Countdown to the Christmas break…

Dear Transitioners

Our last newsletter of 2019, and perhaps time for reflection on what a tumultuous year it has been – starting with the publication of the IPCC report on Climate Change which, for the first time, the world seemed to take seriously.  This was closely followed by the first Extinction Rebellion protest in Parliament Square on 31 October 2018 when we were introduced to the then 15 year old Greta Thunberg – a leader of our time she has truly turned out to be, meeting with and addressing world leaders while unashamedly shaming many, and inspiring the international Youth Climate Strikes.  In May, Monmouth Town Council declared a Climate Emergency and this was followed a few days later with a similar motion that was carried unanimously by Monmouthshire County Council.

These things don’t come easy and involved a huge amount of work by a huge number of good folk fighting for the cause.  So far, so good – but this is almost where the hard work starts.  Our stamina must not waver.  We applaud, organise and join in when we can with the Climate Emergency protests and Youth Strikes (the youth in Monmouth have had a particularly difficult time – we are proud of their continued action) to influence Government at all levels, and shame corporations for their destructive practices.  Locally we continue to work with the County Council on measures to combat climate change, but also through the new ACE Monmouth (Action on Climate Emergency) projects – Bike-Friendly Monmouth, ACE Festival of the Future, and Green Spaces, with a Repair Café, Energy and Local Food projects on their way.  Below we give dates of the various meetings for the remainder of the year.  All welcome to all the meetings.  Please let me know if you would like to be put in contact with any of the project leaders.

And as though we don’t have enough to do, we now also have a General Election on 12 December.  OK, Brexit is a top issue, but so is the Climate Emergency, and of course the two impact on each other.  We are therefore holding a Climate Emergency Hustings – at Bridges Community Centre on Friday 29 November, 6.30 for a prompt 7pm start – to seek clarity on the positions held by the candidates:-

  • Ian Chandler – Green Party
  • David Davies – Conservative Party
  • June Davies – Renew
  • Hugh Kocan – Plaid Cymru
  • Yvonne Murphy – Welsh Labour
  • Alison Willott – Welsh Liberal Democrats

Email questions in advance to reception@bridgescentre.org.uk.  Include your name, constituency and whether the question is to be asked from the Chair or audience.  There will also be opportunity to post written questions on the day prior to the start of the meeting.  Refreshments available.

At our AGM this week Karin Chandler, our out-going Chair, gave a detailed report of our busy year – copied below and also posted on our website.  Bryan Miller is our new Chair, with Simon Durrant as Deputy Chair.  I will continue as Treasurer and Admin.  For the newsletter I would much welcome any contributions or suggestions on news that you would like to get out to the members.

Now for those dates for your diaries:-

ACE Monmouth:  Bike-Friendly Monmouth:  Thursday 14 November, 7pm at the Robin Hood to take forward the bold ambitions of the group – making the Agincourt Square redevelopment bike friendly, active mapping of cycling routes and much more – all welcome!

Repair Café in Abergavenny:  Saturday 16 November, 11am to 1pm at the Abergavenny Community Centre, Park Street.  We are looking to set up a Repair Café in Monmouth and would encourage anyone interested in being involved to come along to find out how others do it

Climate Emergency Action Festival of the Future:  Saturday 16 November, 10am to 3pm at the Overmonnow Family Learning Centre, Victoria Court, off Wonastow Road, Monmouth NP25 5AR:  A workshop to fix a date for the Festival, plan a timetable, decide on roles and requirements.  Please come along if you are willing to help with the festival or have expertise in planning events.  Feel free to come for only part of the day.  Also bring your children, and your suggestions.  Please also bring food to share;  drinks and fruit will be provided

Lantern Making Workshops:

  • Saturday 16 November, 10am to 4pm at the Shire Hall and
  • Sunday 17 November, 1pm to 5pm at the Rockfield Park Community Centre

