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
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


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 ……..


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

A glimmer of hope – please note: meeting re-scheduled to Zoom

Dear Transitioners

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:

Time:  Tue Nov 23, 2021 7:30pm – 9:15pm

Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 849 1509 2507
Passcode: 223889

Joining infoJoin with Google Meet

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!

Vivien Mitchell
creative community action…for life after oil

Facebook:  Transition Monmouth, Transition Monmouth Chat, Wyesham Community Woodland, Plastic Free Monmouth, ACE Monmouth, Apple Pressing Events Monmouthshire, Our Green Spaces Monmouth, Friends of Chippenham Mead, Monmouth Community Fridge

Agenda:  Annual General Meeting via Zoom

Tuesday 23 November 2021, 7.30pm – followed by a Members’ Meeting


Apologies for absence

Note taker

Chair’s Report for the year:  Bryan Miller

Treasurer’s Report:  Claudia Blair

Election of officers for the coming year – Chair, Deputy Chair, Treasurer, Admin/Secretary

Any other business

Close of AGM

Agenda:  Members’ Meeting

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

COP26 – our reactions and what do we do now?

Benthyg (Library of Things) and the Repair Café

Green Grow/Green Spaces:  To be discussed at a meeting on Thursday – here is your invitation:

Monmouthshire Communities is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting:-
Topic: Green Spaces / Green Grow meeting
Time: Nov 25, 2021 07:30 PM
Join Zoom Meeting: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/86192500958?pwd=bHE2Vjg0NVRZQURvRXBUTE1aVHI4dz09
Meeting ID: 861 9250 0958
Passcode: ACE

Any Other Business

Date of Next Meeting

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

Marking COP-26:-

  • 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.

Date of next meeting:  To be advised


Dear Transitioners and ACE Monmouth Supporters

We await COP26 with hopeful anticipation – hopeful that world leaders will commit to meaningful action on the climate emergency.  Greta Thunberg, together with Vanessa Nakate from Uganda and Dominika Lasota from Poland, will be there with the message:-

Humanity is failing to stop the climate crisis.  It’s now beyond urgent – the planet is screaming for help.  Right now world leaders are meeting for historic climate talks – but pledges without real action won’t cut it anymore.  We need bold, visionary leaders to finally do what’s needed to pull us back from the abyss.

We can’t be in Glasgow with them, but to mark the occasion, increase awareness, and hopefully empower more of us to act, we have two local events next weekend.

There will be a Procession and Vigil in Abergavenny on Saturday 6 November, starting at 11am from St John’s Square.  It will move around the town and engage with the public, returning to St John’s Square for a ceremony and vigil at 12.30.  It will be a colourful event.  Please go and participate, and wear brightly coloured clothes.  A banner with a positive message is encouraged – but not compulsory!

Then on Sunday 7 November we will be holding a colourful and engaging event in Monmouth from 11am to 1pm on the green beside the Cattle Market car park.  The aim is to engage with the public on actions that they can do both at home and by joining in with the wide range of activities available in Monmouth to mitigate climate change.  Transition Monmouth will have a display as will ACE Monmouth and Friends of the Lower Wye.  Music will be provided by Frieda After Kahlo, we will have the Earthrite globe with an activity at around mid-day.  We would like this too to be a colourful event so please come, dressed from head to foot in brightly coloured clothes, maybe bring a banner with a positive message.  We will have leaflets to hand out if you would like to engage with passers-by.  Please come and support – there is nothing like the power of community to change the world!

After COP26 we will have a Members’ Meeting on Tuesday 23 November at 7.30pm.  There will undoubtedly be much to discuss!

We look forward to seeing you at one, or all three, of these events.

Vivien Mitchell