigil in Abergavenny on Saturday 6 November; members were encouraged to participate
Despite the short time frame we decided to put on an event in Monmouth on Sunday 7 November from 11 to 1 on the grassy area by the Cattle Market car park
Gazebos proposed for displays by us, ACE Monmouth, Friends of the Lower Wye
We will ask if the Earthrite presentation with their globe and animal heads could attend
Vivien to ask Abergavenny if we could borrow their placards
Bryan and Clare agreed to draft a pamphlet that we could hand out on the day with ideas on how to reduce your carbon footprint
Working with Monmouth School for Boys: The group of boys available on Wednesday afternoons helped rake cuttings at our Community Orchard and enjoyed the experience. It was suggested that they consult with teenagers in town as to what they would like on the old playground area on Chippy. We look forward to discussing further ideas with Sheila Mone.
Community Orchard: We need to discuss a new management plan as the previous one no longer works as the trees have grown so much. The whole of the planted area probable now needs to be mown by MCC, and we should organise a pruning event with Helena Ronicle in the winter months.
Green Grow (TM) / Green Spaces (ACE): Last year we jointly looked at various locations – some new, some previously started by Green Grow. We need a joint meeting to discuss how to proceed with these and also how we should work together in the future. This is quite urgent as the winter months are prime time for further planting.
Wyesham Community Woodland – Claypatch: The group has become active once again. At a hybrid meeting on 11 October working parties were agreed for 17 and 25 October to improve the paths, rebuild benches and other activities in preparation for a Halloween Spooktacular on 31 October – a family friendly event publicized widely on social media and posters. Ash trees on the boundaries are to be felled by MCC. Richard Garner has applied for a chainsaw licence.
Benthyg (The Library of Things): Funded by the Welsh Government’s Circular Economy project, this is ready to go live in Monmouth, Chepstow, Caldicot and Abergavenny in the next few weeks. Benthyg Monmouth is located in the Art Room at Bridges and initially will open just once a week. All items are now on the database. Volunteers are being recruited and trained. It is hoped that a paid coordinator for Benthyg and the Community Fridge can be employed.
Community Fridge: The Fridge is going strong with over 40 volunteers engaged each week. Last year nearly 26 tons of food waste was rescued from landfill and distributed to local residents. Kelly and Claudia presented at the Wyesham WI. Satellite cupboards are planned for Wyesham and other locations. Kate Rees who has undertaken much of the admin is working to reduce her role. To celebrate their first anniversary, a social gathering was held at the home of Ann and Terry Ing. It was also the first time that many of the volunteers had the opportunity to meet each other.
Water Fountains: The water fountain on Chippenham Green is now operational and will be formally opened at the same time as the new children’s playground. The fountain at the Skate Park was officially opened at a Skate Jam last month; the event was very well attended but sadly there was only one girl performing in the demonstration.
Plastic Free Monmouth: Georgie Meadow’s wonderful dress made of discarded plastic was a show stopper at the Climate Future Festival and can be borrowed for future events. Beccy (Chair of PFM) has a monthly slot to write for Living magazine; we look forward to her excellent introductory article being published and will advertise this on social media.
River Pollution: The issue is getting a lot of positive publicity with the Friends of the Lower Wye campaigning tirelessly along with Angela Jones and the angling community. A response together with reports compiled by NRW have been received from David TC Davies MP but the data does not reflect the appalling state of the Wye. No response has been received from the AM, Peter Fox.