These are drop in sessions for you and your children to make a lantern for the parade on 6 December.  Materials provided and refreshments too, but bring your own battery operated fairy lights

ACE Monmouth:  A Repair Café for Monmouth:  Wednesday 27 November, 7pm at the Robin Hood:  Inaugural meeting which, hopefully, will result in us starting pop-up events early next year

Climate Emergency Hustings:  Friday 29 November, 6.30 for a 7pm start at Bridges Community Centre – further details above

ACE Monmouth:  Green Spaces:  Wednesday 4 December, 7.15 at the Robin Hood to get a tutorial on the new Monmouth Green Spaces interactive map, and to discuss the various planting opportunities round town – the new Kingswood Estate, Chippy, where else? – creation of biodiversity corridors, encouraging wild gardens etc

Lantern Parade:  Friday 6 December, 6pm at the Old Bridge to parade up to the Shire Hall for this inspirational community event – a family fun evening with performers on stage, Father Christmas and street entertainers

Grosmont Winter Market:  Saturday 14 December, 10am to 2pm at Grosmont Church – hot drinks, a BBQ, local food, festive story telling, make-and-take craft table, unique Christmas gifts and cards – many made by local people.  Live music too ….

And that’s it for 2019 – so much achieved!  Thank you, all!  We hope you have a good break over the Christmas period and return in January with your energies and ideas replenished.

Vivien Mitchell

On with the rebellion…

Dear Transitioners

Extinction Rebellion protests are in full swing around the world and we are grateful to the millions that are protesting and the thousands that have already been arrested.  If you possibly can, please join the protests in London which are planned to continue throughout this week.  It’s easy to find local groups to engage with – see https://rebellionroles.earth/.  You can also support the actions by making a donation towards costs of providing facilities, training, legal help etc – see  https://rebellion.earth/donate/.

In the meantime we are doing what we can locally.  On Thursday 17 October we have an ACE Monmouth meeting (6.30pm at Bridges Community Centre for a 7pm start) to hear updates on our first three projects – Climate Emergency Festival of the Future, Cycle Friendly Monmouth, Green Spaces – and to hear about plans/ideas for other projects.  Opportunities for everyone to be involved – please come!

Hazel Clatworthy reports that County Council Officers have been working over the summer on a draft Climate Emergency Action Plan – see   https://democracy.monmouthshire.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=139&MId=4001.  This has been considered by the Strong Communities Committee as a policy development exercise.  At present it is a ‘response’ rather than an ‘action plan’, and contains aspirations that might not be achievable, but that is no barrier to their inclusion.  Prioritisation and work with members to understand some of the trade-offs is on-going.

Now for those dates for your diaries:-

ACE Monmouth:  General Meeting:  Thursday 17 October, 6.30pm till 9pm, to hear updates on the projects and discuss further actions / other projects.  Light refreshments will be provided to maintain your energy levels!  Contact vivienmitchell@yahoo.co.uk for further details or to be put on the mailing list

The Big Autumn Swap:  Saturday 19 October, 11am to 2pm at Monmouth Priory.  Yes, another Big Swap event for clothes, books, toys etc as well as the usual seeds/plants/produce.  Tools for Self Reliance Cymru will be there for you to start buying Christmas presents for your gardening friends.  Please bring stuff to swap, but come anyway and make a donation for anything you take.  Bring the children – we will have activities for them.  We will serve coffee, tea and cakes as usual but also vegan soup and bread so you can relax over a light lunch.  If you would like to help with soup making, this will take place that morning in the Priory kitchen starting at 10am.  Offers of help please to karin@chandler.wales

Active Travel:  Tuesday 22 October, 1pm at the Shire Hall.  This is a group facilitated by the Town Council but all are welcome to attend – much scope for improvements in and around Monmouth – come and have your say

Food Sense:  Wednesday 6 November, 7pm.  Currently the main activity of this group is the collection of surplus food from the supermarkets and ensuring it is put to good use;  freezer and refrigeration facilities are being investigated.  Please come along if you would like to participate – contact vivienmitchell@yahoo.co.uk for venue details

Transition Monmouth AGM:  Tuesday 12 November, 7.15 at the Robin Hood to receive reports for the year from Chair and Treasurer, elect officers for the coming year – all offers welcome – and then we are going to have a PARTY!  The Robin Hood has kindly agreed that we can bring finger food to share.  We look forward to seeing you

Repair Café:  Saturday 16 November, 11am to 1pm at the Abergavenny Community Centre, Park Street.  We are looking at setting up a Repair Café in Monmouth and would encourage anyone interested in being involved to come along to find out how others do it

And the Local Produce Markets:-
Usk – 1st + 3rd Saturdays – 10 till 1
Abergavenny – 4th Thursday – 9.30 to 2.30

We hope to see you soon!
Vivien Mitchell

The season of mellow fruitfulness, and back into action!

Dear Transitioners

Welcome back from what we hope was a good summer break for you all.  But now it’s back to fighting for our lives!

On Friday 20 September there is the Global Climate Strike, with Youth Strike students from Monmouth Comprehensive School starting at 9am outside the Shire Hall.  Please come and support!  Youth strikers across the world are calling on adults to join them as part of a massive global day of action.  If you want to join a different protest or for further information see https://www.campaigncc.org/climate_strike_20_september.

Then, starting on Monday 7 October, Extinction Rebellion and allied movements will peacefully shut down Westminster until the Government acts.  Sign up now at https://actionnetwork.org/forms/international-rebellion-london/ or contact xrabergavenny@gmail.com to be kept up to date with local information – it’s more fun if you go with a local crowd!

We held the second ACE (Action on Climate Emergency) Monmouth meeting in July, formed a Steering Group and settled on taking forward three projects, Action on Climate Emergency Festival of the Future, Cycle Friendly Monmouth, and Green Spaces.  If you would like to be involved with any of these groups details are:-

ACE Festival of the Future:  Next meeting:  Wednesday 18 September, 7pm at the Robin Hood.  Contact: dillyboase@hotmail.com – with email subject ‘ACE MONMOUTH FESTIVAL’

Cycle Friendly Monmouth:  Next meeting:  Thursday 19 September, venue to be confirmed.  Contact:  rachel.jupp@yahoo.com

Green Spaces:  Inaugural meeting:  Wednesday 25 September, 7.15 for a 7.30 start at the Robin Hood.  Contact:  vivienmitchell@yahoo.co.uk

There is a new Facebook page for ACE Monmouth –  https://www.facebook.com/groups/329198128016245/?epa=SEARCH_BOX so you can keep up to date with the news and chat.

Apple Pressing:  We now have our very own apple pressing equipment.  We would normally do apple pressing in October but apples are ready to press early this year – why? – climate change?  So we have brought the dates forward to the weekend of 21/22 September – details below.  The equipment is available for other community groups to borrow – contact Bryan Miller – bm6565@gmail.com – for further details.  Other apple pressing events will be advertised on Facebook page ‘APPLE PRESSING EVENTS MONMOUTHSHIRE’.  Bring apples, pears etc if you have any but please bring bottles to take juice home with you.

Now for those dates for your diaries:-

Grosmont Harvest Market:  Saturday 14 September, 10am till 2pm:  BBQ – brunch + lunch, local produce, hand made craft, children’s craft table

Usk Show:  Saturday 14 September:  Visit the County Council’s tent.  Plastic Free Monmouth will be there

Repair Café Abergavenny:  Saturday 14 September, 11am till 2pm at the Abergavenny Community Centre, Merthyr Road:  Typical repairs include electrical items (toasters, kettles, vacuum cleaners etc), clothing/textiles, bikes, wooden items.  Further information from repaircafeabergavenny@gmail.com or Facebook

Members’ Meeting:  Tuesday 17 September, 7.15 at the Robin Hood to hear about Nature Isn’t Neat, other updates, discuss future events, fundraising etc – all welcome!

ACE Festival of the Future:  Planning Meeting:  Wednesday 18 September, 7pm to 9pm in the Stable Room at the Robin Hood.  Come with your ideas!  There are already plenty on the table and much enthusiasm to make this an event of very high impact.

Cycle Friendly Monmouth:  Thursday 19 September at 7.30;  venue to be confirmed. Contact Rachel – rachel.jupp@yahoo.com for further details or if you want to be added to the email list

Climate Strike:  Friday 20 September, 9am at the Shire Hall, Monmouth.  Come and support this and the Youth Strike pupils of Monmouth Comprehensive School

The Diet that Could Save the World:  Saturday 21 September, 3pm to 4pm at the Borough Theatre, Abergavenny:  Pamela Mason in conversation with Professor Tim Lang.  This is a JUST FOOD free event but you need a ticket available at the Theatre Box Office or online at https://www.abergavennyfoodfestival.com/programme-2019/the-diet-that-could-save-the-world

The Future of Farming:  Up in the air or down in the ground:  Sunday 22 September, 11 am till noon at the Borough Theatre, Abergavenny:  A debate between Patrick Holden, an organic farmer and Director of the Sustainable Food Trust, and Professor Chungui Lu of Nottingham Trent University, a proponent of soil-less city hi-rise farming.  This is another JUST FOOD free event but you need a ticket available at the Theatre Box Office of online at https://www.abergavennyfoodfestival.com/programme-2019/the-future-of-farming-a-debate/

Green Spaces:  Inaugural Meeting:  Wednesday 25 September, 7.15 for a 7.30 start.  We will be looking at developing an interactive map of green spaces, planting on the Kingswood Estate and other planting/growing projects.  It’s up to you as to what we do – come with your ideas!  Contact vivienmitchell@yahoo.co.uk for further details

ACE Monmouth:  General Meeting:  Thursday 17 October, 6.30 to 9pm, to hear updates on the projects and discuss further actions / other projects.  Venue to be confirmed.  Contact vivienmitchell@yahoo.co.uk for further details or to be put on the mailing list

Big Swap:  Saturday 19 October, 11am to 2pm at Monmouth Priory.  Yes, another Big Swap event for clothes, books, toys etc as well as the usual seeds/plants/produce.  Please start keeping stuff ready to swap.  We will serve coffee, tea and cakes as usual but also soup and bread so you can relax over a light lunch.  If you would like to help with soup making, this will take place that morning at the Priory starting at 10am.  Offers of help please to karin@chandler.wales

And the Local Produce Markets:-
Usk – 1st + 3rd Saturdays – 10 till 1
Abergavenny – 4th Thursday – 9.30 to 2.30

We hope to see you soon!
Vivien Mitchell

Climate Emergency Action…..

Dear Transitioners

Action on Climate Emergency Monmouth – ACE Monmouth
Meeting on Thursday 18 July:  6pm drop-in, 7pm for start of meeting

At the first meeting of what is now called ACE Monmouth we discussed ideas for action under the four headings of:-

Awareness and lobbying
Reduce, re-use, repair, recycle
Active travel, private transport, public transport
Green spaces 

Of the many ideas (listed in full at the end of this email), the top 20 were:-

  1. Tree planting – various locations
  2. LED lighting show site
  3. Cycle friendly Monmouth
  4. Electric car charging points
  5. Buses for commuters
  6. Railway station for Monmouth
  7. Car free days
  8. Solar panels on buildings
  9. Climate Emergency Action festival
  10. Reduce carbon emissions by Monmouth Town Council
  11. Set up a Repair Café
  12. Set up a Library of Things
  13. Wild flower areas and community gardens
  14. Business awareness theme
  15. Energy advice for households
  16. Schools events / information sharing
  17. Community fund for projects
  18. Plastic Free for Life
  19. Anaerobic digester for dog poo
  20. Community composting

So that we have an idea of who is interested in what, please complete the survey (even if you cannot attend the meeting) at https://gwentenergycic.org/mace-survey/ – and please let us know if there is another project that you would like to see taken forward, especially if you want to actively participate.  We want to get on with action as quickly as possible!  There is a new Facebook page for ACE Monmouth – https://www.facebook.com/groups/329198128016245/?epa=SEARCH_BOX so you can keep up to date with the news and chat.

Now for some other dates for your diaries:- 

XR ‘Operation Mushroom’:  15 to 19 July:  Operation Mushroom will take place in five cities across the UK including Cardiff.  This will be the biggest action yet seen in Wales and will aim to ensure that all Governments and Councils act.  We have had enough talk!  Basically this will be a London-style event holding an area round Castle Street for maximum effect and publicity.  The theme is the Canary – a warning sign of catastrophe.  Further information and sign up at

https://actionnetwork.org/forms/sign-up-for-operation-mushroom-15th-19th-july.  A huge amount of work is involved and all help is welcome.  Please contact xrabergavenny@gmail.com to be kept up to date with local information

ACE Monmouth:  Thursday 18 July at Bridges Community Centre:  6pm for drop-in, 7pm start to the meeting when we will settle on projects for Climate Emergency Action in Monmouth

Rewilding:  A short video by George Monbiot followed by discussion:  Sunday 21 July, 2pm to 4pm at Rockfield Community Centre.  Bring the children – there is a playground adjacent to the Centre.  More details here 

Climate Change Champions:  Wednesday 31 July, 6.30 pm at County Hall to review progress on the Climate Emergency Action Plan for the County – all welcome;  contact vivienmitchell@yahoo.co.uk for a car share

Garway Fun Day – Green Living + Plastic Free:  Saturday 24 August – further information nearer the time on the Garway Community Centre Group Facebook page

Viridor Energy from Waste Facility:  Wednesday 28 August:  Minibus transport from Chepstow, Monmouth and Raglan to arrive in Cardiff at 12 noon.  The facility diverts around 95% of residual waste produced in South Wales from land fill;  it takes all of Monmouthshire’s waste for incineration – see https://www.viridor.co.uk/energy/energy-recovery-facilities/cardiff-erf/ for further details.  Places are limited and it is essential to book by contacting hello@gwentenergycic.org.

And the Local Produce Markets:-
Usk – 1st + 3rd Saturdays – 10 till 1
Abergavenny – 4th Thursday – 9.30 to 2.30

We hope to see you before the holiday break, but in any case, have a happy summer!

Vivien Mitchell

Farewell, Bethia ….

Dear Transitioners

The Climate Emergency news continues to roll in, some good, some bad.  While on the one hand the Government announced that the UK will set a new legally binding target to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, on the same day they gave the go ahead to a third runway at Heathrow.  Do they not understand what net zero means?  It means no more airport expansion, no fracking, no new gas or oil, no new roads.  It means doubling tree cover in the UK, and building cleaner energy and transport systems.

We continue to support Extinction Rebellion (with local groups on Abergavenny and Hereford) and the Youth Strikes to keep public awareness in the front line.  Please let us know if you want contact details for these groups.  The County Council will be holding a meeting on 1 August to update us on their progress with actions – details below, and Monmouth remains committed to action through the new group, ACE (Action on Climate Emergency) Monmouth.  Representatives from 21 local groups attended the first meeting last month with lively discussion and many ideas on projects.  We will start to develop these ideas into actions at the next meeting on Thursday 18 July.  Drop in starting at 6pm, meeting to start at 7pm at Bridges Community Centre.  Further details to follow.

We end on a sad note however.  Bethia Smith, one of our founder members, died last week.  Bethia was our first Treasurer and for ten years she was our main fundraiser, ran all of our coffee mornings and did much more besides.  She was always the stalwart, the quiet one, always the one that put her hand up to say ‘yes, I can do that’ – and you were confident that it would be done competently and with no fuss.  Her illness prevented her from active participation for the past two years but she remained interested in all that we were doing.  We owe her a great debt.  Her funeral will be at the Forest of Dean Crematorium at 12.30 on Tuesday 9 July followed by refreshments at Monmouth Priory.  Please contact vivienmitchell@yahoo.co.uk if you can offer or need a car share.

But the show goes on.  Here are some dates for your diaries:-

XR Action at Abergavenny Barclays:  Saturday 6 July.  More details here.

Members’ Meeting:  Tuesday 9 July, 7.30 till 9pm at Claypatch Woods, Wyesham – but the Monmouth Community Choir plans to give their vocal chords a whirl in the woods – warm up starting at 6.30 so you might like to come earlier.  The Wyesham Community Woodland Group will be showcasing their work so this should be a fun meeting.  Wear suitable footwear and bring warm layers.  You might also like to bring drinks and finger food to share.

Extinction Rebellion Planning Meeting:  Tuesday 9 July, 7pm at the King’s Arms, Abergavenny – to plan the action campaign for the summer months

XR Non Violent Direct Action Training:  Friday 12 July, 6pm-9pm at Abergavenny Community Centre.  More details here

Walk + Talk at Old Lands – with ecologist Sam Bosanquet:  Saturday 13 July – see Old Lands on Facebook for further details of this three hour walk through fields and parkland where more than 3000 different species have been recorded.  Places limited, booking essential

Claypatch Woods Fun Day:  Sunday 14 July, 10 am – loads of fun for all the family – bring a picnic and enjoy!

XR ‘Operation Mushroom’:  15 to 19 July:  Operation Mushroom will take place in five cities across the UK including Cardiff (15 to 17 July).  This will be the biggest action yet seen in Wales and will aim to ensure that all Governments and Councils act.  We have had enough talk!  Basically this will be a London-style event holding an area round Castle Street for maximum effect and publicity.  The theme is the Canary – a warning sign of catastrophe.  Further information and sign up at

https://actionnetwork.org/forms/sign-up-for-operation-mushroom-15th-19th-july.  A huge amount of work is involved and all help is welcome.  Please contact xrabergavenny@gmail.com to be kept up to date with local information

ACE Monmouth:  Thursday 18 July at Bridges Community Centre:  6pm for drop in, 7pm start to the meeting when we will settle on projects for Climate Emergency Action in Monmouth

Rewilding:  A short video by George Monbiot followed by discussion:  Sunday 21 July, 2pm to 4pm at Rockfield Community Centre.  Bring the children – there is a playground adjacent to the Centre.  More details here

Climate Change Champions:  Thursday 1 August, 6.30 pm at County Hall to review progress on the Climate Emergency Action Plan for the County – all welcome;  contact vivienmitchell@yahoo.co.uk for a car share

Garway Fun Day – Green Living + Plastic Free:  Saturday 24 August – further information nearer the time on the Garway Community Centre Group Facebook page

Viridor Energy from Waste Facility:  Wednesday 28 August:  Minibus transport from Chepstow, Monmouth and Raglan to arrive in Cardiff at 12 noon.  The facility diverts around 95% of residual waste produced in South Wales from land fill;  it takes all of Monmouthshire’s waste for incineration – see https://www.viridor.co.uk/energy/energy-recovery-facilities/cardiff-erf/ for further details.  Places are limited and it is essential to book by contacting hello@gwentenergycic.org.

And the Local Produce Markets:-
Usk – 1st + 3rd Saturdays – 10 till 1
Abergavenny – 4th Thursday – 9.30 to 2.30

We hope to see you before the holiday break, but in any case, have a happy summer!

Vivien Mitchell